Here are the titles I am currently working on:
- Dearest Children, God Is Near You
- The Lord is my Light
- Secret Prayer
I wasn’t intending on doing an arrangement of “Secret Prayer” until the other day. The melody was in my head during breakfast and later, on my way to work I heard the structure of what I could do come together as I went over and over it. It was a wonderful experience. Tears filled my eyes. I felt connected with Heavenly Father in the creative process. I decided I better do something with it. So I will probably start with that one first.
Posted today is version 1.0 of “Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd” that we used a few weeks ago for our stake conference. It seems to have come off well. I would appreciate any comments you might have about it to see what could be improved. You will find it here: SATB.
Today I’ve uploaded some more of my choir arrangements. They are older versions that will be updated soon, but for now they are at least available to use. Look in the SATB page to see what is there. No previews for now but those are coming eventually.
The idea for this arrangement came just before Christmas 2011. Not quite enough time to get it ready for stake conference in January/February, especially since we went home to Oregon for the holidays. By the time I got a chance to start work on it, it was already near the end of the school year. Luckily, my idea was to change up the melody for the verses and the new tune is one that sticks in your head, as you will see.
I love the hymns of the Church. Sometimes the message of a hymn gets lost in our familiarity of the music and thus we ‘arrange’ them. Other times a hymn needs a bit of refreshing to bring it forward, calling for a more drastic approach. Here is where a new melody can be helpful.
With ‘Do What Is Right’ I wanted to be able to move the chord progression along a bit faster than was possible with the current melody. But I also wanted to maintain enough familiarity that the song would be recognizable. The new melody for the verses offered a nice lilt, almost a dance-able feeling to the piece. This also made a nice contrast to the chorus and its march-like chant of ‘Do what is right, let the consequence follow.’ Back to the new melody to finish up the chorus and things began to take shape really fast. (My favorite times are when a song almost writes itself.)
Version 1.1 - Some tempo adjustments following our use of the music in stake conference.
Version 1.0 - Initial release. Some dynamics in place. Lots of tweaking to get things to fit the page properly. Start of an SATB template for making future arrangements.
Okay, it’s probably the geek in me (definitely the geek in me), but I’ve decided to start versioning my arrangements. Maybe that’s not a real word. Doesn’t matter. Versioning is what software engineers do with, you know, software. They program the software, debug it a bit, decide maybe it’s time to let people use it, and send it out as version 1.0 or whatever. They immediately find something wrong with it and soon here comes version 1.1 (or 1.0.2a – it can get pretty crazy.)
I don’t know why there haven’t been versions marked on music scores before. But that’s what I intend to do. Now, sometimes a new version is released because the software makers have added new features. That probably doesn’t make much sense for a piece of music. (Hmm…, maybe.) And the numbering scheme I use might not have much of a pattern behind it. I mean, what makes something bump from 1.12 to 1.17 or 2.0? Even in the software industry it seems pretty random.
The whole point of this idea is so that you can be sure you’re using the most current arrangement available, if that’s what you want. I’m noticing that very often when creating a new arrangement “done” means “we have to start practicing this soon” and so while the piece is usable, it’s not very pretty (visually I mean.) And then as we rehearse I notice things that weren’t apparent while listening to it on the computer. (Really, you can’t sing those words that fast?) Not to mention when I come back to a piece several months later I’ll discover something I want to do a little differently. So, bottom line is, when I make changes I’ll bump up the version number some amount (maybe that’s what the dice are for) and upload it to the appropriate page. I’ll also post some information about what is different so you can decide if you need to “upgrade” or not.
And remember, here upgrades are always free. At least for now.