Do members of an a cappella group determine which syllables work best when they're not singing text, or is it the responsibility of the composer or arranger to specify what sounds should be sung?

I'm working on an arrangement of "Ich grolle nicht" from Schumann's Dichterliebe, but I'm unsure about what to do with the voices covering the piano part.


I think it is up to you. If you have ideas on how you want them sung, write them, if not don't.

For something like Schumann, the style will be familiar enough that you might let expert singers make their own interpretation. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to give directions: see the quite long note at the bottom of the first page of Delius's work "To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water" for unaccompanied voices -- download from IMSLP: http://imslp.org/wiki/To_Be_Sung_of_a_Summer_Night_on_the_Water,_RT_IV/5_(Delius,_Frederick)


You write the syllables you want. SOMEONE has to make the decisions. It's your job as composer/arranger really. They'll change anything they disapprove of soon enough!

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