Tag Archives: Cello

Adjustments, more lyrics discovered

Today ends up being a lot of different things. I start working on the hymn arrangement for Thanksgiving, go on to the wind symphony project, and finish on the Return of the King song project.

At choir practice yesterday, one of my earlier suggestions was revisited, and therefore there were some adjustments to make today. I’m writing in a verse of a different hymn in the middle of the song, and a small instrumental intro to that right after the first verse.

I’m taking a couple of risks here. I don’t know if the guitarist and/or cellist will struggle with the high notes, because I haven’t given them notes this high before, and I figure it could be a challenge – it is on many instruments. The violinist says she can do either octave from the part I sent her, so I will have us test it out on Sunday to hear how well it sounds at the high register.

The middle hymn is more subdued, and it’s in SSA instead of SATB format. So I don’t have all the instruments accompanying that verse, only coming in at times, and counting rests part of the time. I’ll want to have the choir test part of it a cappella, and have the piano optional for the entire song.

No key changes within the piece because I don’t want it this time. Some transposing had to happen to have both hymns in the same key, but it’s totally doable for the sopranos to go up to an F, so I don’t worry about that.

Because it’s fun to work on a big piece, I look in my folder for “Wind symphony,” and discover that I had started a score for the second movement months ago. I listen through the first movement, just over 3 minutes long, and I still like it. That’s good. I think it could go a little bit faster, but I like the themes, and the ideas and the development. It’s obviously needing the next movements though! So I guess I’ll get to that in the next little while.

Well, that song I worked on last week? I look at it, and it seems I’m missing something. I go back to the scriptures, and decide to include some more lyrics. Maybe I won’t need to repeat the lyrics, just melodic material, to make a more catchy song. It sure is superior to work with lyrics that are poetic (and these are definitely poetic). I add in what kind of amounts to a second verse of the “aria” if you can talk about this piece that way. I’m pretty excited. I think I’d like to sing this song some time.

Before quitting for the day, I add in the rest of the song (melody/vocal line). Its running time is five minutes now. Time to deliver the parts for the Thanksgiving song and maybe get dinner on the table.

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.