Zing Shtil

Sing Softly
זינג שטיל

Words by Wolf Younin (1908-1984); music by Sholom Secunda (1894-1974). Published in sheet music by Ethnic Music Publications, Inc., N.Y., 1970.

Another stanza was submitted by Jacob Gorelik in “Pearls,” July 27, 1984: “Du bist a feygele, ikh bin a nest,/ Lomir zikh keyn mol nit sheydn/ Un az s’veln onkumen shneyen un frest,/ Zol s’lid undz dervaremen beydn.” (You are a bird and I a nest; let us never part. And when snow and frost come, may the song warm us both.)

Illustration of musical notes from the books


My father told me when I was a child
that it’s good to rise at dawn,
for whoever has a heart and an ear
can surely find a melody.

Sing softly, very softly,
So no one but we can hear.
And let the lovely melody gently rock us
Til the stars fall asleep.

I obeyed my clever father
And followed his words.
In the fields among the birds
I found the most beautiful melody.

Deep in the woods is the deep secret
Which the silence holds.
Who knows — perhaps God
Hid His melody there.

S’hot mir mayn tate nokh kindvayz gezogt,
Gut iz tsu oyfshteyn baginen;
Un ver nor a harts un an oyer farmogt,
Der vet shoyn a nign gefinen.

Zing shtil, gor shtil
Az keyner khuts undz zol nit hern;
Un zol undz farvign der hartsiker nign
Biz ayndrimlen veln di shtern.

Ikh hob mayn tatn dem klugn gefolgt
Un zayne verter banumen;
Ikh hob oyf di felder baym feyglshn folk
Dem nign dem shenstn gefunen.

Tifer in velder iz tifer der sod,
Vos nor di shtilkeyt kon haltn;
Kh’hob moyre tsu zogn — nor efsher hot got
Dortn zayn nign bahaltn.

ס’האָט מיר מײַן טאַטע נאָך קינדװײַז געזאָגט,
גוט איז צו אױפֿשטײן באַגינען;
און װער נאָר אַ האַרץ און אָן אױער פֿאַרמאָגט,
דער װעט שױן אַ ניגון געפֿינען.

זינג שטיל, גאָר שטיל
אַז קײנער חוץ אונדז זאָל ניט הערן;
און זאָל אונדז פֿאַרװיגן דער האַרציקער ניגון
ביז אײַנדרימלען װעלן די שטערן.

איך האָב מײַן טאַטן דעם קלוגן געפֿאָלגט
און זײַנע װערטער באַנומען;
איך האָב אױף די פֿעלדער בײַם פֿײגלשן פֿאָלק
דעם ניגון דעם שענסטן געפֿונען.

טיפֿער אין װעלדער איז טיפֿער דער סוד,
װאָס נאָר די שטילקײט קאָן האַלטן;
כ’האָב מורא צו זאָגן — נאָר אפֿשר האָט גאָט
דאָרטן זײַן ניגון באַהאַלטן.

Song Title: Zing Shtil

Composer: Sholom Secunda
Composer’s Yiddish Name: שלום סעקונדאַ
Lyricist: Wolf Younin
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: װאָלף יונין
Time Period: Unspecified

This Song is Part of a Collection

Pearls of Yiddish Song Cover with Illustration of musicians playing instruments

Pearls of Yiddish Song

First published in 1988 as Pearls of Yiddish Song: Favorite Folk, Art and Theatre Songs, this anthology contains 115 songs. Some material had never been published, while others, included in rare song collections or sheet music, were largely inaccessible. The songs presented reflect Jewish life in Eastern Europe and the United States and depict childhood, love, family celebrations, poverty, work and struggle. There are also songs from the Hasidic and Maskilic movements, songs of Zion and of America, as well as songs from the Yiddish theater.

The title of this anthology derives from the weekly two-page feature column “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry,” which the compilers Yosl and Chana Mlotek initiated in 1970 in the Yiddish newspaper Der Forvertz (the Yiddish Daily Forward). Hundreds of readers from around the world — including authors, composers, singers, actors — became co-participants in this collective folk project and recalled melodies, lines, fragments, stanzas and their variants of songs, poems, and plays which they had heard in their youth. At first, readers sent in only written material. Later, they also taped songs on cassettes, many of whose melodies had, until then, never been recorded. They also identified and supplied missing information regarding lyricists, poets, and composers and described the circumstances surrounding the songs’ origins, their dissemination, diffusion and impact.

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