The Way Of Peace

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  • #3294

    Benjamin Brubaker
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    Greetings to all,

    This is my first post as I’m new here and also fairly new to composing. I’ve been around music all my life but recently developed a deeper interest in composing so I’ve sort of dived in head first. I learn to do by doing so this is probably rough around the edges, as I’ve just dug in and started creating this. I’m looking for very clear and simplified feedback, so a novice can understand and gain insight.

    This is the first song I’ve actually composed completely by myself so please have patience.

    Thanks in advance for any input!

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  • #3295

    Nice choice of text, Ben.

    There are two things I notice initially.

    One, you might determine how you want your 6/4 meter to be divided. 6/4 is a sort of ambiguous meter; it can be felt as being in 2, or in 3. Some of the measures in this piece have 3 half notes, meaning they feel like they’re in 3. Other measures, the last three measures for example, are best felt in 2. It’s ok to have some syncopation, but on the whole I think you should determine whether to divide the measures in two or in three, and then stick with that for the whole piece. 2 is the best choice, I think, for this piece, but I’ll let you make that call.

    Two, you might think about your harmonic rhythm – that is, how often your harmony is changing. Try to make the harmony change only once a measure or twice a measure. However often you change it, the important thing is to establish a pattern.

    I like your idea! I’d be curious what others have to say.

  • #3296

    I’ll be honest, I struggled with the timing on this piece. I had initially tried with 4/4 timing and it just wasn’t working out for me. Maybe I need to rethink it. I’m no poet and timing is a weak spot for me, but I think the text is a triple meter until the last 2 lines (beginning at measure 9) switch to quadruple meter. Hence the 6/4 as it sort of fit both in this case. I stand to be corrected on this, and welcome input.

    On the point of harmony not changing more than once or twice per measure, could you expand a on that? Do you mean not to switch between say for example a 1 chord and 5 chord no more than once or twice?

    Point taken on establishing a pattern, I’ll try to make some adjustments on that.

    Thank you!

  • #3297

    I think I misunderstood you Richard, when you mentioned the timing being divided. After reading your post a few more times it finally hit me that your refering to the timing being divided by 2 or 3 within each measure, not necessarily the overall 6/4 timing of the song. Sometimes I’m slow….. lol

  • #3298

    Hi Benjamin,

    On the matter of harmony changing once or twice a measure, I don’t intend any prohibitions on switching between five and one chords. Harmonic rhythm, or harmonic tempo, is the rate at which chords change in a musical composition. Harmonic rhythm can be slow or fast. For example, “Eternal Father, When to Thee” has a fast harmonic rhythm; the chord changes every quarter note. “Holy God, We Praise Thy Name” has a slower harmonic rhythm; for the most part, the chord changes every measure. It’s not that one song is slower than the other; but they have a different rate of change.

    In the “The Way of Peace,” does the harmony change every quarter note? every half note? If I were you, I’d consider reworking this piece just to establish some large-scale patterns in the piece. Your first two-measure phrase has a fine progression of 1 (with a fluctuation to 5) to 4, then a cadential 6/4 to 5 in the second measure. In the third measure, I am surprised by a sudden 6-4-1-4-1 progression. I would consider making the second phrase a little more like the first phrase. In the first two measures, the felt harmony changes once per measure; in the second two measures, it changes almost every quarter note. In measures 9-11, the song changes back to a very slow harmonic rhythm, which is sure to discombobulate a lot of singers. There are ways to set patterns of fast and slow, so I would suggest reworking the harmonies until it feels exceedingly natural to sing.

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