Song for high voice (Tenor/Soprano) - Does It Matter?

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Song for high voice (Tenor/Soprano) - Does It Matter?


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Year of composition
Siegfried Sassoon
Difficult (Grades 7+)
2 minutes
Modern classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

This song is well worth a look for either male or female high voice. It is based on one of the First World War poems by Sigfried Sassoon. The music is intended to reflect not only the words, but the irony behind them. The piano part is deliberately angular and jumpy, representing the gung-ho attitude of the political class to the first war, but also to underpin the words as they ask "Does it matter - if I've lost my legs, Does it matter - if I've lost my sight, Does it matter - if I've been driven insane?"

In the first and third verses, the voice part asks the question with a rising phrase, followed by a kind of 'off-hand' rhythmic pattern. This is followed by a long descending phrase, like a shriek of pain, or a moan of terror (depending on which verse) and then the ironic line (And you need not show that you mind when the others come in from hunting to gobble their muffins and eggs/For they'll know you fought for your country and no one will worry a bit.)

The middle verse, by contrast, is deliberately more disoriented (blind) and takes a steadier tempo. The biting irony of "There's such splendid work for the blind, and people will always be kind." is underlined by the slightly slower 'jolly hockeysticks' of the accompaniment. At letter F there is an upsurge of pity for the poor blind soldier, but this soon passes as we move into verse 3.

Some of the intervals in this song are tricky for a vocalist, but well worth the effort if you would like to include a WW1 related song in your programme. 2017 is the anniversary year of several major battles in the "Great War".

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