Vocalise (Rachmaninoff)

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Beginning of the score

"Vocalise" is a song by Sergei Rachmaninoff, composed and published in 1912 as the last of his 14 Songs or 14 Romances, 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 (see also vocalise). 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 performed by a soprano. It is sometimes 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.[citation needed]


"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]


Derivative works[edit]

The Pet Shop Boys song "Happiness Is an Option" on their 1999 album Nightlife incorporates a large portion of the "Vocalise" melody in each verse, performed on oboe as background material beneath the spoken text.


  1. ^ "What's new on Sergei Rachmaninoff's 'Vocalise'". G. Henle Verlag. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  2. ^ Mclennan, Pam (8 July 2014). "Thorwald Jørgensen: Good Vibrations Make the Music (+Video)". Epoch Times. Retrieved 2 April 2015.

External links[edit]