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Part song

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Title: Part song  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Arthur Sullivan, Three Shakespeare Songs, Round (music), The Mulliner Book, Song
Collection: Part Songs, Song Forms
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Part song

A part song — or part-song or partsong — is a form of choral music which consists of a secular song which has been written or arranged for several vocal parts, commonly SATB choir, but also for an all-male or all-female ensemble.[1] It is usually primarily homophonic, with the highest part carrying the melody and the other voices supplying the accompanying harmonies, rather than contrapuntal like a madrigal. Part songs are intended to be sung unaccompanied unless an instrumental accompaniment is specified.

The part song in Great Britain grew from, and gradually superseded, the earlier form of the Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford and Edward Elgar were the principal exponents, often bringing a high minded seriousness to their settings of great English poetry both contemporary and from earlier epochs. More recent major contributors to the genre include Ralph Vaughan Williams, Granville Bantock, Arnold Bax, Peter Warlock, Gustav Holst and Benjamin Britten. The development of the part song has been marked by increasing complexity of form and contrapuntal content.

Composers have also successfully used the part song medium to make contemporary arrangements of traditional folk song including that of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland.



  1. ^ Baker (2007). A Dictionary of Musical Terms. Read Books.  
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