Posted in Project 9: Descants

Descant 2: for You Gentlemen of England

Note: This is the second descant for Project 9. You can look at the first one here. I also did the research on the topic of descants here.


My second descant, written on the theme of You Gentlemen of England, is for the oboe and flute – similarly to the first one, except here I added the snare drum:

discant 2.PNG

Click here to download the audio file.

Comparing to the first tune, You Gentlemen of England is longer and offered a bit more material. Because of the lyrics and the navy/militaristic character, I added the snare drums, which remains in piano most of the time, with some tiny dynamic shadings here and there.

The descant would in some places overshadow the main theme with faster quaver notes, which is why I keep it in more silent dynamics, except the 7th bar, in which I let the dynamics go louder, serving as a culmination point. Soon after, it returns to being more silent.

Despite starting with a pause, the counterpoint isn’t so imitative, but rather free. Although, there is one place, where almost strict imitation makes a brief appearance. This is in bar 4, which borrows from the bar 3 below, with the difference being the pitch of the last quaver note.

I think I balanced well the movement and less-active places with the exchanges between the voices. I think the ending is especially well-placed in this regard, where the descant holds the whole tone – a contrast to the rest of the piece where it was relatively active, allowing the main melody to complete the piece.

I only had one problem, in bar two, where the dotted D note in the descant sounded a bit dissonant, because of the C below. I solved this by adding the quaver C# note, where voices meet in unison for a short moment. There is a hidden fifth in 8th bar – E – B. I can’t shake off seeing these, since my brain and eyes were trained to uncover these as ‘mistakes’. It is nice to ignore it once in a while, since I like the overall sound in this bar. It also comes after a unison, so it is not that audible. Even so, again, it’s nice to play a little.

Take a look at my final descant here.

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