Friday, March 1, 2013

Over my head

So remember how in my vlog the other day, I said that I was going to be in a choir concert in March?

Yeah. The first rehearsal was last night, and I *think* I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew, thinking that I can perform a 50 minute piece perfectly with three rehearsals and one run through with the orchestra... Because there are a number of things I hadn't considered before saying yes.

1. I haven't had to read music in over ten years.
2. I can still read the notes, but I suck at sight reading the rhythms and so tend to just sing everything in crotchets or minims.
3. Time signatures now mean nothing to me.
4. I can't read key signatures for shit.
5. Italian terms (beyond forte and piano) mean absolutely nothing. Last night, the conductor was like "I want you guys to sing this giojoso". Everyone else was all "Oh, sure!". I, on the other hand, was like "Uuuuuuuuuuuh????"
6. "Can you put an operatic release on the word 'faith'?" Well, I would. If I knew what that meant.
7.  When the lyrics for the soprano part get put above the stave, I completely lose track of where I'm up to. I think the only way to rectify this is to photocopy the entire score and highlight my part.
8. The tenors and basses get to sing the fun movement about sailing and storms and shit. We, on the other hand, get stuck with singing about saving prostitutes from shame. And not in an awesome, Les Mis kind of a way.
9. OH GOD, ANYTHING ABOVE AN E SEEMS REALLY REALLY HIGH.
10. I've forgotten how to breathe properly, and keep running out of breath in the middle of a phrase.
10. Basically, this is what I think the soprano part looks like:
Source
And this is what the score really looks like:
Source
So yeah. Basically, I'm kind of a drama queen.

Here's hoping that with a lot of practice before the next rehearsal - possibly including roping my brother C into helping me get the rhythms right - I don't suck quite as much. I could feel the girl next to me cringing as I attempted to find the right note, missed, and then did an awkward glissando to the note everyone else was singing.

On the plus side, this is the first time C and I have sung in a choir together in almost 20 years. Last time? We looked like this:
OH MY GOD, THE TEETH.

Hopefully we can get a more flattering picture this time around...

Any advice on how to dredge my musical abilities up from the depths of history???

K xx

14 comments:

  1. You're describing my feelings from last fall precisely. I joined a choir while I was studying abroad to compensate not doing theater and also because I always wanted to try and it was a lot of fun so I wanted to be in a choir back home. Only our uni choir is so meh and there are so many people that actually know what they are doing!

    I could read notes if I really wanted to but I just read them in relation to each other like " Oh, higher, lower, lower, higher..." All the terminology means nothing to me and basically I was just trying to sing along to what everybody else was singing next to me. Upss.

    The sheet you posted doesn't look that bad though.

    Good luck! You will get through this!

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    1. That particular page isn't so bad. It's the other pages when the boys' choir are involved too and the soprano part is full of octave jumps that make me nervous...

      At the moment, I'm pretty much embracing your "try to sing long to what everybody else was singing" theory.

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  2. Find a recording online and sing along with it. It's just like having a full orchestral rehearsal (but without the guy up front confusing you).

    And I'm totally LMAO at crochets and minims, because I'm a silly American.

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    1. That's what I've been doing so far. And it's working pretty well for the most part. But there's a tenor solo part, and there are a couple of movements where the choir are singing pianissimo behind the tenor and YOU CAN'T HEAR A DAMNED THING. Stupid tenor...

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  3. I'm having flashbacks to when I was in Madrigals and Choir in high school and how I would lock myself in my room for hours pounding out my part on my little keyboard. I even remember leaving at least one voice lesson ready to cry.

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    1. I don't think it helps that all the other women in the chorus are either music teachers or musicians. And then there's me, singing along to the soundtrack of Les Mis in my room...

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  4. I've been playing piano for 17 years and sung in choirs for a total of about 12 years and I've never even heard of the term "giojoso."

    And I agree with finding a recording online. That can be quite helpful.

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    1. Apparently it means "joyfully"!! My brother filled me in on the way home. AFTER looking at me like an idiot, of course. *sigh*

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  5. Good luck. That sounds, well...fun isn't really the right word. And you two should definitely recreate that photo!

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    1. It'll involve less choral robes and more tuxedos, so that's already an improvement!

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  6. Practice! I'm trying to get back into playing my flute and I think practice is the only way I can improve. I played for about half an hour the other day and I had to spend significant amounts of time gaping like a demented goldfish in order to stop my mouth from hurting. Who knew an embouchure took so much effort from various facial muscles?

    Of course, I don't have a time limit as you do. Good luck with it all! I'm sure you'll be just fine on the night. Or should you break legs? Is choral singing the same as acting when it comes to luck?

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    1. Oh man, I definitely have that embouchure problem any time I think about picking up my clarinet... Singing is at least less of a problem in that department!

      I really need to try and force myself to practice every day, but between this ridiculous health kick where I exercise every day and the fact that I'm up to my arse in essays from the DC trip, it keeps falling by the wayside. WHOOPS.

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  7. Hahahah...loving this. Well, the POST, not that you've been suffering. ;-)

    As many have said, find a recording of it and follow along when you practice at home...and/or record your bro singing along to it an octave lower or smthg, then practice...OR just get the conductor to record the soprano bit for you and then practice.

    You'll be fiiiiiiiine! Kick some ass!

    (Btw, we're having a one-hour concert at the Melbourne Conservatorium late May and another concert at St Paul's Cathedral in August, so you should totally come to one if you feel like it!)

    xo

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    1. I spent about half the rehearsal going "Man, I wish P.T. didn't have choir practice on Thursday nights. At least then I'd have someone to practice with...". As it is, I'll just have to struggle through on my own and hope for the best!! If worst comes to the worst, I'll just mime the tricky parts ;) xx

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