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Self-Publishing: A Guide

For the past 150 years in the United States, churches have heavily relied on publishers for their only source of music.  The explosive growth of the hymnal (1850 onward) led to many publishing companies – some of which are still in existence today.  Publishers are, and will continue to be, invaluable. However, the internet...

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Where do you find music?

Where do you go to find instrumental music? Christian music has continued to diversify over the past three decades.  There are many music resources available for the modern church.  There are thousand of songs to evaluate.  Decades ago all you needed to know was which numbers you were singing from in the hymnal.  Today...

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Tuning in Just Temperament

Just temperament (or pure intonation) is the system of tuning typically used in modern symphonic ensembles – even if the players are unaware that they are using this system! This temperament (system of tuning) differs from equal temperament, which is used for fixed instruments, such as pianos, and digital MIDI instruments. Just Temperament is...

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It’s too loud!

Has this happened to you? Someone approaches you and declares the music is too loud.  Whether it is done prayerfully or out of frustration, that person wants you to fix it.  To them, it’s rather simple.  Just turn down the volume.  Clearly your sound engineers must need more training. I thought myself to be...

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Droning away about Intonation

Do you wish you could one of those musicians that never seem to have trouble playing in tune? If only I had an ear like __________ , then I could play in tune. In your quest, you could buy a tuner and a contact mic to only pick up the vibrations of your instrument. ...

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Orchestration 101

This series on writing for churches was created when I taught orchestration at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary when I was an adjunct professor.  Orchestration textbooks are excellent resources for the aspiring writer, but I wanted something that would cover the basics of orchestration to help beginning students take their first steps in arranging. Thus,...

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The Orchestrator

Orchestration is a specialized skill. An orchestrator for a film score may have difficulty explaining their job. They don’t necessarily create an original melody nor do they write lyrics. However, both melodic composition and arranging are essential skills of an orchestrator. Composers like Beethoven, Bach, Haydn, Mozart, and Mahler all were orchestrators. They created...

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The Brass Family

The brass family consists of the trumpet, trombone, horn, euphonium (baritone) and tuba. They have a homogenous sound and blend well with one another. They provide a substantial amount of volume to the modern orchestra and are often used for their "brassy" timbre that is created at the loudest dynamics. The modern brass family...

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The Woodwind Family

The woodwind family has a greater variety of color than both the string and brass family. Each woodwind has a different timbre that makes it distinctive to the ear, although the instruments still work well as a homogenous group. With the introduction of the woodwinds, transposition becomes a significant focus. The Bb Clarinet sounds...

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