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De Profundis (Psalm 130)


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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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  • 2 months later...

Consider rewriting measure 32 as a combination of 5/4 and 4/4 rather than 9/4. Although you marked the subdivisions, it'd probably be simpler for director and performers to follow it in 5/4 then 4/4 or vice versa. There are a few other places where that concept applies. My general rule of thumb is only write instructions if there's no easier way to notate it! I love the energy in the second half of the piece, for sure! The first half seemed a little bit like it wanted to "take off" but couldn't quite. Maybe that's the intended effect? Good harmonic writing - the parts are a little tough, it'd take a good choir to keep up with this.

You have some really nice writing in here, my biggest gripe is that I long for something to make the entire piece cohesive - some theme, texture, motif, idea, ostinato, or something to tie everything together. My advice, if you have time (and it sounds like you do) take a week or two away from the piece. Don't look at it, play it, listen to it or anything - then come back to it and you'll hear all sorts of possibilities you didn't see before.

Good writing, keep it up and best of luck with your entry!


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I agree with Gustav about the number of instructions in the score.  Trust that your musicians are musicians and will know what to do with your piece.  You shouldn't need to explain too much unless you are looking for an effect that is very counter-intuitive and for which modern music notation doesn't already have a system.  

I worry that the ranges you have included in this piece may limit the number of groups who feel confident in their ability to perform it.  Particularly because it is a long a cappella work, and the pitch of the group may drift slightly over the course of the piece without an instrument to keep them in key.  High A's for the sopranos really are high.  Anyone who has a cold, or has had a busy rehearsal schedule with more than one ensemble that week, is going to have problems both rehearsing and performing this piece.  High E's for the basses are similar.  And because you also have some very low notes in the piece, a director can't decide to just perform it down a half step.  That's not to say that the piece can't be sung, but it becomes a riskier bet for a director, and they may choose to program someone else's work over yours as a result.  

On the other hand, I see what you were doing when you chose to work at the extreme ends of the range.  It's very dramatic!  And highlights the text well as a result!  Good luck!

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