Sunday, September 29, 2013


    So, with a little research, I find out that Autumn Leaves and September Song are actually two separate ballads, written a decade apart. It was not difficult to be confused, for there was not only something of a sharing of themes and seasons, but in places a distinct similarity in the melodies. No law suit, as far as I could see on the Net, and in those days there was no Net where I could have researched the words. I was moved to recall that I actually ran them together, although I had never recalled the words of the second one until just recently.
    And another correction: in other writings I have been talking about the left index finger as the digit of choice for exploring the modal scale we are beginning with, Mode One, or D minor. This choice was even filmed, on our first attack on the process last week. But further plunking about indicates that the best choice is the thumb. Not only is it the strongest digit and thus more readily effective for beginners, but also it is more readily visible on camera, being ready to hold away from the rest of the hand. And when it is the left thumb that is employed, to read the melody note of an arrangement an octave below its printed setting, the student naturally gets the male range, which is much more inspiring than trying to execute a tune that sounds an octave above the normal comfort zone.
    This is especially true when studying chant, which was originally sung by adult monks, not school girls.
    We filmed again today, finding that the mike boom can be raised nicely to create a wider view of the Roller keyboard, all the way from Great C to f above middle c. I had been dealing with Chant as if its highest note were an e', but with the thought lurking that I had somewhere seen an f'. I found the higher note today, quite by accident, in Gloria 1. Being able to see right down to the lowest note Bach had to work with on the keyboards of his youth provides full information on harmony.
    And the f' as the highest note brings a bonus to the singers. The solfa for f is FAH, thus a most relaxed vowel and thus a comfortable note to old for the end of the singer's phrase, whereas my original gaining the summit at Me (Mi), thus EE, leaves the conclusion holding on to one of the most tense of high vowels, and thus much more difficult to sing with ease, at least in my experience. The company and expectation of the Ah sound great helps the EE to relax. (Irish singers take note, please.) This rediscovery, just before lunch, was an encouraging comfort. I learned it years ago, when researching with my son, but in this diocese had never had the chance to put such wisdom to use with Gregorian Chant.

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