All Glory Laud / St Theodulph descant
  • henry
    Posts: 190
    Anyone know where I can find a free online organ descant or alternative accompaniment of this hymn in Bb?

    Thanks
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,746
    "Organ descant" is a misnomer which I hear or read all too often, but I think you mean an alternate harmonization or accompaniment that is more florid or elaborate than the hymnal harmonization.

    The term "descant" specifically (in the context of hymns as well as other compositions) refers to a countermelody to the main melody, usually (although not always) pitched higher than the main melody.

    Thanked by 2Incardination JL
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,746
    You might use the Bach harmonization (from the St. John Passion). Here it is, transposed, with my own (treble) descant.
  • henry
    Posts: 190
    Thank you - sounds very nice.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Gamba
    Posts: 44
    I took this from Gerre Hancock's accompaniment, heard here; he played it slightly differently each time, but this is the line, with a few things smoothed over to make it more singable. https://soundcloud.com/inmemoriamgerrehancock/all-glory-laud-and-honor-st-theodulph-and-lift-up-your-heads-ye-mighty-gates-truro
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 3,746
    The descant notes on "All glo-ry, laud, and ho-nor to thee, Re-" are just the alto part transposed up an octave in a standard harmonization. After that, the part skips up to an elaboration of the tenor part, up two octaves. This is a pretty standard way of forging (fakebooking?) a descant from inner voices. Hancock's choir does not sing a descant on the verses.

  • Gamba
    Posts: 44
    Yes, I just put this together to avoid explaining to the choir how to do that and how to mark it in their scores...the hymn has already caused me enough grief due to the need to Xerox parts from one hymnal and edit the text edits in there to agree with the pew hymnals, whose choral book lacks several verses &c.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 652
    It is nice when the tenor part is interesting enough to sing as a descant. =)
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Transposing inner parts into a descant may be a common practice where a composed one is not available, but I have always shunned doing this because of the all-to-transparent irritance of doubled voices and objectionable parallel octaves and such. It is easy enough to compose one's own if one isn't at hand. The difficulty here is in composing one that is not overly elaborate! I always end up with something really challenging - like those of Willcocks or Ledger. Choirs love the result, though. There are many published booklets of descants for a variety of hymn tunes available from Oxford and others.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen CCooze
  • [Jackson just modestly put himself in the same category as Sir David Wilcocks and Phillip Ledger. That's exalted company, especially if true.]
  • Descant-wise, perhaps.
    Otherwise - not holding a candle to.
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,332
    I definitely prefer descants that act as rhythmic counterpoint: ties over measure bars, discreet syncopation and what have you. Because most strophic harmonizations that are commonly used lack that*, I find doubling an inner voice to be weak tea, in addition to the reasons MJO cites. (Doubling of voices is, however, canonical practice for American shape-note hymnody.)

    * Unless you're using, say, one of JS Bach's more interesting chorale harmonizations... A particularly choice descant can be found at the 2:21 mark here (used by a trumpet, but illustrative of a more spectacular descant genre):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnDm5Ok2xOY
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 652
    I didn't actually mean doubling another's part, octaves above. I meant singing that part as a descant, while the voice from which it was taken sings either the melody or another voice part.
    Thanked by 1MarkS
  • I'll have to try that with the tenor part from "Angels we have heard on high" sometime.