How many people can we get to harmonize a hymn tune?
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    THIS THREAD inspired starting a new one in which people try their hands at harmonizing a hymn tune. If you're new, go for it. If you're experienced, go for it too. It could be a fun exercise as well as a good learning experience for those of us who have not done this much or had no formal training it.

    Since it's fresh on my mind from another thread, let's start with DUNLAP'S CREEK.

    Also, if you intend on trying this, could you please not look at any other harmonizations posted in this thread until you have completed yours to be sure they are entirely unique?

    And yes, I'll participate in this myself. If you intend to do this, could you please post your intention? It'd be nice to get a gauge of numbers.

    Thanks and have fun!
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,373
    <>
  • PhilipPowellPhilipPowell
    Posts: 20
    I'll give it a try at least!
  • donr
    Posts: 968
    I have dabbled in harmonization so I'll give it a try, for some honest critique. It might take a while though.
  • I can't do it this weekend, but could give it a go next week.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    So far we have:

    TCJ
    PhilipPowell
    donr
    Chris Garton-Zavesky
    NihilNominis

    and...

    Liam?

    Aim high. We need more!
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 670
    I'm in. I love harmonization.

    Even though it's a spunky American tune, I'm going to aim for singable SATB chorale writing following the usual rules of voice leading.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,705
    I like the "spunky American tune" description - apt, indeed. Maybe a little too spunky for my tastes (although I'd also aim for what NihilNominis wants to accomplish), but mainly because of major surgery for my wife tomorrow (with an uncertain recuperation time), I'll have to sit this one out.
    Thanked by 1NihilNominis
  • MarkS
    Posts: 267
    Well, this sounded fun, and it's a pretty tune that I have actually never heard before, so here is my quick and dirty first effort!

    I think these Appalachian tunes benefit from some rich harmonies while remaining strictly diatonic, so, no Bach-style 4-part harmonizations here! However, I think the voice leading is fairly solid for a first pass and I think it's quite singable! In any event, it was fun!

    P. S. Just read the above posts. I wasn't thinking spunky at all, but more on the lyrical side—again, not familiar with this tune!
    Thanked by 3CHGiffen TCJ GerardH
  • Are we talking about 4 parts or spontaneous "Anglican last verse" harmonizations?
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    Prize to MarkS for the first harmonization! I'll probably post mine on the weekend.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    Casavant,

    I was thinking four parts, but since I didn't specify, it's your choice. Equal voices, SATB, Anglican last verse, SMATBaB, etc.
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • I'm in! I'll see what I can draft up either tonight (if I'm really restless) or tomorrow.
  • donr
    Posts: 968
    Here is my first try. Feedback is always welcome.

    I have also included the midi file.


    Thanked by 2MarkS TCJ
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 670
    Mine is attached!

    Edit: Added MIDI
  • NihilNominisNihilNominis
    Posts: 670
    I found a Direct Octave; fixing that, I made a couple more changes. The character is a little different in the end, and the octaves could be justified if one wished, so I'm just calling this "Version 2.0", and leaving them both up for comparison / preference.
    Thanked by 2TCJ GerardH
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,373
    Well, I don't have notation software for my current system, so I can't participate. If I did, I would first consult the original shape-note harmonization (which I provided in the earlier thread on We Walk By Faith), and consider a descant, as shape-note tune melodies by their nature were typically embedded in middle voices.
  • ServiamScores
    Posts: 989
    Liam, there are free online resources available such as musescore. There is also a free entry-level version of Dorico. Engraving mode will be disabled but you’ll still get a beautiful result by default.
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,376
    Hardly a 'final verse', but for my simple taste:
    Thanked by 1TCJ
  • madorganist
    Posts: 753
    Attached.
    image
    2187 x 894 - 297K
    Thanked by 1TCJ
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,563
    @Madorganist

    Thumbs up!
    Thanked by 1madorganist
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    Here is my version. Pardon the parallel fifth.

    Also, thanks for the submissions so far.

    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • GerardH
    Posts: 228
    I had a lot of fun with this. I've never come across the tune before, so it's a very fresh take.
    image
    I managed to avoid all parallels (although what is the consensus on parallels between the end of one phrase and the start of the next?). Managed to make use of the little dotted rhythm at the end of the first line to add interest to some of the other parts and tie it all together.
    2977 x 2099 - 226K
    Thanked by 1TCJ
  • GerardH
    Posts: 228
    Looking through the submissions, it seems there is more than one version of the tune, differing mainly in the 3rd line. Time signatures also seem to be open for debate.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • madorganist
    Posts: 753
    Did anyone envision anything close to this as the proper tempo?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPc2VK52AUU
  • Madorganist,

    It makes certain assumptions, and I can see at least some of them being plausible, but I wouldn't play/sing it at that speed.

