The Music of Langston Hughes

Frequently Asked Questions

The website has been developed by the Fred Bock Publishing Group to showcase compositions and choral sheet music by renowned composers that have been influenced by the works of activist, playwright, poet, and playwright Langston Hughes.

Fred Bock Publishing Group’s FAQ seeks to provide answers to commonly asked questions about this website, about our company, our music, support, purchasing, submitting music, licensing and rentals.

Why do we set Langston Hughes’s poetry to music? Especially choral music?

Merging Langston Hughes’ poetry into choral music, specifically through choral arrangements of his work and art songs inspired by his poems, is of paramount importance for several compelling reasons:

Cultural Preservation:
Langston Hughes was an iconic figure during the Harlem Renaissance, a pivotal movement in African American artistic and literary history. By setting his poetry to choral compositions and choir sheet music, we actively preserve and celebrate this integral facet of American cultural heritage, ensuring that his eloquent verses endure as part of our shared legacy.

Amplifying Messages:
Hughes’ poetry delved into profound themes such as race, identity, social justice, and the human experience. When his poetry is set to choral music, it gains a dynamic platform to resonate more profoundly with listeners. The synergy of voices in a choir, harmonizing with the depth and nuance of Hughes’ words, enhances the impact of his messages in ways that spoken or written word alone cannot achieve.

Universal Themes:
While Hughes’ work often addressed the African American experience, many of his themes possess universal relevance, applicable to diverse audiences. Choral music’s transcendent nature, coupled with Langston Hughes’ poetry set to choral music, bridges linguistic and cultural divides, rendering his messages accessible and relatable to a broad spectrum of people.

Emotional Resonance:
Choral music possesses a unique ability to evoke powerful emotions. When composers craft choral arrangements of Langston Hughes’ poetry, they infuse his verses with melodies and harmonies that intensify the emotional impact of his words. This evocative fusion engages audiences on a profound emotional level.

Educational and Awareness Tool:
Incorporating Langston Hughes’ poetry into choral compositions and choir sheet music serves as an educational tool, introducing his literary brilliance to new generations. This approach fosters a deeper understanding of the issues he addressed and the historical context in which he wrote, promoting both cultural appreciation and historical awareness.

Artistic Collaboration:
The collaboration between poets, composers, and choral performers in creating art songs inspired by Langston Hughes’ poems is a dynamic creative process. Composers bring unique interpretations to his poetry, while choral groups infuse their artistic expression into the music. This collaborative synergy results in innovative and captivating works of art.

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Where can I find resources to learn more about Langston Hughes?

Langston Hughes was a prominent American poet, novelist, and playwright known for his contributions to the Harlem Renaissance and his powerful works on the African American experience. To learn more about Langston Hughes, you can explore various resources, including books, websites, and videos. Here are some places to start:


• Langston Hughes: A Biography by Arnold Rampersad: This comprehensive biography provides insights into Hughes’ life, work, and influence.

• The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad: This book includes a vast collection of Hughes’ poetry, offering a deep dive into his poetic genius.

• I Wonder as I Wander: An Autobiographical Journey by Langston Hughes: This autobiography provides personal anecdotes and reflections on Hughes’ life and experiences.

Poetry Collections:

Read Langston Hughes’ poems, which are widely available in various collections. His poems often address themes of racial identity, inequality, and the African American experience. Look for collections of his poetry at your local library or bookstore.


The Poetry Foundation has an extensive collection of Langston Hughes’ poems, along with articles and essays about his work.

The Langston Hughes Society website is a valuable resource for information about his life and legacy.

Documentaries and Videos:

Look for documentaries and interviews about Langston Hughes on platforms like YouTube or streaming services. These can provide a visual and audio perspective on his life and work.

Academic Journals and Articles:

Scholarly articles and journals can offer in-depth analyses of Hughes’ work and its cultural significance. Check databases like JSTOR and Google Scholar for academic papers and essays.

Local Libraries and Universities:

Your local library may have books, articles, and resources related to Langston Hughes. You can also check if nearby universities have special collections or events related to him.

Biographies and Critical Studies:

Explore critical studies and biographies written about Langston Hughes. These can provide a deeper understanding of his literary contributions and cultural impact.

Visit Harlem, New York:

If you have the opportunity, visiting Harlem can offer a firsthand experience of the cultural milieu that influenced Hughes’ work. You can explore landmarks associated with him, such as the Langston Hughes House.

