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Psalm 150


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Hi! I wrote this piece for submitting to choral composition competitions in next few months...

Could you give me any comments after listening to the piece? I'd really appreciate your help!

(Attached are PDF score and computer-generated audio)


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I looked at a few of your Psalms and I don't know what your going for.

Here is my opinion, and you can disregard them if you wish.

1) it is very dissonant, making it very difficult to sing.

2) it sounds very random

3) I'm not sure why you used a psalm for lyrics. when I think of a psalm, I think of a chorale or a hymns.

This music is very strange to me. I couldn't give you any real advice.

Good luck to you.


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Actually these pieces are much easier to sing than they sound...usually each part only have have to sing in major scale from the pitch where the atonal passage begins, and most atonal passages are no longer than two measures, so it is quite easy for each voice to stay in tune...

Honestly, I kind of hesitated a bit about writing choral pieces in atonal music at the beginning, but I noticed lots of even more atonal, more difficult unaccompanied choral music from lots of composers such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Louis Andriessen, Arnold Schoenberg, Hans Werner Henze, Gyorgi Ligeti, and Augusta Read Thomas...

But if you would still suggest I make easier pieces I can start making another 2-3 songs, as there is still few months left until the submission deadlines...

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This is an interesting work, to be sure. The musical palette you used was quite colorful! And while I understand you were going for an "acidic" atonal piece here, it didn't sound atonal so much as it sounded like mixed tonalities. Most of your chords are triads in non-related major keys. Like @Monarcheon mentioned, you rely perhaps too heavily on 4ths throughout, especially within the same part. This being a song set to religious text, I would have liked a stronger sense of theme and melody; it seems too "random" as it currently stands. However, that's just a matter of personal taste. Some choir directors might find that appealing.

As a tenor myself, I can tell you that the tenor part is consistently high. I strongly recommend rewriting some of the divisi passages so that the tenors aren't hitting high G's and A's so often and so fast. I would be hoarse after just a couple of rehearsals of this piece. I also dislike the F chord at the very end; there is a lot of doubling going on. Perhaps you could redistribute the chord to minimize that? And finally, it's a good idea to notate when a part is to be sung unison if there has been a passage of divisi. Musicians are smart, but it never hurts to be more clear.

You clearly have a strong understanding of music theory and composition. I like your developing style, and I look forward to listening to more of your stuff on this site!

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Overall, I like the ideas presented here. You have a good sense of theory and how colors work in a composition. You must understand that this piece could only be done by a large choir that is highly advanced.

I think my major criticism is that there is no pay off in this piece. While the colors are wonderful and will sound cool, nothing really happens for 3 minutes. You do attempt development via increasing the rhythmic density and increasing the dissonance until reaching a climactic moment of rousing togetherness and a tonal shift to boot.

How to fix this? Make the sense melodicism stronger. Make the lines longer instead of writing in fragments. The ideas are good, but they need to be stringed together better.

Keep up the good work.


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