Magic Choral Trick #15 The Nothing Vowel – One More Thing

This revelation woke me from a sound sleep one night.

Any choral director knows that there’s one place in any piece of music that can feel like we’re trying to haul boulders. That place is between phrases – and especially when there are a couple of pick up notes before the next downbeat.

Until I thought up this trick, the exasperation of trying to get choirs to breathe fast enough, then sing the pick up notes in time would very nearly drive me screaming from the hall and racing to the nearest bar.

Maybe we can talk about fast breathing later – but for now, here’s the pick up note trick.

No matter what the vowel, pick up notes – regardless of whether there are one, two or three – need to be sung through the Nothing Vowel shape.

And here’s the kicker. Even when the word would normally demand a precisely formed target vowel (as in the words ‘Oh’ or ‘I’) the choir still needs to use only the Nothing Vowel shape. Et Voila! The choir sings it in time – and with the correct lack of accentuation.

Happy, sober director!


About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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