Help with choral arranging

• Dec 14, 2021 - 18:59

My almost first attempt at choral arranging. I started with my old keyboard jazz version of the song which was just a lead sheet hence the chord changes.
Main problem was avoiding parallel octaves or fifths when a number of times the chords were sliding down by step or half step. Is this even necessary with this sort of arrangement? I gave up on direct octaves or fifths I think.

Towards the end I realized it would have been easier, range-wize, to do it in C or Db
Would appreciate any criticism or advice
The first ending doesn't work correctly.(?)
Thanks, John

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How_Great_though_Art_Chorus.mscz 22.14 KB


Yes, your sopranos will like you better in C or even D.

Great chords, by the way. And yet, personally, I think it is too harmonically busy too soon. I might have started out not changing harmonies every beat and worked up to it.
This plays at 120bpm. I slowed it down so I could enjoy it. At least 80 or slower.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks so much for the volta hint. Worked like a charm. I remember that my singer is a deep contralto which is why the key of the jazz version. (She claims the same range as Ella F.) I'll try it in C. I'm not versed in the working ranges of the voices. Got to look that up.

Agree it's harmonically too busy at first. I approached it at first like a Bach Chorale. I know I want the first and second statement to be different. Will try again.

Thanks agian

Hi John! Were you looking for advice with the music composition/arranging, or the notation? As far as the music goes, I'd say that it's fine just as it stands--I wouldn't worry too much--like, at all--about parallel octaves or fifths: no one has worried too much about them since Debussy's Cathedral sank. In any case, in jazz vocls such as this, parallel whatevers are par for the course.
As far as the notation/typesetting goes, we'll assume it's a "work in progress." Look to your text editing: you've spelled "Thou" in four different ways, except the correct one. Don't forget melisma lines: standard vocal notation practice would have them in places like after "God" in ATB lines of m.2, and after the "-der," of "won-der," on the tied notes of the SAB lines across mm. 4-5. (Even though it's one pitch, the tied notes require it.) I don't know how you've been entering the lyrics, but if you use the standard lyric entry format (CTRL-L), Musescore should take care of this for you.
As far as the music notation goes, look to places like the first note of the T line of m.7, and the first note of the B line of m. 8: although both technically correct as written, writing in a flat-sign anyway would help remind the singers of the pitch, especially following the B-naturals that come right before. Also, is there a reason you wrote the first beats of m.26 as two tied quarter-notes, and not a half note? (Perhaps there was a chord change in the lead sheet you were working from?)
Finally, I'm not personally a big fan of over-marking scores, but a few dynamic markings, and some slurs (such as at "God" in ATB voices of m.2) might help convey your intentions better to the singers. And, as @bobjp pointed out, a tempo marking would help, even if just when listening to Musescore's playback.
Good work!
--Bill F.

In reply to by wfazekas1

Thanks so much, Bill, h for the great suggestions. Looking for all the advice I can get.
I was hoping to discover a “find and replace” function to correct all my misspellings. Probably the text editing will be my last step including the melisma lines. I use control L to enter. As I edit and change parts it gets all screwed up so I’ll wait till I’m really done.
The parallel thing was kind of a challenge. Back to my conservatory days and Bach Chorales.
Spelling is a challenge. If the chord is B major should I spell with sharps because of the chord or flats because of the key signature? In orchestral music I spell with sharps because I can change the parts to be more readable. But I imagine a chorus would all read from the chorus score so what then?
Thanks for pointing out the tied quarters. Those resulted when I doubled the note values using cut and paste. The original result went over the bar line which I fixed but forgot about those quarters.
Again, entering dynamics and other indications is in the final steps.

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