Wednesday, May 09, 2012

In The Bonus Round, You Never Stop Learning.

This week, I challenged myself to write a new choral anthem for the upcoming Ascension Day services on May 17. I went online to the Episcopal liturgical calendar and tried to find something that would inspire a song.

(I don't think I've ever just pictured a choir and tried to write for them. Instead, my process has been to just write a basic song at the piano, and then do an arrangement of that song. This was more like painting with music, repeating the same phrase over and over again, almost like a chant.)

I found my lyric theme in the Psalm -- which is not too surprising, given the fact that the book of Psalms is, essentially, a song book. There in Psalm 93 is a phrase about how the waters lift up the voice of God. IOW, that if you look all around you, you can't help but be in awe of nature. David was writing that these things ARE the voice of God.

So, putting it into first person, I took that fragment and started with a simple melody, repeated it, harmonized it, flipped it around, changed keys a few times, and ended on a big pretty note. Nothing Beethoven wouldn't have done. Very short. Simple. An anthem to be enveloped into the service itself.

So, we'll rehearse it on Sunday and perform it on Thursday, May 17 at Christ Church in Bay Ridge.

(Reader, if you are musical and would like a pdf of the song just to look at -- or if you have a choir and you want to try to teach it to them, write me a note and I'll send it to you. Soon, I'll post it at my Watchfire site.

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