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Miriam Hyde

In their own words

Recorded 1975

Miriam Hyde
Audio: 2 minutes

As well as writing music, I write poetry, and it seems to me that when one of these arts is not the one to express what I particularly want to express at the time, then I turn to the other. Each satisfies me a means of expression. Sometimes I have used my own poetry for song writing, not necessarily at the same time. In a couple of cases, I have in fact written the words and music quite simultaneously, but this is rather the exception.

The category in which I have written most, and this is not surprising, is piano music. I dearly love the keyboard and have written a number of shortish works, some of which have been published, and fairly recently. I’ve written a number of works in trains, in hospital, all over the place, well away from an instrument. They exist, of course, quite completely in my mind.

I have been interested in music all my life. My mother was a professional pianist, a very fine pianist with a large repertoire, and it was her practising in the evenings, I’m sure, that inculcated in me the great love of music. I can hardly remember the time when I was not trying to compose music. Firstly, of course, it would be just by picking out a melody on a piano, long before I could write it down, and my mother used to write, bar by bar, some of my earliest compositions as I played them from memory, bit by bit, at the piano. I do remember to this day a little tune that I wrote for a poem which began, ‘Apples, mellow apples, high above my head’, and I remember thinking of that tune, singing it spontaneously to those words one day when my mother was tidying out her work basket.

Acknowledgements

This oral history of Miriam Hyde is from the De Berg Collection in the National Library of Australia. For more information, or to hear full versions of the recordings, visit the National Library of Australia website.

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Miriam Hyde AO OBE

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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