The Words

Basic Information

Instrumentation: High, middle, and low voices
Duration: 3:30
Year composed: 2020


This piece was writted for C4’s June 2020 Identity concert series. It focuses on stigma and self-identity, and how the words others use to describe us can burrow deep into our psyche, influencing how we think of ourselves. Whether it’s gender identity, sexual orientation, or other ways we define ourselves, the cruelty of others can keep us from discovering our true selves. But if we have the words – words of definition, and words of love – we can come closer to knowing who we really are.

The Words was written for high, middle, and low voices – non-gendered, and non-fach-specific.


I was different, they said.
I knew every word.
[Different. Weird. Wrong. Tomboy. Gay. Hysterial. Prude. Dirty. Freak!]

I didn’t feel things like the others
So I was Other, then.
I only had their words to say it.

Their words
Crowding out my thoughts
Their words
Becoming my language
I became fluent in adaptation to their words.

But I didn’t know
I didn’t know
my words!

But I didn’t know, I didn’t have a way to say it.
That it was okay just to be
To embrace all of it, all I am

I didn’t know that words of love could change everything.
I didn’t know that words can set you free

Set you free

Score & Recording

The Words MIDI realization