"Angels Sang" rendered from MuseScore

You will hear the choir parts slightly to the left, played by a harpsichord, and the piano accompaniment slightly to the right.

In the attachments you find a pdf with the choir sheet and a pdf with both the choir and the piano. So far this is what you could use to determine whether this could be possible to do with the virtual choir or not. I know that the choir parts are not very easy to do, getting exhausting here and there, something you would rather do in a big choir, where breath pauses can be shared evenly.

I might still upload some versions where I sing the main melody line (mostly soprano) in a male register.

I'm also open to suggestions about the composition and the arrangement. Something could be improved. I know there are places sounding a bit odd, like bar 20, where soprano has D sharp and alto has D natural. Lots of similar things, on purpose. I already discussed with Julia bars 9 -, with the tremulant piano, which might sound to loud and bombastic. I hope I could play it on a real piano for any recording, to get it soft, unless my software piano could do it better.

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I love this piece, Johan, especially the bright energy and the wonderful harmonic language.  But I don't think folks would be able to follow their part when all four parts are played by harpsichord.  What we usually use for choral playback is string quartet - the slightly different timbres allow each part to come through, while still blending into the whole.   The piano also overshadows the voices, when it should instead be a lilting and flowing background.

I definitely think you should add dynamics - not just to the playback but to the score itself.  I guess the question is - do you want this piece to be more hymn-like (ie four part harmony, very little dynamics or expression or change of texture) or more anthem-like?  It's such a lovely melody and harmony, I think it's worth shaping and giving varied texture.  What do you think, Johan?

Thanks again for the kind words.

You're right on every point. Actually this harpsichord thing was just a choice I did to give the demo a bright sound I wish a choir could do. The tempo is a bit too high, too, but I wish the song won't lose brightness in a slower tempo. This sound file is far from anything usable for the recordings. For the recording background I might replace the harpsichord with strings, and the strings might be left there, as was done in "June". But I'm thinking of creating a piano + one voice sound file, too, just for personal rehearsing. Or one voice emphasized and three voices faded to the background.

I will add dynamics, too. I just have to sing it to get the natural feel for the dynamic variations. Sing and make marks in the notes.

The song ends in a dominant chord. It kind of needs another song to tidy up. Like "Amen" in "Messiah". Anyone?

Ok, I'm a bit lost with this site. I guess this should be the right place to update the status of the song. I just wrote it in the Virtual Choir comment wall. Copy & Paste:

Angels_sang_que_in.mp3

Angels_sang_choir_4p.pdf

Here's a 4 part choir sheet for the song. I found out it was the easiest way to write it that way, because of 2 verses and polyphony.

Dotted slurs mean that the rhythm is slightly different in both verses. The difference should be obvious. In bar 3, soprano has a 4th note on ”-nounce”, whereas there are two 8ths in 2nd verse ”-filling”. Note that it alters slightly the melody. In bar 4 one would think the 2nd verse could likewise have a 4th note on ”heart”, but there I prefer the two 8ths because of the melody line and the counter movement in tenor.

I guess there would be more to say, but it would be better to hear comments from you, before I start my excuses my explanations.

The attached mp3 might work as a singalong thing so far. It has a 6 beat que in in the beginning and a 3 beat que in before 2nd verse. The tempi should be what I want them to be. 92 per 4th, or 184 per 8th.

This is quite different than "June", so I'm not sure about the click track and the need of it. Neither do I know what exactly would be the easiest thing to have in the headphones, while one does the recording. The piano track? The whole choir? Piano plus one choir part? Having string sounds playing the choir parts don't seem to work, unless you have some very good strings in your sound lib that can play notes with a very fast attack. I've used the harpsichord mainly because of the bright sound. It's nothing like a choir sound, but a similar brightness should be desirable in a choir. And the attack in a harpsichord is very clear, which gives a precise feel of the pulse.

My guess is that we could sing our choir parts along with this mp3, to get a feel of the song. The discussion could go on here about what kind of sound tracks could work better in the recording.

My software doesn't automatically do playback on the dynamics. I've written them in the four part choir sheet. My hope is that it be enough for us to make good recordings with varying dynamics.


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Should I try to create audible dynamics in the mp3 file above? Don't know how good they will sound. I mean, the final piano track will need them, for sure. But are we able to understand the dynamics written in the sheet or do we need the mp3 file as well to guide us in the dynamics? As I see it, the best would be for the choir leader to do the first recording, which would be added to the click track to guide the rest of us.

