Veni Creator Spiritus

Update 10/1/20: Sheet music for the final version of this song can be downloaded here.

Bruce Benedict is at it again. Last time it was a collection of songs based on the Apostles’ Creed. This time he’s assembling a group of musicians to compose and record songs for Pentecost. I have a real affinity for the Gregorian chant Veni Creator Spiritus, so I chose to contribute an updated version of this hymn to the project. Wikipedia has a good overview that includes the Latin, chant notation, an English translation, and an audio sample. CHeck out the original, then take a look at my first draft PDF or listen to an MP3 of me singing it directly into my laptop. As you can see, my version keeps the original chant melody intact, provides a new English translation from the Latin, and adds a refrain–“O Holy Spirit, come!”

Now I need your help before I begin recording. One of the difficulties I had was trying to wrangle the flowing, asymmetrical rhythms of the chant into a regular metered pattern. I chose 3/8 to give me the most flexibility of phrasing, but am still not entirely satisfied with how that plays out in measure 6 and 16. Is the tied pick up too fussy? How about the key signature? I’ve put it in E, but it really works better with an A drone. Should I put it in A? I sort of like the way it floats between the keys of A and E–it feels more chant-like to me–but maybe I’m just being stupid. And the translation? Anything you’d change? I like how each verse gives a name for the Spirit at the beginning, and am generally pleased with the rest of the text, but would appreciate any feedback you have on it.

Let’s make this better and then I’ll get to work on the final recording!

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