Friday, November 25, 2011

Harmonizing with Different Voices

singing choir


Never have I thought that my small community choir could soon take advantage of utilizing the vocal ranges. Singing in a four-part voice is something that I think was impossible for a small group like us could ever consider.

For several years, we went on serving church "masses" and singing for choir services in two-part voices or frequently in unison. It was so difficult for everybody to reach the notes that are not really meant for some of us to sing. Untrained about the vocal range, we try to sing beyond what our voices can never really perceive. Guys sing farther and higher through their deep warm tones. The ladies try to pitch themselves down to achieve the low notes despite their high and angelic voices. A terrible mismatch as you can see!

Curious on the trouble we are facing, I started looking for answers. May be, there is someway to straighten out the situation.

So I looked into several books and surfed to various websites for the answer. Only then I realized the bottom line of our problem. We do not make use of what is written in the song books that we use. That is, taking into account the voices as written by the composers - SATB! Vocal range as they call it.

So then, why didn't we thought about that in the first place?


We had several issues back then that I have not resolved not until before I learned more about music and dedicated some of my time digesting more of it.

First, none of us is determined and eager enough to consider even learning the choral voices for each song that we usually sing. We think of it as a "waste of time" and "too hard" even though we haven't tried doing so.

Second, we lack in number making it difficult to harmonize and justify composer's arrangement and  the beauty of the songs.

Lastly, we lack the knowledge on how to "re-arrange" the songs so as to fit to our own ("areglo"). Singing in a two-part voice by adapting a four-part one and create a duo-tone vocal blend. Or, what we did today to make use of a three-part voice to build a tri-tone blend instead.

A sample page with SATB arrangement courtesy of Bukas Palad Music Ministry

SATB, what is it?

It is an acronym to one of the possible voice arrangements for a choral group or choral piece. S (soprano), A (alto), T (tenor) and B (bass) respectively. The Soprano is the female's highest voice range while Alto is the lowest. Likewise, Tenor is the highest voice among the males and Bass covers the deepest of voices.


Aside from the standard SATBs, you can also find vocal arrangements like SSAAs, TTBBs and SSAATTBBs depending on the arrangement or composition of the piece.

It is important that we understand why we should employ the vocal arrangements in our choirs. Not only does it creates a great sound as perceived by the arranger but it also assures our voice will be comfortable enough to sing the song.

Are you familiar with songs that were originally sung by a female but was then rearranged so a male version can be made (just like some revivals)? That alone is proof that a choral group should concede on adapting vocal arrangements in delivering a song.

I know that it will be a daunting task for everyone (so much for the choir director) but only if everyone works hard and do their part will you see improvements that the group will soon appreciate.

*To find a more technical explanation on vocal ranges. You can visit the this link -Vocal Range

12 comments:

Dami mo naman talent sir :) Astig !!! Sana ganun din karami talent ko

wow composer singer writer businessman lahat na nga ata. May lahi din kaming musician pero ako wala ako alam na instrument

Ito talaga ang passion ko! Nauna ito before yung pagiging techie.

Panalo ka Adrian. very talented .how I wish I can sing too .isa lang yata alam kong song ,yung twinkle twinkle lang.

thanks! How I wish my kids could acquire it too.

i miss my glee club days because of this post..

how i wish may talent din aq na ganito jejeje 

Isa ito sa pangarap kong mai-blog, yung music. Hehehe. Gagawin ko tong inspirasyon sa mag susunod kng posts. :)

i love singing. ang problema. singing doesn't love me !
kainggit ka  naman :)

gusto ko to pag-awit, kahit nao-off key lagi, ang mahalaga ang maging masaya sa ginagawa, keep it up!

Hi A very well structured online singing course is superior singing it's really great it really helped me Bye

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