Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now

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25

I'm in a high school choir and we just got a new teacher. He is adamant that we don't listen to rehearsal tracks or recordings, because "real musicians don't." Is there merit to this? It's certainly not true that real musicians don't listen to tracks or recordings... As Mafii says, many excellent musicians don't actually use scores at all. However, it ...


16

"real musicians don't." Is there merit to this? As you have stated it, so bluntly, this assertion has no 'merit'. Countless great musicians - including jazz folks, not just rockers - have learned to play from scratch by listening to recordings. Virtually every musician, in every genre, listens to and learns from recordings by great artists, and goes to ...


12

That's a poor argument imo. Many "real musicians" do very much sing or play by ear. They listen to lots of recordings, and lots of other musicians. Some can't even read sheet music, and only play by ear. It could be however, that he wants his class to learn how to sight read, and how to use relative pitch. He should then however be transparent about that.


11

I'm no expert on this, I'm only speaking from my own experiences singing in choir. d One of our conductors did this to help our voices blend better. He would ask individuals from a section to sing their part, and he would choose the one he thought had the most suitable sound/tone for the song. Then he would bring the other section members one by have them ...


10

It's not arbitrary. American accents in choral singing (especially Southern) produce several disadvantages in tone, tuning and volume. Specifically, the American hard "r" forces the speaker/singer to close the jaw and lift the tongue, both of which reduce the air space within the mouth and the back of the throat, reducing resonance. The result when singing ...


8

It's common for a certain musical style to be associated with a certain accent. Adele ditches her Norf Laaaaaaandan accent for a distinctly American sound when she's belting out her latest soul-tinged ballad. Birmingham (UK)-born Ali Campbell of reggae act UB40 does a half-decent job of sounding like a Jamaican. On the flip side, punk singer Joey Ramone's ...


7

It's a bit old-fashioned, and reasons have to do with placement (our accent has a lot of nasalization of vowels) and airflow restriction (try saying "er" as you normally do, and then the way the Brits do it, and you'll see that you don't restrict the airway as much in the latter). However, while these reasons may be musical reasons, they are also pretty ...


6

The most extensive site is http://www.cpdl.org . There are also many chorale arrangements on IMSLP (http://www.imslp.org/) but that site also has orchestral, solo, opera, pieces, etc. CPDL is specifically focused on choral music. What you will not find on either site is most music published in the past 50 years (or since 1923 for American users) since that ...


6

Oratorios are similar to operas, but are unstaged, and are based on religious topics. Some common examples include: Handel's Messiah, Saul, Israel in Egypt, and Esther; Bach's Christmas Oratorio (and, arguably, his two Passions, which are essentially similar in form), Haydn's Creation, and Mendelssohn's Elijah and Christus. The best thing you can do is "dig ...


6

There is far more to singing than just the vocal folds. Much of the sound of a singers voice is shaped and influenced by muscles in the throat and face (including your nasal passages). So even if food does not come into contact with the vocal folds themselves, certain foods can have an effect on other parts of your vocal tract that can affect your singing. ...


5

If I understand correctly, you have a midi file with N different tracks, and you want to create N sound files out of that where for each sound file, one of the tracks is proportionately louder than all the other tracks. If that's the case, you can do this with python and the fantastic music21 library: from music21 import * ##Load in a MIDI file st = ...


5

There's some phisical consequence in two or more voices/instruments producing the same note (besides the somewhat obvious volume raise). See, notes (higher or lower) depend on their frecuency (amount of vibrations per seconds, measured in Hertz(Hz)). A group may try to sing the same notes, but the tiny fluctuations and minimal down-tunning or up-tunning will ...


5

You mention "Unison pop tunes" -- have you considered writing/finding harmonised arrangements of pop songs? Lots of pop/rock songs have harmonised vocals. Almost every boy band / girl band is a "vocal harmony group". Pretty much any song can have vocal harmony retrofitted onto it. You're not going to engage these kids if you're dismissive about the music ...


