So, when I got home I felt compelled to put my interest in a cappella vocal music into more direct practice by trying to get more involved in writing and arranging music for our group, VoiceMale. This started tentatively by having a go at writing a four-part arrangement of an old children's song that Dave Mc suggested we do (I won't give away which one just yet!). We tried it out at the rehearsal last week and it seemed to go pretty well: I left a few 'clashy' harmonies in the middle section that seem to resolve nicely in the end. So, you might hear VoiceMale performing that one at a gig in the near future (click Gigs in the menu bar to see where we're appearing next).
My next little project was one I worked on before sitting down to dinner yesterday evening: a new piece written in solidarity with the people of Norway after the gun and Bomb massacre that took place there in July. When the citizens of Oslo took to the streets in response to that atrocity, Norway 's prince delivered a speech to the crowd of mourners that included the line "Tonight the streets are filled with love." For some reason, these words struck a chord with me so I decided to set them to a music in the form of a short song with an introductory section that leads into a round. I'm not 100% sure whether it quite works, yet, but that should become clear when we give it a try at one of our forthcoming rehearsals. Watch this space.
Speaking of rounds: community choirs often sing songs in this form, partially because they're fun, and partially because it means that there's just one part for everyone to learn, so getting these types of songs together can be more immediate and accessible to those unfamiliar with harmony singing. I've not really tried to write one, though, since my college days when our harmony classes demanded that we compose various little canons (the 'musical' term for pieces where parts imitate / follow one another) and back then we were marked on the technical merits of the way the parts interact. What with those days being long gone, I found writing even a modest little round this week to be something of a challenge, but I'm determined to get better at it. Perhaps I'll try a few more 'simple canons', then I'll have a go at some more challenging types of canonic / contrapuntal writing.
I'm thinking I might also write about the different types of canon in my next blog - there are many variations on this theme ...but let's see how far I get with actually composing some first!