Most of us, either as singers or choir directors, would agree when we sing together, we blend sounds of different pitch and tone to make something more beautiful than we could make individually. For that reason, I think that the time and effort the director spends on tone quality and blend is well worth it. Good blend, though, is still the exception, rather than the rule.
Therefore, why is it that many church choirs never achieve a good blend?
Here are a few reasons:
- It requires a high level of concentration and commitment from both singer and director
- The director isn’t hearing the whole auditory experience when he stands in front of his choir or it is not a priority
So, what is blend? One definition suggests that blend means “to combine so that the parts are indistinguishable from one another.” When people listen to our family sing they often comment on how hard it is to figure out who is singing what part. Why? Because we blend. Our voices have become mixed smoothly and inseparably together. This is an example of choral blend.
Choral Balance -vs- Choral Blend
Obviously, a factor that can affect our blend is balance. By “balance” here I mean the relative volume of each part. Depending on the piece of music, the volume of each part shouldn’t necessarily be the same. It means every part has an appropriate volume. For now, let’s think of choral balance as being something that occurs primarily between voice sections, e.g., balance between the sopranos and basses.
Choral blend must be achieved within each section and within the over all choir in order to establish a unified sound.
Below is a compilation of ideas from several sources that I use with my choirs to help us blend well together. The concepts are based on unified and well produced vowels and consonants, correct pitches and rhythms, and proper breathing and support. [click to continue…]