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Song of the Holly

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I have written this as part of the Christmas music project. It's a revision of a carol I wrote a couple of years ago (which can be found here) based on Shakespeare's "Song of the Holly." It is for SATB choir and an accompaniment.

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I like this! 

I think the arrangement is very "transparent". It conveys the piece well, without beign too shiny or dull. This is something I want to acomplish in my own pieces.

Good job!

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Not bad at all. 

A few things I'd consider:

1) I can tell by the part writing and counterpoint, that this is probably one of your weak spots as a composer (which, trust me, everyone of us has been there). There are a few basics when writing contrapuntally -and a few spots in this piece have attempts at counterpoint. First, contrary motion is king. Oblique motion is child's play. Direct motion (or similar motion -where the voices move in the same direction) is something you want to limit. Contrary motion adds richness to your lines and allows for more complex contrapuntal interplay. One way you can tell someone who has limited practice writing contrapuntally is the types of motion they display in their writing. Measures 1 and 3 are excellent in terms of contrary motion -and you can hear how fuller it sounds.

2) While I do love the organ -I think it came out of no where. I didn't even realize up till that point that there was an organ part! What I would do is change this around a bit and use the organ to strengthen the vocal lines (doubling) while at the same time providing another layer to the contrapuntal lines. Or, if you don't want to do either, allow it more of a harmonic role in providing harmonic underpinning to the work. In other words, find a way to use the organ throughout the work!!

Other than those two points, I do like this and think it has a lot of potential to be expanded some more. 

Keep up the good work!

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Thank you for your replies everyone!

40 minutes ago, jawoodruff said:

Not bad at all. 

A few things I'd consider:

1) I can tell by the part writing and counterpoint, that this is probably one of your weak spots as a composer (which, trust me, everyone of us has been there). There are a few basics when writing contrapuntally -and a few spots in this piece have attempts at counterpoint. First, contrary motion is king. Oblique motion is child's play. Direct motion (or similar motion -where the voices move in the same direction) is something you want to limit. Contrary motion adds richness to your lines and allows for more complex contrapuntal interplay. One way you can tell someone who has limited practice writing contrapuntally is the types of motion they display in their writing. Measures 1 and 3 are excellent in terms of contrary motion -and you can hear how fuller it sounds.

2) While I do love the organ -I think it came out of no where. I didn't even realize up till that point that there was an organ part! What I would do is change this around a bit and use the organ to strengthen the vocal lines (doubling) while at the same time providing another layer to the contrapuntal lines. Or, if you don't want to do either, allow it more of a harmonic role in providing harmonic underpinning to the work. In other words, find a way to use the organ throughout the work!!

Hi @jawoodruff

I do agree that counterpoint is a weakness for me. I've never really thought about writing it properly, and your information about oblique vs contrary motion is very helpful.

I am looking for ways to incorporate the accompaniment more throughout the piece. I think it could use it especially in the choruses.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

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