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Hymn Composition

BlackDorito

Member
Sounds good. You would need to give more background - is this targeted for a chamber string group and local choir? Is it just for fun and will never leave the VI realm?
 

eph221

Member
Yes, alot depends on your goals for the piece. Performance wise some things need to be tightened up (it probably has to do with the timing of the samples.)
 

OleJoergensen

Senior Member
I think it sound beautiful. For the midi mock up, it sounds like the cello articulation you have chosen works a bit to slow for what you want to do.
 
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mediumaevum

Member
Sounds good. You would need to give more background - is this targeted for a chamber string group and local choir? Is it just for fun and will never leave the VI realm?
It is not meant to be sung in a local choir - but who knows?
Anyway, it probably will never make it for a real orchestra. I was thinking about making some variations of it, and include flute and horns.

Yes, alot depends on your goals for the piece. Performance wise some things need to be tightened up (it probably has to do with the timing of the samples.)
I played the melody in the 1st violins on a keyboard and wrote the harmony just below the humanized 1st violins. This was in order to make it feel more natural, and less midi.

I chose not to play the piece with the metronome because it would lose that "humanized" quality. Of course, this creates some timing issues, but they're meant to be there, as I've learned about the importance of pauses in music.
 
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mediumaevum

Member
Any ideas on how to improve on this piece? I'm in need for inspiration. Ie. other composers who composed orchestral works over genevan psalters and other psalter-like pieces.
 

eph221

Member
How do you define *inspiration* I think there's a little disconnect here, something that other composers can't give you even if we tried. Are you concerned about conforming to a standard (in your mind). That harsh voice in your head might not be what you think it is, despite having great faith. It might be a malevolent spirit. :D:D
 
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mediumaevum

Member
A very American hymnal with Shaker tones. A theme Copeland could use
I've heard that a lot, and I don't understand why people always use to refer to my music as something similar to Copland. I've heard his orchestral music, and I can't seem to find any themes similar to the ones I'm composing.
 

BlackDorito

Member
I don't understand why people always use to refer to my music as something similar to Copland
I agree with you. Your opening harmony is familiar from early American song, religious or otherwise. Copland was inspired by these songs, including of course Simple Gifts. But he did not follow the older harmonic practice himself. And I believe @Seasharp is saying it sounds like material Copland could have used.
 

markleake

Recovering sale addict
It's an interesting exercise to orchestrate hymns. There's a certain predictability to them, including in this piece, that I find restricting but also very easy to work with to produce countermelodies and the like.

A good place to start for ideas is to listen to orchestrated Christmas carols, such as ones done by the London Symphony. They are generally not choral of course, but I think its better to start with the orchestration possibilities first. The first thing you notice in those orchestrations is they take the piece as telling a story. The vibe of it, instruments use for the themes, how it develops, where the dramatic moments are, etc, these are all driven by the story. This kind of approach I think goes a long way towards breaking up the repetitive restrictions inherent to the hymn structure.

The second thing to focus on is the wonderful chordal harmonies that exist in most hymns. If you can draw these out and emphasise them, then most of your work is already done. And because of those harmonies, it is easy (I find it is anyway) to write strong counterpoints to the dominant melodies, and to work out alternative developments. I'd strongly encourage this, because without it, the orchestration can sound pretty static. Be adventurous and playful with the ideas.

Specifically for your track, it is a bit muddy and confused at the start because you have two lines close together with similar sounding instruments. And its not helped by them having a very laggy response. The second part is just a rendering of the hymn mostly as written. That is OK and a start, but it needs more separation of purposes for the instrumens/choir. And it needs to go somewhere. I don't know the hymn, but read the words and work out a story based on that maybe, and let that inform the structure.
 
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