December 23, 2008

JAMES - Christmas Shape-Note Tune with Score & Demo Solo-Quartet Recording

Happy Christmas, &, this Christmas tune was inspired by sections in the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James. The recording is just a demo to test the harmonies (hence the shoddy homemade production quality, due to my lack of mixological skills.) Otherwise, it's a pretty straightforward shape-note fuging tune. (I wrote it in aeolian mode so I could get that sexy medieval cadence in the fourth & fifteenth measures, which I always thought should make more appearances in American harmony - - Does anyone know of any other instances in American folk music?) There's a downloadable mp3 here, & a pdf file of some scores here (JAMES is page 2).


Virgin Mary,
twelve years old and married

To Joseph,
in the temple where she first did bleed.

The matriarch was once a teenage bride,
The mother of the world's salvation was a girl who cried.

Weeping Joseph,
I thought she was truer.

No, Mary,
Please, I know no man, Lord, I am pure.

Janus Mary,
mourning & rejoicing,

O Joseph,
see the silent earth expects its king.

Traveling Mary
saddled on a donkey,

Go, Joseph,
find a cave, behold a mystery!

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