Music for a While

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Oedipus the Play

Music for a While is a musical composition by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell, the second of four movements from his incidental music composed in 1692 (Z 583) to John Dryden's and Nathaniel Lee's play Oedipus.[1] An ascending ground bass in C minor forms the basis of the piece, with melodic development layered above. Originally for voice and continuo, the piece exists in multiple arrangements, including for solo keyboard and violin and keyboard. The text is:

"Music for a while
Shall all your cares beguile.
Wond'ring how your pains were eas'd
And disdaining to be pleas'd
Till Alecto free the dead
From their eternal bands,
Till the snakes drop from her head,
And the whip from out her hands.


  1. ^ North, Nigel (1987). Continuo playing on the lute, archlute, and theorbo. Indiana University Press. p. 264. ISBN 0253314151.