Counting The Beats (for baritone)

Year of composition
Robert Graves
Difficult (Grades 7+)
9 minutes
Classical music
Voice + keyboard
Instrumental parts
Not available

These poems are set to music by kind permission of Robert Graves

1.Counting the Beats 2.Reproach 3.She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep 4.Song: The Far Side of Your Moon

This set of four songs was composed in 1984 with permission of the poet, Robert Graves. It was premiered at the Royston Arts Festival by Amanda Simpson (mezzo soprano) and the composer (piano), on 11th May 1984. This is a transcription for baritone voice.

The first song, which shares its title with the set as a whole, is, for the most part, in a gentle, intimate mood. It starts in the dorian mode, centred on E, and works its way to finish in a rather ambiguous, inconclusive A Major.

The song uses a four- or five-note descending motif, which occurs about 24 times, as well as several inversions of it.

The second song, Reproach, centres around an F minor mode, with a persistent flattened fifth note, which occurs in several places, notably at two of the cadences, giving an unusual feel.

The diminished fifth (diabolus in musica) interval helps to produce an unsettled effect, to word-paint all the more poignantly.

The third song has just three musical lines for the soloist. The piano contributes a significant part to this dialogue, in a freely adapted dorian mode, centred on F sharp.

Its yearning quality is achieved with a mixture of upwardly-reaching melodic lines, chromaticism, and modulation to remote keys. The song concludes with a reference to the predominant motif of the first song, but this time in contrary-motion with the piano.

The final song is a confident peroration in an overall mixolydian mode, centred on the note E. Joyous piano arpeggios and chord clusters join forces with extrovert vocal lines which re-employ several motifs from the first movement, unifying the set still further.

To consolidate this, the piano restates the earlier 'Counting the beats' theme, providing a jubilant coda before the climactic conclusion, which is also left to the piano.

Which method of viewing music should I use?

Score Exchange has two methods to display previews of music: seView which uses regular html and javascipt and the Scorch plug-in from Avid which needs to be downloaded and installed onto your computer. Both have advantages and disadvantages:


seView, is the most compatible option. You should be able to view music on all modern web browsers including most mobile devices. Even if your device does not support javascript you should still be able to preview at least page one of the music.

You do not need to install any additional software to use seView.


Scorch is a free plug-in from Avid for displaying and printing music. It can also play the music that you're seeing. As modern web browsers are updated, Scorch is no longer compatible with many browsers. Scorch has never been compatible with mobile devices and some web browsers on Mac computers.

If your web browser does not install Scorch automatically, you can click here to download and install scorch manually.

cloud scorch goes here

Licensing for this music

This score was published on Score Exchange by Richard Lambert. When you buy it, you are granted a license that includes the following:

Sharing the file you download
When you buy the score - make multiple copies
When you buy parts - make multiple copies

For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

In order to submit this score to Richard Lambert has declared that they own the copyright to this work in its entirety or that they have been granted permission from the copyright holder to use their work. If you believe that this score should be not available here because it infringes your or someone elses copyright, please report this score using the copyright abuse form.