Choral Blend: The Use of Real Time Spectrograph Data in a Choral Rehearsal

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The idea of ‘choral blend’ is one that is addressed in much literature, and a term with which each individual choral director and singer has a unique relationship. Choral directors are concerned with the whole group sound, the noun ‘blended’. Some singing teachers believe that in order to achieve this ‘blend’, choral directors subjugate their student’s voices in order to create a whole choir sound. Choral singers are concerned with the issue of ‘blending’, the verb and technique through which the choir makes a blended sound. It is usual for the literature to deal with either one or the other of these phenomenon. Through observation of current choral leaders in the UK and their work on ‘blend’ in a rehearsal, this paper addresses what the ‘blend’ phenomenon means acoustically. After discussion with the observed choral directors about ‘blended’ tone and the rehearsal and vocal techniques used to achieve this, this paper looks at spectrographic data pertaining to these ‘blend events’ in order to go some way to acoustically defining the phenomenon of ‘blend’. Linking ‘blend events’ to both conducting gesture and rehearsal language goes some way as to working towards a model of using this information in a rehearsal context. Continuing on from the work of John Nix, this paper discusses the real world application of the definition provided for ‘choral blend’ the noun, and leads on to the issues surrounding individual choral singer’s contribution to the choral sound as a technique of ‘blending’.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 2016
EventInternational Symposium on the Histories and Practices of Choral Singing: Choir in Focus - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 19 Oct 201621 Oct 2016


ConferenceInternational Symposium on the Histories and Practices of Choral Singing