We have three groups (soprano, alto, and baritone) and for one of the songs we're singing, each vocal section has a piece or section that we have to sing. Our conductor referred to it as a specific word but I don't remember what it was called. I searched online, but I still couldn't find it.

Could anyone tell me what the term is?

  • "and for one of the songs we're singing each vocal section has a piece or section that we have to sing." - Can you clarify what you mean by this? – LSM07 Apr 9 at 0:54
  • @LSM07 "each vocal section has a piece or section that we have to sing" probably means that one part (soprano, alto, or baritone) sings while the other parts remain silent. In sheet music, there would be rests in the measures of the other two parts while the third part sings. – AduyummY Apr 9 at 5:30
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    Please clarify whether the other parts stop singing during these passages or whether these passages are simply the primary melody and the other parts continue singing harmonization. – chrylis Apr 9 at 6:25
  • I agree with @chrylis that this is not very clear. Could you edit your question and include the relevant fragment of the score? – Melebius Apr 9 at 7:37
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    As it stands, the question lacks pertinent information which is needed for a definitive answer. It could mean two opposing things. – Tim Apr 9 at 8:34

Possibly soli?

In my experience, it means a solo for an entire section. For example, a saxophone soli would be a feature for all the saxophones in a big band.

Google tells me it has other meanings in different contexts, so it may not be a universally applicable term.

  • This is also my experience; whenever i encounter a "soli", it means "a solo for all applicable people together, instead of choosing just one individual" – ThisIsMe Apr 9 at 6:48
  • In my experience from classical music, soli is simply the Italian name for soloists and is used in contrast to the choir – you can often find “soli e coro” in scores. – Melebius Apr 9 at 7:30

If other voices are singing (or playing) at the same time, the leading voice is simply called melody and others are performing accompaniment.

In polyphonic compositions, the voice singing (or playing) the main melody is called cantus firmus (Latin) or canto fermo (Italian). In this case, the other voices are performing at the same time, too. The relation between voices is called counterpoint.

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    On condition the other voices were also singing, this is correct. In the event that they weren't, this is wrong. – Tim Apr 9 at 8:35
  • @Tim I understand the part of the question “each vocal section has a piece or section that we have to sing” in the way that other voices are also singing. I tried to clarify (and extend) my answer. – Melebius Apr 9 at 9:18

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