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Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge

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  • Dawn Assumma
    What is going on in terms of choir stuff? Excuse my ignorance as it s my first year signing up and the like, but what happens in terms of assigning vocal
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 6, 2008
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      What is going on in terms of choir stuff?  Excuse my ignorance as it's my first year signing up and the like, but what happens in terms of assigning vocal parts?

      Liliane Morhbane

      On Sun, Jul 6, 2008 at 4:20 PM, Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@...> wrote:

      Well, a few points:
      1. This year, because of the e-mail mix-ups, there may be a number of
      people who expect to participate and haven't signed up yet; I think that
      the altos and men usually sign up first because often it is difficult to
      find them. Some of the altos may be able to sing tenor, which is only a
      couple of notes lower than alto usually. (And it's funny; in the past
      there have been some bottom-heavy pieces.)

      2. There are a number of women who, for whatever health reasons,
      literally can no longer reach the high notes. I had a friend who was
      prescribed a medication which permanently lowered her voice to tenor,
      and she had been soprano. Such persons are not "lazy" sopranos. If a
      person cannot reach the high notes, or doesn't know how, it could damage
      the voice to try; it helps to relax and sing mentally "above" the notes.

      3. I usually sing soprano 1 unless no altos show up; I couldn't come
      last year. You may remember me; I tend to get an ice cream cone before
      rehearsals. (I've studied Indian music, and they prep the voice with
      butter rather than lemon.) Seriously, there are ways to stretch a voice
      that is lazy. Sing a scale slowly down the scale first, as low as you
      can go, yawning open the mouth and becoming much quieter as you
      descend. Then go up the scale from the bottom, back to the starting
      note. Then, sing some arpegios or quick scales going up a little at a
      time; keeping the chin down and letting the jaw relax into a comfortable
      position. For a number of months, I had a few women who normally sing
      alto coming to my house once a week (learning some Period music), and
      after a couple of weeks, their low notes were the C the octave below
      middle C or lower, and their high notes were the E _two_ octaves above
      middle C. They are shy of the choir, or I'd get two of those queens of
      the night (who are coming to Pennsic) to sing soprano with us. But, if
      a person is able to expand their voice, and not all can, the way to go
      up is to go down first.
      Elizabeth



      Kathleen Smith wrote:
      >
      > Yes, that is a previous message that there were far more alto voices
      > registering. to I had replied that a previoius choir master of mine
      > and my son who is now working on his doctorate in vocal performance
      > and will be singing with the Phoenix opera comapany,believe that many
      > women who call themselves altos are in fact lazy sopranos.
      >
      >
      >
      > So again, ladies, fess up and step up to the plate, and join me in the
      > soprano section.
      >
      >
      >
      > (yes, I know, alto can be more fun sometimes............)
      >
      > --- On *Sun, 7/6/08, Elizabeth Dowling /<ejdowling@...>/* wrote:
      >
      > From: Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@...>
      > Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge
      > To: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 10:51 AM
      >
      > Are you saying that there aren't enough sopranos?
      > Elizabeth
      >
      > Terri Garvey wrote:
      > >
      > > You may tell those good gentles that:
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Once upon a time, at least one Alto you know was placed in that
      > > section early in her career by a director who needed singers who
      > > would hold their own part and not default to the melody. In High
      > > School, she sang Tenor, as there was a dirth of male Tenors in her
      > > school, all the while longing to sing Soprano, sure she could hit
      > > those high notes. Finally given the chance to choose her own voice
      > > part, she found that she could indeed hit those high notes, she
      > also
      > > found the Soprano lines to be less interesting and challenging than
      > > the Alto. So, here she is, preparing to sing Alto in the Known
      > World
      > > Choir, and generally unfamiliar with the music. Thus, with the
      > level
      > > of challenge not an issue, she is willing to sing Soprano if
      > need be.
      > > Perhaps it is her time to soar once again. The End
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      >
      >


    • JLLYBN
      I sang soprano all my life until a few years ago the last tenor in our choir died. I switched to tenor as did another soprano friend. It was very difficult for
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 7, 2008
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        I sang soprano all my life until a few years ago the last tenor in our
        choir died. I switched to tenor as did another soprano friend. It was
        very difficult for me as the logic of the part is VERY different. I am
        finally getting the hang of it and can sometimes "hear" the part in the
        music. Soprano is easier since they most often get the melody. Changing
        to tenor made me much more humble. Now I alternate between 2 churches
        and sing tenor at one and soprano at the other which helps to keep my
        voice flexible. I can tell you what a note is on paper but I can't look
        at that note and sing it. Nor can I figure out what a piece of music is
        supposed to sound like by the score. But - I love to sing and usually
        hold my own.


        -
      • erlannordenskald
        Good questions - ... it s my ... assigning ... The director chooses a program. She/he hopes that she has the voices to fill it. Upon registration, the
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 7, 2008
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          Good questions -
          > What is going on in terms of choir stuff? Excuse my ignorance as
          it's my
          > first year signing up and the like, but what happens in terms of
          assigning
          > vocal parts?
          >
          The director chooses a program. She/he hopes that she has the voices
          to fill it. Upon registration, the director assigns vocal parts.
          Often scrambling around to substitute a piece or 2 because of the lack
          of voices.

          to date FYI, there are 2 basses and 3 tenors of the male persuasion.
          Because of the timbre of the female voice, I personally would not like
          to force the female into the tenor range. It's possible to "sing" the
          notes however since the notes are in the lower most portion of a
          female range, it comes across as "low" and not the timbre of a male
          tenor. So, I wait to see what I've got... sometimes, I can't use a
          piece or 2 because of this fact. Now, mind you, I sing tenor and alto
          parts when I sing but a female just doesn't have the power and volume
          and control in that lower register. *sigh*
          So that all means........ERLAN NEEDS MORE MEN

          I will have vocal assignments and the music list later on today.
        • Summer
          And then there are people like me, who have lost some of our highest notes simply due to getting older and/or not having used them all that much in recent
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 7, 2008
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            And then there are people like me, who have lost some of our highest
            notes simply due to getting older and/or not having used them all that
            much in recent years... *sigh* Oh, well, I did get some notes into the
            other part of my range that weren't there before, so I suppose it's a
            trade-off!

