December 9, 2012 - World Choral Day

Do you know what choral music is? Are you, perhaps, a member of a choir?

A group of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus. Churches and synagogues, high schools and colleges all tend to have choirs. Music that is arranged to feature many singers with varying vocal ranges is called choral music.

The popular TV show “Glee” is about a high school choir. This show proves that all kinds of music can become choral music!

Some choirs perform a cappella—which means unaccompanied, that is, without any musical instruments playing along—but many perform accompanied by a piano, organ, one or more other instruments, or even an entire orchestra.

Choral music usually takes advantage of the varying ranges of voices. The lowest voices are called bass, then baritone, tenor, alto (or contralto), mezzo soprano, and finally soprano.

The stringed instruments roughly correspond to these ranges: the string bass is bass, of course, the cello goes along with baritone and tenor, the viola corresponds to alto and mezzo soprano, and the violin goes along with soprano.


If you can't sing in a choir or listen to a choir today, you might want to check out some choirs on the internet:
  • Tzlil V'zemer Children's Choir singing a song about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah (spelled here Chanukah).

  • A small choral group singing “Jar of Hearts” a cappella. Notice that some of the voices function as musical instruments instead of singing lyrics.
  • With the magic of technology, one guy has created a 36-voice choir—all by himself! Check it out! 
  • Here is a choir in Australia performing “Bohemian Rhapsody” during a “Battle of the Choirs,” and here is a show choir in America performing a medley of songs. You'll notice that there is a huge difference between various choirs in regards to clothing / costumes, sets / lighting, and movement / dance.

You could also learn about singing and harmony from the internet. For example, here is one part of a tutorial on singing harmony,  and here is a guy giving us four-part harmony with the song "Hark, the Herald Angel Sings." 

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