Online Forums and Discussion Groups:

Engage with discussions about Langston Hughes on literary forums and social media platforms to gain insights and share your thoughts with fellow enthusiasts.

Remember that Langston Hughes’ work is diverse and covers a wide range of themes and styles. Exploring his poetry, prose, and essays will provide a well-rounded understanding of his contributions to American literature and culture.

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Who are some of the composers and arrangers that have set Langston Hughes poetry to music?

Add a list of composers and arrangers who have set Langston Hughes poetry to choral music.

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How do I contact Fred Bock Publishing Group?

PO Box 10069
Glendale, CA. 91209

(818) 551-0800
(818) 551-0801 Fax

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Who is Fred Bock?

Fred Bock is regarded as one of the most recognized and respected leaders in the church music world. He was an esteemed arranger, choral director, clinician, composer, music publisher, organist, pianist and studio musician… read more

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How do I purchase music for my tax-exempt organization?

While our website is not set up to process tax-exempt orders, we do accept purchase orders from qualifying organizations via email, fax, phone, and mail.

Please note we do not grant credits for tax charges on orders placed through our website.

To place a tax-exempt order or to set up an account, please contact our exclusive distributor, Hal Leonard, via one of the methods below:

Hal Leonard
Phone: 800-322-1127
Fax: 414-774-3259

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Who is Hal Leonard?

While Hal Leonard sounds like one person, it is actually a company that was created by three people. Hal Leonard LLC was founded in 1947 by the Edstrom brothers, Harold “Hal” and Everett “Leonard,” along with fellow musician Roger Busdicker.

Hall Leonard LLC is the sheet music publishing and distribution company that we use exclusively for all of our Fred Bock Publishing Group brands.

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How do I contact Hal Leonard?

For general inquiries, you can use the Contact Form on their website or connect with them via one of the following methods listed below.

Hal Leonard
P.O. Box 13819
Milwaukee, WI 53213

(800) 524 4425

If your query involves tax-exempt purchasing for your organization, please contact Hal Leonard via the following phone, fax or email.

Hal Leonard
Phone: 800-322-1127
Fax: 414-774-3259

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Can I scan this sheet music and send it to my choir members for rehearsal?

No, you can’t do this.  Without express permission from the publisher who owns the song, a scan would be considered an unauthorized duplication, just as if you had made a photocopy.

But I purchased a copy of the music for each singer, why can’t I do this? It’s so much easier?

Yes, we know it’s easier.  And we appreciate you purchasing the music.  However, having the copies in your library does not give you the right to make any duplications – either physical or digital – of that music and distribute it to your choir.  If you wish to make those copies, you’ll need to obtain a Print License from the publisher.

Please visit our Licensing Page here to submit a request for licensing music from any of our Fred Bock Publishing Group family of companies.

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I recorded a bunch of my favorite songs and I want to make CDs. The duplication house is making me get a mechanical licenses for all of the songs. What is that?

Mechanical Licenses are agreements between a music user and the owner of a copyrighted composition/song grant permission to release a song in an audio format.

You can email us here with any questions or concerns with regards to mechanical licenses. You can also visit our FBPG Licensing Page here to fill out a short form and submit a request for licensing music from any of our Fred Bock Publishing Group family of companies.

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What is a Mechanical License?

Mechanical Licenses cover the reproduction of a song through recorded means. The Mechanical Licenses covers both physical recordings (CDs) and digital recordings (downloads). The rate is statutory, meaning that it is set by Congressional legislation through the Library of Congress. The current rate is 9.1¢ per track (per CD, if applicable).  This is for the first five minutes.  If the song exceeds five minutes, then the rate changes to 1.75¢ per minute (or fraction thereof).

If you need a Mechanical License for one of our songs, then click here and you’ll be taken to the License Request page. There’s a short form that you’ll need to fill out. Someone in our Licensing Department will get back to you asap.

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My friend owns a restaurant, and he told me that he has to get a Performance License to legally have music played in his establishment. I know that our church plays music all the time. Do we need to have a Performance License, too?

A Performance License grants permission for the playing of pre-recorded music as background music in restaurants or in events like concerts, theater and for brand promotion activities, shows, etc. If music is being performed (or broadcast) to an audience, then a Performance License is required.

However, there is a significant carve-out in the Copyright Law on this right: churches are considered “exempt” from needing a Performance License if certain conditions are met. Please review our “Do I Need a Performance License?” FAQ here.

