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Getting distracted by other voices in a mixed quoir

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damker
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Could anybody provide help on how to avoid getting distracted by other voices/lines while singing. My actual problem is that despite the fact that I sing my line perfectly during rehearsals of my (tenor) group, when all other three voice groups join I get distracted and I cannot follow my line.

Any related books?

Anticipated thanks. :)

D.

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I used to sing in the tenor section of a choir, it was split into tenor/baritone/alto /soprano.

There were about 20 of everthing else and only 4 tenors myself included.

I also sang louder than the others, at first it really helped me to tone it down a bit until I was 99% sure of my line and able to perform it without getting distracted by the others.

If you are next to people who are singing the same line as you, sing slightly quieter and listen to them until you get the hang of not being distracted by the others, it seems to just be the context that is putting you off.

I found that after doing that for a while my confidence in my ability to sing without getting distracted came back, even to the point where I could pay attention to the other sections and actually appreciate it without getting distracted. When you get to that point, choir singing works wonders for your musical ear in general!

So yeah keep at it try and focus on on the two or three people to either side of you, and you should get the hang of it, everyone has the same problem, mabye even ask a few of the people from your section to practice with you alone, so that you get used to having them as a frame of reference.

It's just practice mate, it will come ;)

Hope that helps a bit!

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I went to one choir once, where the choir master who would dim the lights and get everyone to walk around the room, so that you couldn't rely on others to remember your line and not get distracted, that's a whole other level but I thought it was a brilliant idea!

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Lobster510, thanks a million for your immediate response and twice as that for your advice. I will certainly follow it, as it sound really good.

Thanks again.

Cheers from

D. :D

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Make sure you can sing your own part a capella correctly without relying on listening to others in your section. And then at full rehearsals only listen to your section. Until you are very comfortable with the part and have nailed it consistently then you can listen to the other parts like lobster said but more than anything it's all about not listening to the contrasting parts at first. Yes it's hard to do that at first but do it enough, really try to hyper focus only on what you really need to listen to, and it will become a good habit.

Now there is a catch to this as you don't want to veer off time or pitch from the other sections so you do have to listen to them a bit...but not the melodies they are singing! you want to listen to how your parts fits in rhythmically and harmonically with theirs. So you're listening to the relationship between the parts, making sure they're in tandem. Think of it like how a conductor or arranger or recording engineer would listen to it rather than a singer trying to pick out melodies.

To reiterate though, be able to sing your part a capella on pitch and make sure it is correct that way! Very important to really know the pitches that are YOURS and also not be distracted by anyone in your section who may be singing it wrong!

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When you are starting out, you have to kind of tune out the other voices, as if you were following a conversation in a noisy room. You do that by really concentrating on the notes and rhythms you are singing and blocking out the rest.

But as you get more experience, it changes. You find that you can fit your part in better, and sing more confidently on pitch, when you expand your ears and listen to the other parts. That's when it starts getting fun. I check myself by trying to follow the alto line while I'm singing my part, but eventually you can hear all four.

That assumes they are singing correctly. Recently I've a had one bass singing loudly and confidently but nowhere near the right notes, right into my ear. That throws off my strategy, I have to block him and doing that blocks the other singers too.

Another thing new choir members often miss: don't stay on coffee break when the accompanist or organist plays the introduction. Your work shift starts when theirs does. Listen for the two t's, time and tonality. The introduction gives you not only the pitch but the tempo. But many new singers do not pay attention until it is time to sing their part, and they come in at the wrong speed.

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I sing in a traditional liturgical church choir, where the music is tonal and predictable. So my part is obvious and doesn't require a lot of work. But,

When I do work on my part, I do it at the piano playing one eighth note delayed. E.g., if I were singing quarter notes, I would be playing the piano on the "and" rather than on the beat. That forces me to think the note and try it, then immediately confirm how closely I was on pitch. I do it in strict rhythm, I am a great believer i staying connected to time.

Might work for you, might not. YMMV.

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Yeah tuning the others out for a while, that is a good way of putting it!

My understanding is that you know your parts well and you do fine when your just with your section.

