MR3 Lab: More of the Sweet Prospect Gloria

I was feeling blocked on the central portion of the MR3 Gloria, so I jumped ahead to the end:

As I said before, my goal is to get the whole Gloria set to “Sweet Prospect” before settling on a final key and tackling the accompaniment. On the last post, Jonathan commented the high e’s might not be ideal for a congregation. I tend to agree.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering about that middle section acclaiming Christ. Is the Sweet Prospect melody sturdy enough to use? Or perhaps there should be a different melodic theme? Weigh in with your opinion and suggestions.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to MR3 Lab: More of the Sweet Prospect Gloria

  1. Just a general observation about the key this is in, Todd, as a cantor, for what it’s worth. My parish assembly generally will not sing a high E natural. If a song is that high, they quit or switch octaves… and in general, this is a singing assembly. We started doing the David Haas “Jesus, the Compassion of God” Mass again this summer, and for the first few weeks, the assembly sang little at the Masses when I was cantor… which was unusual. They seemed to quit on me at the first high note. I suggested to our music director that we give it up, since they didn’t seem to like it, but she suggested instead that we drop it down a whole step. We did that, and they have been singing like gangbusters all summer.

  2. Todd says:

    Joyce, I think you are right. All the Sacred Harp tunes are pitched high–this is low by their standards.

    My plan is to finish it in E minor, then play around with dropping it two or three steps–there’s certainly room on the bottom for it with a range of a major ninth. Then I can prepare the piano arrangement from there.

  3. Liam says:

    Have you considered pilfering and adapting the soprano line for the middle section?

  4. Liam says:


    The melodies of shape-note tunes are typically the tenor line, hence the pitch. Interestingly (and there is so much that’s interesting about the origin and evolution of the shape-note idiom), that approach is a holdover from earlier polyphonic practice.

    I keep on trying to get my choir director to join a period Sacred Harp sing in our area. I think it’s a marvelous way to build skills, musical and otherwise.

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