Buffalo Bill's

Music and Texts of  GARY BACHLUND

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Buffalo Bill's  - (1983)    

E. E. Cummings

for medium voice and piano


Buffalo Bill's
            who used to
            ride a watersmooth-silver
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat

he was a handsome man
                                    and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death 


This text was originally published in The Dial, Vol. 68, No. 1 (Jan. 1920). New York: The Dial Publishing Company, Inc.

and republished in Portraits, V, in Tulips and Chimneys (1923)

 [ 1 pages, circa 1' 10" ]


E. E. Cummings


To reflect the intentional typography and capitalization, each capitalized word is repeated twice while the others are set only once, so that the typographical stress is reflected in the musical setting itself. Setting this short poem appealed to me immediately upon first reading, the musical motive is simple, a waltz-like paean to this bigger-than-life American folk hero who, as is true for all, proved the basic truth of mortality.



A light, lilting rubato for the piano is suggested.


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.


Buffalo Bill's