Song to the Moon, now with a pronunciation guide (see farther down the page). This is the beautiful aria sung by Rusalka, a mermaid or water sprite, in the Dvorak opera "Rusalka".
Download the vocal free sheet music in 5 different keys, in the original Czech, or in an English translation, below. The standard piano accompaniment is also available, in 3 keys.
Here is my favorite performance of Rusalka's song (very hard to choose!) on Youtube (I apologize for any ads that may be prelude to the video - not my doing!). Milada Šubrtová was a Czech opera singer:
This lovely aria is a very big song... its highest note, Bb, is beyond the strong part of most singers' voices. So be careful. Most of the melody is set high.
Even if young singers only hear a song or sing through it once to become "acquainted" with it, that is a plus for their music education, for the refinement of their musical taste, and for the world of opera!
DON'T GIVE THIS ARIA to your high-school student to study. To my shame, I once gave Song to the Moon to an ambitious 18-year-old, perhaps setting her up for bad habits. If one is not a voice specialist, it is better as a teacher to steer clear of arias, except perhaps for a passing acquaintance in a low key.
Thus, these free lead sheets in lower keys are for them (because I do want them to be familiar with this famous opera aria - and no, I will not be urging them to sound like mature opera singers).
The entire aria with accompaniment is now available, and I have other keys available for piano.
In addition, I have made a downloadable pronunciation guide of the Czech lyrics, based on assistance from a friend who is a native of the Czech Republic. See a bit further down the page.
Here is the melody, with chords, for Song to the Moon in the keys of Gb, F, Eb, D, and C, in Czech:
I hear you talking: "Why would ANYONE want to sing Song to the Moon in the key of C??!!" Well, probably no one would!
However, the key of C is very useful for those poor vocal students who are struggling with piano proficiency class (you know who you are...), and who would never sit down to wrestle with Rusalka's Song to the Moon in its original key of Gb all on their own.
They can work with the melody in C and not have to worry about sharps or flats. After all, what in the world is the chord Bbb/Db? (Answer: it is the same as an A chord with the C# in the bass.) So the key of C will make a good working copy for them!
Please see the entire aria with accompaniment, below. I am showing pages 1, 3, 7, and 9:
Buy Song to the Moon in Gb (original key), 9 pages, for $4.00:
Or, buy Song to the Moon down a half step in the key of F, for $4.00:
Or, buy Song to the Moon down a minor third in the key of Eb, for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon in Gb (original key), 9 pages, for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon down a half step in the key of F, for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon down a minor third in the key of Eb, for $4.00:
There is a passage that is very difficult for the pianist to execute in a convincing manner, which occurs twice in Song to the Moon.
The reason? A bad interpretation of what the orchestra is doing, in those measures of the transcription. BELIEVE ME. Sometimes violins, flutes, or even harps just don't translate well to the piano.
Here is that passage, in the original transcription:
And after MUCH listening to the harps that play these sections of the score, this is MY altered interpretation of that measure:
It is much more pianistic, and it sounds better too.
This is how I choose to play the accompaniment, but for my customers who purchase this accompaniment, I am offering it both ways, by including an EXTRA page 4 and an EXTRA page 7 along with the PDF (those are the places in the score where this figure appears).
Now here is the pronunciation guide to the Czech lyrics. I worked these out with the help of a friend who was born and raised in the Czech Republic, and returns there every summer:
Keep moving down the page to find an English translation of this aria...
Here is Renee Fleming (who many think "owns" this piece). Superimposed on the video of her very slow, but ravishing rendition, is an English translation, rather nice, and more poetic than my simple translation below (but not singable!).
Below is my own very simple and literal English translation of Song to the Moon. I spent an evening with a friend from the Czech Republic who has spoken Czech from birth, and also speaks very good English.
She says that the vocabulary used in Rusalka is somewhat dated and poetic, and perhaps compares, for English speakers, to a poet from the 1800s.
Rather than attempt to rhyme the ends of phrases, I went for the plain meaning and the correct placement of word stress with the music. Therefore, this is a very SINGABLE English text. You can check it out in the Key of C setting below:
Yes, "human" and "darling" are what the Czech lyrics say. Also, "Stay a while," and "for at least a little while," are the meanings of chvili and chviličku.
Consider - it is a non-human being, the rusalka or water sprite, who is singing. So it makes sense for her to call the Prince "human soul".
There is one alteration I made to the rhythm to accommodate the English text, at the bottom of page 3. Instead of a triplet at the end of measure 119 with two notes in measure 120, I placed 4 sixteenth notes at the end of measure 119, and one note in measure 120.
One more video... with Anna Netrebko. I love her passion and control (and faster pace). I also love watching the crowd at this performance... they are there because they love this music:
Perhaps your students will want to know the story of "Rusalka" in order to be motivated to begin learning it (the melody is one that grows on the hearer, not being immediately "catchy").
Tell them it is considered to be the original story of "The Little Mermaid," borrowed by Hans Christian Anderson.
Rusalki were water nymphs or sprites, who came out at night to dance on the shores of streams, lakes, or marsh ponds, and sometimes bewitched men into joining them in the water (where, sadly, they drowned). More than that, you will have to research for yourself. (I WISH I could tell you that it ends happily.)
Buy Song to the Moon in Gb (original key), 9 pages plus 2 extra, for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon in the key of F for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon in the key of Eb, $4.00:
Tip for Printing
Once you've got the PDF file for "Song to the Moon" sheet music, feed just one page at a time, unless you know you have high-quality paper which won't grab extra sheets when being pulled through the feeder.
Buy Song to the Moon in Gb (original key), for $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon in the key of F, $4.00:
Buy Song to the Moon in the key of Eb, for $4.00:
I found great ideas for my guitar unit on your site, as I didn't know where to begin. Thanks to you I will survive my next 6 weeks. I also teach choir to middle school, and I love your little morning warmups. Looking forward to more of that in the future. Keep up the great work, it is very inspirational for us beginner teachers.
What a lovely, generous site! Many thanks from a fellow singer and music teacher in New York State. Loved the inclusion of the video for "The Ash Grove," a song I just recommended to an adult voice student today. I was pleased to be able to send her the link to not only the sheet music, but a charming performance of the song as well.
Thank you for your wonderful website. I also teach piano, voice and guitar - spooky! My absolute passion is opera, and have opened many a singing student's ear to the beautiful melodies and voices in the repertoire. Thank you for the wonderful warm-ups which I have downloaded, and will be using at the earliest opportunity - I will let you know how they go! Looking forward to more warmup ideas, too.
Thank you! THANK YOU!!! For keeping the beautiful art of Opera alive! I stumbled upon this site and I'm so happy I did!
I will be returning to this site over and over again from here on out and am excited to present some of the tools I found today on here to my voice and piano students later this week! My thirteen-year old son is happily, as I type, working with the guitar chord sheets I just printed for him! Wish I'd found you earlier! Thanks a million, and God bless-
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...
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