Beinecke Concert: Canons & Rounds with LUCERIS

Writing for LUCERIS for the Feb. 12th Beinecke Concert:

•  Review the vocal ranges of the singers – see below.
•  Pick a text from the Beinecke Exhibit – see links below.
•  Take notes from the LUCERIS presentation on Jan. 16th.
•  Study Konrad’s canon example.

LUCERIS singers and their ranges:
•  Isobel Anthony, soprano – range of A3-A5
•  Harry Castle, tenor – range of Bb2-Ab4
•  Lucine Musaelian, mezzo-soprano – range of G3-G5 with chest range G3-A4
•  Emma Simmons, contralto – range of G3-E5
•  Joel Thompson, bass – range of Db2-Eb4

Hear the LUCERIS singers perform:

  1. At the opening of theSubscribed: The Manuscript in Britain, 1500-1800 Exhibit on Friday, Jan. 24th at the Beinecke Library at 5:00 pm.
  2. At a ‘Mondays at Beinecke Gallery Talk & Tea,’ on Monday, Jan. 27th at the Beinecke Library at 4:00 pm

Here’s what’s required:
A. Text selection – you must select a text that is a part of the Beinecke Exhibit “Pastime With Good Company: Writing and Leisure in Early Modern England,” curated by Eve Houghton, which is a part of a larger exhibit Subscribed: The Manuscript in Britain, 1500-1800.”  Choose from these texts.  You may set just a portion of the text:

1. “I saw fair Chloris” – William Strode, 1630s [in Osborn b209]:

2. “The Parliament Fart” – anonymous, early 1600s [in Osborn b356]:

3. “When this fly lived she used to play” – Thomas Carew, 1630s [in Osborn b205]:

4. “The lowest trees haue topps, the ante her gall” – Edward Dyer [in Osborn b200]:

5. “Goe and Catch a Falling Star” – John Donne [in Osborn b200]:

6. “On a Gentlewoman that sung, and playd upon a Lute” – William Strode, ca. 1630s [in Osborn b200]:

7. “On the Life of Man” – Walter Ralegh, ca. early C17th:

B. Excellent scansion of your ENTIRE text. Create rhythmic motives with your scansion choices, with at least four rhythmic note values, including dotted rhythms. Use your rhythmic motives and derivations of them throughout your canon or round. 

1. Use a moderate metronome marking of your choice – what’s best for your text?
2. Lyrics should be notated below the singer’s notes, using the lyrics tool in your notation program.
3. Vocal dynamics should be notated above the singer’s notes, NOT below.
4. Use syncopation – what’s best for your text?
5. Optional: spoken or whispered text; hand-claps – what’s best for your text?
6. Optional: mixed meter – what’s best for your text?

C. Use a harmonic structure based on a key or mode that works for the singers’ ranges.  Your canon or rounds must be pitch centric.  The text should strongly influence your harmonic choices and structures.

1. Your canon or round MUST be pitch-centric and work for the singers’ vocal ranges.
2. Your canon or round may be in a major or minor key or other modes such as Phrygian, Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian; NO atonal or serial pitch techniques.
3. Optional: modulation for musical interest.
4. Optional: modal mixture for musical interest, but not complex.

D. In a nutshell – composing a two-voice canon or round: 

1. First, set up your score for two voices.
2. Next, scan your entire text and notate its rhythms throughout.
3. Then, compose the opening 1 or 2 bars for Singer #1.
4. Then, copy that into bars 3 and/or 4 for Singer #2. 
5. Next, continue with your text and compose new material for Singer #1 against the opening material in Singer #2. 
6. Use syncopation to distinguish the material between Singer #1 and Singer #2 so that the text can be clearly heard.  At this stage, you will be implying harmony. 
7. Continue this alternating process to complete your canon or round.
8. You may compose one long canon or round, OR, a series of micro-canons or rounds in succession.

E. Other Things to Think About: 

 1. How do your pitch syntax and canonic cadences contribute to the understanding/delivery of the text?
 2. Is there room for the text to be properly understood?
3. How do your melodies complement the implied harmonies?
4. Is any of your text repeated?  If so, what is the reason?

E. DUE Dates: 

1. Finished canon or round by Monday, Jan. 27th.  Meet with Dr. A or Konrad or Harry on that day.  Submit a 3 sentence bio as well and a 3 sentence program note regarding your choice of text.
2. Revised, final canon or round by Friday, Jan. 31st.  Meet with Dr. A or Konrad or Harry on that day.
3. Rehearsals with LUCERIS TBA.

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