Carol: The Seven Joys of Mary

Year of composition
Rev. Henry Ramsden Bramley (1871)
Difficult (Grades 7+)
6 minutes
Classical music
Instrumental parts

The number seven is featured in the music. The seven verses move through a cycle of the seven modes of the diatonic scale. The melodic line of each verse is sung by a different voice section of the choir. The second line of each verse is repeated by a soloist from the same section. This is followed by each of the soloists of the previous verses singing the number of their 'joy' in reverse order, forming a sort of canon. Each 'joy' is thus sung by the seven soloists building up into a larger ensemble in each verse. The refrain also features a different voice section on each repetition. The carol is largely in 7/8, which gives a more modern twist to the concept of a carol based on dance rhythms. Here we have a slightly distorted jig.

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