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O God, Our Help in Ages Past

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  • #2480

    This is a work from 2020. I’m still learning the intricacies of counterpoint, so please point out forbidden things. I believe the strength of this arrangement is its melody. That’s not to say it can’t use work. My ear is so used to this hymn now that I can’t find the errors myself. I would appreciate any help (pun intended, I suppose).

  • #2501

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator

    Wow, Richard, I really like the Early American feel to this. With the synthesized piano, it’s a bit hard for me to hear the voices. Would you mind sending it as a MusicXML file, so I could play with voices and speeds?

  • #2509

    Of course. I’ve sent it to your email, since I haven’t been able to post it here.

    • #2516

      Lynn Martin
      Administrator

      Ok, I realized there was a setting it needed to change. It should work now, and I’m uploading what you sent me.

  • #2519

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator
  • #2521

    Lynn Martin
    Administrator

    Again, a very nice melody. This would work great in many contexts. It has considerable beauty and movement. For the harmony, I think it’s overly sophisticated for the simply elegant melody. A traditional harmonization without most of the pedal tones and chromatics, and with more selective use of counterpoint, would in my view work better.

  • #2524

    Richard, this melody is delightful! It has many of the same qualities that have made the Early American folk tunes stand the test of time. I applaud you for that!

    The three Ti’s in the melody at measures 5, 6, and 7 are the only thing preventing it from being a pentatonic melody. This is something you could experiment with if you really wanted to embrace the folk qualities of the melody. I also feel that measures 5, 6, and 7 are possibly a weak spot in the melody.

    I would also agree that a less chromatic harmonization might suit the melody better. That said (not to discount Lynn’s input) I do think that pedal tones can be very effective in a more folk-like setting. Alice Parker, for instance, did this a bit in some of her work. (I highly recommend studying her work, btw)

    1 other spot in the melody that I would consider is the opening 2 measures. You’re basically arpeggiating the tonic chord. While I’m not saying this is bad, I think maybe something slightly more melodic would “sing” more easily and also strengthen the overall melody.

  • #2555

    Hi Richard, this is really nice! I like the way the quarter note motion keeps the music moving. and the quarter note rests are just a great way to give the music a little break from the constant motion. one thing that I thought of with this is that the whole note in m. 7 feels like it looses the momentum that the quarter notes give it. I would suggest keeping the movement going through that measure. this could be done by keeping the soprano moving, like you have on “ages” in m. 3 or something else like that. This could also apply to measure 12 on “and” although this did not seem as much of a problem.

    Also, the way that you have it set up, you have 3 phrases that are 4 measures long. But then the fourth phrase, “and our eternal home” is just 3 measures long. it think it would help the flow if you were able to structure this phrase as you did the first 3 with 4 measures.

    Great work! the music fits the text nicely and brings fresh meaning to it.

  • #2684

    Thank you all for your astute notes. I don’t know when, but sometime I will get around to another edit of this.

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