Then I’ll Know

Listen free at soundcloud.com/hilton-kean-jones/then-ill-know-fm. I’m writing a set of songs (words & music) open to either a spiritual or a secular interpretation. I asked a friend (scullsound@aol.com ) to record a demo for me. I think he did a super job! I recommend his services highly!

Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, Amazon, etc.

All four albums are now on streaming sites. Here’s the Spotify links. If you know someone who you think would enjoy this kind of mellow instrumental music, please share.

Simple Songs
Simple Hymns
Meditations & Reflections
Christmas Piano

Gettin’ my act together

I’ve written a lot of music in almost 77 years. And arranged a lot. Played and improvised a ton more. When it comes to marketing, though, I’ve been a dismal failure. My usual approach is to write a piece and then put it in a drawer and forget it.

Beginning with the pandemic–I guess because we were stuck at home and insomnia demanded something to do in the wee hours–I began to record some of my stuff and to dig through my files to find stuff I’d written in the past.

The pandemic was a resurrection of sorts for me, creatively.

After getting into recording my stuff, now finally, I’m getting CDs made and digital albums online. Along with selling the CDs on Amazon and CD Baby, my stuff will also be on BandCamp, Spotify and iTunes.

All this is self-publishing, of course, but these days, indie publishing no longer suffers from the curse of being called “vanity” publishing. Technology has made that old point of view irrelevant. Indie publishing is self expression and countless, truly countless examples exist on the internet, every second, of the world’s interest in the self-expression of others. For sure, not everyone’s expression finds an immense audience, but that doesn’t matter. Expression is its own reward.

I encourage you to check out https://hiltonkeanjones.com/look-listen/.

Here’s the BandCamp links from that page…

Last Week…

Last week, I played an arrangement of Amazing Grace that is, more or less, a transcription of an orchestrated version that’s on simple hymns (currently a digital album, soon an audio CD). I’m going to try to make as many of my arrangements on simple hymns into piano solos as I can since it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to perform them with an orchestra but I definitely will get to perform them as piano solos! This solo piano version is available for purchase on SheetMusicPlus. But, for a couple week you’re welcome to download a complimentary copy below!

Music preview for 10/31/2021

Sunday, Lakewood will celebrate All Saints Day. Of course, the postlude has to be Sine Nomine! I assembled this video for online devotional last year (year before? this pandemic has gone on SO long).

I think I wrote both the trumpet descants, but I honestly can’t remember. For a working church musician, stuff like that gets lost in the shuffle and is lucky to even get written down somewhere scribbled on the back of a church bulletin or penciled into some hymnal.I know the last descant is mine, but not sure of the first one. If someone knows of a source (other than me) for the first one, please let me know. I’ll be doing an organ solo version of this video for Sunday.

Simple Hymns digital album now available on Bandcamp

My arrangements of 19 tunes from the 1835 hymn collection, “Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion,” are now available as a downloadable digital album on Bandcamp. It’s still available for free streaming on SoundCloud. For those who prefer a more tangible form, an audio CD will be available on Amazon sometime in the next 6 weeks–link to come. Many thanks to all who have helped with this project, especially Nathan, my son and a graphic designer in Atlanta who did all the project artwork.

Another Native-American Sunday music preview

Earlier this week I posted a preview of 3 pieces by the early 20th Century, American composer Arthur Farwell which were settings of Native-American melodies I’ll be playing on Sunday’s celebration of Native-American ministry. That post is https://lakewooducc.org/2021/09/22/3-native-american-melodies-as-set-by-arthur-farwell/.

This morning’s post is a setting of my own of a Native-American melody. I’ve posted this video before but wanted to let you know I’ll be playing it as part of Sunday’s celebration.

3 Native-American Melodies as Set by Arthur Farwell

This coming Sunday, Lakewood UCC celebrates UCC’s Native American Ministries. As part of that liturgy, all the music for the service is based on Native American melodies: 2 hymns, 3 songs set by the American composer, Arthur Farwell (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Farwell, https://songofamerica.net/composer/farwell-arthur/, and https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200035729), and one setting of my own. I’ll post my own setting—one I’ve posted before—later this week, but today’s post are the 3 Farwell settings combined into one video.

The Native American melodies (of primarily the Omaha tribe)) harmonized by Arthur Farwell were drawn from the late 19th Century 20 year research of Alice C. Fletcher, holder of the Thaw Fellowship, Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

Creative folk (musicians, authors, graphic artists, dancers, etc.) create amid a world of 7,874,965,825 ideas of what we should and shouldn’t do! It’s hard enough discerning what we believe ourselves, but the cultural noise gets deafening and discouraging sometimes. One bit of that cultural noise is the prohibition against “cultural approbation.” To make matters worse—regard that issue—white supremacists have taken up against the issue. One is damned if one does support cultural sensitivity or damned if one doesn’t!

Unless we wish to discard Debussy’s pieces based on the traits of Spanish music, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Ravel’s music based on Asian scales, Beethoven’s “Turkish March” in his 9th Symphony, and on and on and on…then, everyone needs to find their own comfort zone as to where the boundaries are regarding the setting of “folk” material. (I realize even the term, “folk,” has a colonialist tinge to it.)

My own feeling is that if a setting of other material is…

  • respectful,
  • fully acknowledges the source,
  • isn’t intended to represent itself as anything other than what it is, and
  • makes its own contribution to the material artistically,

…then it doesn’t deserve to be condemned for cultural approbation.

I believe Farwell’s setting (and hopefully my own) fall into the “approved” category.

Here’s some info about the UCC’s Native American Ministry. I especially like the first one!

“The 29th General Synod of the United Church of Christ approved a Resolution of Witness calling for the UCC to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, which authorized the genocide of native people and the theft of native lands. In that Resolution we recognize the complicity of the Churches, including the UCC, in the perpetration of these injustices.”

https://www.ucc.org/event/american-indian-sunday-usa/2021-09-26/

“The Council for American Indian Ministry (CAIM) is the voice for American Indian people in the UCC. CAIM provides Christian ministry and witness to American Indians and to the wider church. Justice issues that affect American Indian life are communicated to the whole UCC by CAIM. “

https://www.ucc.org/giving/ways-to-give/our-churchs-wider-mission/neighbors-in-need/faq_what_is_caim-2/

Mov. 2 of 3 Preludes on St. Anne

A while back I wrote three preludes based on the hymn tune, St. Anne, better known as “Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past.” This is the 2nd movement of that set. The hymn tune is stated twice. During the first half of the prelude, the melody (in G major) is the top note of the chords in triple meter (it’s usually in quadruple meter), in the second half of the piece, the melody’s in the top note of the chords in the right hand. The melody’s easier to hear in the second half.

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