Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - Where to Sit? Seating Arrangements That Work

We have a S.A.T.B. community choir with varying numbers of people in each section.  As our choir is not auditioned but is purely voluntary.  All of our singers are willing to learn and some are practically pro's.  So with that mixture of abilities, a seating arrangement that works is really important. 

As we know, every choir has a different space in which to practice and perform.  If you are as lucky as we are, you will have a space with lots of area and great acoustics for practice.  However, when we perform, we sometimes have to get creative.  When the ceiling is low and the space small, we have to be able to hear one another.  We "squish" together as tightly as possible.  It is still sometimes hard to hear one another.

If you are a church choir in the traditional form, your chancel may have pews that face each other.  These arrangements could be adapted to your needs.  In that arrangement. we usually have tenors behind sopranos on one side and basses behind altos on the other.  Much like this diagram.
In a choir like ours, you want to arrange your singers so that the sounds they hear around them help them to blend well but also to be able to access the correct notes.  If you have less experienced singers then the tendency to sing the "tune" will have to be realized.

To support a part that is struggling, mix them so that they hear an opposing part.  For instance, flip the above chart so that the tenor and bass sit in front.  Have the altos behind the tenors and the sopranos behind the basses.

Another possibility is have the men together in the middle and the sopranos on either side.

With large numbers in your choir, there can be many choices especially if you have each part broken down into 1 and 2.  If you use the above diagram you can come up with many ways to help your singers get the best sound.

My best advice, keep trying new positions for each part to practice.  You can't change too much.  the more your singers become self confident, the better they and you will feel about the sound.

Tell us what formations YOU use.  Maybe we can help each other with some ideas.  Click "comment" below and leave your ideas.

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