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How do I contact technical support?

The best way to get the technical assistance you need quickly is to call or email us at Fred Bock Publishing Group

(818) 551-0800

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Does FBPG sell my personal information?

No. Fred Bock Publishing Group does not sell your personal information.

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Why is my online order fulfilled by Music Cafe?

Music Cafe is the shopping cart software that we use to process all of the orders on our websites. It’s owned and controlled by our exclusive distributor, Hal Leonard, and allows all of the orders to be sent right to the warehouse for processing. This results in a faster order processing experience for the customer.

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How can I get copies of “out of print” music?


If you are looking to obtain music that is out of print, please email us your request and questions at and we will get back to you asap.

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How do I rent music?

Many of our larger-scale works are available to rent for performances. For renting information, please visit our Fred Bock Publishing Group Rentals Page and complete the rental request form.

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How do I license music?

For licensing information, please visit our Fred Bock Publishing Group Licensing Page and complete the licensing request form. If you have questions, please email

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Do you have any free downloads?

Yes we do! Discover new composers, arrangers and choral music from our Fred Bock Publishing Group family of companies! Easily access our free choral music downloads and print free sheet music from our Fred Bock website.

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How do I submit my work?

If you’re a composer – regardless of your affiliation to Fred Bock Publishing Group – you can submit an original piece of work for publication with the request form provided on our Composers Page.

For Secular music submissions (Original or Arrangements), we are more likely to be interested if the arrangement is distinctive, new, creative, and the original song does not already appear in our catalog.

For Sacred music submissions, our catalog primarily reaches the more traditional and liturgical houses of worship, though we are always open to submissions of a more contemporary nature.

Traditionally, all new manuscripts are reviewed by our Editorial Board twice a year – in June and in November.

If you have questions about the submissions process, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

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How do I update my composer profile?

If you’re a composer already affiliated with Fred Bock Publishing Group, you can use the form on our FBPG Composers Page to update your profile picture, biography, contact page, and more.

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Do I Need a Synchronization License?

Synchronization Licenses are required whenever a song is married – or, synchronized – to a visual image.  This includes videos, films, slideshows, art displays, etc…  If there’s a song and if there is also any kind of visual component to the end result, then a Synchronization License is a must.  This requirement is true for any videos being posted to websites – including YouTube.   

If you need a Synchronization License for one of our songs, then click here and you’ll be taken to our FBPG License Request page.

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My pastor wants to post a video of our choir concert on the church’s website. Do we need a license to do that?

Commonly known as a “Sync” License, Synchronization Licenses give the right (or legal permission) to marry (or synchronize) a song or a piece of music with your moving or still images on a screen. This includes videos, films, slideshows, art displays, etc. Synchronization Licenses must be obtained from the copyright owner of the music, which is usually the publisher.

Please visit our Licensing Page here to submit a request for licensing music from any of our Fred Bock Publishing Group family of companies.

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Is a Performance License Really Necessary?

If music is being performed (or broadcast) to an audience, then a Performance License is required.

However, there is a significant carve-out in the Copyright Law on this right: churches are considered “exempt” from needing a Performance License if the music is being performed in the context of a regularly scheduled worship service AND there are no hired musicians (other than regular paid staff members) participating in those performances.

The first part seems pretty straightforward – if your church meets at 10:00 on Sunday mornings, then anything you do during that service is likely exempt from needing a Performance License. Same is true if your church services are at 9:00 and 11:00 on Sunday. Or at 7:00 on Saturday night. The key is not the day or the time. What matters is that the service is a regularly scheduled event.

That would mean that any concerts or special musical presentations are not eligible under the exemption allowance. For those events, you will need to obtain a Performance License, which you can do by clicking here and filling out the form.

The second part of the exemption allowance is where things get tricky for churches. If your church hires outside musicians (either instrumentalists or vocalists), then the church’s exemption for the songs on which those players were employed is lost. This only applies to outside performers who are hired irregularly. It does not apply to any regular employees of the church. Most churches (and many publishers) don’t understand this wrinkle in the US Copyright Law.

If you feel that you may be in violation of this provision, please contact us with any questions or concerns. Our efforts are always to work with churches on matters like this.

You can email us at with any questions or concerns. You can also visit our FBPG Licensing Page here to fill out a short form and submit a request for licensing music from any of our Fred Bock Publishing Group family of companies.

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