I have again experienced something akin to the phenomenon of reassurance that I struggled to describe in my previous post, All the Glory to God. I had been disillusioned about one of the musical numbers in The Word from Beyond, the piece provisionally entitled “Adytum.” I put it down last night, deciding to “sleep on it,” and when I awoke realized it would function best as only a small part of larger number, The Call. Though I’m still not perfectly satisfied with the way the two numbers tie together, I’ve received a new assurance that I’m on the right track. It is largely because of this assurance that I feel I can move on, and get a draft of The Word from Beyond finished by the 90th day, as has been my oft-stated objective.
The sense of reassurance, in this case, was based on something very simple. I decided more-or-less spontaneously to use a major chord at the end of The Call, even though the song had been tending toward a minor mood throughout the entire second half of its five minutes and twenty-five seconds. The way that I voiced this final chord was a bit ambiguous, in that it could be interpreted either as a tonic or a dominant. To use it as a dominant would suggest hat a new tonic would be soon to follow. (That much is academic — it’s in the job description of “dominant” to lead up to a “tonic.”)
What was uncanny was that the tonic to follow just happens to be voiced precisely like the tonic that begins the title song in this show; that is, the song called “The Word from Beyond,” named after the title of the show itself. However, this voicing was not in the key as it is currently scored in Version 7-N of “The Word from Beyond” on my Finale file, a key designed for my own, basso profundo voice. Instead, it was in a far better key: the key in which it ought to be scored, if it is to be sung by the protagonist, Winston Greene, in his intended, leggiero tenor range.
This pleasant new segue gave me the final bit of motivation I needed to remove the song “Clarion” from the show. The style in “Clarion” is too far afield of the general style in The Word from Beyond, since I wrote it much later, after a substantial break during which I composed no music at all for several months. Though the final measures of “Clarion” led into the title song quite nicely, they only led into the key in which it had previously been scored, which (as I said) was not the correct key for Winston Greene’s voice, but only for my own. Now, on the other hand, I’m leading up to the right key for the song “The Word from Beyond,” with the critical difference being that the lead-in emerges from the song I initially had placed before “Clarion” since “Clarion” has now been removed. That song, happily enough, is The Call.
Another neat thing is that the text of “The Call” leads up to the text of the title song, “The Word from Beyond,” quite smoothly. So both text-wise and musically, there’s a pleasant flow taking place — as there has been from the beginning of the project, till now. This validates for me my next move should be to score “The Word from Beyond” in its more appropriate key, a full perfect fifth higher, while continuing to seek a tenor who can sing the part of Winston Greene in a way that I, as a bass, cannot.
And a certain rain was falling
Where it wasn’t supposed to fall.
Though he thought he knew his calling,
He at last had heard the Call.
“The Call” from Eden in Babylon.
Copyright © 2016 by Andrew Michael Pope. All Rights Reserved.