            --- In KWChoir@yahoogroups.com, Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@...> wrote:
            >
            > Well, a few points:
            <snippage for length - no need for me to repeat everything - SS>
            > 2. There are a number of women who, for whatever health reasons,
            > literally can no longer reach the high notes. I had a friend who was
            > prescribed a medication which permanently lowered her voice to tenor,
            > and she had been soprano. Such persons are not "lazy" sopranos. If a
            > person cannot reach the high notes, or doesn't know how, it could
            damage
            > the voice to try; it helps to relax and sing mentally "above" the notes.
            >

            <more snippage for length>
          • June Whalen
            Greetings one and all - I have in fact registered as a Soprano at Pennsic 36 and again this year. I can hit those really raftery notes - but would love company
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 12, 2008
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              Greetings one and all -
               
              I have in fact registered as a Soprano at Pennsic 36 and again this year.
               
              I can hit those really raftery notes - but would love company from such a high altitude!
               
              Meitheamh

              ----- Original Message ----
              From: Kathleen Smith <ksstrek@...>
              To: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2008 11:43:15 AM
              Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge

              Yes, that is a previous message that there were far more alto voices registering.  to I had replied that a previoius choir master of mine and my son who is now working on his doctorate in vocal performance and will be singing with the Phoenix opera comapany,believe that many women who call themselves altos are in fact lazy sopranos.

               

              So again, ladies, fess up and step up to the plate, and join me in the soprano section.

               

              (yes, I know, alto can be more fun sometimes... ......... )

              --- On Sun, 7/6/08, Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@deers- cry.com> wrote:

              From: Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@deers- cry.com>
              Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge
              To: KWChoir@yahoogroups .com
              Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 10:51 AM

              Are you saying that there aren't enough sopranos?
              Elizabeth

              Terri Garvey wrote:
              >
              > You may tell those good gentles that:
              >
              >
              >
              > Once upon a time, at least one Alto you know was placed in that
              > section early in her career by a director who needed singers who
              > would hold their own part and not default to the melody. In High
              > School, she sang Tenor, as there was a dirth of male Tenors in her
              > school, all the while longing to sing Soprano, sure she could hit
              > those high notes. Finally given the chance to choose her own voice
              > part, she found that she could indeed hit those high notes, she also
              > found the Soprano lines to be less interesting and challenging than
              > the Alto. So, here she is, preparing to sing Alto in the Known World
              > Choir, and generally unfamiliar with the music. Thus, with the level
              > of challenge not an issue, she is willing to sing Soprano if need be.
              > Perhaps it is her time to soar once again. The End
              >
              >
              >



            • Susan Stoltze
              Ummm, that would be me.   - Susanna Merrybegot ... From: June Whalen Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge To:
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 14, 2008
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                Ummm, that would be me.

                 

                - Susanna Merrybegot

                --- On Sat, 7/12/08, June Whalen <ladymeitheamh@...> wrote:

                From: June Whalen <ladymeitheamh@...>
                Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge
                To: KWChoir@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Saturday, July 12, 2008, 8:08 PM

                Greetings one and all -
                 
                I have in fact registered as a Soprano at Pennsic 36 and again this year.
                 
                I can hit those really raftery notes - but would love company from such a high altitude!
                 
                Meitheamh

                ----- Original Message ----
                From: Kathleen Smith <ksstrek@yahoo. com>
                To: KWChoir@yahoogroups .com
                Sent: Sunday, July 6, 2008 11:43:15 AM
                Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge

                Yes, that is a previous message that there were far more alto voices registering.  to I had replied that a previoius choir master of mine and my son who is now working on his doctorate in vocal performance and will be singing with the Phoenix opera comapany,believe that many women who call themselves altos are in fact lazy sopranos.

                 

                So again, ladies, fess up and step up to the plate, and join me in the soprano section.

                 

                (yes, I know, alto can be more fun sometimes... ......... )

                --- On Sun, 7/6/08, Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@deers- cry.com> wrote:

                From: Elizabeth Dowling <ejdowling@deers- cry.com>
                Subject: Re: [KWChoir] The Alto Challenge
                To: KWChoir@yahoogroups .com
                Date: Sunday, July 6, 2008, 10:51 AM

                Are you saying that there aren't enough sopranos?
                Elizabeth

                Terri Garvey wrote:
                >
                > You may tell those good gentles that:
                >
                >
                >
                > Once upon a time, at least one Alto you know was placed in that
                > section early in her career by a director who needed singers who
                > would hold their own part and not default to the melody. In High
                > School, she sang Tenor, as there was a dirth of male Tenors in her
                > school, all the while longing to sing Soprano, sure she could hit
                > those high notes. Finally given the chance to choose her own voice
                > part, she found that she could indeed hit those high notes, she also
                > found the Soprano lines to be less interesting and challenging than
                > the Alto. So, here she is, preparing to sing Alto in the Known World
                > Choir, and generally unfamiliar with the music. Thus, with the level
                > of challenge not an issue, she is willing to sing Soprano if need be.
                > Perhaps it is her time to soar once again. The End
                >
                >
                >




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