Jane Austen Songbook Project

The Personal Music Collection

“A young woman, pretty, lively, with a harp as elegant as herself . . . was enough to catch any man’s heart.” – Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Throughout her life, Jane Austen collected her favorite songs, arias and works for the pianoforte. Because sheet music was so expensive in the Georgian era, Jane Austen copied out many scores by hand and bound them into a lovely 8-volume collection of her family’s music.

Austen was an accomplished pianist and played regularly for her family and friends from this very page. The Jane Austen Songbook Project brings this music to life with historical instruments and period performance style. 

Jane Austen’s Songbook Concert is a collection of carefully selected sentimental and satirical songs & arias transcribed for harp that show the range of Miss Austen’s musical tastes and preferences.

We selected harp as the accompanying instrument because it was the second most popular instrument for young ladies living in the Regency era to study (fortepiano being the most popular, of course) because of the etherial and sensual implications it conjured up. 

The goal of the Jane Austen Songbook Project is to record and perform all of the music in the Jane Austen Songbook between 2017-2022. 

2017, the opening year of the project, is an important starting point because it is the bicentennial of Jane Austen's passing.