I’m trying some chant in the style of Hildegard. This is very hard for me because I emote differently and have different instincts, which is fine. I need to try those out. I’ve done just a bit of writing and I see almost immediately that keeping track of words and syllables needs to happen right when you are writing the chants, and also noticed immediately that my spying on Hildegard’s writing is so far very very thin. But this isn’t an assignment to copy her – I need my own voice here.

I think before I try to write my actual Rumi piece I should try writing out chants to things like whole Rumi poems; pieces that I know are exercises with no mission for them to ever get done. Pure practice!

Regarding the real piece, I’m also wondering if this should be something like SSA and not SATB. At least after hearing al this Hildegard I feel that anything like this type of chant would sound wrong in men’s voices. I have only written an SSA piece once, but once is enough to know I can do it.

If my thought is to have three independent chants in polyphony that might be a bit of a stretch. I can link them with two easy things – organum and pedal tone.

I’m concerned that this piece will lack definition and end up aimless. I feel like it can gain a sense of direction if I start with one voice, then add voices one at a time. Doing this in SSA only gives me three. If I went into SATB or SSATB I would have much more room for additive voicing. I’m not sure what to do because some of me wants this to avoid tenors and basses.

This is hard.