Searching Effectively

Vocal Texts, Translations, and Phonetic Readings

Here is a select list of sources of translations or phonetic readings of the texts of art songs, arias, and cantatas. For other sources of translations, search the OSU Libraries Catalog for recordings that might include translations in the accompanying liner notes. A convenient online source of texts — and often translations too — is LiederNet Archive. In addition, a search of, using as your search terms lyrics art song or lyrics musicals will turn up various specialized websites that may have the texts you need.

For translations of opera texts, a TITLE search in the OSU Libraries Catalog — using title.libretto as your search term — will often turn up what you need (for example, carmen.libretto or walkure.libretto.) Printed materials may help you too: look at the books between ML48 and ML54.6 on our Reference shelves. Verdi's and Puccini's complete texts are there, together with those of other composers of opera and song. Ask a librarian for help if you cannot find what you are looking for.

For pronunciation help, see also IPA Source. IPA Source is a library of International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts — at present approximately 7,600 texts including some 1,300 arias.

Collections of texts by language


  • LeVan, Timothy. Masters of the French Art Song: Translations of the Complete Songs of Chausson, Debussy, Duparc, Fauré & Ravel. 1991. Ref. ML54.6 M33 1991


  • Fischer-Dieskau, Dietrich. The Fischer-Dieskau Book of Lieder: The Original Texts of Over 750 Songs . . . with English Translations. 1976. Perm Reserve PT1160 E6 F5 1976
  • Miller, Philip Lieson. German Lieder. 1990. ML54.6 G275 1990
  • Paquin, Marie-Therese. Dix cycles de lieder = Ten cycles of lieder : Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann; traduction mot a mot accent tonique. 1977. Ref. ML54.6 D58
  • Phillips, Lois. Lieder line by line, and word for word. 1979. Ref. ML54.6 P55 L5 Includes songs by Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Schubert, Schumann, R. Strauss, Wagner, and Wolf.
  • Prawer, S.S. The Penguin Book of Lieder. 1964. Ref. ML54.6.P7 P4


  • LeVan, Timothy. Masters of the Italian Art Song: Word-by- Word and Poetic Translations of the Complete Songs for Voice and Piano. 1990. ML54.6 M34 1990. Includes: Bellini, Donaudy, Donizetti, Puccini, Rossini, Tosti, Verdi.
  • Richardson, Dorothy, & Tina Ruta. Arie antiche. 1990. ML54.6 A75


  • Piatak, Jean, & Regina Avrashov. Russian Songs & Arias: Phonetic Readings, Word-by-Word Translations, and a Concise Guide to Russian Diction. 1991. ML54.6 P57 R8 1991


  • Sobrer, Josep Miquel, & Edmon Colomer. The Singer's Anthology of 20th Century Spanish Songs. 1987. PQ6187 S55 1987


  • Coffin, Berton, et al. Word-by-word translations of songs and arias. 1966-72. Ref. ML54.6 W65 vols. 1 & 2
    • Vol. 1 covers selected German and French texts, including works by Bach, Beethoven, Bizet, Brahms, Charpentier, Chausson, Debussy, Delibes, Duparc, Faure, Franck, Gounod, Grieg, Handel, Liszt, Mahler, Massenet, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, R. Strauss, Wagner, Wolf, and many others.
    • Vol. 2 includes Italian texts used by Bach, Beethoven, Bellini, Caccini, Cherubini, Donizetti, Gluck, Handel, Haydn, Monteverdi, Mozart, Pergolesi, Puccini, Rossini, Scarlatti, Schubert, Verdi, Vivaldi, and many others.
  • Coffin, Berton, et al. Phonetic readings of songs and arias. 2nd ed. rev. 1982 Perm. Reserve MT883 P5 1982. Includes texts for over 400 songs in Italian, German, and French, with International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions.
  • Miller, Philip L. The Ring of Words: An Anthology of Song Texts. 1963. Ref. ML54.6 M5 R5 Includes German, French, Italian, Russian, Scandinavian, and Spanish texts used by over 200 composers.

Texts of the works of various composers

J. S. Bach

  • Ambrose, Z. Philip. Texte zu den Kirchenkantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach = The Texts to Johann Sebastian Bach's Church Cantatas. 1984. Ref. ML54.2 .B23 1984
  • Drinker, Henry S. The Bach chorale texts in English translation, with annotations showing the use of the melodies elsewhere by Bach in his vocal and organ works, and a musical index to the melodies. 1941. Ref. and stacks. ML49 .B33 D74
  • Unger, Melvin P. Handbook to Bach's Sacred Cantata Texts 1996. Ref. ML54 .B15 C29 1996


  • Magner, Candace A. Phonetic readings of Brahms Lieder 1987. MT883 M23 1987


  • Cobb, Margaret G. & Richard Miller. The Poetic Debussy: A Collection of His Song Texts and Selected Letters. 2nd ed. 1982. ML54.6 D42 P6
  • Rohinsky, Marie-Claire. The Singer's Debussy. 1987. ML54.6 D42 R62 1987


  • Mercier, Richard. The Songs of Hans Pfitzner. 1998. ML410 P44 M47 1998


  • Challis, Natalia. The singer's Rachmaninoff. 1989. Includes original Russian texts, with pronunciations in the International Phonetic Alphabet, and English translations. ML54.6 R18 S52 1989


  • Drinker, Henry S. Texts of the solo songs of Franz Schubert in English translation 1951. ML54.6 S31 D7 (2 vols.)
  • Garran, Robert Randoph. Schubert and Schumann: Songs and Translations. 1946. Ref. ML48 S38 1971
  • Glass, Beaumont. Schubert's complete song texts : with international phonetic alphabet transcriptions, word for word translations and commentary. 1996. Perm Reserve. ML54.6.S39 G5 1996
  • Reed, John. The Schubert Song Companion. 1985. Ref. ML134 S38 R4 1985
  • Wigmore, Richard. Schubert: The Complete Song Texts. Texts of the Lieder and Italian Songs with English Translations. 1988. Ref. ML54.6 S38 W53 1988 and Stacks ML54.6 S3 W53 1988B


  • Garran, Robert Randoph. Schubert and Schumann: Songs and Translations. 1946. Ref. ML48 S38 1971
  • Drinker, Henry S. Texts of the Vocal Works of Robert Schumann in English Translation. 1947. ML49 S31 D7
  • Reinhard, Thilo. The Singer's Schumann. 1989. ML54.6 S4 S65 1989


  • Drinker, Henry S. English Texts to the Vocal Works of Heinrich Schütz. 1952. ML49 S251 D7


  • Drinker, Henry S. Texts of the solo songs of Hugo Wolf in English translation 1949. ML54.6 W61 D7