Our Song Inheritance – Volume 1


three folk song arrangements for medium voice and piano (2015)



Excerpt from Shenandoah - MIDI rendering

Excerpt from "Adieu To Cold Winter" - MIDI rendering

Excerpt from "What Will I Do With The Baby-O?" - MIDI rendering


6 min.


Traditional : Shenandoah
Traditional : Adieu To Cold Winter
Traditional - new words and music by Jean Ritchie, additional words and music Robert McCauley : What Will I Do With The Baby-Oh?


Adieu to Cold Winter
What Will I Do With The Baby-O?

Program Notes

Commissioned by and dedicated to Jaime Ballesteros
for the student, amateur, and professional singer 

Completed July 21, 2015

Note for the student singer – My intention here is not to tell you how to sing my arrangements – your voice teacher will emphasize or even contradict my thoughts on these settings. This is just my attempt is to take the familiar and give it a new dramatic resonance that you as the performer will embody over time.

When Mr. Ballesteros, the commissioner of these songs, heard this – the one word summation was “LONGING”.   My suggestion for subtext in this setting is a fond memories you are loosing grasp of as you perform. Let the audience hear the gradual sadness in your voice and see it in your face. The fourth verse, 3rd line “Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you” has a measure of silence following it. This is a gamble given the way audiences cough, sneeze, beep, ringtone and otherwise interrupt your performance on stage. If we are lucky you will learn (or have already learned) to hold your audience in the your sway – and they will silence the biological impulses and devices by the magic of your performance.

Adieu To Cold Winter
Don’t over analyze this lyric – subtext is “I’ve been dumped – so what?” – however, the piano strummed and dissonant chord between verses and at the end implies a touch of winter is still in the air. Perhaps it is psychological; perhaps it is real. My ideal performer would act the verses as they sang, but on hearing these strange measures – a slow pain spread across their face.

What Will I Do With The Baby-O?
My take on a silly children’s song was to emphasize the variation and comic potential. It must start with sincerity and grow more and more frustrated and ridiculous. This is definitely a more “comic” setting. Have fun…but do not “camp it up” – if you must, the last line only…

Note for the collaborative partner on piano –
At ALL times your dynamics MUST BE UNDER YOUR SINGER. You must be able to listen to both yourself and he/she and be less than your partner – my written dynamics are softer than the singer most times for their ease – perhaps a life lesson?

Robert McCauley

Robert McCauley’s site on New Music Shelf for selling original compositions.

More Products from Robert McCauley


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Our Song Inheritance – Volume 1”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Questions and Answers

You are not logged in