Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund

 

 

No-e in the Ark - (2010)    

an anonymous text, with additional text by the composer

for tenor and piano


 

Some say No-e is a good old man,
He built his Ark on the sandy land;
And it's who built the Ark? No-e,
No-e built the ark, O yes, my Lord. *

No-e built the Ark, O yes, my Lord.
Who built the Ark? No-e.

Some saw No-e and his fam'ly crew
Bring into the Ark critters two by two;
And it's who filled that Ark? No-e,
No-e filled the Ark, O yes, my Lord.

No-e filled the Ark, O yes, my Lord.
Who filled the Ark? No-e.

Some say No-e was both wise and brave,
He sailed his Ark through the wind and wave;
And it's who sailed the Ark? No-e,
No-e sailed that ark, O yes, my Lord.

No-e built the Ark, O yes, my Lord.
No-e filled the Ark, O yes, my Lord.
No-e sailed the Ark, O yes, my Lord.
Who built the ark? No-e.

[ 3 pages, circa 2' 20" ]


 

*   The first four lines are the original text, as found in English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, collected by Cecil J. Sharp, London, Oxford University Press, 1932. The four line text is noted by the editor as collected, "Sung by Mr. Hillard Smith, at Hindman, Knott Co., Ky., Sept. 20, 1917" (p. 216).  The single line melody and this quatrain suggested to me filling in the story line with a refrain and additional verses. I found some humor in the edition stating that all their research could be gathered under the notion of English folk songs of southern Appalachia, for the sweet syncopation seems distinctly American, as I have understood it. For this, the refrain extends the syncopation.

 

 

A light, "Americana" syncopation accompanies the original melody line, and a refrain is fashioned from the fourth line.

 

Between the second and third stanzas, a filigree of arpeggios is meant to suggest the falling rain of the mythic "forty days and forty nights."

 

 

The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.

 

No-e in the Ark