5

First of all, voice lessons is a great start! Your teacher will teach you proper singing techniques like breath control and voice placement. You might also want to ask your teacher about sight reading as well, which is not always required, but definitely a skill to have as a choir member. For an audition, you might actually have to sight read something, ...


5

You'll probably find the lowest bass voices in Russian choral music, reaching down to C1 (32.7 Hz). Such low basses are called Oktavists: The Power of the Russian Oktavist


4

I would strongly disagree with the notion of "pushing kids out the door if they don't have the bug". If choir is an elective class, the fact that they're in your door in the first place is enough! It shows that they have an interest, and if you're trying to build a program, that should be your only criteria! The only caveat to this that I'll mention would ...


4

This style of singing is actually seen more common than you would think. You can hear it in hymns, national anthems, and even Happy Birthday. The idea is that everybody singing the same note will sound like one powerful voice and has a different texture then if the 4 parts had different notes. This piece seems to start like most hymns do with many voices ...


4

Using this list: http://imslp.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Wolfgang_Amadeus_Mozart I found 2 for mixed chorus. Click the links to download the score. God is Our Refuge, K.20 (Youtube video, with score) Quaerite primum regnum Dei, K.86/73v (Youtube video) Both pieces are quite short, just over a minute. I added a musescore transcription for God is our ...


4

I don't know a huge amount about plainsong however I can think of a couple of possibilities. The first thing to note is that there are definitely some differences between the two videos you post: the Kyrie has elements of polyphony whilst the Dies Irae seems to be mostly in unison. Gothic could refer to the specific period between the 9th and 14th ...


4

If you don't trust your choir director to make a more qualified decision when listening to you than some random stranger on the Internet, we might be missing some crucial information here. Like, is he/she legally deaf? Maybe the choir director has been abducted and the janitor is pitching in? This kind of question pops up twice a month and cannot be ...


4

It depends on the circumstances, but if it is a community choir, I assume you don't rehearse more than once or twice every week. Hence, rehearsing on the day of the concert or the day before will surely not be too much rehearsing. We used to do this with my community choir in England, especially because normal rehearsals were at the gym of the local ...


4

I only watched for a few seconds but it's clear that it is in-ear monitoring. It may be that there's a click track running in the earpiece to keep them in time; maybe it's to make sure they can hear the accompaniment and keep in time with that in the echo acoustic of the church; or maybe they're actually miming to a pre-recorded track, and the monitoring ...


4

As you ask for singers and choirs it might depend of the ending consonant. Many amateur singers don't keep the whole note and give not the exact value. Normally it is up to the conductor to tell the members how long he wants the note exactly held. If you are conductor yourself I you can say the ending consonant has to be sung on the first eighth note. I ...


3

We can't possibly suggest specific titles. But there is something I can say to guide you. It will make more sense if I start out this way: I went to hear a performance of The Fantasticks at my community college years ago. The young woman in the lead role had a lovely voice, but it was her first semester, and she had almost no vocal training. However, ...


3

The voice parts are designed to overlap but be distinct. You won't find a spot where everyone will be perfectly comfortable - the objective of warmups is to stretch everyone to expand every part's range. If you want to focus on particular keys, exercise the parts in pairs (bass/alto, tenor/soprano). Remember that the focus of warmups is not to sound pretty ...


3

If you look at standard SATB arrangements of hymns, you will notice that the bass often moves in contrary motion to the melody, and often in rhythmic intervals in the middle of phrases when no one else is moving. This really makes the bass part pop in a way that does not distract from the song itself. Also pick up and study some of Bach's chorales, and you ...


3

The biggest thing is simply practice and experience: the more you do it, the easier it gets. It doesn't help so much for the present, but it means that if you do this again next year, it will be easier. But here are a few tricks for this year. Highlight your part. That way, it stands out from the others, so it takes less concentration to find it when you ...


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