composition project update (chorales)

See earlier posts on the composition project here.

After finishing my own harmonization of a Bach melody, I was pleased to see two other very different takes on the harmonization from Douglas A. Bradley and Michael Blostein. We each had own goals in mind. I'll share those briefly with scores and recordings for each.


My goal was to keep the rhythmic activity to a minimum and focus on interesting harmony. I wanted to reinforce our work on the chromatic scale in the 7th and 8th grade band. I was afraid of overwhelming the band and listener with too much surprise, so I kept the dissonance to a minimum and used mainly major and minor triads. You can see a score and listen to the recording below. Email me if you'd like parts.

Douglas A. Bradley

I really like the way Doug Bradley broke up the melody so that the bass instruments get to play it for the last two phrases--it totally changes the flavor of the harmonization, which was already interesting (quartal!) to begin with. One of the posters on my band room wall says "Bring out the dissonances, or they will sound like wrong notes," and working a bit on this version of the chorale was a great reinforcement for that concept. When students shy away from playing any note, it tends to sound wrong. Playing more confidently helps fix many tuning issues. Score.

Michael Blostein

It was nice to see Michael's creativity in stretching phrases and including a few touches of percussion outside of mallets. My band did not do justice to the phrasing or dynamic markings, but working on these things was helpful. My favorite part is the series of dissonances leading into the second to last cadence. Check out the score.