Understanding 'choral blend': A live rehearsal utilizing phenomenological methods to explore singers' ensemble vocal techniques

Research output: Contributions to conferencesPaperpeer-review



RCS Voices is an established vocal ensemble made up of principal study vocalists at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Training in a conservatoire environment, these singers are used to performing solo and operatic repertoire. In the literature surrounding ‘choral blend’ there is a dichotomy between soloistic singing technique and a perceived constraint of that when singing in an ensemble situation . In this rehearsal presentation, VOICES will engage in an open rehearsal dialogue surrounding issues of blend, and work together on repertoire new to the group in order to perform in as ‘blended’ a way as possible.
The term ‘blend’ is used extensively in the literature surrounding choral singing, yet is ill defined. Both singers and conductors are expected, through their listening experience, to know what ‘blend’ is, and to work towards this goal in their singing. Whilst issues such as tuning and temperament , vowel alignment , and vibrato rates play a role in the perception of blend to a conductor, it is the physiological sensation of ‘blend events’ that provide meaning to the singers. Spotlighting individual singers to the audience will allow them to hear individual blend techniques in the context of the whole choir, and the difference between that and ‘soloistic’ technique that these trained singers can demonstrate.

Martina Starr-Lassen, Myrna Tennant
Lea Shaw, Judith LeBreuilly
Michael Yeoman, Liam Bonthrone
Colum Donovan-Paterson, Colin Murray


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 6 Nov 2017