Composing chant and a Passion

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Something I have been giving a lot of thought to is how to compose chant. Chant is at the heart of my big project for 50/90 (all these songs I've been posting are just incidental to my big project, which I have been doing a fair bit of work on in the background).

I'm wondering if, for a passion narrative, each of the main speakers (the Evangelist, Jesus, Peter, Pilate) should have their own characteristic tone for their longer passages and then perhaps try writing some chorales for various reflections on that which has just come to pass in the narrative.

This is obviously a BIG project but it is one of great interest to me.

Which leads to the second question-- should I try to hang in or around a key (D, say) but be willing to shift out several tones as necessary?

Don't know if any of this makes sense to any of you but I'm blathering out loud for my own sake!

Well your key choice would depend on your style of chant.....were you thinking a period specific chant style, Anglican, Gregorian, plainsong, taize, or a more recitative more in the classical style of Handel...so much to choose from, and each has its rules if you're going to be true to the form. What style were you thinking?

Probably going more plainsong, but possibly recitative. Process-wise, I'm half-done translating my libretto from biblical Greek into English (to avoid copyright issues). So it's time to think more concretely... and it sounds like you might have some very helpful ideas/suggestions, [@brrrse].

I've a little bit of formal training in several styles of chant and historical music in general. I'm not professor level, But I know a little. One of my life goals is to write a Requim Mass for my parents. Smile You're doing the easy part first I see Wink Back to your key issue, you want to the key of the piece to be comfortable for the voices you're wanting... and that's a chicken/egg kinda thing....will it be one voice singing all the parts, or different voices, will some be tenors and some bass....It may seem like a whole lot at first ...to take what's in your head and make it real...but here's where you have to suspend reality. Decide exactly what you are hearing in your head, then manifest it ....do it. if it's scrawled lines on the backs of recipes and a tune hummed off key..don't stop telling people until they hear it too... Okay, I may have waxed into Mommy Motivational Speaker....I am afraid I may have overwhelmed you with my question Smile I want to see this happen for you. It feels like it's a....thing...you know? I'm here for whatever assistance or answers you might need. Smile

I reserve the right to push this off another year or two if it gets too much, of course. Are you familiar with Healey Willan? I like the sound and tonality of his pieces so even something along those lines would be nice. Having said that, this is a rather large musical departure from most of what I've done, writing-wise.

it's all the same at the heart of it, it's how you perform it that makes it different Smile I'll go listen to Mr. Willan. I did read up on him a bit this morning and there is something about the sound of a pipe organ that I believe is in my bones.....So I'm excited to listen Smile

Well first, if you want your overall key tone D, you should still compose some of your pieces in related keys ( bm or A for instance). I can't honestly remember if there is a formula for that with the Passion. Also, do you want to go modal or stay basically in the major (Ionian) or minor (aeolian) modes?

I love that there are other people around here who know what I'm talking about. Anyway, I'm modally quite open to possibilities. Smile After all, part of the idea of a Passion is to do some tone-painting to help portray the events and the emotions by the sound.