Double Chant in E minor

A round stained glass window with leaf-patterned tracery; the glass does not make a coherent imageI’ve just spent a week singing Evensong in Lincoln Cathedral, with the guest choir for the week: the Cathedral Singers of Ontario. We had a lovely welcome from the cathedral and indeed the city of Lincoln had much to offer, without being overwhelming. I always enjoy singing with CSO, and learn a lot. In addition, my mother is here to visit from Canada, and we have been having some time catching up.

Preparing for cathedral services is always interesting and there is often a question of how to spend limited rehearsal time when singing different music every day. The Preces and Responses are usually the same all week, though I’m not sure where that custom came from; but the psalms, canticles, anthem and hymns are different for every service, and all must be learned.

Singing psalms well probably needs more rehearsal time than anything else. Though the pitches repeat themselves every verse or two in Anglican chant, the words generally do not, and the notation is such that working out the rhythm of each note and indeed when to change notes takes time. In theory it’s simple: you sing in “speech rhythm”, giving the same emphasis to various syllables as you would when speaking. In practice, everyone speaks a little differently, and so a certain amount of rehearsal time is spent ironing out the various kinks.

Just now, I feel very much like I’ve spent a week steeped in psalms. It’s a good feeling.

So, here’s a psalm chant of my own. It’s not to any particular psalm; rather, it’s based loosely on the melody of another piece I’m writing. But it will fit any text pointed for Anglican Chant, and I invite you to try it for one of the more lamenting or meditative psalms.

Double Chant in E minor – Full Score in .pdf format

And some robotic flutes playing through it:

As usual, the work is available on the Choral Public Domain Library, and it’s under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license: please do pass it on to people who might be interested, especially if they aren’t online so much. And if you’d like to help me to keep sharing music I compose, please consider becoming a supporter at Patreon.

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