Songs of Innocence: Piping Down the Valleys Wild


“Piping Down the Valleys Wild” is the bright, introductory movement of Songs of Innocence.  The character of the lamb (sung by soprano solo) is in dialogue with the poet, whose words are sung by the choir.  The lower voices create a 3-part ostinato above which the sopranos and the soloist deliver the lively, tuneful melody.  A rolling harmonic progression provides interest on the second stanza, eventually coming to rest in a quiet, mysterious “lull” that precedes the bright recapitulation and joyous conclusion of the movement.

A licensed copy is required for each member performing.



Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:—

“Pipe a song about a lamb:”
So I piped with merry cheer.
“Piper, pipe that song again:”
So I piped: he wept to hear.

“Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!”
So I sang the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.

“Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book, that all may read—”
So he vanished from my sight;
And I plucked a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.

~William Blake, 1789

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SATB a cappella

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