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Thread: I have composed a hymn to the Lord's glory

  1. #11
    f Forte regeron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    Are you guys saying that I should stick to the natural chords of the key? e.g. F, C7, C Bb, Dm, Am, Gm, etc. I though the A7 and Eb chords helped break the monotony and I've seen hymns that do those type of chords. One example is "Meekness and Majesty" it has an E7 chord in a C major song.
    No, you're right to seek to break the monotony of staying in one key with all its inherent chords. The issue becomes one of matching the style you're writing in to the kind of harmonic adventures you want to take.

    The style of your hymn has the flavor of camp-meeting and leans older than "Meekness and Majesty", so you would do well to look at what kinds of harmonic diversions were used in older compositions, say from a couple decades ago or more. Hymn style and history aren't really my specialty, so I'd go with someone else's suggestions there.

    You have at your disposal 5 other keys related to F --- (in scalewise order) Gm, Am, Bb, C, and Dm. (It's unlikely that a composer from days gone by would treat either E or Em as a relative key to F.) Any of the others can be reached with either the removal of the Bb in the key signature (to create C and Am), or with the addition of an Eb (to create Bb and Gm). (Either way, this is done through the use of accidentals, not an actual change of key signature.) You sail through some of those keys briefly, but you could linger in one of them longer, perhaps for a whole line or two.

    Your Eb chord could thus be used as part of a section in Bb. Likewise, the A or A7 could be used as part of a section in Dm.

    It also occurred to me that your verse and refrain are too similar, once you remove the opening of the refrain. Textually, melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, the refrain needs to be the key to everything, and stand apart from the verse somehow.

    You did well to write what you did in a limited range - this will make it easier for those who can't hit a lot of either high or low notes. But a narrow range will put more demands on your creativity. It's easy to have everything sound the same, unless you are very careful. So far, it all sounds too alike.

    The 'similarness' is good for certain kinds of meditative hymns, the christian version of transcendental meditation, where a phrase is repeated over and over until the singer moves to a differnet spiritual/emotional plane. If that is your desire, then keep the melody plain and make the harmony simpler than it is now.

    READING-STUDY: I've suggested various things already. Looking at this piece, I'd suggest that you start with two basic topics: CADENCES and MELODY-WRITING.

    TIPS:
    CADENCES - There are 4 common cadences. Their names may vary from teacher to teacher or book to book, so I'll just give their chord indications using Roman numerals.:
    I-V V-I I-IV V-vi. You use a nice mixutre of them, but you stay in the key of F and your order of cadences remains the same. If you study these and start to use the same cadences but in one of the related keys, it will sound more interesting.
    MELODY - Look up melody-writing in a book or online. Consider length of phrase, shape of phrase, ambitus (or range), rhythm, and development of similar phrases, as a starting point.
    Last edited by regeron; 08-23-2017 at 11:22 PM.

  2. #12
    pp Pianissimo Eddy67716's Avatar
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  3. #13
    f Forte regeron's Avatar
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    Thanks Eddy,
    Could you put into words what you have changed and why? That will help us to understand your changes, and to offer further advice. It's not just the changes that are important, but why they are made.

  4. #14
    pp Pianissimo Eddy67716's Avatar
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    I changed a bit of the melody in the refrain by changing some of the quavers into crochets.

  5. #15
    f Forte regeron's Avatar
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    I'm going to ask for two short essays, perhaps a couple paragraphs each. One will discuss all that you know about cadences; the other will highlight things to consider when writing a melody, how to make it interesting, how to avoid pifalls. I'm sure that if you look online, you will find information that you can use. I don't want cut-and-paste from Wikipedia or any other source. I want to read it in your own words. Once I have a clearer understanding of what you know about these, I and others will be better able to offer advice.

    Yes, it's homework. If any of us want to improve our skills, it's necessary.

  6. #16
    pp Pianissimo Eddy67716's Avatar
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    I have found out about two different types a Cadences the IV I and the V I cadences. I know that most good cadence melodies go from Supertonic to tonic or leading note to tonic. Cadences should have the bass note playing the root of the chord, A voice must not play a note that is higher than the last note the upper voice played. e.g. if a tenor line plays a G the bass line should not play the A that is above it next. and there should not be consecutive fifths or octaves.

    As for melodies: they should generally flow from one note to the next not up or down and the best jumps to use are thirds. I also know that you shouldn't jump sevenths. They should be very easy to sing or hum.

  7. #17
    f Forte regeron's Avatar
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    Thanks Eddy, that's a great start. Here are some more questions to continue to fill out your understanding of cadences and melodies.

    CADENCES - You listed two basic cadences. What are they called?
    -- There are also two other common cadence types. Find out what they are and what they are called, too.

    MELODIES - If a melody consists of 2, 3 or 4 phrases, what differences might there be from phrase to phrase to make each one more interesting, exciting, or engaging than the one before.
    -- Yes, melodies move either by step (conjunct) or skip/leap (disjunct). While it is true that the step-wise motion is very good and very common, and that skips of a third are the next most comfortable intervals, there are other good skips, either ascending (going up) or descending (going down). Check to see what is said about these skips.
    -- Define 'climax' as it applies to melody.
    -- Look up ambitus and range - note that different theorists might use different words for the same thing.
    Last edited by regeron; 08-28-2017 at 01:09 PM.

  8. #18
    p Piano andijah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eddy67716 View Post
    I also know that you shouldn't jump sevenths.
    Unless you're Bernstein, writing the West Side Story ("Somewhere").

    But you're right, when it comes to hymns, a jump like this is probably not advisable. Octaves are quite possible, though - at least over here, I know many hymns that use octaves.

  9. #19
    ff Fortissimo Suhndog's Avatar
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    Hi Eddy,

    I'm not skilled in music theory, and I play mostly by ear.
    I just listened to your Hymn on Musecore..

    I really like it!

    There is [IMHO] one spot where I think you should use a different chord:

    On measure #28, that A7 sounds awkward. The Hymn is flowing nicely, and then that chord imparts a bit too much tension.. I would just stick with a C7 there.. [just a suggestion]. It would flow better and follow the emotion better I feel.
    Music should be felt as you know.. and to me, that A7 is quirky. It upsets the feel.

    I commend you on your brave and nice offering to the Lord! I know he is honored by your devotion and using the gifts He has given you for His Glory, and the delight of others!

    I have been ministering in music for years [organ primarily, and also piano and other instruments].. I have learned that music originated in Heaven!
    What a wonderful gift God has given to us musicians who seek to honor the King! - and Bless others!

    It's always important to feel the music [as you must know!].. So when you're composing, give yourself a few days away from the piece, and come back fresh.. and just listen to it.. Your heart - and the Holy Spirit will guide you!

    I look forward to hearing your piece as it evolves and is finished..

    Sincerely;

    marc
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