Thanksgiving song arrangement

I got a call from our assistant choir director yesterday who requested a simple arrangement of a song for Thanksgiving: Come, Ye Thankful People. So I guess I’ll make a score for this. The instrumentation is still not completely settled, so I’m wondering how this is going to turn out. But part of the decision making process obviously will be to write in all the melody and harmony that is already there, so it may be ok to just get going anyway.

I’m looking at the notes. I accidentally chose the wrong key, and when thinking about whether that could work, I saw that the setting was pretty low already in F, so going down to D was not going to happen this time. I am considering a key change to A flat major though, which I think would sound beautiful.

After talking again to the assistant choir director, she makes it clear that she does not want any key changes, so I scrap that idea. We settle on the instrumentation guitar, violin, viola, cello.

I write in a cello bass line and then a guitar part. The guitar sounds an octave lower than notated, and will be easy to drown out as it’s pretty soft. I’m thinking maybe to let the violin and viola pluck so they don’t get too loud. I’m listening through it now, and thinking that a piano actually isn’t necessary… I guess we’ll see what they think once we start practicing.

I start on the second verse, letting the guitar take the bass line. I want the violin to play an octave higher than the sopranos, but I am not sure how comfortable our violinist is with the high register, so I write it lower and the octave doubling, and ask the violinist to pick one octave. I add in some more phrase markings for the instruments. It can be hard to guess sometimes as an instrumentalist, unlike for the singers. It’s usually pretty obvious as a singer, because of the lyrics and punctuation.

I’m printing off parts and sending them off.

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