"From Words to Music" – A Guide for Choral Musicians

From Words to Music
A User's Guide to Text for Choral Musicians

by Gerald Custer / Blake Henson
2014 by GIA Publications, Inc.

The power of story and story-telling makes choral singing irresistible...and the impact of text wedded to music is what fuels the choral art. Yet in the heat of rehearsal, we can forget to ask, "Whose words are these in my mouth? Why is this message being sent? Who is the audience for this story? Why does it matter to them? How can I make this story my story?

In this enlightening book, conductor Gerald Custer and composer Blake Henson offer practical tools and strategies to approach, unlock, and understand text: how it works, how it's structured, and what it means. In a series of informal dialogues punctuated with personal illustrations, Custer and Henson reveal how composers and conductors make the journey that transforms words into music.

If you are a singer, a choral conductor, a composer, or simply someone who loves choral music, this insightful and honest book sheds new light on how words and music interact to create the choral art.
"This thoughtful and creative book explains so effectively many of the complex relationships between text and music that I have come to understand in my years as a singer and lyricist. I am gratified to learn the extent to which these two fine composers and conductors study and honor text."
– by Charles Anthony Silvestri, from the Foreword

Gerald Custer is an active choral composer and conductor who teaches composition and music theory at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He is also music director at First Presbyterian Church of Farmington in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Blake Henson is also an active choral composer and is assistant professor of music at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.