Prelude Blog

Meet the Composer: Zebulon Highben

Posted on Feb 8, 2019 11:48:32 AM by Zebulon Highben in Music Ministry, in Composing and arranging

Zebulon Highben is a popular composer in the Augsburg Fortress catalog. In this interview, we learn how he got started as a composer, what he does today, and how he thinks about the writing process.

Could you tell us about your current job/vocation, outside of composing?

I am Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Muskingum University, a liberal arts college of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I direct the choral program there and teach conducting, choral methods, choral literature, and

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Key Signatures and Effective Assembly Singing

Posted on Aug 10, 2018 4:13:00 PM by Tim Shaw in Composing and arranging

Those who accompany singing in worship services have many factors to consider in order to lead effectively, including: text, tempo, mood, dynamics, articulation, registration, and key. This last musical parameter, the key signature, is often overlooked when accompanying assembly singing. We may alter the tempo to encourage better singing; we may change registration from verse to verse to build to a climax; we may underscore textual imagery by playing with a different articulation. We may even modulate up a half-step and play a re-harmonization to boost singing on the final verse. But, how often do we think about the written key signature as something that can be changed entirely to enable better participation from the gathered assembly?

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The Lutheran Roots of an Epiphany Vespers

Posted on Jan 18, 2018 9:21:55 AM by Kile Smith in Composing and arranging, in Potpourri

Ten years ago this month, the most important premiere of my life took place. Piffaro, the Renaissance Band commissioned from me a concert-length Vespers.

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How to Re-harmonize Hymns

Posted on Feb 24, 2017 1:55:08 PM by Tim Shaw in Composing and arranging

Used in moderation, playing hymn re-harmonizations on selected hymn stanzas can enliven an assembly’s singing, renew interest in older church repertoire, and draw attention to the text by musically underscoring certain words. Many hymn re-harmonizations are available for download through Prelude Music Planner—search by tune name and filter your results by instrument, this will allow you to see alternate harmonizations available for download. And here are some other resources for you to consider adding to your music library:

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Choral Arranging in 10 Steps

Posted on Jul 8, 2016 9:52:25 AM by Tim Shaw in Choral Techniques and Repertoire, in Composing and arranging

Have you exhausted your budget for new music but find yourself in need of a few more pieces to round out the upcoming choral season? Have you been unable to find a choral setting of a hymn you love? Have you always been curious about how the creative process works? Now could be a great time for you to try writing your own music! Follow the 10-step process below, mix in a little inspiration, and you may be pleasantly surprised with what you’re able to create.

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