Heidi Gerber-Salins:
Vocal Harmony Arranger - Phase I


Background from Phase I About Hymn Vocal Harmonies

Standard Hymn Harmonies

The established format for hymnals since 1861, when the Church of England published the first edition of the hymnal Hymns Ancient and Modern, has been to include music for the melody (primarily as Soprano) and harmonies, typically in three supporting parts, together with the verse text materials. This is the classic Soprano-Alto-Tenor-Bass (SATB) structure. The hymns published in the hymnals collected by David's parents followed that four-part melody and harmony structure intended for congregational singing.

The three hymn harmony parts (Alto-Tenor-Bass) typically included with the melody, tend to follow a pattern of being easier for congregations to follow. While that facilitates singing of hymns in part harmony by less musically trained congregations, it also produces an effect that might be described as "sounding like church hymns."

Descant Harmonies

None of the hymnals used contained the additional high part now known as a descant. Based on the wonderful experience gained in phase I, when the Producer and her mother added a descant to the last verse of "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," that made it obvious addition of Descants can add a wonderful dimension.

Later I had the great fortune of discovering the extensive list of descants published by arranger Mr. Jeff Whitmill. That made it very practical to add them during Phase II. I selected several from Mr. Whitmill's list and added them in Phase II. (There is a discussion of descants under Phase II.) As an easy cross reference if you want to immediately read that material, you can click here on Descants.

Heidi Gerber-Salins' Creativity

As part of recording Phase I of Hymns and Songs for Living, Ms. Gerber-Salins, in addition to her role as the producer for Phase I, also functioned as vocal arranger of harmony parts for some of the hymns. She created several new duet harmony parts in place of using the hymnals' alto harmony parts. Ms. Gerber-Salins extemporaneously created those new harmony duet parts out of her head on the recording for those hymns' duet accompaniments. Her vocal harmony arrangements add variety and harmonic listening interest for those duet parts.

 WHAT ABOUT DESCANT ON CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY? IS THAT EXTEMPORANIOUS OR PUBLISHED? IF EXTEMPORANIOUS, WHO SHOULD BE CITED, DOROTHY, HEIDI or someone else?

Those gems of Ms. Gerber-Salins' vocal arrangements are scattered throughout the album.

Availability of Ms. Gerber-Salins' Vocal Arrangements

As of 2022, the vocal hymn harmony parts extemporaneously created by Ms. Gerber-Salins [and Dorothy Gerber?????] are not written down, and thus only exist on this recording. Whether Ms. Gerber-Salins may chose to document and have the harmony parts she created become available, is unknown, and if so, how she might chose to make them available?



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