Monthly Archives: May 2010

Sunday Sounds #1

I’ve been thinking about doing this type of recurring post for quite a while. But Saturday or Sunday always passes and by then it’s too late. So, today’s the day when I’m actually going to start the recurring blog post, “Sunday Sounds.”

I have a lot of random hymn arrangements floating in my head, but this is the first one I’ve recorded in many months.  This is a rough cut of an arrangement I’m writing for Jolie.  We’re planning to do another demo recording, and this was a favorite hymn of hers.  Unfortunately, she’s pretty busy, so she’s not recorded the vocals yet.   So, for this initial Sunday Sounds post, you’ll only get to hear the arrangement as the initial piano accompaniment scratch track to Be Still My Soul.   And honestly, probably a lot of the tracks you’ll hear in my Sunday Sounds blog posts are going to be quick piano things because those are the easiest to record quickly.

The arrangement actually has four passes of the verse/chorus.  The fourth verse will consist of a piano solo, with the final chorus containing the following lines:

“Be still my soul, Thy best thy heavenly Friend, thru thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.”

“Be Still my soul, when change and tears are past, All safe and blessed, we then shall meet at last (I added the word “then” to make it easier to sing).”

In general, the arrangement is supposed to be sad, sweet, contemplative, peaceful.  That is the way the hymn speaks to me.

Other writing notes you might be interested in. These will be more “music theory” based, for those of you who eat that type of stuff up:

  • Some of you will notice that around 0:42, the arpeggio sounds like something out of  Prelude in C. Yes, I did that on purpose.  It’s a tribute to Bach.
  • I hit the low C during the third verse to give that feeling of spiritual resolve as the hour is “hast’ning on”.
  • I don’t hit that distinct Major III chord (chord sung at “remain”,” at last”, “restored”) that totally makes Be Still My Soul until the  last chorus.  My purpose for resolving with that chord until the very end is  to help people take notice of the music and lyric (“leads to a joyful end”) at that point of the song.  I’m trying to be subtle in the way I draw people’s attention.  I’m curious if this catches your attention in the way I intended.
  • I do use the major 3rd at 2:26, but since it’s not expected to be heard in that part of the song, it adds a certain mysteriousness to the lyric.  It also leads nicely into the  obligato melody I use for the end of the 2nd chorus.
  • Speaking of that slightly changed melody, those of you who have listened to some of my other arrangements might have noticed that I do this quite a bit.  I guess it’s one of my signatures (play the end of the chorus melody a third above the original).
  • I use deceptive cadences throughout the piece, because, well, I like deceptive cadences.

I’ve  yet to write out the sheet music, but if this is something you’d like to play for yourself, please shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment so I can gauge the demand for this type of thing (writing out sheet music in Sibelius takes a while!)


Be Still My Soul arr by Jared Ong v1