Dave's Approach to Writing Liturgical Music
This page features hymn arrangements. When composing music for churches, I like to combine my own rhythmic, harmonic and motivic patterns with familiar liturgical songs. I take delight in referencing traditional melody through a lens of modern musical sensibility.
Score - Watcher, Tell Us of the Night is an example of writing for non specific instruments. In this version, I use autoharp (because I don't play guitar), but the chords written in the bass part could be performed by any chordal instrument. I also wrote this version for 2 flutes because I happen to have 2 wonderful flute players in my congregation, but they could easily be played by any melodic instrument, even clarinet if they are comfortable with transposing.
I also chose this Advent hymn because it has a very ancient sound, but after adding the chords and percussion and bass, it has a more folkish quality. Meaning, it's not immediately recognizable as sacred music.
Score - This version of Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross was based on an improvisation I did during a Lenten service in 2015. I liked the melancholic vibe of the piece during a rather reflective service, so I went home and wrote out a version of what I could remember from the improv. During this time, I had also acquired a Fender Rhodes. I wanted to do weird things with the Rhodes, so I attempted to tune it based on Just Intonation - to A440. Since this piece is in F, it just sounds totally out of tune, but I thought that added a unrefined depth to the arrangement.