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About 2 decades ago, my dear father improvised a tune to the words of Psalm 1 (KJV) for a group of rowdy young teenagers (including yours truly) to sing. In order to keep our fickle interest, he employed a wide variety of moods, tempo and key changes, and a metrically-complex melody.

The first score attached below is my transcription of this tune, along with the lyrics. It's a best-effort transcription from memory, as I don't have the original score (and there may not have been one), and I did take some liberties to fix some accents on the wrong syllahbles, etc..

The orchestral arrangement of this tune (second score and sound file attached) was done over the past 3 or so weeks as an exercise in orchestration, and tries to convey the moods associated with each passage (not indicated in the transcription). I took further liberties in a few places (e.g. "writing out the fermata") to reflect how we actually sang it.

Feedback I'm looking for:

- Weaknesses in orchestration, suggestions for improvements;

- Do the string slurs/bowings make any sense?

- Do brass/wind phrasings make sense, can they be improved, etc.?

- Does this work well as a self-contained, standalone piece? Currently I envision this piece as purely instrumental, but might it make sense to rework to be a choral piece? Or perhaps something one could sing along with?

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Rodney, I'm so deeply offended by what you just said, that I will now proceed to stamp my feet, throw my arms up in the air, and, uh, I dunno, throw some chairs around maybe? Break some glass? Wave my arms really hard? Or do random violence to random objects in the room? Would that be a convincing-enough tantrum, do you think? Oh, and shout really loud too. I've heard that tantrums usually go along with shouting, and I've been meaning to try out that idea. Maybe I could even do a 2-part harmony for them. Or a solo! Solo shouting is always fun! (Not as fun as a shouting concerto for two siblings and their dog, but still.)

Ahem.

Jokes aside, maybe you could elaborate a little more on what you mean by a separate melody? Do you mean a new line in counterpoint to the existing melody? What should be done about all those abrupt transitions? Or did you mean writing connecting material to link the various sections together?

Check out the link that I gave you. Bach started out the piece with his own original melody that introduced the main choral. Then he used it as connecting material to link the various sections or phrases. He also used the melody as a call and answer where the choral does the call and the original melody does the answer.

Ahh i see what you mean. So basically, write new material that can serve as an intro or as a bridge to link various sections to each other? So it would serve as a kind of unifying element to the whole piece?

Bingo.

H. S. Teoh said:

Ahh i see what you mean. So basically, write new material that can serve as an intro or as a bridge to link various sections to each other? So it would serve as a kind of unifying element to the whole piece?

What an interesting suggestion!

Incidentally, I also wonder if someone could do this with the collection of variations on Gregorio's theme.



Rodney Carlyle Money said:

Check out the link that I gave you. Bach started out the piece with his own original melody that introduced the main choral. Then he used it as connecting material to link the various sections or phrases. He also used the melody as a call and answer where the choral does the call and the original melody does the answer.

Mariza, that's a wonderful idea.  It would be a kind of pseudo-rondo or meta-rondo form, with a common "refrain" that links together a series of episodes.

Uh... uh... oh yeah, yeah, you took the words right out of my mouth.  I was precisely thinking rondo-pseudo-meta kind of metathoughts.

H. S. Teoh said:

Mariza, that's a wonderful idea.  It would be a kind of pseudo-rondo or meta-rondo form, with a common "refrain" that links together a series of episodes.

May I suggest that it was much more the way it was said than what was said Rodney. 3/3 is not a good recent record...
As an eg what u have said here is polite, repectful and I assume useful ( i havnt listened yet). And HS of course has the right to take or refuse any advice. Besides, HS has had a good tantrum and now hes fine...lol


Rodney Carlyle Money said:

Hello, my friend, let's see if I can piss you off just like the last three people that I have commented on their pieces when I was just offering help. It sounds as though you have your choral. So why not consider a separate melody that could weave in and out of the different sections like Bach did for his pieces such as "Sleeper's Awake," https://youtu.be/IIOH2sCW13U "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," and "Sheep May Safely Grace." I even used this for concert band works for arrangements of "Amazing Grace." This technique tends to glue everything together, create wonderful polyphony, and expands the overall form giving it both richness and depth.
Lol.

Paul Halley said:

May I suggest that it was much more the way it was said than what was said Rodney. 3/3 is not a good recent record...
As an eg what u have said here is polite, repectful and I assume useful ( i havnt listened yet). And HS of course has the right to take or refuse any advice. Besides, HS has had a good tantrum and now hes fine...lol


Rodney Carlyle Money said:

Hello, my friend, let's see if I can piss you off just like the last three people that I have commented on their pieces when I was just offering help. It sounds as though you have your choral. So why not consider a separate melody that could weave in and out of the different sections like Bach did for his pieces such as "Sleeper's Awake," https://youtu.be/IIOH2sCW13U "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," and "Sheep May Safely Grace." I even used this for concert band works for arrangements of "Amazing Grace." This technique tends to glue everything together, create wonderful polyphony, and expands the overall form giving it both richness and depth.

Excellent advice given by Rodney and very well demonstrated by his link!

For general compositional techniques we cannot do any better than stick to Bach, imo.



Rodney Carlyle Money said:

Hello, my friend, let's see if I can piss you off just like the last three people that I have commented on their pieces when I was just offering help. It sounds as though you have your choral. So why not consider a separate melody that could weave in and out of the different sections like Bach did for his pieces such as "Sleeper's Awake," https://youtu.be/IIOH2sCW13U "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring," and "Sheep May Safely Grace." I even used this for concert band works for arrangements of "Amazing Grace." This technique tends to glue everything together, create wonderful polyphony, and expands the overall form giving it both richness and depth.
Well thank you Socrates! Yes, Bach rules (hehe so punny.) Here is a more modern piece for concert band that is very famous and well known in our world "On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss" which uses the same technique for the hymn "It is Well With My Soul." https://youtu.be/-rfMz9a4oYk

Just had a listen to your Psalm and I like it very much. I can see one of your fav influences is Handel. Lots of dissimilarities among the sections, almost like a set of variations employing fanfares, polyphony, hymn. I'd love to see a major work like a symphony if you have the time to dedicate to such a project. All in all, well done.

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