Magic Choral Trick #298 Johnny One Note

One of the very best synchronization tricks I know

Work the song phrase by phrase, with everyone singing the words on only one note. This way, it’s a simple matter to work on word stress, speech rhythm, rubato, and target vowels and their diphthong resolutions.

It’s simple because without the melody and harmony, the synchronization issues become obvious to everyone.

It’s especially effective if the chorus is standing in 4X4 arrangement on the floor (rather than on the risers), with one part on each side of the rectangle, facing in to where the director is standing in the middle

With my Men’s chorus last night I also had a lot of success with adding hand signals for the formed target vowels. For the word ‘time’ I used The Claw:  for the ‘Ah’ vowel, pulled it away from the mouth as the note was sustained, then we all quickly and smoothly turned our hands around for the quick ‘eem’ and cut off.

When there’s only one note being sung, everyone can hear much more clearly what needs to happen.

Once each phrase has been worked, then the joins between them can be cleaned up.

It’s always a little tricky when melody and harmony are added back into the equation. The basses will once again feel that they need a bit more time to move those low notes around – but this can usually be helped by singing with a headier tone.

The more difficult vocal technique spots will be obvious immediately – but now at least everyone has a template in their head of what great synchronization should feel like.


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 11, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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