short Saturday morning post


Yesterday was not as productive compositionally as Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Nevertheless I worked a couple of hours. This morning was a bit better. I got up and put some ideas down on paper that I had in the night. Then I got silly.

Image result for LOBE DEN HERREN

Eileen had suggested I should do a version which treated the alto part (the part she likes  to sing) as the melody or some important part of the piece. Just for kicks I wrote out the alto part of the Hymnal 1982 harmonization of the tune I am working with, LOBE DEN HERREN.



I discovered that I had not thought enough about the basic material I am working with. I was surprised by the irregularity of the phrases. I have been working with this melody intensely ever since deciding to do an organ piece on it. However, I made the mistake of not more thoroughly looking at the hymn tune.

So, this morning I backtracked and began studying the hymn tune. In the Hymnal 1982 Companion,  Robin Leaver lists six versions of it in full. All of these occurred within ten or so years of each other, some with different words. None of the versions so far have regular phrase lengths which is important to me compositionally. It’s hard to explain clearly but irregularity in rhythm grabs my attention and shows compositional possibilities at the outset.

In his book, Let the People Sing: Hymn Tunes in Perspective, which I purchased recently, Paul Westermeyer has a seventh version which is barred differently. This all seems pertinent information for me.

In addition, I neglected another basic step and did not examine in detail other settings of this hymn tune. One of the first steps I usually try to do is to survey what other composers have done in any area I am working.

Eileen is off at an Alto breakfast with our only working car (the Mini’s battery is dead… she tried this morning to take it). I am seriously considering walking over to church and looking at settings of this tune.

Although none of my work so far has really inspired me that much, I’m feeling more on track than yesterday.

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