It’s time for a Bass revolution.
Yes Basses, we truly appreciate the overtones that you create – your absolutely vital role in the richness of the chorus’ sound – but now we require more.
When a Bass section is singing with the same level of artistry that we usually ask of those singing the melody line, the result is transformative.
With most groups we directors are more inclined to be merciless with our Sopranos or Leads when it comes to phrasing and word stresses. We tell the whole group what we want – but we don’t follow up nearly enough with our harmony parts.
As a result our harmony singers get the impression that what they’re doing is enough.
I’m suggesting that the director’s cajoling/nagging/bribing should start with the Basses because they are the engine that drives everything. If the Basses are singing a lovely arching phrase, absolutely everyone else will feel compelled to join in.
Bass sectionals are the best way I know to lock in the unit sound and to solidify the expressive interpretation. Probably a good idea for the director to sit in, so that he or she can give feedback on the specifics of the artistry.
However, the biggest shift here is in the transformation of the Basses’ perception that no one’s really listening to them, and that their role is strictly structural.
When the Bass section sings their part as if it’s their own poignant melody, the whole chorus suddenly sounds much more polished.