Thursday, September 27, 2018

Over the Moon in Love (What Were You Thinking?)

Wanetta Hill created the lyrics to this jazzy setting of Over the Moon in Love, available in SATB, SSA, and SSAA. We have all heard someone describe incredible happiness as being "over the moon." Wanetta took this idea to use many "space" terms (orbiting, gravity, spinning, etc.) to describe her love for her man. It is written in "big band" style, and drives with energy until the very end.

Take a look at the video I created to help you think of creative ways to present this piece in class. One of the main characteristics of the music involves imitation and independent lines. The harmonies come as a result of independent lines, with a middle section in homophonic texture. The piano gets in the act as well, imitating the voices in some places.

If you choose to sing this piece with the recorded mp3 accompaniment, but you find that the current accompaniment recording is too fast for your students, just write me at "," and tell me the exact tempo you need. Following your purchase, I'll be more than happy to e-mail the revised accompaniment back to you "within the day" in most cases.

Okay....check out the You Tube video for "Over the Moon in Love!"

Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (What were you thinking?)

I am beginning a new video series to assist choral directors in "climbing into my brain"...all in the effort to teach my pieces with greater ease and understanding. I am going to be posting these on You Tube. They will be advertised on my business Facebook page as well.

In this new video series, I am actually going to discuss my thought process as I was creating a specific piece of music. In my case, it will either be an original setting of choral music or an arrangement. As I have presented clinics over the country, I have noticed that when I tell the singers exactly what I was thinking, they sort of crawl into my head, and as a result... they sing better! They "get" it, because they are "with me." Choral musicians, are frequently drawn to the text. In my case, the text determines whatever is going to happen in the piece. What drew me into this text? Where should it go? How can I make that happen? These are my questions and concerns as I write.

I understand that for most of us, when we get in front of a group of singers, we all actually give "composer's intent" a hit-and-miss attempt... we can't possibly know what the composer intended, unless they tell us.  Musicians also bring their own unique interpretation and understanding to the podium, and I love that. It is important to me that all musicians who sing my music retain their own uniqueness, while also considering my thoughts as well. Then...a choice can be made. We are all creative ...we are striving for excellence in choral music performance. Bring your individual interpretation! When I hear Donald Neuen's interpretation of my music via the Hour of Power choir (he is retired now,) I always think, "Why didn't I think of that?" Depending on your group, chances are that the text will "mean" different things to different groups, depending on their history and experience.

Sometimes there are interesting stories and thoughts that have gone into writing music, and I try to use every available creative thread in myself to bring out all I can possibly drain from the text. I start with the text, and text is "king" for me. Without the words, I would probably write no notes at all. I must have the text to get started and move the piece toward the most important moment in the text, given my own understanding. Other choral music writers/composers/arrangers use a different process, and it works! I am not passing judgement on anyone's process that might be different from my own. I am just suggesting that we must know what works with us individually to make our pieces effective in regard to the choral sound.

So...bring your musicianship, understanding, creativity, and love of music to the "interpretation table." With that said, take a look at this video where I discuss the writing of Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (SATB) to gain a bit of insight into the writing of the arrangement.

Thanks so much!!