Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Students participate actively by listening

Scott Turkington on Psalm singing at this afternoon's session of the Winter Intensive:

I don't like it when the entire text is written out musically - syllable for syllable, punctum for punctum. It has a psychological effect on your singers. It makes them sing more slowly. It makes people sound like Hal at the beginning of 2001.

...[Looking at the Psalm and Gloria Patri from the Introit for Epiphany] Look at this Gloria Patri...in this case you are shown a punctum for every syllable. But there are things you can do. The Initio, or beginning of the Psalm tone, is music. It is a musical composition of its own. When when you get to the reciting tone (on the word Patri ) the rhythm of speech takes over. And it remains so until the final cadence...

Beautifully sung Psalmody is a conversation. It's a perfect hand off between the text and the music. When you see a full bar coming, a mediant or final cadence, slow down a little. Don't slam on the breaks. You wouldn't do that at a stop sign. Watch what's coming and enjoy the music.

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