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My First Piece For SATB


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Some info about this piece:

It’s based off of the poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar titled ‘Invitation To Love’. Unfortunately because of the program I use the performers in the audio file don’t sing the lyrics (words to the poem).

This is the first piece of music I’ve written for a vocalist. Typically I only do instrumentalists and I didn’t know a lot at all about vocalists when I wrote this. I am essentially teaching myself, so if anyone has advice for writing for vocalists please help me out!


Hope you enjoy!

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On page 2 second system measure 3 you have the tenor singing "Hayfield" on just one note but the word is two syllables.  The bass however does have two notes for that word.  Page 4 2nd system 2nd measure is a nice use of word painting where you make the word 'soft' actually have a soft texture/dynamic - nice job!  I like how you're always mixing things up between the different singers' parts - sometimes the basses and tenors sing together for a while, sometimes the sopranos and altos, and other times there are traded solos which is nice too.  Overall this has some nice melodies!

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This sounds great!  If you are interested in trying out writing for voices, it's worth learning the quirks of how scores are presented for singers.  Like being sure your spelling and commas are used correctly if you are a novelist, to present your musical ideas with polish, you want to know the conventions of writing for voices.  

Most important to make this look professional will be to correct the way you have placed the lyrics under the pitches.  For a word with more than one syllable where each syllable goes on a separate note, the general rule is to divide up the words the same way a dictionary would.  So you can use an online dictionary, look up any multi-syllable words in the text, and use the way it divides the syllables to divide yours.  For example, in your text, the word "mellow" should be divide as "mel-low," not "mell-ow," and "golden" should be "gold-en," not "gol-den."  

To spread a single syllable over more than one note, use a slur or tie on the pitches to indicate that they all go with the same syllable, and a dash/hyphen on the lyrics if the syllable is in the middle of a word, or an underscore/line extender if the syllable is at the end of a word.  So at the beginning of your piece, you have written the word "you" as "y-ou," but it should be "you_" instead, since "you" is only one syllable.  Same thing with "come when the nights are..."  You wrote, "a-re," but since "are" is only one syllable, it should be "are_".  "Come when the moon is mellow," should be "is_" not "i-s."  Again one syllable.  

When you have a multisyllabic word, you must have enough separate notes for the number of syllables.  So for "his golden bars," in the alto line, decide how you want to divide up "golden."  Two eighth notes like in the soprano part, both on a Gb?  And then the text will be "gold-en" with one syllable under each eighth note.  "Hayfield" in the tenor part has the same problem.  Do you want it to be two quarter notes to match the rhythm of the bass part, both on Eb?  You need to specify, and then the text would be written as "hay-field" with one syllable under each quarter note.  

I hope that's a help!  If you have any questions, take a look at some vocal music and see how they deal with syllable breaks.  You can find sheet music for church hymns online for free if you don't have any music at home to look at.  

In vocal music, dynamics and crescendos are placed above the notes, instead of below, to keep them out of the way of the lyrics.  Tempo markings like "rit." or "a tempo" are important for all parts to notice, so they should be in bold font and above each individual part.  

Nice job!

Edited by pateceramics
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Yes, I agree the lines are nice, but I see too much parallel motion and homophonic texture allthrough the piece. 

Parallel 5ths Tenor-Bass on bar four are absolutely forbiden in classical style, but in the style you are using I think they are OK, just be aware of that...

I would consider some contrary motion harmonies Sopran-Bass and some rythm independence between lines with a more conterpointal texture at times would also be nice.

You can also consider some imitations between voices, por exemple Soprano and Alto start a phrase and one or two bars later Tenor and Bass make some imitation to the lower octave or another interval, when Soprano and Alto are still playing. 

I hope it helps!


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