Vexilla Regis harmonisation
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 108
    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.
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • m_r_taylor
    Posts: 108
    Made a change in m.1 - the harmony lingers on the E drone longer.
    Thanked by 1CatherineS
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,083
    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: 108
    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
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,083
    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: 108
    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
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,083
    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?