Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund



Silence - (2013)     

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium or low voice and piano

 for Julie Dalton-Williamson

'Tis better to sit here beside the sea,
Here on the spray-kissed beach,
In silence, that between such friends as we
Is full of deepest speech.

1 Page, circa 1' 30"

Paul Laurence Dunbar


The text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of Love and Laughter (1903). For other settings to his poetry in both standard English and in dialect, click here.



The gentle yet dissonant chords paint a tonal canvas with a wash of color not directly related to the tonality. The vocal line and portions of the accompaniment partake of B flat, while the static three chords outside this region interrupt the more mundane harmonic palette. The short setting ends with a single lowest B tonic devoid of harmonic coloration.



The score for Silence 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.