Song for Lessons and Carols or Advent
  • MarkB
    Posts: 59
    For those planning Lessons and Carols and maybe looking for something new, attached is a composition of mine.

    Rejected by OCP. Their reasons: "While there is much to admire in this piece, we feel that the text could use further refining. In addition, some of the tune and harmonization are a bit too reminiscent of HURON CAROL." I was surprised they actually gave some feedback.

    I think they didn't like my use of the "exclusive" word "man" for humanity, nor did they like the references to sin, suffering, death and strife after Adam's sin. The closest OCP comes to acknowledging sin or sinfulness in its new music is to refer to being "lost" or "broken".

    Also, I'd never heard of Huron Carol before, but I listened to it after OCP's critique. My piece isn't anything like it. (And this from the company that published the Mass setting that resembles My Little Pony.) Huron Carol is a nice piece, though, and has an interesting story behind it: composed by St. Jean de Brebeuf.

    You be the judge. Actually, what inspired this was listening to Ralph Vaughan Williams' arrangement of The Truth Sent From Above and thinking that it was such a beautiful hymn about redemption, so I thought I'd try to write my own redemption hymn that focused on the major events and figures in biblical salvation history.

    I'm happy to give permission for its use to anyone interested; just write me. Two versions attached: a cappella (ideal) and a version with elementary accompaniment to support the voices if needed.

    Suggestions and critiques are welcome.
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,334
    I guess it is a little like Huron Carol because the first intervals are the same, if I'm not mistaken, but the rhythm is different. They are both in a minor key, but so is half the music written.

    I really like this. I think it is haunting and very pretty. Thank you for sharing.
    Thanked by 2MarkB cesarfranck
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,288
    So I am assuming it would be OK for my choir to sing it during Advent? This would be at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Knoxville, TN. I like it.
    Thanked by 2MarkB SarahJ
  • That OCP didn't like this doesn't say much for OCP, does it?
    The only somewhat awkward moment is the accent on the second syllable of 'promise' in the fourth line of stanza 3.

    (Oh, and it takes a rather weird imagination to hear the Huron carol in this, doesn't it.)

    I think that David Willcocks would have enjoyed making an arrangement of your carol. I can hear it now.
  • A couple of observations - your voice leading in a few places results in some awkward spots - particularly in the 5/4 bar in the second score (beginning at sal-va-tion) where you have parallel octaves between treble and tenor, and parallel fifths between treble and bass. There are several ways around these little lapses, but I'll leave them for you to discover.

    P.S. - I still think that your carol is really nice and hope that you get it published.
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • MarkB
    Posts: 59
    Yes, CharlesW, you may use it. In general, anyone may use it. I just ask that you write to me because it would be nice to know where it's being sung.

    M. Jackson Osborn, thanks for pointing out what you did about the voice leading. I think I fixed the movements in the tenor voice in the 5/4 measure and the subsequent measure. Later after I consider it some more I'll post a revised score. I don't have formal training in composition, and I am interested to become more skillful in my technique. Thank you for your time in analyzing it, which I realize you don't have to spend time doing.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Mark,

    Parallel octaves and parallel fifths (being consonant intervals) tend to stall progress, and are generally avoided (unless, of course, you're someone like Herbert Howells or William Walton, who seem to thrive on such textures).
    Thanked by 1MarkB
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 1,562
    I can't see the HURON HYMN and rather like your setting. Instead of assuming that the Democrats are just trying to make everybody look noninclusive though, might OCP not be balking at the inconsistent rhyme scheme? I can't help thinking "sinned" "begin" would easy enough to tweek, and there's a near occasion for stumbling at "and all peoples would be blessed / through a son whow's prom -is-èd."
  • It's funny that OCP seems to have focused on the alleged similarity to HURON CAROL (that I don't hear) moreso than the trivial technical issues with the harmonization. Shows what they're really looking at.

    Mark, I'd wear that OCP rejection as a badge of honour.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 59
    Okay, revised scores attached below with corrected voice leading for anyone interested. Thanks to those who pointed out problems. Fixing the voice leading can get tricky, like solving a Rubik's Cube: fixing one part sometimes messes up another part.

    I don't hear much difference between this and the prior version, but this way it's technically "correct".

    Rather than printing and playing, for anyone who wants to listen to a synthesized online playback of the piece, click on the link below:
    https://www.noteflight.com/scores/view/2f1a78fb134592393b8648c8d298f021ab217871

    Nothing will likely come of this, but it's a way to improve my technique and knowledge. And if anyone wants to use it, great. Thanks to all who helped.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW cesarfranck
  • Thank You! I am likely using it.
  • Critiques, which may really just be my own musical ideas ...

    1. I think this melody would sound more developed if the rhythmic structure were more symmetric, so that the melody took the form of A-B-A'. The rhythmic idea of the first line is really nice, but then you switch to a different idea repeated in the next two lines. Personally, I would repeat the rhythm of the first line in the last line.

    2. I would be more purposeful in the use of the f#, and embrace the sound of the minor five. That way, the f# retains more significance, and can help to drive the melody into different harmonic territory. For instance, I like the f# in measure 2 because it prepares the listener for the rhythmic change of the B section, and drives the melody into it. The f# before the final cadence makes this cadence feel more final. However, The f#s of m6 b3 and of m4 seem less necessary.

    3. There are several lapses in the iambic meter of the text, especially at: "through a Son Who was promised;" "I will raise up your offspring;" "having been by God thus sent."

    4. The relative major would add some harmonic interest (Bb and F chords)

    5.. Capitalize pronouns referring to God.

    Otherwise, nifty carol!
    Thanked by 1MarkB