Magic Choral Trick #297 Show It, Then Sing About It

Got a new Presentation phrase from this month’s BHS Harmonizer magazine.

“Show it, then sing about it.” This is another way to describe ‘telegraphing’ – creating the next phrase’s emotion near the end of the phrase that’s being sung. This happens in normal conversation all the time:

“I’m going to be driving all the kids to the movie on Saturday (insert shocked, surprised face here) Oh my goodness! I forgot that I have that gig! I won’t be able to drive them!”

As the thought occurs, the face shows the shock – then we say what it is that we’ve just thought about. In order for a song to be believable, this process gets turned around a little. We need to establish the emotion of a phrase, then create that emotion for ourselves at the end, or just before the end of the previous phrase – as if that thought had just occurred to us.

As a director, I’m used to constantly thinking a note or a phrase ahead – giving reminder cues to the chorus in time for the singers to see and react to them. But a singer’s brain is filled with so many other elements, that thinking ahead tends to get lost in the shuffle – especially if there’s a director out in front who’s handling that aspect. However, with drill, this too can become just another good singing habit.

This could be rehearsed in the warm up on a vowel/technique exercise. Just before coming to the first breathing spot, a sign is held up (wistful, frightened, contented) and faces all change together before the breath is even taken. The next phrase is sung with that emotion – until near the end, before the breath – when the next sign is held up. This may have to be done in slow motion for a while.

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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 February 7, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Can’t believe you posted to the blog before leaving for PEI! What a great weekend.For years have tried to promote women’s voicing arrangements…hmmmn
    Sorry could not join the after coaching gathering. I’ll be forwarding blog posts to all members.
    Mariedith
    AKA Me The Messenger (emails information & updates to all members)

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