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Book: How to Get Your Choral Composition Published

By: Barbara Harlow    

Catalog Number: SBMP 116     Price: $12.95    ISBN# 978-0-9648071-0-5



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"This book has so much sensible and far-ranging advice for the aspiring choral composer, I can't imagine why it wasn't written years ago. Only someone who is an experienced choral conductor, composer, and music publisher could possibly write such an invaluable guide. I will recommend it to every young composer I know."
Kirke Mechem

ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Barbara Harlow has pursued a lifelong interest in music, and publishing/writing/editing. She served as editor of four school papers and yearbooks commencing with grade six, and this same year was awarded the first of many scholarships and awards for her musical ability. She has had several choral compositions published, and is the author of a voice text-book, You, the Singer, published by Hinshaw Music. A graduate of the University of Southern California, with a Masters Degree in choral composition from California State University at Fullerton, she has had thirty years of choral teaching experience working at all levels, elementary through college. In addition to her primary assignment as choral director, she has taught music theory, piano, voice and guitar. She is an accomplished accompanist, and for several years sang with the Roger Wagner Chorale in Los Angeles. Barbara is president/owner of Santa Barbara Music Publishing, a company “dedicated to nurturing the choral art.”

BOOK INTRO

You have a goal, a dream, and you are excited about it: you want to compose a piece for a choir to sing and you hope to get the piece published.

There are many creative decisions you face before you begin to compose this piece. What kind of choir will sing your piece? Do you want to arrange a piece or write an original composition? If you choose to compose an original piece, what will you use for a text? Will you use accompaniment and if so, what kind? What style will you choose, contemporary, avant-garde, traditional, folk? How long do you want the piece to be? What key will you use? What meter?

You must decide what “tools” you will use before you begin, just as a painter does before beginning to apply paint to a canvas. Set limitations within which you can create. Igor Stravinsky says of this process: My freedom consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself. My freedom will be so much the greater and meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action. 1 Stravinsky further supports his view by quoting the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci: Strength is born of constraint and dies in freedom. 2 With this in mind, let us begin.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENTS

Chapter one
PREPARE TO COMPOSE

Chapter two
TEXT–POETRY–
THE WORDS OF A COMPOSITION
Choose a Text
Get clearance to use the text
Explore the public domain
The foreign language text
The poem and the poet

Chapter three
CREATIVE DECISIONS6

The type of choir
The genre of the composition
The arrangement
The piece with piano accompaniment
The piece with organ accompaniment
Use of other instruments
The a cappella piece
The soloist as part of the choral composition
The set of pieces vs. the extended work

Chapter four
PITFALLS TO AVOID–
GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW

Vocal techniques, a primary consideration
The vocal line
The meter and the word accent
Words: their sound and their meaning
The key signature
Divisi
Your style as a composer
The worst pitfall: Lack of training

THE COMPOSER AS BUSINESS PERSON

Chapter five
THE SUBMISSION

Is your piece worthy of a submission?
Choose a publisher
When to call a publisher
The cover letter, the SASE, the package
Copyright concerns
The score you submit

Chapter six
INTERACTING WITH A PUBLISHER

The reject notice
The contract
Working with an editor
Proofing your piece
The piece that goes “out of print”

Chapter seven
BUSINESS–LIKE ORGANIZATION

Organize your scores
Your business database
Your business finances

Chapter eight
THE COMPOSER'S PLACE
IN THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC

The composer and thecommissioning person
The composer as PR agent
The composer as conductor
The composer as critical advisor to a director
The composer as a member of a performing rights organization
The composer as publisher
The composer as an advocate for integrity
The composer as composer

APPENDIX
References and recommended books
Composer contacts
Conservative vocal ranges
Integrity and our art

REVIEWS

"This book has so much sensible and far-ranging advice for the aspiring choral composer, I can't imagine why it wasn't written years ago. Only someone who is an experienced choral conductor, composer, and music publisher could possibly write such an invaluable guide. I will recommend it to every young composer I know."
Kirke Mechem
San Francisco, California


"This book is an invaluable aid to the aspiring composer in the early stages of his/her work-good news for the choral world!"
Libby Larsen
Minneapolis, Minnesota


"This is a terrifically valuable book for aspiring choral composers! It should be in every library-there is a great need for more reference books on choral music writing."
Emma Lou Diemer
Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara


"This is a most welcome book for the aspiring choral composer. Barbara Harlow offers very practical approaches and useful information concerning both the creative process involved in choral composition and guidelines to the process of publication."
Morten Lauridsen
Professor and Chair of Composition, University of Southern California School of Music
Composer-in-Residence, Los Angeles Master Chorale


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