Vexilla Regis harmonisation
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    A friend asked me to write a vocal harmonisation for the Vexilla Regis - with more movement than an ison and less than note-for-note. I have no experience with inputting chant notation, so I've notated it on Sibelius in a modern style. For reference here is the original chant. https://gregobase.selapa.net/chant.php?id=2120

    There are two versions on the one page - one for a single-vowel drone, the other lined up with the words.

    Any feedback welcome.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    Made a change in m.1 - the harmony lingers on the E drone longer.
    Thanked by 2CatherineS JulieColl
  • Version two is better. Better yet would be to hold the 'e' through the torculus and move the accompanying 'c' to below the following neume, 'g'. I believe that, thus preserving and emphasixing the triplet nature of the torculus, this would sound better rhythmically.

    Another accompaniment for this hymn may be found at no. 63 in The Hymnal 1940.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen m_r_taylor
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    Thank you for the feedback! I looked the 1940 up and that is lovely indeed, though optimised for 4-part organ harmony and the chant is a slightly different version. Though my friend just needed this for 2-part treble voices, at my church we can do all four parts so I'm hoping to double this at the octave in some kind of alternatim with the 1940 unison and maybe a through-composed SATB middle verse...stay tuned!

    If you wanted to hear something beautiful today, the Ely Cathedral choir singing this (in yet a different translation) is gorgeous. https://youtu.be/53-FM7MMPmQ?t=333
  • I'm a little confused about the four part version that you might sing in alternatim style. I got the half impression that you would sing the four part accompaniment. Surely I am mistaken - it is only for the organ.
    I have had experience with another who thought that the organ accompaniments for plainchant in the 1940 were for SATB singing and made his choir sing them. The overall effect of this was comical.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    I meant unison w/ 1940 accompaniment vs. my two-part (perhaps doubled) vocal harmony. Organ on, organ off could sound a little cheesy, so perhaps

    v1: unison w/ 1940 accompaniment
    v2: my two-part SA harmony
    v3: doubled at the octave with all four singers
    v4: my harmony for TB
    v5: same as v. 3
    v6: unison w/ 1940 accompaniment

    Or if I write a through-composed SATB harmony, then:

    v1: unison w/ 1940 accompaniment
    v2: my two-part SA harmony
    v3: my harmony doubled at the octave with all four singers
    v4: through-composed SATB
    v5: through-composed SATB with organ accompaniment
    v6: unison w/ 1940 accompaniment
  • I am relieved.
    You procedure sounds nice.
  • the organ accompaniments for plainchant in the 1940 were for SATB singing and made his choir sing them.


    This, surely, belongs on some version of Barchester Towers in an episode about murder in the local parish?
  • bumping for the season
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    I took the original alto line and put it in the bass, then wrote a tenor line to make an STB trio, then added an alto line to make a more florid SATB arrangement. Works with either the latin or English.

    I will typeset it up soon but I'd recommend this be done as follows.

    V1 unison. Optionally use 1940 accompaniment, no. 63.
    V2 SA sings SB lines
    V3 TB does same thing, or doubles at octave
    V4 STB harmony (alto joins S)
    V5 SATB full harmony
    V6 unison.

    A descant and accompaniment reharmonisation for V6 may be in the works.

    Any comments welcome.

    (I just noticed my parallel 5th between alto and bass right near the end...ah well.)
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    First go at typesetting this on Dorico - actually my first go at Dorico, period! I'm quite pleased with the functionality upgrade from Sibelius 6. There's plenty to go back and streamline - probably need to separate V1 and V6 from V2 and V3, for example.
  • Interesting.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,592
    You might try this in the alto part near the end:

    "-ler" on C instead of B
    "of" on D instead of A
    "prey" on A-B instead of D-B (which except for a missing C# is a parallel octave with the bass).

    This avoids the parallel 5th and the parallel octave.

    Nice work, though. Very nice.


    Thanked by 1m_r_taylor
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    I was thinking of a way to avoid that parallel 4th but perhaps that's preferable to the octave! Thanks for the suggestions.
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    Edit: Consolidated English versions with corrections.

    S SA SATB contains the harmonic scheme for each verse (though I don't note in there that STB is suggested for verse 4)
    SATB and SA are included as well.

    (Again, since SATB's bass line is the same as the SA version's alto line, you could get the most mileage out of this one).
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    .
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    Edit: Consolidated Latin versions with corrections.

    SATB in Latin, SA in Latin.

    "SA Shorter" and "SATB shorter" use slightly shorter original Vexilla chant melody.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 209
    MP3 of me plonking through on the organ, doing SA / STB / SATB in that order.