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Peace (SAB setting of an Alfred Noyes poem)


JordanRoberts

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I just finished my first composition of 2024. This is a choral setting of a 1918 poem by Alfred Noyes, "Peace".

In my life, finding peace has not been easy, and it has required great patience and waiting. This is reflected in the slow lilting tempo. Although it alternates between 11/8 and 12/8 time, it doesn't "sound complicated". The piano sound is Kontakt's August Förster Grand and the vocals were modeled in Synthesizer V Studio Pro.

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Hi @JordanRoberts!

The vocals in this setting are quite realistically rendered/modeled!  I think they're even superior to Cantamus which is an online vocal rendering service that's been used by others on this forum such as @Ivan1791 and @ComposaBoi.

I think the descending simple chord progression which avoids functional resolutions is perfect for the kind of mood you emulate here.  Although it does manage to modulate which is a welcome change in color.  There's also some Lydian inflections in certain spots which are great as well.  The alternation between 11/8 and 12/8 creates a sense of slight surprise which maintains rhythmic interest.

I also really like the natural imagery of the poem.

My only critique is that sometimes your long phrases lack any kind of obvious place where the singers could breathe so I'm guessing that in an actual performance the choir would have to stagger their breathing to create an illusion of a constant uninterrupted melodic line.

Thanks for sharing this soothing song!
Peter

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is quite lovely!  I have a few pieces of advice to make it more likely to be performed...

How badly do you want the soprano A naturals?  They are completely reasonable and attainable notes to write for sopranos, but the directors interested in SAB music tend to have have less experienced or smaller choirs, and may not have any sopranos with the natural range or training to hit a high A gracefully.  (They may!  But they may not).  It's good that the high A's mainly happen on S1 S2 splits, so that lower soprano voices can sing the lower part, but still, having them at all may limit the number of choirs that feel comfortable programming your piece.  If you wanted to make a change, you could consider how to work an A into another voice in a different octave, or be sure the piano covers them, so they can be omitted if necessary without changing the feel of the piece too much.  

Similarly, how badly do you want the lowest bass notes at measure 22?  Since you have written this for SAB, rather than SATB, the choir directors interested enough to click on a score and consider it for their groups may have very few men.  When that happens, it's also quite likely that they accept any warm male body who is interested in auditioning.  They may have some low basses, but they may not.  None of your B1 lines should be too high for a bass to sing, but you have a few low bass notes that may be out of range for tenors.  You might want to consider removing the B splits entirely, in case a very small group wants to sing this piece.  Most choirs have a not enough men problem and choirs interested in SAB music may be looking at SAB music for a reason.  If that's something you want to do, you can give extra notes to the piano, give B1 notes to the alto 2s, or leave the vocal parts as written, but be sure all notes in both baritone parts are covered by the piano, so they can be omitted from voices if necessary, or be sure the piano is covering one of the baritone lines, and put those notes in little brackets in the vocal parts as optional, or a mix of solutions.  

In some places your lyrics should be hyphenated differently when a word is split between multiple notes.  Look things up in a dictionary and follow the way the syllables are split there:  nest-ed, fish-ing, etc. 🙂

Dynamics and crescendos in vocal music always go above the line they apply to, not below it, and for piano parts they should be centered between the two staves if they apply to both hands.  

This is really lovely!  Give that score a polish, and I bet someone will sing it!

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On 2/17/2024 at 6:24 PM, pateceramics said:

This is quite lovely!  I have a few pieces of advice to make it more likely to be performed...

How badly do you want the soprano A naturals?  They are completely reasonable and attainable notes to write for sopranos, but the directors interested in SAB music tend to have have less experienced or smaller choirs, and may not have any sopranos with the natural range or training to hit a high A gracefully.  (They may!  But they may not).  It's good that the high A's mainly happen on S1 S2 splits, so that lower soprano voices can sing the lower part, but still, having them at all may limit the number of choirs that feel comfortable programming your piece.  If you wanted to make a change, you could consider how to work an A into another voice in a different octave, or be sure the piano covers them, so they can be omitted if necessary without changing the feel of the piece too much.  

Similarly, how badly do you want the lowest bass notes at measure 22?  Since you have written this for SAB, rather than SATB, the choir directors interested enough to click on a score and consider it for their groups may have very few men.  When that happens, it's also quite likely that they accept any warm male body who is interested in auditioning.  They may have some low basses, but they may not.  None of your B1 lines should be too high for a bass to sing, but you have a few low bass notes that may be out of range for tenors.  You might want to consider removing the B splits entirely, in case a very small group wants to sing this piece.  Most choirs have a not enough men problem and choirs interested in SAB music may be looking at SAB music for a reason.  If that's something you want to do, you can give extra notes to the piano, give B1 notes to the alto 2s, or leave the vocal parts as written, but be sure all notes in both baritone parts are covered by the piano, so they can be omitted from voices if necessary, or be sure the piano is covering one of the baritone lines, and put those notes in little brackets in the vocal parts as optional, or a mix of solutions.  

In some places your lyrics should be hyphenated differently when a word is split between multiple notes.  Look things up in a dictionary and follow the way the syllables are split there:  nest-ed, fish-ing, etc. 🙂

Dynamics and crescendos in vocal music always go above the line they apply to, not below it, and for piano parts they should be centered between the two staves if they apply to both hands.  

This is really lovely!  Give that score a polish, and I bet someone will sing it!

 

This is fantastic feedback!!! I appreciate it greatly. It is being premiered by the Grand Valley State University combined choir, however I will make some edits before selling.

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