When I was a little kid, the organist at my parents’ church played the same songs every Sunday as the processional and recessional hymns:
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
- Holy God, we praise thy name OR
- Holy, Holy, Holy
Being a little kid, I thought that was how it was supposed to be, and when there was a guest organist who played something different, I became indignant. “No, that’s not what the opening hymn is supposed to be! It’s supposed to be ‘Praise to the Lord.'”
Except in May, when the opening and closing hymns were (almost always in that order)
- Immaculate Mary AND
- Hail, Holy Queen Enthroned Above
Why in May? Because, in the Catholic Church, May is the month of Mary.
(I am SO sorry)
I had forgotten that until this morning, and realized that my planned webinar:
was very aptly timed! I picked the date because my husband was working that day and I didn’t have anywhere to be, and wedding season is coming up, but it has even more meaning because of the significance of the month in the Church year.
This is something I have wanted to offer for some time. Back in 2010, a high school student of mine was asked to sing the Schubert Ave Maria for a teacher’s wedding. She didn’t tell me she was going to do it, so we had never gone through the piece. Her mom called me the night before the wedding to tell me that she had rehearsed with the organist, who had scolded her rather harshly because she sang it with wrong rhythms. She was kind of shaken because she sang it the way she’d always heard it (and that organist was kind of a jerk to do that to a kid, if you ask me). I don’t want that to happen to any of my students ever again.
So many people sing the Ave Maria wrong. They swing the rhythm – this is easy to do because, although the piece is written in 4/4, the accompaniment is entirely in sextuplets, while the melody is in duple meter, so it is a case of 2 against 3. Try tapping triplets with your left hand (123 123 123) and tapping in duple meter with your right (12 12 12). It’s hard.
And then there’s the Latin. There are only 5 vowels in Latin, but somehow other ones creep in and it begins to sound like American Latin (note: while German Latin and French Latin are options when singing in certain styles of music, there is no place for American Latin in any musical genre).
Also – do you have to sing both verses? What if the time is limited and you only sing one? Is that okay? (The answer is, well, if you want to sing only half the prayer, that’s up to you.)
And if I’m singing it for someone German, should I use the original German text that Schubert wrote? (Quick answer: NO)
Join me on Zoom next Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 12:30pm ET to deconstruct the Ave Maria so that you can sing it for the next wedding or funeral. For 60 minutes, we’ll go through:
- The origin of the song
- The meaning – word for word
- The pronunciation, using the International Phonetic Alphabet
- The song itself – both the melody and that tricky rhythm
Participants will receive
- The text with IPA
- a copy of the Deconstructed Ave Maria in one of three keys, G, Ab, or Bb, within 24 hours of the webinar,
- a practice track so you can work with it on your own and get it solid before you add the actual accompaniment
It’ll be fun!
Sign up HERE to join me!
Or CONTACT me if you want to work on it one-on-one