    Assumption 1, which seems the lynch pin and which may have some historical validity, appears to be that this is a low-church Protestant hymn.
  • CGM
    Posts: 525
    Question: I have this tune in a couple different hymnals, but with variant rhythms, time-signatures, and text placement. Are you envisioning the 3/2 or the 4/4 version? or does it matter?

    GerardH makes the same point (above).
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    GerardH,

    I noticed the difference in versions, and also noticed that the tune is attributed to two different people. One is Freeman Lewis and the other is Samuel McFarland.

    CGM,

    People are free to choose whichever version since I did not specify.
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,705
    McFarland's version seems to predate the Lewis version. And McFarland's works better in 3/2 metre, whilst Lewis may be a bit better in 2/2.

  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,376
    According to hymnary.org,
    "Attributed to McFarland in The Beauties of Harmony, by Freeman Lewis, 1813; At­trib­ut­ed to Free­man Lew­is in Supplement to the Kentucky Harmony, by Ananias Davisson, 1820"
    I see however no such attribution in IMSLP's scan of the 1814 The Beauties of Harmony (in which the 2nd phrase's last note has a 3rd beat!) The 1820 4th edition has a 4-part setting with added alto inscribed
    DUNLAP'S CREEK C. M. Hymn 62, Book 2, ver. 4 Ascribed to S. M'Farland This tune is elsewhere called "Funeral Thought."

    At this point ("Book 2 version 4"?) I'm ready to hand the chase off to someone else.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • Richard R.
    Posts: 731
    Here's today's attempt.
    Thanked by 1TCJ
  • Trying to load a pdf to this space, for my attempt, but it won't go.... just stares at me....
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    The forum has rejected you!
  • GerardH
    Posts: 228
    CGZ, make sure there are no special characters (or spaces?) in the file name. My submission wouldn't upload because of an apostrophe in the title
  • Neither a Jot nor a tittle, indeed!

    Thanks GerardH.

    Thanked by 1TCJ
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    So far there have been nine entries into this non-contest. I believe there are two or three more people who have stated an intention to make another harmonization.

    Should I make this a recurring thread type every few months or so with a new uncommon hymn tune? I wouldn't want to do it too often lest interest die (or time be lacking), but it wouldn't be recurring if it didn't happen often enough.
    Thanked by 1GerardH
  • CHGiffenCHGiffen
    Posts: 4,705
    "... with a new uncommon hymn tune?" Why an uncommon hymn tune?


  • GerardH
    Posts: 228
    Should I make this a recurring thread type every few months or so with a new uncommon hymn tune?

    I think so. I wouldn't even mind if it was actually competitive - it's all good feedback. I guess uncommon tunes have the advantage of a clean approach, while reharms of common tunes may actually get some use.
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    "... with a new uncommon hymn tune?" Why an uncommon hymn tune?


    Some people have expressed that they liked working with a tune with which they were not familiar. In my case, working with a tune that I had not heard before meant that I couldn't be influenced by versions with which I was already very familiar. Maybe it doesn't happen with other people, but if I know a harmonization already, it's hard to get it out of my head when I'm working on a new one.
  • MarkS
    Posts: 267
    Why an uncommon hymn tune?


    I think this speaks to the difference between 'harmonizing' a tune and 're-harmonizing' a tune. If I were to start with a hymn-tune-cum-harmonization with which I was familiar, I would pretty much by definition be 're-harmonizing' it—otherwise it would be basically an exercise in dictation.

    This is what attracted me to the current exercise—this was a tune I had not been familiar with, and while it is easy to guess what a conventional hymnal harmonization would look like, it afforded me the opportunity to take a fresh look at a tune to see what I might like to do with it.

    It is clear from some of the submissions that many folks already have a relationship with the tune at hand (and, as alluded to above, in a form that differs from Liam's shape-note score posted in an earlier thread, which is what I took for source material) and what they offered is more in the nature of 're-harmonizations' which by their nature often intentionally involve less expected (and sometimes startling!), or at least different, harmonies.

    Edit: I took 'uncommon hymn tune' to suggest something more like 'unfamiliar', as opposed to 'musically unusual'.
  • donr
    Posts: 968
    I would love to keep doing this. I like to see the differences in how people do the exercise. It teaches me a lot.

    A couple of things that would be nice is if we would all start with the same melody, in the same key, and same time signature.

    That way we are starting from the same starting point.
    Thanked by 1JonathanKK
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,373
    I would disagree about having a fixed key signature for finished products (although a fixed key could be provided solely for comparison purposes). There should definitely be room to vary that given the varying nature of melodic span, and potential span of other voice choral part-singing is intended.
    Thanked by 4donr TCJ MarkS CHGiffen
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,563
    don't worry about rules... compose away in whatever key or time sig you feel fits best... i learn by the divergences...
    Thanked by 1JonathanKK
  • TCJ
    Posts: 779
    Agreed with Liam about the time signature. When I write a harmonization, I do so with my choir in mind, so certain keys may not work out properly.