The Rose

'The Rose' is a classic ballad made famous by the divine Bette Midler in 1979, with words and music written by Amanda McBroom.  In case you're unsure which song I mean, this is it here.

This is another song that I had previously arranged years ago for my old a cappella quartet 'Sway', and it was a popular song choice for weddings we performed at.

So I found the old score and decided to have another look at it. With 15+ more years of arranging experience under my belt since I'd touched this score, I reckoned I would be able to improve on it a little.

And I have to add that I absolutely loooovve arranging music when the basic bone structure of the music is already notated and typed up in Sibelius. Having to type up those basic early parts of a song can be a tedious task. This time it was already done and all I had left to do was the fun part of playing with it.

One thing I can't get enough of in vocal music is close harmonies. This is when two or more vocal parts sing notes that are touching each other, notes that are consecutive notes in a scale. Think of two piano keys side by side being played at the same time. The result is a beautiful dissonance that creates a musical tension. Without meaning to borrow from the great Hannah Gadsby's 'Nanette' show on Netflix where she discusses this very thing but from a comedy perspective, this tension feels like it needs to be resolved, and when done so musically the release is beautiful. But it doesn't necessarily need to be resolved. It can stay dissonant, and the tension hangs in there like a question remaining unanswered, or a joke without a punchline. And that is magic. 'The Rose', being a beautifully crafted love song ballad, is musically perfect for such dissonances, so in they went.

I added in a few extra bits into the song, notably the four-bar intro that has each part singing different syncopated rhythms - in close harmony of course - and this is repeated in between each verse.

So I imagine a beautiful a cappella choir that enjoys close harmonies and syncopated rhythms singing this at weddings and at other events. It would suit any type of gig.  

A technical note about the midi recording of this. Seeing as I don't have my own SATB choir right now, the recordings of my choral arrangements need to be from midi files. And as I still haven't mastered 'Word Builder' in the choir libraries offered by EastWest Composer Cloud, unfortunately you don't hear the lyrics at all yet. But what I did do is when the parts are singing the lyrics to the song, you hear a lovely open "ah" sound, and when they sing "doo doo doo" in the background, you hear a lovely more closed "ooh" sound. That way you get a better idea of where the melody is as it swaps around from part to part.

OK here it is.  Watch the YouTube below and grab your PDF score for your choir from here.


Willie and the Hand Jive

Willie and the Hand Jive

..a community choir or a high school choir would love this song in their repertoire. It has a lively Bo-Diddley rhythm that the baritone part drives all the way through.  The tenor carries most of the melody. And the soprano and alto voices, who share a stave, interact with the tenor with backing vocal effects and other fun things. And then during the choruses everyone comes together.