Friday, October 22, 2010

The King of Glory Comes

'Christ The King' Sunday
When planning for 'Christ the King' Sunday, consider using The King of Glory - a great choice for young bands. Its tune originates from a traditional Israeli melody, and has just enough rhythmic invention to make it interesting, and not so much to perplex those singing it. The key of the song is user-friendly. E minor is a simple key, with only an F sharp in the key signature. While a single G sharp appears for the final chord, those playing the bass notes, much of the accompaniment, and the entire melody will be untroubled by troublesome "black notes" (if you'll excuse the pianist's terminology!).

In the verses recorder players will find the range accessible, as will flautists. The notes to be played are among those first learnt on these instruments.

The Bass
Bass instruments could play a simplified bassline: E-B-E-B in the refrain, and G-D-G-D etc.. in the verses, but that can sound a bit oompah! Instead try sustaining a single bass note (E (for two bars) then C-D-E in the refrain (twice). For the verse, bass players can underpin the accompaniment simply by sustaining a G until the refrain comes around again. Thats a total of 4 different notes. Simple!

Percussive Ostinato
Chose a motif (eg: "na-tion re-joi-ces") and allocate the rhythm to claves, tambourines or hand drum, to play whenever that rhythm occurs in the song. In this case, the identical rhythm comes with "lift up your voices", and both phrases occur during the refrain.

Mixing it Up
As the rhythm is quite repetitive I'd suggest alternative instrumental treatment from refrain to verse. For example you may engage drum, guitars, bass instruments and hand percussion in the refrain, and make a contrast by utilising recorders, keyboard and triangle for the verses. The advantage of this 2-edged approach for a young band is the playing is not so relentless, there is less for each player to learn, and the result is varied for the singers/listeners.

I suspect variety is the intention behind the suggested note that a cantor sing the verses and the gathered people render the refrain. While some songs by Joseph Gelineau, for example, have verses which are rhythmically and melodically varied from one to the next, it is not so here. I see no reason for this instruction, other than the provision of contrast. An alternative suggestion for those without instruments is to alternate the verse singing between left and right side, women and men, or children and adults.

Final Refrain
As the origins of the music are from Israel, it is quite legitimate to repeat the refrain several times over, gradually increasing the speed. What an exhilarating way the prepare for Advent.

Now if you could just get the congregation to dance...WOW!

For more on accompanying hymns creatively with integrity, visit Revisiting Old Treasures

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