We have already written a brief overview of how to prepare your score to practice this extremely challenging piece. Following this guide is going to be vitally important to do before you start trying to refine this piece. You will eventually need all those colors and highlighting and counts, so just do it now!
Where to come in?
Basses, listen up! The rest of us don’t necessarily have to count from the beginning, but you do!
When counting measures in the introduction, count as many as notated in that time signature, then move on to the next time signature. So you’ll count 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 then 1-2-3 then 1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 etc… Personally, I’d recommend just listening for the “cue” two measures after rehearsal 2 (measure 9). It sounds a bit like the very beginning AND rehearsal 1, with the same rhythm but slightly different notes.
Everyone else…. if you’re coming back from camp and thinking, “I’ll just wait for the basses to sing and then count from there,” may I remind you that you WONT hear the basses sing on the track? BUT when they come in the accompaniment and underlying harmony does change significantly, so you can “hear” them in your head.
The thing that I’m being really obstinate about is those teeny tiny eighth rests that end most of the measures. You need to know exactly what you’re doing on each of those rests besides “resting”. Are you breathing? Do you need to put a consonant there? Is it an unvoiced (ie: [t]) or voiced (ie: [duh]) consonant? Do you have to put on a consonant and also breathe or does your breath have it’s own rest? Be specific and consistent.
Another thing is those “double – dotted” notes, ie: Gloria and Hominibus… the convention is to “drop” one of those dots, and you can discuss with your teachers and decide how much. I have been describing it as a short accent followed by a decrescendo (or lean in and then away.) Another teacher may want a complete stoppage and silence. But in any case, it deserves some attention.
Because we have been teaching this music all summer for literally hundreds of hours, we have already become aware of many common mistakes people make. Make sure you double check these places for issues!
Sopranos and Altos, once you’ve made your first entrance at rehearsal 4, make sure you don’t mimic the notes the basses sing. Basses have the same note several times in a row, you have a different note on the third syllable of Glo-ri-a.
Sopranos, this may be the most common and frustrating mistake we hear. Compare “bonae voluntatis” in measure 4 after rehearsal 5 (right before the page turn at the key change) to measure 4 after rehearsal 7 (right before the page turn.) There is NO key change! So make sure that the first time you sing an Eb and the second time you go back up to the F-natural.
Sopranos and Altos, make sure you view the conductor’s notes online for the correction in the first measure of page 4 and sing the correct intervals! *Hint, the interval from C# to B# is only a half-step.*
Basses, 3 measures after rehearsal 5, watch the key change! Between the syllables “bus” and “vo” there is a half step down. Typically a music editor will put a “courtesy” natural sign in this instance, since the F# has left the key signature, but they didn’t here. So give yourself a natural sign or an arrow pointing down on “vo-”
Basses 3 measures after rehearsal 6, watch the enharmonic spelling of this phrase (A#-C#-A#) and two measures after (Bb-Db-Bb). They should sound the same!
Tenors one measure before rehearsal 7 – be careful to sing first an Eb on “-cel-” and then an E-Natural (higher) on “-o”.
Basses four after rehearsal 7 on “voluntatis” listen for the piano part to find your pitches. The piano is playing exactly your notes in bass octaves.
Tenors, careful that B-Natural in rehearsal 10 is higher than the Bb two measures previous.