Monday, June 26, 2023

In a choir, it’s not about singing loud vs. soft – it’s about balance

I’ve written before about How to know how loud you should sing in a choir.

photo by Malingering

But as a choir member you are working as part of a team, so it’s not entirely up to you. It’s all about balance.

It’s easy to spot individual singers who are too loud. They will stick out quite obviously. Choir leaders can then help them to blend in with the rest of their section. Singers who sing too quietly can be harder to spot.

However, it’s more problematic when an entire section is much louder or quieter than the other sections.

When this is pointed out to them, they may say something like “So should we sing more quietly then?” But if the other sections begin to sing more loudly, then this quieter section will disappear!

How loud or quiet a section sings is never absolute. It’s always in relationship to how loudly or quietly the other sections are singing.

Singing as a choir is a team game. If the part singing the melody goes quiet, then the other parts need to respond. Similarly if they go loud. The harmonies need to be in balance with each other and with the tune. This happens by working together and by listening.

A choir singing together is (literally!) a living, breathing organism that can ebb and flow in terms of volume. Of course, the conductor will help to balance things out, but it’s still important, as an individual, to listen out carefully to the other parts.

Make sure you can hear all the other harmonies, not just yours.

Chris Rowbury


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