Mass

Gloria – edited

  • Mass

I have been experimenting with different versions of the “gloria chorus”. In the end, I’ve settled on a version which extends the tenor/bass chords and has more of a call-and-response feel. At first, I felt this version lost a bit of energy and drive, but I have come to like it and the effect is much tidier and seems to me to be really joyful.

I have also gone back to a full repetition of the last line for both part one and part two of each verse. I had removed this from the “part ones” because I feared too much repetition but a small edit (to finish the repetition with two crochets) and one small melodic change has allowed me to revert – and this is more in keeping with the “West Gallery” genre.

Gloria – recording, mixing… and changing

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I have recorded, mixed and listened to the Gloria.

There is a big problem with the bouncy gloria-gloria chorus which I like so much when listening to the instrumental sounds. Now, with voices, the second section (with the over-lapping “glorias”) just sounds too much of a jumble. It does need re-working.

I have regularised the words for the Gloria – rather than switching between Latin and English from phrase to phrase in a somewhat haphazard fashion, the first part of each verse now uses English and the second, Latin.

(not the) Agnus Dei – recording, mixing… and feeling dissatisfied

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I have recorded, mixed and listened to the not the Agnus Dei.

The texture is very “thick” in the verses. They sound better with only three (or even two) lines in the canon sections. However, I still cannot be sure whether this would be an issue if the parts were spread over the extra octave as they would be with proper SATB voices. I can leave a decision on this.

A more immediate issue is that in some parts of the “chorus”, where the voices overlap with different rhythms and words, the overall affect is muddled and confused. Again, I’m sure that this would be less apparent with more distinct voices rather than the single multi-tracked voice I have, but I decided that some editing (to match rhythms where possible and avoid using “hear our prayer/hear us” against “receive our prayer” unnecessarily) will produce a cleaner sound without losing anything.

I’ll re-record this section.

Kyrie – recording, mixing… and tweaking

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The Kyrie is recorded and I have “mixed” the parts with and instrument track.

Having listened to my recording of the Kyrie, I have removed the suspended 4th at the end of the bass Christe eleison – it just didn’t quite sound in keeping with the rest of the piece.

Kyrie, Gloria, (not the) Agnus Dei and Quoniam tu solus Sanctus

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All the pieces of this short mass have reached the stage at which I feel I could share, so I will consider this my first draft of all the pieces. I have printed copies and will be ready to share shortly. My experience (very limited!) has told me that I will definitely have to make tweaks and, probably, much bigger changes when I hear the pieces sung. (I find that when I hear my pieces sung, the effect of the sounds of the words changes things so much from just hearing the parts played by simulated instruments. I don’t have the knowledge, experience and skill to predict where issues will arise and avoid them at a stage before I can hear the pieces sung by real people!)

Having something sung by a group real people isn’t practical at the moment. However, I do need to try to find out how these sound when sung so I’ll have to have a go at singing all the parts myself. Given the restrictions we are under at the moment, this is my only option. My voice is quite low and I don’t have a falsetto so the texture of the sound will not be a good reflection but, hopefully, this will help be iron out some issues at least.

Gloria and (not the) Agnus Dei

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I have added the “gloria-gloria” chorus after the “Laudate te” and the “Domine fili unigenite” sections. Is this too much repetition? Is the piece now too/unnecessarily long? I’m not sure, but I do like these outburst of pure joy… So I’m leaving them in at the moment.

I have decided against extending the Agnus Dei beyond its original scope. It just felt too long and the “mood” of the music did not seem to me to be a good fit with the words. So… I will be leaving this at just the two verses and chorus (plus the introduction).

Gloria

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I have slightly changed (improved!) the sequence of the wording in the Gloria – how phrases are repeated – to give a better flow. I have also corrected some rhythmic inconsistencies (from verse to verse) which have crept in.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus

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I have moved the main melody of the Quoniam to the tenor (doubled by the sopranos in the second half of the verse) which is a common feature of earlier West Gallery hymns.

I have also added and introduction and a symphony.

Quoniam tu solus Sanctus

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I’ve started an entirely new piece for the Quoniam tu solus Sanctus. I tried out including this as part of the Agnus Dei yesterday, but I wasn’t happy. Now I have a joyful tune with unison and fuging sections reflecting its West Gallery inspiration well, I feel. Again, this came pretty much as “a whole” – including an “amen” chorus and was a quick write.  

(not the) Agnus Dei

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I have extended the Agnus Dei significantly, adding new verses with the words: Quoniam tu solus Sanctus, to Solus Altissimus Jesu Christe/For thou alone art holy, Jesus Christ; cum Santo Spiritu in gloria Patris… I have used a tune which, originally, I had as a counter melody to the main Agnus Dei theme, but which I decided not to use.

I am not at all sure that extending this piece really works… Something else to mull over.