Vocalise (Rachmaninoff)

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Vocalise is song without words.

Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 is a song by Sergei Rachmaninoff, composed and published in 1915 as the last of his "Fourteen Songs", Op. 34.[1] Written for high voice (soprano or tenor) with piano accompaniment, it contains no words, but is sung using any one vowel (of the singer's choosing). It was dedicated to soprano Antonina Nezhdanova.


Although the original publication stipulates that the song may be sung by either soprano or tenor voice, it is usually chosen to be performed by a soprano. As with many classical vocal pieces, it is transposed into a variety of keys, allowing performers to choose a vocal range more suitable to their natural voice, so that artists who may not have the higher range of a soprano can perform the song.


Performed by Roxana Pavel Goldstein (violin) and Monica Goldstein (piano)

Rachmaninoff conducts his own arrangement of Vocalise for orchestra, in a recording from 1929. Rachmaninoff demonstrates the lyricism he expected from a performance of this piece, with the violins of the Philadelphia Orchestra using portamento to add expressiveness to the main line

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Vocalise has been arranged for many different instrument combinations. Examples are:

For/with orchestra[edit]

For chamber ensemble[edit]

For solo instrument and piano[edit]

For solo instrument[edit]



  1. ^ "What’s new on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s ‘Vocalise’". Henle.de. Retrieved September 15, 2014. 

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