Eastertide Music

Easter is my favourite time of year. The church music is especially wonderful. Our church choir did a splendid job at the Good Friday Mass. Two songs brought tears to my eyes (and I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one tearing up). I can’t remember much of the details (composer and title) but I remember the lyrics were about the sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. I’ll find out the info and post it at a later date. The soloists captured the intense emotions so effectively – their timbre reached deep into my soul and pulled. Hard. The harmonies were highly chromatic, which leads to the emotional angst. One song was sung by an alto. Her performance was especially moving. [04/26/06 note: Songs title are "The Seven Last Words from the Cross" and "The Pieta"."]


Easter Vigil presents a different tone. When the lights are turned on and the candles blown out, the choir broke into a jubilant Gloria, while some of the children rang bells.

Easter Sunday. The joyous tone carried through. The choir at the church I attended last Sunday sang a capella. It made me realize how much I rely on the piano or guitar for my chords. I know that I should be able to hear where the chord progressions are going with four-part harmony, but alas, I haven’t mastered that yet.

Easter Break has been creatively productive and relaxing on all other fronts. I finally managed to arrange Above All for piano duet in a form that I am happy with. How apropos as it also has to deal with Easter. Now all I have to do is transcribe my scribbles into fancy looking sheet music, using Finale Notepad. But first, I need to do an arrangement of A Whole New World for another student. I’m simplifying it a bit, so that hasn’t been too hard.


Now if only I could solve my site feed issue (see the link on the right), I’d be laughing. It just stopped working one day and my research and Blogger support have come up with zilch. But that’s a challenge for another day.


© 2006, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Adventures in Teaching and Playing

My students and I are starting to get used to our school-year routine (a couple of students who forgot about their lessons the week before). Even Maestro is learning to be the model teaching assistant. With the weather cooling down, I thought it was apropos when a student played "Jingle Bells" at today's lesson. This week, I asked several students to try chording (or faking) a pop song they are currently working on. For the non-music folk, it means that instead of playing what's written on the page, they will play chords in the left hand. Most pop folios write the chord symbols on top of the music. Chording accomplishes three things (at least that I can think of): it helps students learn their songs more quickly, it gives them the freedom to embellish their own accompaniment and it helps them better understand the song's form and structure.

I'm chording more these days. For the wedding that I'm playing at this weekend, I have no idea whether I will be asked to play the music for the parts of the Mass. I have a version of "Glory to God" but last night, I just realized that it's not the one we usually sing at church. Thankfully, I borrowed a hymnal from church a few weeks ago. I found the version that we usually sing. However, the hymnal only has the vocal melody. No chords. Nor chord symbols. Nada. I had to fiddle around with it and figure out the chords. It's not perfect, but it's definitely passable. After all this effort, I bet Murphy's Law will kick in and that the congregation at the wedding will just say the parts of the Mass that are often sung. Then I'll be off the hook. I should be prepared though - just in case.

(c) 2005 by Musespeak(tm). All rights reserved.