The Chorale Collection: 36 Chorales for Band
As band directors, we all know the value of chorales to develop our group’s tone, intonation, blend, balance, and phrasing. There are several book out there that band directors can buy for their groups that all have fine chorales in them.
In my conversations with band directors across the country, I’ve found that often, these chorale books lack a few things:
#1: Every instrument doesn’t have the option of playing the soprano, alto, tenor, or bass part. The editors of these books have assigned parts to instruments and left them as such. As music educators, we can agree that flute players can benefit from playing a tenor line just as bass players can benefit from playing a melody line.
#2: The cost of these books is often prohibitive for many small and medium sized programs. In looking at a popular series, in order to equip my entire band program with these books, it would cost upward of $600. Even if I just bought enough for one band, it would still be well over $200. For some band directors, that amount of money is a large part of their yearly budget. Surely we can do better.
#3: Replacing lost or damaged music can quickly become cost prohibitive. If your band room is like mine, there is a mysterious music thief that comes into the band room every so often with the sole purpose of stealing sheet music from unsuspecting children. Ordering replacement parts takes time away from doing something else, and our time is already at a premium (not to mention our budgets!).
My hope is that The Chorale Collection addresses some of the concerns and frustrations that fellow band directors have shared with me.
- Every chorale has all four parts written for each instrument. This was the number one wish that I heard from my colleagues. You get to choose which instrument plays which part. Many individual parts also have octaves so that band directors can make the best decisions for their groups with respect to ranges. The octaves are written out throughout the entirety of the chorale as opposed to suggestions on certain notes. You know your groups best, so you’re the best person to decide which ranges instrument play in.
- You only pay one fixed price for the entire set of chorales. I don’t try and nickel and dime you for parts. And there are no replacement parts because….
- …it’s all in PDF! You buy one set of parts for your school and that’s it. And you get to download the parts immediately upon payment! You get your music right away and you can print out parts that you need when you need them. Each chorale comes with a score and parts in a high quality PDF.
Each of the 36 tunes in this book have been carefully chosen to help learn and reinforce a variety of musical concepts. I’ve chosen tunes based on key, musical era, meter, tonality, and other factors. In other words, I’ve tried to create a collection that band directors can use with all their groups, from middle school through high school and beyond. There are some fairly easy chorales in band-friendly keys, and then there are some difficult chorales—most notably from Bach’s St. John’s Passion—that will challenge even the best ensembles.
Each chorale simply has notes and rhythms. I’ve left it up to the band director to determine phrasing, tempo, articulations, and other musical considerations. My hope is that each band will provide a unique, musical interpretation of each chorale in this book. So long as you play them thoughtfully and musically, there is no right or wrong interpretation. Sometimes a band needs to practice legato: in that case, you can slur everything. Sometimes bands need to work on starting notes together: in that case, make every note staccato. Sometimes groups need to practice watching: in that case, make them watch you for a crescendo or tempo change. Whatever tricks you use, I hope that this clutter-free approach helps you make music right away.
Most of these tunes are hymn tunes from Christian hymnody. I’ve used their tune names as opposed to their most commonly known titles: Cwm Rhondda for “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah” and Ein Feste Burg for “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Students may recognize some tunes, but seeing as they are being played separately from their commonly associated text, I would hope that those with religious objections can rest assured that these aren’t being used in a religious context whatsoever.
This is a one-person operation, and I’m sure there are bound to be a few errors along the way. My plan is to immediately make corrections and keep a mailing list of customers so that I can send those corrections along right away. It’s important to me that each customer feels that they are getting their money’s worth, and this is one of many ways I hope to show that.
But that’s enough from me! At the bottom of this page, I’ve attached 2 chorales that you can print out and use and distribute freely. If you like them, then please consider purchasing The Chorale Collection. As I said before, this is just me doing this, and I hope that you’ll find my efforts worthy of your monetary investment.
List of tune names and WAV files
When you’re ready to order your copy of The Chorale Collection, click the link below!