Shakespeare the Songwriter

I listened on YouTube to various attempts at turning Shakespeare’s sonnets into songs, but I don’t think these straight translations work very well. However Shakespeare is so clever that if you read the lines of his sonnets out of sequence as rhyming couplets – e.g. line 1 then 3 then 2 then 4 etc. – the sonnets usually still work well, without losing the meaning. So I picked up a guitar, strummed some rhythms and improvised some vocal melodies to the rejigged lines, and it all works great!

A key for translating Shakespeare’s sonnets into a standard song format:


Line 1

Line 3

Line 2

Line 4


Line 13

Line 14


Line 5

Line 7

Line 6

Line 8


Line 13

Line 14


Line 9

Line 11

Line 10

Line 12


Line 13

Line 14

Line 13

Line 14

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