“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” with multiple descants

A basic skill for any organist/church musician is composing hymn descants. Descants are countermelodies that make the singing of the hymn tune more enjoyable for the congregation…they allow the singers to enjoy the tension of counterpoint at a visceral level.

Jesus walked this lonesome valley

Back in the days of hardware synths, Proteus had a patch called “Whistlin’ Joe,” which was the sound the old TV series, The X-Files” theme used. I think the Proteus sounds are now available as a softsyth library. Was tempted to track it down and buy it just for the little echo sound in this sort of Mayberry R.F.D interpretation. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the melody of this great old tune has always seemed to me to be optimistically lighthearted despite the lyrics and therefore deserves that treatment.

Come O Fount, Jesus Savior, Tossed and Driven

I was born and raised down at the very bottom tip of Illinois where it meets Tennessee, Missouri, and Kentucky…partially in an area known as the Ozarks. In short: a hillbilly. I knew classical music of course. My first records were Stravinsky’s the Rite of Spring, Shostakovich 1st Symphony and his cello concerto and the electronic music pioneer Oskar Sala, but also Al Hirt, George Lewis and Elvis, and playing in my father’s evening church services and in summer youth camp meeting tents. Eclectic fair for a middle school kid to say the least.

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