NIGHTSONGS - 6 Songs for Voice and Piano - HIGH - MED - LOW

NIGHTSONGS - 6 Songs for Voice and Piano - HIGH - MED - LOW

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Scoring & Instrumentation
Voice and Piano - Editions for High, Medium, and Low Voices Available
Alternate Title
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
1. Prayer (Langston Hughes)
2. Drums of Tragedy (Langston Hughes)
3. The Heart of a Woman (Georgia Douglas Johnson)
4. Night Song (Clarissa Scott Delany)
5. Sence You Went Away (James Weldon Johnson)
6. Creole Girl (Morgan Collins)

Files & Media

Audio file
Sample Pages




6 songs: Prayer (Langston Hughes), Drums of Tragedy (Langston Hughes), The Heart of a Woman (Georgia Douglas Johnson), Night Song (Clarissa Scott Delany), Sence You Went Away (James Weldon Johnson), and Creole Girl (Morgan Collins).

The medium voice vocal edition matches the orchestral version created for Mezzo Soprano Hilda Harris.  It contains low voice version of "Drums," and high voice version of "Sence."


H. Leslie Adams is one of the most gifted and lyrical composers of our time. This is evident not only in his art songs, arias from the opera Blake, and his choral writing, but in the instrumental works as well. His music speaks to performing artists from many different backgrounds and styles. 

When asked what he looks for in poetry being considered for a musical setting, the composer states that he is drawn to the feel and contours of a text.  Though he draws from the works of African-American writers for Nightsongs, he sees the selected poems as expressing universal concepts not defined by race. 

He employs an instinctive approach and sensitivity to  word setting.  The piano plays various roles, sometimes revealing by arpeggios or other idiomatic figurations the harmony implicit in the vocal line, and sometimes responding to the melody, or providing an echo. 

At other times, it assumes melodic responsibility, or retains a thought while the voice moves on to a new idea. It is given handfuls of lush harmonies — tonal and luxuriantly colored triads. The cadences are often unexpected fresh delights, casting speculation on the modality that has led up to them. The rhythm grows immediately from the texts. Thus the works establish an organic unity and mood, immediately defining the emotional frame.

Artist-Scholar Darryl Taylor dedicated his early performing years to the vocal compositions of Black composers, which resulted in a repertoire of discovered music of the past and present, to which he has given a vibrant living voice with performances rich in commitment and artistic integrity.  The songs of H. Leslie Adams found an interpretation in the performances and recordings of Mr. Taylor that touched many artists and reached all parts of the world. The songs continue to be performed and interpreted by both young and established singers.   

-notes drawn from the album notes of Love Rejoices - Songs of H. Leslie Adams Albany Records - TROY428



Vocal Ranges and Keys for Nightsongs (2 added versions in 2018 edition):

Low: D flat | B flat to D flat
Med: E flat | C to E flat
High: G flat |E flat to G flat

Drums of Tragedy
Low: B flat minor | B flat to F flat
Med: C minor | C to G flat
High: E flat minor | E flat to A

The Heart of a Woman
Low: D major | A to D
Med: F major / C to F
Med-High: G major | D to G
High: A flat major | E flat to A flat

Night Song
Low: C minor | G to D
Med: E flat minor | B flat to F
High: G minor | D to A

Sence You Went Away
Low: C major | A to B
Med-Low: E flat major | C to D
Med: F major | D to F flat
High: G major | E to G flat

Creole Girl
Low: G minor | G flat to D
Med: B minor | C sharp to F sharp
High: D minor | D flat to A

First Perfomance


Darryl Taylor, Robin Guy, Albany
Text Language - Non English


Text Source/Author
African-American poets including Langston Hughes.
Title Number
Ensemble Type
Highlight Series
Music by BIPOC - AALANA composers
African American experience
Purchase Options
PDF License & Download
PDF Price
Print & Ship
$42.50 score including all voice types ACA-ADHL-001
$22.50 score for individual voice type
Please specify voice range in the order notes.