Magic Choral Trick #191 More on the Exorcism of And and The
I’ve been thinking recently that my groups are still having trouble noticing when and and the (and also: in, through, for, of and probably every preposition) show up in a song.
The problem is that our minds need to be running ahead to scan for ‘ands’, when in order to create the best sound, we have to be thinking about the present note, word and phrase.
So how do we fix this?
As director, I often take responsibility for this and give the chorus my ‘completely relaxed mouth’ cue. I have a hand gesture that I use – a small side to side shake of my left hand, as if I were brushing my lips with the fingertips. This actually works quite well, but it means that I have to be reminding them about a very small part of the sentence – when I’d rather be showing them the sweep of the whole phrase.
For choirs and choruses who use music, just circling, or highlighting all of the unformed, relaxed mouth words will work.
However, the optimum situation is that it becomes a reflex, or habit to sing all of these support words with a relaxed, almost closed mouth.
Oh yes – by the way, I used to have fairly serious difficulties with synchronization if I just told my choirs to de-emphasize these words. For some reason, this is often brain code for ‘sing them faster’.
Ultimately, what causes any singing skill to become habit is drilling and drilling and drilling. And the warm up is the perfect time for this.
Try singing this sentence – or any other that contains a bunch of ‘attaching’ words – all on the one pitch, quite slowly, with each note and word getting one beat.
What is the name and the place of your home? (Depending upon the context, we could probably sing the your unformed as well)
Ultimately the other words in this sentence will also have to be addressed for other reasons, but I’ll talk later about what appears below to be singing in Klingon.
Ooaht is the neh – eem and the pleh – eeseuh vyour hoh – oom?