HERE ARE, OF COURSE, numerous reasons authentic Catholic music has not been universally embraced (yet). One reason is difficult for some to accept: polyphony is frequently sung badly—with unbalanced voices, improper vowels, poor tuning, and so forth. The ability to sight-read music instantly does not guarantee a good performance. Choirs must sing polyphony multiple times before the harmonies “click.” Often, a performance can be greatly improved by simply shuffling your singers around. 1
Piecemeal Polyphony: Here in Los Angeles, we take advantage of a solution called “piecemeal polyphony.” I’ve spoken of this before; it means when we sing a polyphonic KYRIE ELEYSON, we begin by singing the third section (which is usually the hardest), mixing with plainsong in an ABA structure. Then we add the “Christe” section. Finally, we add the first section—and the piece is complete.
Bookmark This Link: Today, I am thrilled to release “Part 3 of 3” for a simple polyphonic setting of the AGNUS DEI. You will want to bookmark this URL, where you can easily access all three sections.
If you want to see a “Piecemeal Kyrie,” you can click here.
Here’s the final section:
* PDF Download • AGNUS DEI (“Part 3 of 3”)
—The 2nd and 3rd sections are by Father Guerrero, the 1st by Nanino.
Rehearsal videos for each individual voice await you at #59013.
Deep Sadness: My soul is sad because most readers will not click on that 59013 link. As a result, they will miss out on the rehearsal videos for each individual voice; and those are very helpful for volunteer choirs! Mark my words: most readers will not explore that link—which fills me with gloom.
NOTES FROM THIS ARTICLE:
1 This is often called “Doctor James Daugherty’s Solution.” It consists of spending hours shuffling your singers, finding out which voices sound good standing next to one another. Shifting “John Doe” from the left side of someone to his right side can instantly make a tremendous difference—but, of course, this requires time and effort.