Looking for some commentary on a descant
  • I'm very, very new to composing as a whole, and I was wondering what you thought of this descant. Open to harsh criticism, as I'm not gonna learn any other way...
    NOTE: The engraving is rough MuseScore, and will be put together in a LilyPond file once I've gathered enough input to put it to use.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 3,902
    M4: D-C-Bb descending quarters/4th beat has descant moving in PP seconds; change to D-F (8ths, 8va alto)….m5 quarter F on beat 1……m6, beat 4 two quavers Bb-G….last note optional F (as third is in baritone)
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • noel jones, aagonoel jones, aago
    Posts: 6,287
    Having at one time played this as a processional hymn every Sunday for four years, I know the tune well and I would have welcomed using this. I'd take it as is, changing only the 3rd measure last two 8th notes eb f to a quarter eb.

    Nice work...Melo's suggestions are great, too!
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Thanks for all the suggestions, gonna try it tomorrow. Attached should be the published copy with Lilypond, and I'm still open for suggestions.
    Thanked by 2canadash CCooze
  • Casavant Organist,

    At the half-way point "no South or North"...... I would change the dotted minim to two minims (D-F), or two crochets and a minim. (D -- B-flat -- F).
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Liam
    Posts: 2,998
    Belated offering: the tune is rather emphatically 4/4, and the descant could offer a bit more counterpoint by resisting that here and there. For example, convert the successive Bb quarter notes in measure 1, and find a way to tie over the Bb into the penultimate measure from the preceding measure - there are other places where you could also tie a beat 2 into beat 3, and use a dotted rhythm. (Think what an improvising *human treble voice* would stylistically be tempted to do, rather than fingers on an instrument. Voices have a tendency to want to float a bit free from the instruments....) And the last measure should have a length of 3, not 4, as a matter of usual form.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 151
    A general comment: I think it is often particularly effective if the descant reaches it's climax as close to the end of the last phrase as possible, particularly if it is for the concluding verse. So, my inclination would have been to save the high g until possibly the penultimate bar if I could work it out.

    Still, I think the rising gesture that concludes your descant is quite effective!
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • Interesting comment. I know many descants which have As in the first bar, and the climax is when the descant uses divisi.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 151
    True but to me that's just giving it all away too soon. Personal preference, I guess. Most of my favorite descants follow this pattern. Same basic principal would apply to all basic vocal-type melody writing (although, of course it could be flipped, and you could withhold the lowest note of a vocal line until the end, making it the 'climax' of the line).