analytical Q Compositions Arrangements Contact Just the Music

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Simple counterpoint
Simple harmony
Melodic accompaniment
Harmonious accompaniment

Alternative play


Variations on

The First Noel

by Anne Ku

After writing my last piece Variations on Beethoven's Fur Elise, I got the idea to arrange Christmas carols for different levels of players.

Why have these carols survived history? They are so simple and straightforward. Singable.

Traditional English carols, so well written, but not so well arranged. The arrangements I've seen remind me of church hymns, chord after chord. They are good for choirs but not fun for the accompanist. Back when I was playing five church services a week, I particularly looked forward to improvising and sightreading on the spot the impromptu choices of the day.

The First Noel is an easy tune, a bit repetitive, and as a result, after arranging different styles, it started going round and round in my head. Simplicity invites richer chord progressions to match. I haven't fully exploited this possibility. Instead, I tried to play with counterpoint and different types of accompaniments.

My arrangements range from very simple two single voices to more complicated arpeggios. This suits piano, voices, flute (counterpoint would be nice here).

19 November 2000