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The Sleep Experiment: The Sheet Music

May 17, 2009 at 7:53 pm UTC

Here are the parts… just download your individual part, choose the top or bottom notes in the splits, and sing.

A lot of you asked my why I couldn’t just upload the full score, and the answer is simple: I don’t own the copyright. My great friends at Walton Music, who publish almost all of my earlier catalog, are the sole owners of the copyright. (The copyright is usually the first thing you give up when you publish a piece with another company). I mostly self-publish now so I still own all of my newer pieces. For all of you composers out there, I’ll post soon and specifically address all of the pros and cons of publishing; it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

A bunch of you sent me the extracted parts, and I decided to post the first ones that got to me. My deepest thanks to Martin Gieseking of Germany for engraving these individual parts and sending them so quickly. (Martin’s not the German singer who recorded all nine parts of Lux, but he is a composer.). And a big shout-out to Samuel Hunter, whose parts came in just a few minutes after Martin’s. So sorry to hear about your Grandmother, Sam – all the best to you and your family.

EDIT: I’ve taken down the parts, and will put them back up after I’ve had a chance to review them. Apparently there are a few errors – I didn’t look closely before I posted.

  • Shannon

    I'm not sure if I'm remembering wrong but it looks like a few notes for the second soprano line are missing?

    It's been about a month since I last sang it, but from memory: the seconds don't go up one note on the second to last "sleep", and on "resting head I" we go down one note on "I."

    Just want to make sure I'm not remembering wrong before I go record!

  • Mike Anderson

    You've set things in motion, Eric!
    Bass one and two, coming right up.
    Thanks so much for posting these!

  • Mike Anderson

    Actually, I'm intrigued. How does do the rules of part writing change when you compose eight part harmony?

  • Sam

    Shannon, you're right. There are two places that I noticed differences in the Soprano music.
    First, "With closing eyes and resting head, >I< know…" Sop II should go down to a D natural.
    Second, at the end (mm. 66-67), Sop II should be singing Bb for beat 4 of 66 and beats 1 and 2 of 67, then Ab for beat 3 of 67 (then it's unison with Sop I again).

    At least, that's what my music says. :)

  • Sam

    Okay, upon closer inspection, the rest looks awesome.
    One other thing.

    Bass II: Measure 11 – the low F should be on beat ONE, not beat two (so it should be F-Bb-B-C on "know that sleep is").

    Also, I like to think that phrasing is important, and I've got no-breath markers between "head I" and "a-flight And."

    Not that I would ever be picky about anything. XD
    I want to do mine this Wednesday. Might do Tenor I and II. I know both well.

  • Peter Madsen

    At measure 11 in the bass part, the basses and baritones should be singing F and C (a perfect fifth) on beat 1 and move to a unison on Bb on beat 2. The F in the Bass part is a beat too late as it's written on the pdf.

    Hate to nitpick, but I couldn't leave it be; it's the greatest bass part in the whole world.

  • Rachmaninova

    Great!!! I'll tell my chorus partners! :D By the way…Mr. Whitacre, are there any video where we can see you conducting Sleep in the same tempo we have to sing it? It would be very helpful and easier to put them all together then… :D

  • Ben Fidler

    Whomever is editing this will have a ton of work ahead of them. ;)

    I've been using youtube doubler ( to sync up some of the early entries and not only are cutoffs a mess, but tempos within phrases are inconsistent without a conductor. I think this experiment would work well if we had a video to watch of someone conducting.

    I'll give this a shot once I learn the notes. This is one of the few early pieces of yours I haven't had the pleasure of performing :)

  • jmott

    Would it be OK to have 3-4 people record at the same time or are we just shooting for one person at a time?

  • Joseph

    Ben, with only a few people it sounds very bad, I've tried it too, but hopefully it will sound a lot better when more people have sent in submissions. Then the few bad cutoffs will hopefully be barely noticeable in the sea of voices. At least, I hope that's how it will work.

    As I suggested earlier, would it be possible to post a video of someone conducting it? It would add authenticity and better phrasing to the project.

  • Tal

    If people would like a video of someone conducting the piece, I'd be more than happy to provide that (unless of course you'd like to do that Eric :D). I used to have the sheet music but unfortunately don't any more, so as soon as the music is posted up again, give me a day or two to reacquaint myself with the piece and I'll record a video and post it.

    As a disclaimer, I must admit that I have more experience with orchestral conducting than I do with choral conducting. That being said, I've played the wind ensemble arrangement of Sleep and am very familiar with the Polyphony recording of the piece. So seeing as how I can't directly participate in this awesome project, I figured the least I could do would be to volunteer to help in any way that I can. And I would absolutely love to help y'all by conducting this piece. So in the meantime, I'll wait for the sheet music to show up. Or for someone to beat me to it :D.

  • Courtney K

    Even though I just listened to Britlin singing the Soprano 1 line and wrote down each individual note from ear, it'd still be nice to get sheet music JUST incase I sing something wrong!
    I hope that we get the music soon. I'm SO prepared to get this done and get it done correctly!

    Thanks a bunch!
    You ROCK! m/

  • ejanicek

    Is there a date that you hope to have all submissions by? I know I want to do this but am prone to procrastination. Having a specific deadline would be great to avoid missing this very, very cool boat.

  • Felipe
  • Rachael F

    Ejanicek – He gave June 30 as the deadline in his last post.

    Felipe – Los scores no estan desponible para decargar porque algunos piezas eran incorrectos.

  • felipeaps

    please i realy need the score and i cant download it! :(

  • vicky

    amazing idea!
    my school choir, carlmont high school chamber singers, just learned this piece and performed it for our spring concert. we were all wondering if we sang it and posted it on youtube if it would make it into the video compilation, considering we are a choir and not a single person.

  • Steve

    I'd like to hear more about music self-publishing. I've written a lot of stuff, but can't seem to find the right publisher. I don't know how to go about the whole self-publishing thing. You and I talked about it briefly once when you were in Memphis (2005?), but I didn't get enough information. Take a look at my site to hear some of my stuff.

    Also, this is the first time I've looked at your blog. Do you have interest in a conductor track for Sleep still? I love the song and am a choral conductor.

  • Lindsay

    Hi there,

    I just found out about this today…are you going to be re-posting the sheet music soon? I hear the deadline is June 30th.

  • Lindsay

    nevermind! just found it.

  • Wanda

    I'm really interested in joining the virtual choir for this rendition of "Sleep"! I'm a HUGE fan of your music, Eric, so I hope to see you post the sheet music soon for me to take a look at… In the meanwhile, I'll find a better camera and microphone to participate with ;)

  • Reni Filbrun

    I am also very interested in being apart of the virtual choir for "Sleep"! I'm working on learning the music and hopefully I will be able to participate!!