On Sunday evening I was working with a pick up choir for a special event and was once again reminded of the contribution that a little annoyed thinking can make to the sound.
When we’re slightly angry our attention is much more focused that it is when we’re in our baseline blasé state.
Directors – please don’t think that I’m asking you to give singers something new to be angry about. If we ask ourselves “What’s annoying me right now, or these days?” absolutely everybody can come up with something.
What I ask the singers to do is to use that – whatever issue came up – and hold onto that emotion as they sing the specific section that I feel needs more bee sting type intensity.
With this choir we were doing a song that has an 8 bar intro, then the word Hallelujah. The notes weren’t difficult, but the entrance was messy, and the initial vowel – the ‘ah’ – was unfocused.
I asked the choir to start churning up the Snit Thinking – during those 8 bars of intro – about whatever issue in their lives was bugging them, and then to release it on that first Hallelujah, like a rather nasty bee sting.
Much more focused, and definitely more synchronized.
Now, is it appropriate or even ethical to encourage negativity on an Hallelujah?
Probably best to use this as a rehearsal tool only. The singers will become accustomed to feeling the intensity of this focus, and can then drop the Snit Thinking.
Wouldn’t be a great visual to have your choir scowling at the audience on the run up to a radiant, synchronized, focused Hallelujah.