If that's the case from there on out it's just a mental game really!

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My understanding is that you know your parts well and you do fine when your just with your section.

Well, maybe, maybe not

You may be on to something here

It may be that he sings fine with his section because he's following, rather than really knowing his part and able to sing it on his own

That's a skill in itself, and one I don't have; I'm kind of mystified by it It would be true of most of the singers in my choir now

So if you're heavily relying on others, then when you hear the mix you're going to be thrown off

There are two obvious solutions: learn your part very well by whatever means necessary, or develop more confident sightreading skills Probably more solutions than i've thought of but those come to minde

I think he should test himself singing it alone and recording it

One of the things I do for the nonreaders in my choir is make recordings with all four (SATB) parts, but i set their part to F and the rest to mp I save as MIDI because of the small file size and email it to them When I have something I need to work on myself, I do the same thing but I set the other 3 parts to F and mine to zero and make sure I can fit mine in without any help

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Another thought: do you know enough music theory to recognize chords? It really helps if you can see what chord you are on, and what degree of that chord you are singing

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Hi there again! Too early in the morning with the parts on hand...

As for your precious advice, I can read my part quite well, but I haven't gone as far as recognising chords...

During section rehearsal, I have no difficulty whatsoever... It's not a matter of following. It's only with the whole mix and with the low notes mostly at the beginning of a piece. Strangely enough I get back in line when the high notes come along. I guess, because they are more prominent and coming to mind more readily, facilitating the exclusion of interference from the other sections. Besides, I'm pretty confident that I can sing my line solo style adequately.

As for learning my part, as I cannot support my study with any instrument, like a piano or something, I use the following technique: At first I scan the sheet music with Photoscore 6 Ultimate. Then I get the program to read the scanned music. I check if there are any reading errors in my line and make corrections. Then I remove any dynamic markings in order to strip my line down to the sheer notes. Then I select my line and make sure that it is renamed to "tenor" [right click on my line>instruments>rename>singers>tenor]. After that, I get the program to play the whole of my line, I record it with TotalRecorder or Audacity and save it as an mp3 file. In Audacity I trim any initial or tail silence stretches. If there are any long inside pauses I remove them, too, as it's awkward to wait while studying my line. If the recording is too fast I adjust the speed at a comfortable level with the play button and speed adjustment slider on the right of the Audacity control panel, especially if I try to learn conglomerations of short notes packet together. Then, I study my part for as long as I can, reading the notes and/or singing along with the sound rendering. When I am satisfied that I have grasped the piece, I carry out humming or silent reading of the notes in my mind. Here, I might add that I find it very easy remembering the "melody" of my part, as the practiced piece comes along unobstructed. Then what remains is tackling the interference during rehearsals with the whole mix, I guess.

Thanks again for your great advice and most kind offer for help.

Cheers :)

D.

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Wow! You are really dedicated and conscientious about your part. That's a ton of work, and a very innovative approach. Kudos! I wish all the singers in my choir took their parts that seriously.

There might be easier ways, but what you have seems to work.

What style of music is this? Sounds like it must be more difficult than what I do.

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Thinking about this a bit.

You seem to be learning your part properly. There are lots of ways to do that, and you've figured out one that works, though I'm not sure it's the easiest.

But you're having problems with the interference. Maybe you could work on that directly. Is there an easy way to get the other parts loaded on to your recording? And then gradually fade out your part?

I do it with a notation program. I just type the notes in. I use Noteworthy Composer but there are lots of other free ones out there. Then I hit the key for playback. I can adjust the tempo. I put every part on a different staff and I can adjust the volume separately, or mute any or all staffs. If I have a difficult piece, I'll make sure I can sing my part against the other 3 without help.

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Thanks for your kind words...

It's all kinds of music, balads, anthems, classical.

Once you get used to this technique it's really easy and takes very little time to produce the mp3 files. Then you just have to use them in practice.

I'll try to see if I can do the same with the other parts and blend them in while I sing my line. I'll see what I can do and I will certainly return if something worthwhile turns up.

Thanks again pal for all the help.

Cheers.

D.

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