HAT IS IT ABOUT DESCANTS that we love so very much? I believe I know the answer. Our minds already know the tune—and love it—but the added embellishment is refreshing and awesome. I believe this is the same reason we love polyphony so much, with its heavy use of imitation and canons.
Here’s a Descant Setting by Jacques de Nouë, taken from a Canadian collection: 1
I recorded the voice parts, to demonstrate how it sounds. The descant begins at the 0:46 marker:
Below are several other organ harmonizations for “Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above” you might find useful:
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REHEARSAL VIDEOS :
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 This small collection lacks a date of publication, but most likely appeared circa 1945. Many music journals & scores published in the war years lack such information. I have never been able to ascertain, for example, when the NOH first appeared.