If I can stop one heart from breaking


If I can stop one heart from breaking - (2015)    

Emily Dickinson

for medium or low voice and piano


If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

[ 1 page, circa 1' 20" ]

Emily Dickinson


The text is found in Dickinson's Complete Poems, (1924). For more on Dickinson please see the additional information accompanying Because I Could Not Stop For Death.



A simple, long-lined harmonic progression begun on the tonic major seven moves simply over the span of the song to its return. Sostenuto over each two measure phrase is noted, harp-like. The vocal range of a tenth allows the negation, "not," to sing out at the highest point to underpin the affirmation of the text.



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.