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    Your thoughts on this

    Today at church we sang Salve Regina (simple tone). This was done without organ accompaniment. The cantor who led the singing was male (with a low voice I assume). He sang it in Bb which is yoo low for congregational singing. Why do some men (even if trained) have a tendency to sing low when singing without an accompaninent? Why do even trained singers have this problem? I myself often end up starting too high (at lest when warmed up). What is going on?
    I have heard some people saying that a tenor should be able to sing a bit lower than Bb2. I, as a tenor, find that Bb2 is my lowest note. If I am warmed-up B2 is sometimes my lowest note.
    Am I just a "weird" tenor since I can't sing lower than Bb2? All other tenors find Bb2 an easy note so the cantor choose to sing low? I am the only person who find Bb2 a difficult note?
    Last edited by henrik.hank; 07-14-2019, 03:56 AM.

    #2
    When I took "Choral Composition" we were taught the Sopranos and Tenors should not, with rare exceptions for a good reason, sing below low C#. I've found this lines up with my experience as a church choir director (50 years next March). YMMV

    Comment


      #3
      The average voice range is probably baritone for men and mezzo soprano for women. For those ranges your Cantor was probably perfect. I'm a baritone but I like singing all of the parts in a hymn (I pick a different part for each verse) so when a part goes outside my range I either switch temporarily to a part that is in my range or I jump up or down an octave.
      Sam
      Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
      Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

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      • samibe
        samibe commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm not familiar with this tune. If it is this one: https://hymnary.org/tune/salve_regina_plainsong then it only spans an octave.

        Most people have a nearly two octave range (mine is G2/G to G4/g' but a few years ago was Eb2/Eb to E4/e'). Trained singers tend to have a slightly larger range. You sound like you think you are trained singer....so....why didn't you sing it an octave higher (it starts on the lowest note).

        Most men are not tenors. Depending on the size of your congregation, I would be surprised if more than a couple of people at your church had a hard time singing that low. I'd wager that most didn't even notice.
        Last edited by samibe; 07-15-2019, 11:47 AM.

      #4
      People in my congregations often ask if I could play the hymns lower than they're written in the hymn book. Untrained singers tend to want to sing lower notes.
      Of course a trained singer can work outside the tessitura, but this doesn't feel comfortable for everyone and shouldn't happen too often. However, one always needs to look at the whole choir and sometimes find a compromise. We have a really friendly choir in one of the villages here with an average age of 75. The sopranos and tenors are quite happy singing lower than they used to. I wouldn't force them to sing new repertoire in higher ranges. It simply doesn't work anymore.

      The cantor may have had good reasons to choose the key he chose. Why criticise without knowing all the facts?

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        #5
        Originally posted by andijah View Post
        People in my congregations often ask if I could play the hymns lower than they're written in the hymn book. Untrained singers tend to want to sing lower notes.
        Of course a trained singer can work outside the tessitura, but this doesn't feel comfortable for everyone and shouldn't happen too often. However, one always needs to look at the whole choir and sometimes find a compromise. We have a really friendly choir in one of the villages here with an average age of 75. The sopranos and tenors are quite happy singing lower than they used to. I wouldn't force them to sing new repertoire in higher ranges. It simply doesn't work anymore.

        The cantor may have had good reasons to choose the key he chose. Why criticise without knowing all the facts?
        At what pitch do they think it is getting to high?
        so singing at church is mostly for people with low voices unless you sing in the choir (which is too difficult for me right now) I cannot sing A4 with real power. This means that I should be able to sing eg Silent night in the key of E. This is the range for a choir. Then in choir I am forced to sing another melody the tenor part.
        I see no reason for choosing keys for untrained baritones. I find that we should syop feeling sorry for them. Let them start to sing like a real singer. They are just using bad vocal technique. Why do people feel sorry for them. If they never practice they will never learn.

        Comment


          #6
          Henrik, you really seem to feel strongly about your own viewpoint and also seem rather settled in your opinion. This might work for you (and I hope it does) but for me, it doesn't feel like an invitation for discussion and mutual learning. Therefore I won't comment any further in this thread. Sorry.

          Comment


            #7
            Originally posted by andijah View Post
            Henrik, you really seem to feel strongly about your own viewpoint and also seem rather settled in your opinion. This might work for you (and I hope it does) but for me, it doesn't feel like an invitation for discussion and mutual learning. Therefore I won't comment any further in this thread. Sorry.
            And you guys feel strongly about the ideal that we all should feel comfortable singing low notes.
            I can't have any discussion with people who think I should have a low voice!
            People should be able to sing up to Eb as baritones. People should stop complaining about high notes when there are no high notes in congregational singing! My voice teacher who os a high soprano understand what I am talking about.

            Comment


            • Admin
              Admin commented
              Editing a comment
              You asked for people's opinion, and they gave it. If you're expecting total agreement on your opinions in a discussion forum, you're going to be disappointed

            #8
            Originally posted by henrik.hank View Post

            And you guys feel strongly about the ideal that we all should feel comfortable singing low notes.
            I can't have any discussion with people who think I should have a low voice!
            Henrik. None of us know you. None of us is unreasonable enough to have any opinion on what your voice range should be. That's all on you I am afraid. Is this the piece you are talking about? It appears to be in Eb in this recording. The entire melody fits in about an octave. NONE of my male singers would be able to sing this in Eb. I hear many of them break back an octave if things get any higher than around A below Middle C! But you can do well with the higher notes, well good on you then. But as you are finding out "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one".

            You are being just as unfair in expecting 'baritones' to sing up to Eb as you think they are in expecting you to comfortably sing low Bb. The difference is that I don't think anyone much cares what you do or do not do. Not for any personal reason, but mainly because singing in choirs is usually a volunteer activity. I would LOVE it if my basses didn't drop an octave when they see a Middle C. Nothing annoys me more than high bass parts doubled an octave lower. Nevertheless I keep a smile on my face while I ask them never to do it again, and none of them have the slightest inkling of my true feelings on the matter.

            How old are you henrik? I ask because people usually learn by age 10 or so that the world around them is largely out of their direct control and they make peace with what they choose to get emotionally caught up in. You asked for our thoughts on this piece, but I don't think this piece is important. You have bigger issues to confront about your own physical qualities and where they mesh or do not mesh with the fabric of the world you live in. I am certain you are not the only Tenor who finds Bb2 a very low note, but as you know, many Tenors do not. And? What? That's just the way it is. Why stress about it? We have a saying in the U.S. "You do you". It means: we are not here to judge you, be at peace with yourself. It just occurs to me that that works both ways.

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