Mentoring Program

Shroud of Darkness

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I am composing this song for MMU's Select Chorus to perform at the Spring concert and I need to finish it by March. I will write it so that it can be performed with strings, but that the strings are optional and are only an additional part of the orchestration. I also intend to use the song for the soundtrack of a show I will make in the distant future. It is about having the strength to rise up and fight against something that seems invincible. I will write the lyrics in Latin. Here are several songs that have successfully captured the feeling that I will try to invoke with this song:
Grade Level: 12
Intended For: Live Instrument Performance
Software Used: Noteflight
Instrumentation: Choral
Key: Bb minor
Meter Signature: 12/4
Tempo: 100
Status: Work in Progress
Noteflight URL: Website Title


#22 Benjamin Slattery 2017-03-24 21:44
Hi Matt,

I can not thank you enough for working on this project with me! Since you helped me finish the first draft, Mr. Pillsbury has been helping me revise it, so after this point if you want to see how it's going and give feedback, your feedback would be wonderful, but since I'm getting Mr. Pillsbury's feedback I won't have enough time to work on it with you regularly as well. I'll make sure to message you again once it's finished so you can see the end product if you want!

#21 Matt LaRocca 2017-03-13 13:33
Hi Ben,

What you've done is impressive, so I'll keep everything short to make edits easy. It's wild how much it changes each time I look at it.

You'll have to clean up slurs etc in the beginning - you don't want to slur two notes together with different text underneath like in m. 4,5,6 etc.

There are some spots where voices are making jumps to second harmonies - like the tenors from m. 28-29. Both voices have to land in a major second. That is really tough. It would be better to move them both to a G and then split. same in m. 37.

It's very fast words at m. 66 ish (eighth notes really move, and it's a lot of words to get out). The tempo may have to relax a lot here to get the text. Same thing at 80 - it could be very garbled there.

I would add breath mark breaks after 83 and 85 to indicate some lift to the end of the phrase.

Ending - are you sure it doesn't make sense to end on a strict G major triad? The added harmonic notes sound nice, but it lacks a sense of finality that you may otherwise have.

Let me know how close you are to starting rehearsal. It's a touch piece, so be warned. It'll be very fun, though.

#20 Benjamin Slattery 2017-03-11 13:47
I put the first draft of the words into Noteflight and I am planning to add the revised version of the words to Noteflight over the course of this weekend. Since Pillsbury needs it finished as soon as possible, is there anything else you think I should do? This might be my last chance to get your feedback before we have to print it and start learning it.
#19 Matthew LaRocca 2017-03-11 08:23
I think it’s good - there’s a lot of text and you would definitely need a translation in the program, but I think it works nicely.

Roll with it!
#18 Benjamin Slattery 2017-03-08 23:30
The light is cast down into night, but now, in this place, we will reclaim it.
The darkness manifest of a titan casts a shadow beyond.
It rises over all in the manner of the kings, like antiquity.
It is both immortal and eternal to such an extent that it is it’s own master, contrary to divinity.
Now, both immortal and eternal, it has dominion over time.
Now let us rise on this occasion against this malevolent darkness.
I can’t forget these memories! Why should I?
Why should I throw away what we had?
You can go save them if you please.
I’m sorry, I can not whisper into the dark.
The darkest night shrouds all in shadow.
It lets time unwind and space unravel.
Immortal and eternal, it rises divinely.
It rises over all in the manner of the kings, in the manner of a god.
Does it rise? It rises in the manner of the greatest kings.
Does it rise? It rises in the manner of the greatest gods.
Love me, as I have loved you.
The heart of the girl shrouded in shadow is opened.
The man beloved of the girl hears the words of her heart.
The man beloved of the girl pulls the strings of her heart.
#17 Matthew LaRocca 2017-03-08 10:31
My latin is terrible...can you send me a translation too?
#16 Benjamin Slattery 2017-03-07 23:03
Hi Matt,

I finished the first draft of the words:

Lux puta deicitur noctem sed hac eam nunc renovamus
Caligo apparens titani praeter in-umbrat
Iuxta reges trans totos crescebat avite
Immortalisque aeternusque est quod sua nefas est?
Nunc immortalisque aeternusque imperat aevum
Nunc ascendamus istic contra hanc tenebram atram
Non! Non possum damnare^has memorias! Quid obiectem?
Cur deicio? Quid obiectem omnia quae habuimus?
Sed potes servare hac in-cassum eos cito si vis
Excuso, non possum stillare umquam in umbram
Nox intempesta omnes obscuravit sub umbra
Subsistentiae distexit tempusque revolvit
Immortalisque aeternus divinitus undat
Iuxta reges trans totos iuxta deum undat
Surgitne? Regalissime surrexit hac
Surgitne? Divinissime surrexit hac
Arde clare pure me, iuxta arsi grave te
Virginis obscurantis in umbra cor aperitur
Conciliatus virginis audit cordis ibi orsi
Carus virginis tractat cordis stamena/nervi eius

I'm ready to start putting the finishing touches on it. What do you think?
#15 Matthew LaRocca 2017-03-04 19:38
I like the idea of ending rather softly, but I don't think 89 works right now with what precedes it. I think it makes more sense to end on the crescendo in 88.

#14 Benjamin Slattery 2017-03-01 21:26
My one last question before we only worry about the words for a while is do you think I should go with the ending in measures 87-88, or measure 89?
#13 Matthew LaRocca 2017-03-01 11:09
No worries! The section outline is helpful - some move very smoothly into one another so are potentially hard to differentiate.

I'm not sure if you really need to add anything in the soprano part at D. But if you do, consider something that doesn't move in quarter note pulses - there's a lot of the piece where we keep that pulse all the way through in all four voices. So maybe a high pedal tone, like an F or a G that rests above all the other voices? That could be very effective.

Also, looking at section D, I wonder if the tenor part should be quarter, half, quarter rather than 4 quarters. You definitely have freedom with the text - don't forget! All voices don't need to have the full text all the time. Rhythmic breaks like that - so it moves against the bass 1 voice - are very fun to sing and beautiful to hear.

BTW, you've got some nice Eriks Evensald (sic?) added note chords here. I realized I never addressed that, but you've done it the right way - you essentially take a triad you like and add notes to color it, or focus on creating non-triadic chords that sound right to you.

Are you planning on adding piano to letter F? I don't think I would, if I were you. I think it will give it a nice book-ended feel - you started acapella and end acapella as well.

What's the text going to be at m. 83? I want to suggest something here, but am unsure what the words behind it will be so want to see if it makes sense.

Speaking of text...I think you should definitely focus on the text now and don't write any more notes until you've got that down! You're in such a great spot with the music. Let's focus on the words now!


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