Dec 012013

Swirly Christmas TreeOne of the greatest things about self-publishing is that you can write Christmas music any time you like. For example, during the Christmas season.

One of the worst things about self-publishing is that you tend to write Christmas music at the wrong time of year to be useful. For example, during the Christmas season.

Case in point: Here’s a new Christmas piece, titled “A Holy Child is Born,” for vocal solo (with optional harmony for the third verse) and violin obbligato. In this track, the vocals AND the violin are provided by my wonderful friend, Sarah Crowther. Needless to say, she didn’t do both at once.

The lyrics to this one are unusual for me. I tend to write in full sentences–with (*gasp*) occasional run-on sentences thrown in for good measure. This particular song contains a lot of fragments–short phrases that I used to try to describe the picture of that first Christmas as I was seeing it with my mind’s eye.

There are a couple more Christmas things floating around in my head that will probably show up here in the next week or two, just in time to be of no practical use until next year. I should put up the tree, flock my windows and bake sugar cookies in July and see if it motivates me to produce Christmas music any earlier. Hmmmm… since the thought of that is making me grin, maybe I will. ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh… I’ve been meaning to mention this for awhile, so this is as good a time as any. One of the questions that pops up quite often about site content is, “Why is this vocal demo in a different key than the score?”

The answer lies in the way the vocal demos are produced. I write a song and send it off to a vocalist, and then the conversation tends to go like this:

Seven Sharps et alVocalist: Can I have this 3 semitones lower?
Me: Um, sure, but that puts the last verse in 7 sharps, and every pianist in the world is going to hate me.
Vocalist: Oh, no problem.
Me: Right.

So I change the key, and the vocalist records the demo beeeautifully and I am thankful that I caved. But alas, when I go to publish the score, I proof it at the piano and realize that yes, every pianist in the world is going to hate me. And since I truly cannot brave the wrath of every pianist in the world, I publish the score in the original key.

If, knowing this, you want the score in the key used in the demo track regardless of its billion sharps or flats, it’s because you have to brave the wrath of only one pianist. In this case, just download the .pc file (assuming it’s available) and transpose to your heart’s content. When I hear the explosion from over your way, I will plug my ears and smile in smug satisfaction, knowing I did my best and that this meltdown is, for once, not my fault.

Happy December!

  2 Responses to “‘Tis the Season”


    Hi, we had our Stake Christmas Music and the Spoken Word last night. Amongst other numbers the choir sang, A Manger Filled with Love and Born to Wear a Crown, while a soloist shared When Mary Sang Her Lullaby of Love.

    It was a wonderful evening, enriched by your wonderful music. We have so many of your songs now in our choir’s repertoire that we really ought to think of cutting an album dedicated entirely to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas.

    Sheffield Stake


    Thank you so very much, I enjoy your music immensely. The .pc files are also very nice. I’ve only had 3 or 4 pianist gasp at your arrangement of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” pushed down about 3 notes. ๐Ÿ™‚

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