IN-Depth Update Post, not a post on the great country of Slovenia
I believe that I have single-handedly increased the views on Ambrož Čopi’s soundcloud by 34%, and you can trust that math is correct.
One of the beautiful things about choral music is how it transcends cultures, religions, and languages. The last piece, Otče Naš, means “Our Father” and is a piece set to religious text, and the remaining two pieces are non religious. The remaining pieces are set to Slovenian poetry, which is some of the most beautiful poetry I’ve ever read. Despite all of these factors that one might think would deter someone from appreciating music, people all around the world can listen to and enjoy music from anyone. Through this project, I have also learned a good amount of Slovenian and could recite to you some Slovenian love poetry (which is really the greatest reward of all).
No one can know better than you
Why the blood in my veins is blueish red
Why my soul yearns so loudly
What happiness should mean to me.
No one can know better than you
Why there is you and I.
Ti in Jaz (You and I)
As for non-Slovenian choral music (as if there is such a thing), there has been one piece that I have been listening a lot to recently, titled Hide Thy Face. It is composed by Allan Bevan and is recorded on the album Sacred Reflections of Canada – A Canadian Mass, recorded by the Canadian Chamber Choir. (click here for the recording and the website to Allan Bevan’s website). The piece does a lot of interesting theory things that I really appreciate and the music itself is quite enjoyable. Through analyzing the piece, I’ve learned some things about how to employ very few lines of text, and how form can sometimes work.
For my own compositions, I was feeling quite patriotic and arranged my own choral arrangement for our national anthem. You can find the score here, and the audio file over here. As well, I’m in the midst of arranging the folksong, Danny Boy (known aliases include Londonderry Air, generic “British Folksong”, among others). Below is a recording of my playing of the tune. You can see how I’m trying to include some ideas for some lines and chords for my choral arrangement in the recording. https://soundcloud.com/benjaminsigerson/danny-boy (for reasons unknown, this particular track refuses to embed itself, so please click the link).
AND (I bet you thought I was done), I’ve purchased two books on harmony and counterpoint, written by composer and conductor and Harvard, the late Walter Piston. Reading these books have helped me understand some concepts and learn what certain words mean and what this progression means, and so on. Because of this, I’ve been using the terms consonant and dissonant as much as I can, not only because it makes musical sense, but also because it makes me sound much smarter than I am.
With in-depth just over a month away, there is still much I can do. You can be sure that I’ll be doing a lot more composing in the time between now and in-depth. Who knows, it might even be in Slovenian…
Regarding De Bono, I often find myself “using a concept without being aware of the concept (you) are using” (121). For example, I’ll write homophonic choral lines without knowing what in the world a homophonic line is. When I use these unidentified compositional concepts in my music, my mentor will point them out to me and we will discuss their value and their potential importance. We talked about the concept of text in choral music and the great importance of it. The concept of text in choral music leads to many other concepts within composition, such as phrasing, range, purpose of the music, and so on.
In my learning, alternatives can be guaranteed. It mostly takes place in the editing process of my composition. Just like in English, there are many ways one can say something. instead of saying “Hey Jeff, how’s it going?”, one could say “Good evening Geoffrey, how is life treating you?”, or “Yo J my man, what’s hanging?”. If you were producing an R&B album then the latter greeting may be appropriate, but if Jeff is not well equipped with street lingo and is in fact recording an R&B album in Latin, then that greeting my not be appropriate. Music is same in this sense, that the way you “say” things and present yourself have to serve the text and make sense musically. This can be difficult for me when writing music, as there can be some musical ideas that I really like but might not be the best fit for the song I’m presently composing. As well, the way that I might write something might not make the most sense for singers and can/will be altered. “Progress, energy, change, improvement, and simplification are all based on the search for alternatives” (122). My mentor will point out to me when certain lines don’t make the most sense for a part, or if a line could be improved rhythmically or otherwise.
Composing will always be a learning process for me, and I’m more than happy to keep learning. I’m excited to finish my arrangements I’m working on now and am also looking forward to pieces I will write not only for this project, but for a long time after.