- Some odds and ends, because of…
July 3, 2014
…a new compilation CD. That I finally finished. Hallelujah. It’s called “He is My Song,” and here’s a list of what’s on the disk, with links to the song pages and a description of the new material that’s been added:
- Be Still, My Soul (James Loynes)
- The Lord is My Shepherd (Heather Prusse)
- This is How I Know (Leilani Toloa Johnson)
- Prayer is the Soul’s Sincere Desire (Allyse Smith Taylor) – the accompaniment track for this one is now available for the first time.
- Make Us One (James Loynes) – this is a new recording by one of my favorite voices
- I Need Thee Every Hour (Sarah Crowther)
- I Glory in My Jesus (Jacosa Limutau)
- Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Tj Pini) – this is a new recording by a newcomer to the site… I think you’re going to *love* her!
- Gethsemane (James Loynes) – another new recording, and a new piano accompaniment that’s a bit more interesting than the original.
- It Was for Me (Jacosa Limutau)
- For Me Alone (Heather Prusse)
- This is My Father’s World (James Loynes) – this includes a new violin obbligato. (See? I do get around to requests occasionally.)
- The Master’s Voice (Allyse Smith Taylor) – the accompaniment track for this one is now available for the first time.
- He is My All (Heather Prusse and James Loynes)
Last but not least, the Personal Composer files are now done and posted for all the tracks included, so transpose to your heart’s content.Here’s a playlist so you can listen to the whole thing if you’d like, and info on where to get the album or any part thereof:
Listen to this album…
There’s also an accompaniment tracks album available. Here’s the playlist and info for that one:
Listen to this album…
Happy Thursday! Have a lovely weekend.
- Lest we forget our home’s with God…
May 5, 2014
In the August 2010 edition of the Ensign magazine, a lovely hymn titled “Come Home” appeared. We used it in our ward choir, and I liked it well enough that when the composer, Michael Moody, suggested that I arrange it for choral anthem, I was thrilled at the prospect. Since Heather and I were working on a project at the time, I also arranged it for solo with equal-voice harmony, and we included it on the “Reaching for the Light” album.
Here’s the result:
The title is suggestive of music that might be appropriate for a funeral, and while the lyrics would certainly be suitable for that use, the broader message of the song is simply a warm invitation to each of us to return to our Heavenly Father, to live forever with Him as an eternal family.
Scores for the arrangements of “Come Home” are available for SATB choir or for solo with optional equal-voice harmony. There is also a separate score for the obbligatos.
- Video Fun and Games
April 7, 2014
The last couple of projects I’ve worked on have dealt with the visual arts. Let me help you to understand the irony of this.
I drew an avocado once, for an art class in high school. It even somewhat resembled an avocado. I have been so proud of this achievement all my life that I often mention it with pride to my children, a couple of whom are visual artists who put my poor little avocado to shame. “The Avocado” has become a bit of a legend in the DeFord household, complete with those clandestine sympathetic behind-my-back glances that so plainly say, “Poor mom!”
So, needless to say, when these last projects rolled around I didn’t do the visuals–just the music.
One project came about when I was asked to speak at a nearby Stake’s Women’s Conference in March. At the conference, they were going to display some really outstanding paintings by a member of the stake, Megan Rieker. (Check out some of her art here. Take a look at her “Women of Inspiration” gallery… gorgeous stuff! I particularly love this one.) A couple of weeks before the conference, Meg and I had a chance to talk a bit, and found that … drum roll… I had been wishing for slides documenting a beautiful painting as it progressed, and that she had a beautiful painting that she had photographed in various stages from start to finish. Funny how these things work out.
(There’s also a version without vocals, and download information… check the song page. )
The other project was an assignment from the LDS Church Music office, to arrange “I Am A Child of God” as background for a video to be shown during the 2014 General Women’s meeting. It presented a few interesting challenges: it was an 11th-hour sort of project, and needed to be done quickly; it was still in the planning stages, so there was no specific length, no specific voicings, no specifics at all, really!; and … well… spin it as I might, here was the real challenge… this beautiful children’s song has been arranged so many times by so many talented people that I was unsure whether or not I could come up with anything fresh. As it turned out, the video itself was so sweet it didn’t matter much what I did anyway!
David Zabriskie did the orchestration; the video footage features wonderful people from around the world. The sheet music is just piano and a melody line. For suggestions on how it might be used, see the “I Am a Child of God” song page.
So much better than avocados!
- ‘Tis the Season
December 1, 2013
One 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.
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:Vocalist: 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.
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.
- God Will Provide a Lamb; and a cantata finally finished
October 12, 2013Last night was a landmark for me… I actually finished something. Something big. And complicated. And boy am I patting myself on the back!
The Praise to the Lord Cantata page has been a placeholder for (oh my… **blushes**…) two years(!) while I struggled to keep up with life. Last night I finished formatting the last score and converting the last file. It’s finally available in its entirety. That means…
The SATB version of “Lying in a Manger” is also available. Many of you have written asking me when it would be posted, and it’s finally ready for you. (BTW, I have begun to dread questions that contain the word “When…?” ) It’s actually SSATTBB… but you can omit the harmonies in the TTBB and SSA sections to make it a simpler SATB.
It also means that another of the songs from Heather’s lovely project, “Reaching for the Light,” is now uploaded and available. This song is also from the aforementioned cantata, and is called “God Will Provide a Lamb.”
Since I was old enough to read, I have been particularly affected by the story of Abraham when he was commanded to sacrifice his son, Isaac. I remember sitting on my mother’s bed with an old, old, old red-letter edition of the Bible, reading the story and looking at the full-page color plate that faced the scriptural page. (The picture was much less gentle than the one at the left!)
It wasn’t until much later that I recognized the event for what it was: a real-life “parable” about the sacrifice that Jesus Christ would make for them, and that He has made for me.
This song describes that real-life “parable.”
Here’s Heather Prusse singing the track, beautifully as usual:
The song is available in both SATB, and low- to medium-voice solo.
My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us, the world is full of it and you simply take as much as you require.
(Sir Edward Elgar, 1857-1934)