Björk to release career-spanning songbook of sheet music

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Photo by Philip Cosores

Fans everywhere will soon be able to perform the otherworldly music of Björk from the comfort of their own homes. The Icelandic musician is prepping to release her first-ever collection of sheet music, 34 Scores for Piano, Organ, Harpsichord and Celeste, on June 5th through Wise Publications.

The idea to publish a songbook was inspired by Biophilia, the 2009 album that’s since been turned into an educational curriculum taught across Europe. “I sat down and wanted to decipher and reevaluate what musical education meant to me,” Björk recalled in a press statement. She elaborated:

“i also wanted to question how i felt about musical documentation, when cds were slowly becoming obsolete,  was curious about the difference of midi (digital notation) and classical notation and enthusiastic in blurring the lines and at which occasions and how one would share music in these new times. what is the difference of karaoke and the lyrical recitals of the 19th century? can one meet at bonfires and sing techno songs? (well icelanders do obvs) maybe i should share digital notation that people could connect to their synths or do harpsichord versions of electronic beats to enjoy in the living rooms and hopefully families singalong to.”

With the help of longtime collaborator Jónas Sen, the experimental artist translated her string, choir, vocal, and brass arrangements for keyboards. She also worked with M/M, a French design house, to create an all-new font for the notes.

As its title notes, 34 Scores includes 34 pieces from across Björk’s lengthy discography. There are handfuls of songs from 1993’s Debut and 1997’s Homogenic. Selections from 2001’s Vespertine and her most recent release, 2015’s Vulnicura, also made it into the songbook. Find the full listing per album below.

Debut: “The Anchor Song”, “Venus As A Boy”
Post: “Cover Me”, “Isobel”
Homogenic: “Immature”, “Joga”, “Bachelorette”, “Unravel”
Vulnicura: “Notget”, “Atom Dance”, “Black Lake”, “Stonemilker”
Selmasongs: “I’ve Seen It All”, “New World”
Vespertine: “Aurora”, “Mother Heroic” (B-Side to “Hidden Place”), “Pagan Poetry”, “Sun In My Mouth”,
Medúlla: “Desired Constellation”, “Oceania”, “Pleasure Is All Mine”, “Where is the Line”
Drawing Restraint 9 OST: “Gratitude”
Volta: “Declare Independence”, “The Dull Flame of Desire”, “My Juvenile”, “Pneumonia”, “Vertebrae by Vertebrae”

bjork songbook sheet music Björk to release career spanning songbook of sheet music

Read Björk’s full message regarding the release:

“in the autumn of 2009 i sat down and wanted to decipher and reevaluate what musical education meant to me. the frustrated musicologist in me went ahead and completed the educational biophilia which since has been taught all around the world and is now a permanent part of the scandinavian curriculum

i also wanted to question how i felt about musical documentation, when cds were slowly becoming obsolete, i was curious about the difference of midi (digital notation) and classical notation and enthusiastic in blurring the lines and at which occasions and how one would share music in these new times. what is the difference of karaoke and the lyrical recitals of the 19th century? can one meet at bonfires and sing techno songs? (well icelanders do obvs) maybe i should share digital notation that people could connect to their synths or do harpsichord versions of electronic beats to enjoy in the living rooms and hopefully families singalong to

100 years ago most music was shared through scores, does that even apply to today? and if so how?

from these questions i started working with jónas sen on gathering together my string, choir, vocal and brass arrangements through the years and arranging them for different keyboards such as organs, pianos, celestas and harpsichords.

i also talked to my longtime collaborators m/m and asked them to design a font for notes in the same way they would for letters. that of course became technically almost impossible but we believe we have now somehow found a program were everyone can design their own fonts to align gracefully to their music

and last but not least: as a soft feminist stance i decided to put importance on my arrangements through the years (i feel still today most people are not aware that i have done the majority of the choir, brass, string and vocal arrangements myself through the years) by doing concerts where we have transformed all these arrangements over to strings to emphasize that part of my work. so far we have played albert hall, harpa hall in reykjavík, the auditorio in mexico city and will be playing the disney hall on the 30th of may. and i will be singing on top

i hope you like it”

Revisit her VR video for “Stonemilker”:

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