Good morning (or rather afternoon) Johan -

Yes, it can be a bit confusing to determine the best place to post something.  It's up to us - the Virtual Choir folks - to decide where to work from for each individual piece. 

Perhaps the Virtual Choir group could be for general interaction among choir members and for historic documents.  So, for example, when each piece is finished and recorded, we could post a page about it in the group, like the page for "June".  The Virtual Choir group is the place where we can point new members or tentative members, to get a feel for what the Virtual Choir is and does.  It is also a place where any member can send a message to the group.  So for example, when you feel that you are ready for us to begin singing, recording, and otherwise praising your piece, you could send a message to everyone from the Virtual Choir page, guiding them to this thread.

Perhaps, then, just as you've done, we could have a separate thread in the forum for each new piece.  That way only the people working on that particular piece would be involved, and when the piece is finished we could close the thread.

Should we have the admin folks delete your posting from the group page and just work from this thread on your new piece?   It's your call ...

When you have the definitive files for everyone to work with, you can upload them to the Virtual Choir Dropbox, where they are easier to find than searching a thread for the correct version.  First, we can discuss and finetune the files in this thread, then you upload them.  How does that sound?

That sounds good. Delete my post in the comment wall. And I welcome discussion for fine tuning the files! As I said, the latest files (Angels_sang_que_in.mp3 and Angels_sang_choir_4p.pdf) should work for a first introduction to the song and the parts. Feel free to sing along! And comment!

On the other hand, if you delete my post in the comment wall, I'm afraid the links to the mp3 and pdf turn invalid, because the links point to the files I uploaded to the comment wall. Again, I really don't know how this forum stuff works. I'm supposed to be an ICT nerd, but the more I know, the more I tend to stretch the rules and find wrong ways to do things.

Your links are still valid ... I think all is well ...

If you are ready for us to start, when would you like to have the mp3's of our individual parts sent?

How about December 15th? That would mean two weekends plus the working week between.

I"m going to be out of town until the 12th but will attempt.  However I just listened to your click track version and I would find the current one difficult at this point to record against.  First I need more than 1 bar count down since the tempo is quite quick.  Secondly I would find it more helpful to have something with mainly the 4 vocal parts [anything -- strings, flutes or digital voices] in order to sing against these since most of us are used to singing in ensemble and it actually helps to hear the other voices.  

I'm not sure of the capacity of the digital notation software you are working with but I know in Sibelius my suggestions below would not be difficult to implement.  Could you provide us a sound file of simply the vocal parts with click?   Here is what I'm imagining:  1st bar with the opening pitches for each voice (a "rolled" chord) and then 2 bars of 6/8 click to lead in, then just the voice lines played with some digital instrument that has a sustained sound with either very soft and simplified accompaniment or none (i'm not quite sure which would be best.)  Since you have a very strong 6/8 here it might also be helpful that those 2 intro bars have accents on the 1 and 4 to establish the pulse. 

Possible?

Bettina has done an excellent job of describing the needs of the singers.   I agree wholeheartedly.

Her description of not being able to follow the parts is why I originally suggested string quartet for the voices - instruments which are similar in timbre, but distinguishable from each other.  It's almost impossible (for me) to follow any individual line from a harpsichord realization.  I also agree with Bettina about the lead in - 2 measures with 123 456, followed by 2 measures with 1 2 (as a conductor would conduct 6/8) would be very helpful.   Perhaps it would be good to have a piano introduction much like the 1st ending to lead into the entry of the voices?

I don't know about everyone else, but I would prefer the track to include the voices (strings) with the actual accompaniment as you've written it, with piano.   The accompaniment, however, should be very soft.   Singers would need the accompaniment to help with the entrances between various verses and choruses, but right now the accompaniment is too loud.

We used string quartet with the actual piano accompaniment for June, and then as Ray added more and more voices, the strings became softer and softer until we didn't need them anymore.    This piece is also for voices with piano accompaniment, so the click track should work similarly.

I'll be glad to help with a Finale playback file if that would help ...  I think I remember you saying, Johan, that your software didn't play dynamics.   We really need the actual dynamics for a playback.   It's one thing to see "p" on a score, but a different thing to hear "f" at the same location!  ;-)

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