Tuning Part Two

Hope that all is well with you and your families.

I have not had much feedback on the new format and what I have had has been positive so I’ll keep going with it.

Renwick has sent a video made by Ellie Martin, director of Mansfield Choral Society, that you may find entertaining: https://youtu.be/1qPEOfKBEVA
Mary also sent a video of her and her work colleagues having a bit of an energetic break from their stressful load: https://share.icloud.com/photos/0A_a6KiMY945PZwyV6JdzUJVw Mary’s granddaughter and Rhoda’s chicks are all doing well. Nancy and Ruth are spreading a lot of joy with their craft skills. Anyone else doing good works or are in receipt of them? Tell me and I’ll spread the word.

This week we follow up on last week’s session on God so Loved the World. A big part of rehearsing, from my point of view, is that it is reactive.It is important that you ask questions, disagree and suggest topics for future weeks so that we are developing together and not just on my whim. I have an idea for next week, but am prepared to divert if an alternative is raised.

Today we are thinking about how the way that we sing words affects tuning. You will need your copy of God so Loved the World again.

When we use our voice, speaking or singing, the sound is produced by air passing over the vocal folds in the larynx. Everything between the larynx and the ears of listener has the potential to influence that sound. Words are formed by the tongue and lips. The sound leaves the body through both the mouth and nose.

You can see by this diagram that the tongue takes up an awful lot of space having the potential to restrict both the oral and nasal cavities. The voice will sound at its best when there is as much space as possible between the larynx and lips. That space is at its largest when the tongue is relaxed and the tip is against the lower teeth.

The English language doesn’t require an awful lot of mouth movement to be understood in conversation. Other European languages (Italian, French, German etc.) need more physical flexibility to be understood. So, when we are singing the mouth has to move a lot more to maintain that space. English vowels also tend to be produced further back in the mouth which tends to dull the resonance and make them sound “flat”.

For convenience all the videos can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9Gytr4q-Y6SzafzUHpXFYlu1GHdsu9RN

Now warm up https://youtu.be/6N5fuWXA7rQ and sing a bit of God so Loved the World with St. Paul’s: https://youtu.be/X5Akz6J8Rw0

Here is this week’s video: https://youtu.be/PBHJs0tdC7E

These principles can be taken into every piece that we sing.

Have a good week and I’ll see you next Friday.

3 thoughts on “Tuning Part Two

  1. Hi Nick, Another interesting lesson; I did find it difficult to keep my tongue in touch with the front teeth all the time – it felt unnatural not to flick back and forth on certain consonants, especially ‘L’. Having said that, and not wishing to set up a straw (wo)man, I kept in tune during both lessons so quite pleased with that 🙂 Hopefully my teenage singing lessons are still having some useful effect!
    I enjoyed the video from Renwick, and also your dawn chorus on WhatsApp this morning. Please keep the singing lessons coming – thank you! All best wishes, Ruth

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