I overdid it yesterday. By the end of the day I was pretty exhausted and am still tired this morning. I took my laptop to college and In between my morning classes worked on the psalm for Advent I. This involved loading my laptop with the necessary information before heading out into the snow. It can take me a full hour to do the psalm.
Here’s what it looks like when I email it to church.
I make it with my music notation software, Finale, which the church helped me purchase. We split the cost 50/50 and the church paid for one update.
I am amused that while I am pretty sure I am an outsider in the world of Anglican musicians that I go to such lengths and can produce this insert that enables my congregation to sing in this very Anglican manner.
I am well aware that when the psalms are sung this way they are more often sung by choirs. But it is the intent of the American Episcopal church to encourage their singing by congregations as well.
In fact the Anglican Chant Psalter issued by the American Episcopal church has two chants suggested for every psalm, one is congregation, one choral.
This is a blurred pic of the tones. Apologies but I’m too lazy to redo it. I just want to illustrate that there are two tones suggested for each psalm. If you look closely you might be able to tell that I used neither of these tones. I used one we have done before. Repeating tones helps the congregation. Using new tones provides variety.
A blurred picture probably isn’t as offensive a copyright violation, eh?
This makes me think of my conversation yesterday with our curates. Christian kept asking me if something was legal. When I mentioned I could arrange the Sufjan Stevens tune for choir for use for his and Jodi’s ordination, he asked if it was legal. I told him not really. Later I figured out when he asked if something else was legal, he meant was it permitted by the Episcopal Church, when in fact I was talking about breaking the law of the land which is something I do pretty routinely in copyrights since the law is rigorous and almost impossible to follow in many instances.
On Tuesday I composed a descant for King’s Weston (At the name of Jesus) which we are singing this Sunday.
Yesterday, I was actually working on this descant when I looked up at the time and realized I was late for my meeting Jodi, Christian and Jen. Oops.
I find this sort of ironic and a bit humorous, since I often wonder if chronic tardiness represents avoidance behavior. Was I trying at some level to avoid this meeting? Probably. No reflection on my curates. I just anticipated that planning an ordination would be a lot like planning a wedding trying to factor in the curate’s wishes and balance them with the community I work for.
I wrote the descant for this hymn, because every time we sing it I think to myself that it really deserves a descant. I got a little out of control (hence the exhaustion) and wrote two descants for two different stanzas.
It interests me to be so outside the radar of the Anglican musicians and still perpetuating all this Anglican music. Evidence that I am outside of the radar can be seen in a recent conversation on the Anglican Musician Facebook page about hymn tempos and keys. In this conversation one stuffy dude pointed out that Bach had written his chorale version in the key of Eb and that it suffered from being in done in C. Further that Bach never intended it to be repeated three times with different words. His weird idea was to use a setting from the 17th century that represented actual Lutheran practice of the time.
What a ding dong!