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Topic: Church Recessional Ideas  (Read 1938 times)

Offline tnan123

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Church Recessional Ideas
on: August 18, 2017, 03:56:02 PM
Our church has recently changed from singing a recessional hymn/song to only having instrumental recessional music.

I see a lot of threads with appropriate prelude music but far fewer suggestions for joyful pieces appropriate for a recessional. Both piano/organ suggestions welcome!

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 07:52:01 PM
Good heavens.  Why did they do that?  Ours is not to reason why...

First, is this music to be played as a true recessional?  That is, when the clergy and altar party are making their way out of the sanctuary?  If so, it is good to have a steady, Andante tempo -- say somewhere in the 70 to 80 range, more or less.  Much slower, and you get penguins walking down the aisle.  Much faster, and it becomes a bit raggedy andy.  Also, it should be liturgically appropriate and in a style fitting with the rest of the service.  Depending on the latter, many chorale variations work well.  On the other hand, an improvisation on an appropriate hymn or gospel tune can be very effective  -- and has the real advantage of being flexible in length!  In either case, the music should be positive in feel, but "joyful" isn't necessarily what is wanted.  Fit the season.

If, on the other hand, this is going to be really just another name for the postlude, and serve more to cover the confusion of the congregation leaving, almost anything will do, but what you pick will be very much influenced by the overall style and ambience of your particular church and congregation.  Again, though, I feel that it should be basically positive, though that need not mean joyful or even that it is in a major key or mode.

I can't give you a list, because I don't know your church and congregation.  What I might play for the end of a Baptist camp meeting would be very different from the recessional I might have played in Durham Cathedral..
Ian

Offline tnan123

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 04:01:03 AM
Thanks so much for the reply! Some great points to think about. The short answer on why is the new pastor and new music director wanted the change. We now do a song of thanksgiving hymn after communion, have the final prayer, THEN I'm on my own for a instrumental recessional.

Yes, it is a true recessional that occurs after the final prayer as the clergy exit the sanctuary. Currently, I've been instructed to play positive uplifting type of music as a recessional. I have been doing some hymns that fit the bill, but also feel that something purely instrumental would also be effective... Bach/Handel and basically a lot of Baroque comes to mind, but I wanted to see what else I could discover.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #3 on: August 19, 2017, 01:41:43 PM
OK -- your reply helps a lot!  Yes -- Bach or Handel, of course.  Any of the Bach Preludes and Fugues would work very well.  Also take a look at Sweelinck and Buxtehude and Froberger, among others in that era.  There are also some English composers who did useful things.  In a more modern vein, Healey Willan has some great stuff.

I encourage you on the hymns and hymn tunes.  Particularly I encourage you not to just play the hymn as written, but begin to think about improvising variations on it.  They don't have to be fancy (I hate to be cyniical -- but no one is listening anyway, except maybe the choir...) and it is a good skill to have!
Ian

Offline indianajo

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 12:16:35 PM
recessional is the time when you the instrumentalist get to play pieces that don't have a particular message.  No lyrics are required. 
Usually I play one of the hymns, ones that are not popular and haven't been sung in ages.  These don't require any preparation. I did Rescue the Perishing three weeks ago, which is a bit too street corner brass band style for most congregations these days.  But one elderly member specifically thanked me for playing it, a song of her youth. 
But when I prepare something not out of the hymnal, I feel empowered that people aren't listening anyway. They are preparing to talk to their friends.  Jazz and classical music are widely abhored  in my part of the country among my economic class.  But I'm practicing a jazzy arrangement of an ancient carol for next 12/24, which got me banned from the piano at a previous church when I played it for an offeratory. 
Have fun. 

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #5 on: August 21, 2017, 01:55:28 PM
But I'm practicing a jazzy arrangement of an ancient carol for next 12/24, which got me banned from the piano at a previous church when I played it for an offeratory.  
Have fun.  

Yeah, I got stopped and nearly fired mid-piece once, for an offertory of course.  The pastor just about stroked out, I think.

Who knew Isaiah was so controversial? 
Tim

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 02:04:16 PM
That's alright.  I once did a baroque style improvisation on "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" in a very staid and high church for an offertory.  Not one person in the congregation noticed what it was...
Ian

Offline tnan123

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Re: Church Recessional Ideas
Reply #7 on: August 22, 2017, 01:01:51 AM
Nice to hear that everyone deals with some issues at times when us musicians have to select our own pieces. Thankfully, I've been mostly given the liturgical schedule of songs/pieces ahead of time or I've prepared a list of several pieces for prelude/offertory I can whip out if needed. Having a "queue" of pieces for the upcoming weeks also helps if there is a question of whether the music would be suitable or too "edgy." I can think about it longer and if needed ask if it might work.

I find it really helpful to keep a saved list of pieces one has used in the past. Whenever you get stuck you can revisit a previously played prelude (or other piece) again (I'm sure the congregation won't recognize you played it last year).

With regard to the topic of the thread, I did marche pontificale https://imslp.org/wiki/Marche_Pontificale_(Gounod,_Charles) this past weekend for the recessional at someone else's suggestion. It came off quite well I thought  :) Gonna try to mix some hymns in there, but still on the search for more great instrumental recessional ideas.
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