Jonathan Miller, Musicnotes choral arranger extraordinaire and director of choral catalog, shares insight into recently added choral arrangements.
I’ve been creating a number of new choral settings for songs that have been popular in their original piano-vocal versions. Here are a few that you and your choir might enjoy.
|“H.O.L.Y.” for STB Choir
(Originally performed by Florida Georgia Line)
This love song has great bluegrass/gospel harmonies. Mostly I set myself the task of transcribing faithfully the harmonies in the refrain of the original recording. This song would be great to perform either with a vocal trio or a larger ensemble.
|“Just Like Fire” for SSA Choir Also available for SATB, 3-Part Mixed, 2-Part Treble and 2-Part Mixed Choirs
(Originally performed by Pink)
What fabulous rhythmic energy this song has! For you lower female voices, this is your chance to shine. I decided to keep the pitch at Pink’s natural low range, to keep the feeling of a growl, rather than transposing it up. Very intense, and be prepared to get your rappin’ groove on to deliver the spoken text in the middle section.
|“Rise Up” for SATB Choir
Also available for SSAA Choir
(Originally performed by Andra Day)
This incredible song has such powerful energy, due of course to Andra Day’s powerful solo vocals. You’ll want a killer soloist in your ensemble to pull this one off, but if you have one, go for it! All of the background vocals from the original recording are in here, from all of the “hoo” sounds to the buildup of “We will rise…”. A great challenge for all you gutsy singers!
|“Thy Will” for 2-Part Treble Choir
Also available for 2-Part Mixed Choir>
(Originally performed by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family)
Hillary Scott’s personal hardship of a miscarriage, an event about which she courageously told her fans this summer, gave rise to this achingly beautiful lyric and melody. The main tune is on the low side, so a strong alto would be a good idea for this song. The lower part can be done by either another (also low) female singer or a male singer, and of course the song can be made effective with a larger ensemble – there’s no size limit. Just be sure to sing it with heart.
|“If We’re Honest” for 2-Part Treble Choir
Also available for 2-Part Mixed Choir
(Originally performed by Francesca Battistelli)
This song from 2014 has been well received, and it was a pleasure to arrange. I made sure to include all of the harmonies from the original recording (mostly parallel thirds below the melody), while adding a few extra harmonies that I heard in a few places. Because, like Pink, Francesca Battistelli has such a low singing voice, I provided a version that is pitched up a fourth in the key of Eb major, to make it more singable for people whose voices are not so low. The 2-part mixed version comes in the original key (Bb) and also a whole step lower (Ab), the low version being for male voices that might find the original harmonies a bit on the high side. We aim to be flexible here at Musicnotes!
|“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” for SSA Choir
Also available for SSAT Choir
(Originally performed by Meghan Trainor feat. John Legend)
What a great, slow ballad. Those are hard to find these days. Meghan Trainor shows us all what a broody solo line sounds like. Both the SSA and SSAT versions capture all of the doo-wop (almost gospel-style) vocal harmonies. The only difference between the versions is that the SSAT puts the second verse in a tenor solo, giving a bit of a textural contrast (if you have a tenor around). Musicnotes also carries SATB and SAB versions, arranged by the great Mac Huff. This song is not to be missed if you want to find some contrast in your program to more up-tempo numbers.
|“My Church” for SSA Choir
Also available for 2-Part Treble Choir
(Originally performed by Maren Morris)
What fun. If you want something a little irreverent, put this on your concert – it’s not a church anthem! Imagine someone for whom country music is the true church, and you have the idea. There are terrific harmonies in here, and I put the main two voice parts into the 2-part treble version and the complete 3-part voicings into the SSA version. Get ready to rock out!
Have you started planning for this school year’s performances? What songs are you looking to incorporate into your programs? Share in the comments section below!