Magic Choral Trick #104 Why Is This Chord Not Working?

Magic Choral Trick #104 Why Is This Chord Not Working?
Why Is This Chord Not Working?

Generally when a chord jumps out of the song because it’s wonky we assume that someone’s singing a wrong note – and about 50% of the time, that’s right.

That leaves the other 50%.

Of course, still in the category of singing the wrong note is tuning. But where do we look when the tuning is fine, but the chord still doesn’t ring?

1. Vowel – is everyone singing exactly the same vowel, with no tongue tension?

2. Balance – in most chords, the Root and the Fifth need to be predominant. Is the Third
being over sung?

3. Arrangement. Is the problem the arrangement? Did the arranger double the Third just
to make one of the parts easier to sing? Or is the voicing very spread out. Perhaps some of the parts are at the extremes of their ranges – and so are having to sing louder or softer than the other parts.

4. Placement and Blend– Are some people using a forward placement, and some singing from
far back in the throat? (Moustache Hands and Jin Shin Jiutsu holding points will
help to fix this)

5. Synchronization. If some of the choir is arriving late to the chord, and the onset of the vowel isn’t lining up, (perhaps because a consonant blend at the beginning of the word is slowing them down) the chord will take too long to gel, and sounds messy.

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 March 22, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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