From HymnCharts arranger Don Chapman:
The First Noel 2014 is the most unusual arrangement I’ve created in a while.
To start things off, I’ve changed the meter from 3/4 to 4/4 – that alone changes the song from a ballad to a more driving uptempo arrangement.
Like most pop music arrangements these days, I’ve used the technique of a repetitive chord pattern for intros and verses, adding and removing layers of guitars and keyboards to give the song dynamics.
There’s always give and take in contemporary vs. more traditional arranging – traditional chord voicings are great for full SATB and instrumental parts but bad for contemporary guitars and keyboards. With this arrangement, the cycling, modern chord structure simply doesn’t lend itself to thick vocal and instrumental parts (the SAB and SATB parts are identical with lots of unison and two parts.)
This is also one of my few arrangements that doesn’t have a core piano part. Instead, it’s more of an example of how I play the piano in a megachurch praise band (that’s me playing the piano at Brookwood Church in Greenville, SC, in the picture above.) I use the piano as an effect (for instance, chiming chords on the intro and verses) then add a slight rhythmic groove to the choruses. The song is actually guitar-driven with a piano prelude to the intro.
At five minutes in length, The First Noel 2014 is one of my longest HymnCharts arrangements. Try using it to open a December praise set.
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