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26 Songs

From
Finnegans Wake

Presented by
bend of bay press

http://www.bendofbay.org

26 Songs first appeared in a slightly different form in the


Summer 1993 issue of The Abiko Quarterly
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake

26 Songs is a procedure for constructing songs for one to four voices from the text of
Finnegans Wake. Its premise is the essential musicality of the text and 26 Songs also
exploits the interior cross-references contained in its language. The Appendix presents
the First Construction of these songs, from 1993. Songs are generated in the following
order.

• 1 song for 1 voice


• 4 songs for 2 voices
• 4 songs for 3 voices
• 8 songs for 4 voices
• 4 songs for 3 voices
• 4 songs for 2 voices
• 1 song for 1 voice

The first step is to generate a table four digit random numbers. When constructing songs,
begin with the first number on your list, then proceed down the list without skipping any
number to complete each of the following five steps:

1. Select voice
2. Select book
3. Select starting page in that book
4. Select starting line on that page
5. Select number of lines to be sung

These steps are followed in order for each voice in each song, with each step requiring
one random number. The exceptions are the songs for one voice. These frame the cycle
with the opening and closing lines of Finnegans Wake. They are constructed in the
following manner:

Song 1 always begins at 3.1, that is, the first line of the first page of Book 1. To construct
Song 1, therefore, you only need to select the voice (Step 1) and the number of lines to be
sung (Step 5).

Song 26 always ends at 628.17, that is, the last line of the last page of Book IV. To
construct Song 26, you select the voice (step 1) and the number of lines to be sung (step
5). Since you need to end at 628.17, you back up from this line to arrive at the starting
point.

For the remaining songs, Voices and Books (steps 1 and 2) are selected based on the
following chart. Four digit numbers are rounded to two places:

2
Number Voice Book
75-99 Soprano IV
50-74 Alto III
25-49 Tenor II
00-24 Bass I

The starting page of the Book (Step 3) is determined by rounding the random number to
three digits. These three digits will direct you to the page of the Book where the starting
line of the part will be selected. Note these are not the same as text pagination. Book I,
for example, contains 213 pages, and begins on text page 3 of the Viking edition. If the
number generated exceeds 213, then loop back. Thus, 223 gives you page 10 of Book I,
which equates to text page 13.

The starting line of the page selected (Step 4) is determined by rounding the random
number to two digits. Begin counting at the top of the page. If the number generated
exceeds the number of lines on the page, then loop back to line one. Footnotes count as
lines.

Steps 3 and 4 together have give you the starting point. The first two digits of the next
number generated give the number of lines to be sung by this voice (Step 5).

Vocal Ranges: Voice indications are general. The singer determines the relevant range.

Tempo: Each voice proceeds through the text as quickly or as slowly as desired.

Role of the Conductor: The conductor indicates when each song begins. The singers
begin at any time on or after the conductor’s cue. The performers are permitted to start
and stop as often as they like, but they must sing the complete text without alteration.

3
Appendix

26 Songs From Finnegans Wake


First Construction

4
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake
First Construction

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 1 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 3.1 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 44 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 2 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Tenor ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ II ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 86.34 ¦ 272.22 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 89 ¦ 86 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 3 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Tenor ¦ Soprano ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ II ¦ II ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 307.18 ¦ 325.11 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 75 ¦ 97 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 4 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ II ¦ II ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 260.11 ¦ 261.16 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 48 ¦ 22 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 5 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ Bass ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ I ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 617.19 ¦ 56.17 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 98 ¦ 96 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake
First Construction
C 1993

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 6 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Soprano ¦ Tenor ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ IV ¦ II ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 470.14 ¦ 625.25 ¦ 316.8 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 21 ¦ 54 ¦ 27 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 7 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Tenor ¦ Alto ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ IV ¦ II ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 470.14 ¦ 625.25 ¦ 316.8 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 21 ¦ 54 ¦ 27 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 8 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ II ¦ IV ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 623.14 ¦ 377.27 ¦ 605.21 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 31 ¦ 07 ¦ 85 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 9 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ Alto ¦ Tenor ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ IV ¦ I ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 576.28 ¦ 607.16 ¦ 67.31 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 67 ¦ 51 ¦ 59 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 10 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦ Tenor ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ IV ¦ III ¦ I ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 127.12 ¦ 595.15 ¦ 456.3 ¦ 101.9 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 88 ¦ 20 ¦ 25 ¦ 72 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 11 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Tenor ¦ Alto ¦ Soprano ¦ Tenor ¦
¦ Book: ¦ II ¦ III ¦ III ¦ II ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 323.20 ¦ 566.30 ¦ 446.31 ¦ 328.26 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 15 ¦ 92 ¦ 39 ¦ 21 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake
First Construction
C 1993

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 12 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Tenor ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ III ¦ IV ¦ IV ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 622.32 ¦ 579.18 ¦ 600.19 ¦ 609.28 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 25 ¦ 10 ¦ 43 ¦ 32 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 13 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦ Bass ¦ Alto ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ III ¦ III ¦ IV ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 627.5 ¦ 418.20 ¦ 491.9 ¦ 624.14 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 17 ¦ 68 ¦ 60 ¦ 13 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 14 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Soprano ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ III ¦ II ¦ III ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 602.13 ¦ 434.29 ¦ 224.17 ¦ 547.30 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 46 ¦ 63 ¦ 87 ¦ 28 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 15 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦ Tenor ¦ Alto ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ IV ¦ IV ¦ III ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 176.31 ¦ 617.10 ¦ 604.2 ¦ 434.7 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 61 ¦ 27 ¦ 54 ¦ 85 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 16 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Soprano ¦ Soprano ¦ Alto ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ I ¦ IV ¦ II ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 488.18 ¦ 174.8 ¦ 596.7 ¦ 352.16 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 75 ¦ 76 ¦ 94 ¦ 29 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 17 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Bass ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦
¦ Book: ¦ II ¦ III ¦ II ¦ II ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 380.7 ¦ 458.29 ¦ 248.18 ¦ 237.22 ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 78 ¦ 99 ¦ 16 ¦ 31 ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake
First Construction
C 1993

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 18 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Alto ¦ Bass ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ I ¦ I ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 554.05 ¦ 66.20 ¦ 59.29 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 71 ¦ 41 ¦ 22 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 19 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ Soprano ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ III ¦ I ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 91.34 ¦ 455.17 ¦ 22.32 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 84 ¦ 44 ¦ 92 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 20 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ Bass ¦ Alto ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ III ¦ II ¦ I ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 430.4 ¦ 325.35 ¦ 83.06 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 64 ¦ 67 ¦ 44 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 21 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ Tenor ¦ Tenor ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ III ¦ III ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 131.29 ¦ 418.32 ¦ 492.12 ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 85 ¦ 57 ¦ 53 ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 22 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ Alto ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ I ¦ III ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 122.12 ¦ 509.26 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 80 ¦ 32 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 23 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Bass ¦ Alto ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ III ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 599.11 ¦ 488.34 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 59 ¦ 22 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
26 Songs from Finnegans Wake
First Construction
C 1993

+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 24 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Soprano ¦ Alto ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ IV ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 597.19 ¦ 626.6 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 43 ¦ 18 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 25 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Tenor ¦ Tenor ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ IV ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 612.14 ¦ 595.10 ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 58 ¦ 37 ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+
¦ 26 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Voice: ¦ Alto ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Book: ¦ IV ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Start Reference: ¦ 628.10 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
¦ Total Lines: ¦ 7 ¦ ¦ ¦ ¦
+-------------------------------------------------------------------+