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How Calmly The Evening

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  • #2415

    This is a fairly straight forward, though not altogether hymnodically stylistic tune set to some 19th century lyrics that I found and liked. I’d be curious to here your thoughts on it, specifically regarding potential problem spots and the effect of the stylistic departures, but also more generally.

  • #2416

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator

    Hi Vincent, I enjoy this tune. It flows really well in an expressive legato. I do think a few things could improve it, though.

    First, there’s not a lot of repetition of musical ideas. Every line is different, and even though they are fairly cohesive, that makes for a lot of musical material to learn as well as not giving it lots of direction.

    Also, the harmony could be more solid. Typically, I find that I can get away with chords in unstable inversions best when they are not on a strong beat or a prominent note or when they flow directly from the note before them and to the note after them. There are exceptions, of course, but I don’t think all of the inversions you include are exceptions, such as the IV6 at “eve.” My (uneducated) sense is that these stylistic departures could benefit from more practice of standard harmonization.

    Just my thoughts.

  • #2426

    Vincent. There’s some things I love about this hymn. I think the mood of the music matches the text very well.

    I agree with Lynn on both of his points. I might expand a touch on his point of repetition.

    I think, while the piece flows fairly intuitively, a bit more coherence between the lines would help make it stronger. I definitely don’t think every piece has to be an ear-worm, but when I think about a lot of the hymns that have stood the test of time and remain in our liturgy today, there’s often some recognizable motif that makes it “stick”. In looking at this hymn measure 1 and two have that little repeated motif (repeated a 2nd higher). I sorta expected that motif to come back at some point but it didn’t. Instead each line more or less brought about a new set of musical ideas. You might consider whether there’s a way to bring a bit more congruence between the lines.

    That dotted quarter – eighth figure is a great little rhythmic idea that I think you use well. I think pairing that with some melodic repetition could make this hymn quite strong.

    One trick if you don’t already do this, is to save a copy of it and delete everything but the melody line. Listen to that, sing it and think about what works and what doesn’t. In my experience, sometimes the harmony can get in the way of us critically listening to the melody.

    Overall, I enjoy the mood of this piece! Keep the music flowing!

  • #2445

    Good words, Lynn and Lyndon! Another thought I’ll throw in — every measure has three syllables in four beats, set up 2+1+1. I’m wondering whether setting it in 3 might help it flow better. It feels like it takes a good bit of time, though I grant that the opening text does lend itself to that.

    I do think the melody sings easily and is winsome, though I agree with the above sentiments concerning the need for more coherence (repetition).

  • #2714

    This is a great piece! Those before me have done a excellent job in evaluating it; I have only one little suggestion to mix in. To my unprofessional ear, the tenor DO in staff 3, second-to-last measure, sounds a little like it’s jumping up into the air while the rest of the music is trying to settle down. My suggestion for fixing that would be to put the tenor on a SO and the alto on a TI.

    Keep up the excellent composing!

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