International Choir Festival InCanto Mediterraneo

Sing something simple (and see if your singing is as good as you think it is)

  • [A version of this article first appeared as a post on my blog From the Front of the Choir]

    If you’re like me, you’re always tempted to add harmonies to the simplest of melodies, whether it’s singing along with others or arranging a song.



    But don’t overlook the simplicity of unison singing and drones. These are great ways of finding out if your singing is as good as you think.

    Singing in harmony is quite forgiving. It’s possible to sound reasonably good without being 100% accurate. But when all the singers have to sing exactly the same thing in exactly the same way at exactly the same time, it can reveal how accurate you really are.

    This is true whether it’s you and a friend, you and a recording of your own voice, or you as part of a choir.

    It’s surprisingly hard for a group of singers to sing well in unison. Singing in unison really highlights blend, pronunciation, rhythm, breathing points, pitching, etc. It’s a great exercise for any choir or singing group.

    Singing in unison is also great for improving listening skills, and we all know that singing is all about listening. It’s also a good tool for arrangers: switch between unison and harmony to add variety. Use harmony sparingly and it will really jump out and impress an audience when it arrives.

    Once you have nailed singing in unison, you can begin to add harmony.

    Start off with a simple drone as another useful training exercise. Once again it’s a great technique for improving pitching, breathing, listening, blend, etc. And it’s also a good tool in the arranger’s palette which can add another layer of interest without being over-bearing if the melody or lyrics are important.

    Next time you rehearse, try keeping things simple for a change and see what it reveals about you as a singer!

     



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    Chris Rowbury

    website: chrisrowbury.com
    blog: blog.chrisrowbury.com
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