Music, Composition and Theory

Rowy van Hest
Nederlands English

Ear Training & Composition & Voice-Leading

Ear Training

A four-part string orchestra is ideal for learning to focus on the individual voices. Listen to the composition first. Then concentrate on voice I and follow it to the end. Follow voice II et cetera. Listen to the composition again and change focus intermittently. All files are free.


Composers learn to write music by listening to music while reading the score. It is even recommended for music students. Follow the instructions for ear training and study the score.

Psalm for Nature I - Growing Shadows:
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Psalms for Nature is written with a modern voice-leading and an advanced harmony. The instruments you hear are violins, violas I, violas II and cellos.

Psalm for Nature II - Beautiful Landscape 1:
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Psalm for Nature III - Almost Spring:
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Modern voice-leading is based on the vocal counterpoint from the Renaissance, adapted by J.S. Bach, further adapted by my professor and modernized by me. Listen to this four-part chorale by Bach in the same orchestration as the psalms.

St John Passion - O grosse Lieb:
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Although the voice-leading is not fundamentally different, it is clear that music has changed considerably since the 18th century. Psalm for Nature VIII, like the chorale, is conceived as a four-part song, but the influence of Late Romanticism is very noticeable here.

Psalm for Nature VIII - Air:
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The voice-leading used by J.S. Bach in his chorales, which we now call traditional, had to be adapted because from the classical period onwards harmony became more and more difficult.

As a student you must study traditional voice-leading and harmony first, but an advanced composer needs more freedom. Letting go of all the rules is not necessary and would also lead to amateurism. In order to help you on your way, I am therefore writing a set of short and simple instructions with which you can acquire the necessary freedom.

I hope to start a new section Modern Voice-Leading in 2020, but I'm giving you a preview of Psalm for Nature VI. This psalm contains errors, according to traditional voice-leading. In the new section I will explain why they are no longer mistakes. To be complete I will also cover traditional voice-leading.

Psalm for Nature VI - Beautiful Landscape 2:
m4a mp3 and png or pdf