Like many of my subscribers, Tony from the UK is going to play for the Easter service tomorrow. Here's what he writes:
If you've just been asked to play tomorrow for the Easter service and don't have any ideas about prelude and postlude, you should know that not all is lost.
Here's what you can do:
Take 3 beautiful Easter hymns of the same meter (possibly the same ones that will be sung during the service, notate the key and pencil in scale degrees of that key above the soprano line.
You will need to learn to transpose these hymns to subdominant (4th scale degree), dominant (5th scale degree), and relative keys (6th scale degree in major or 3rd scale degree in minor). And you do this by paying attention to the scale degrees of the soprano line. Simply transfer the scale degrees to a new key and supply the new harmonization.
Once you can do that, use this plan:
1. Hymn A in the tonic key
2. Hymn B in the tonic key
3. Hymn A in the dominant key
4. Hymn C in the relative key
5. Hymn A in the subdominant key
6. Hymn B in the subdominant key
7. Hymn C in the tonic key
8. Hymn A in the tonic key
In reality it's a Modulating Rondo with the Refrain being hymn A. Note that you will need to be able to change the mode from major to minor (or vice versa) of hymn C. The same plan works very well for a piece in minor, too. A hymn in a different mode sounds very fresh.
Use festive registration with principal chorus and mixtures and possibly reeds.If you want more variety, each hymn can be played on a different manual or on the same manual but with or without the reeds and/or mixtures. Make sure hymn A is the most beautiful (to you, at least today) and the loudest.
By the way, that's the plan for Bach's Eb major prelude, BWV 552/1. Magical, isn't it?
Anyway, enjoy tomorrow's service and maybe incorporate some of these ideas as well, if you feel like you can do it in public on such a short notice without too much stress. It would be nice to have at least a week to prepare for this so next time plan well in advance.
Ausra's Harmony Exercise:
Transposing Sequence in A Minor: i-iv-V9-VI
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