Connecting People Through Choral Music

Traditional Choral Music can connect people across cultural and geographic boundaries. It can also be a major point of pride for a nation.

For centuries, two poles dominated choral writing—church music and opera. Both commanded enormous virtuosity from singers and orchestras alike. Independent instrumental accompaniment opened new possibilities. Verse anthems alternated accompanied solos with choral sections, and grand motets incorporated concert-length works.

The history of choral music: tracing the evolution of this ancient art form  | by Liza Jones | Medium

The choral genre encompasses a vast range of musical styles. Early choral music primarily consisted of church-based hymns and religious works. Later, composers began to explore secular forms such as secular musical plays and anthems. Then, with the emergence of the Baroque era, composers like Johann Sebastian Bach (and his colleagues such as Dietrich Buxtehude and Georg Philipp Telemann) introduced instrumentally accompanied cantatas and motets. Finally, Beethoven and his contemporaries established the choral symphony as a major form.

Choral music has often been considered the highest achievement of the human voice, and the musical styles associated with it are as diverse as the people who have sung its words. But a more accurate way to describe it is the “art of harmony,” and its great appeal lies in its power to convey emotion with an intensity that cannot be achieved through any other means.

Throughout the Renaissance, choral music evolved, including the development of verse anthems and oratorios based on biblical texts with a dramatic emphasis. With the Baroque period came an increase in interaction between vocalists and instruments, which led to a polychoral style that became very popular. Claudio Monteverdi pioneered this style, and his Vespers and Eighth Book of Madrigals are among the finest examples of choral music in history.

Although the Classical era brought a greater focus on symphonies and instrumental music, composers like Mozart remained fascinated by choral composition. He produced one of his greatest masterpieces, the Requiem, which depicts a series of spiritual and ethereal states ranging from awe-inspiring beauty to horror.

Oratorios and other monumental works continued to be produced, and in the late 18th century, the choral style moved closer to that of modern classical music. This style tends to be homophonic and less chromatic than Baroque choral music. There is still an element of rhythmic energy, but it must be light and lively to avoid weighing down the sound.

The choral genre continues to develop as musicians explore the musical possibilities of the voice. Contemporary composers such as Karl Jenkins, Nico Muhly, Augusta Read Thomas and Sofia Gubaidulina continue pushing traditional choral music’s boundaries into new musical frontiers.

From the hypnotic unison singing of Gregorian Chant to the complex polychoral style of the Venetian school and everything in between, choral music encompasses a wide range of musical styles. The most common choral pieces are polyphonic, featuring two or more voices playing different melodies simultaneously. This gives a rich and complex sound to the music. However, many choral arrangements are based on monophonic or single-voice musical pieces, such as folk music and contemporary classical works. Although they may not sound like traditional choral music, these arrangements still bring great music to audiences.

In the 17th century, composers began to experiment with instruments for fuller accompaniment. For example, Purcell used the orchestra to play a choral service in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall. Later, composers would write more sophisticated musical dramas called oratorio. These are usually religious but can also be secular and celebrate the career of a historical hero or biblical prophet. Unlike an opera, which is performed on a stage, an oratorio is sung without a libretto. By the middle of the 18th century, there was a decline in interest in religious music. This led to the rise of secular oratorios, which were more accessible to non-religious audiences.

Even as modernism ran roughshod over the forms of traditional choral music in the 20th century, vestiges survived. Poulenc continued to write masses and motets, for example his Motets pour le temps de nol and Mass in G Major. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony features a choir in its final movement, showing the high regard that some 20th-century composers held for the voice ensemble.

Choral groups can be unaccompanied, a cappella, or accompanied by a piano or, as was more common in the Baroque and Classical periods, an organ or harpsichord. The acoustic accompaniment allows the singers to hear each other better and makes it easier for them to use their vocal resonance to create a sound. It also prevents them from relying too much on the choral director to generate a sound for them.

It is important for choral singers to understand that there is much more to a good sound than simply singing “straight.” For example, the shape and intensity of vowels, the intensity of consonants, the degree of legato, and even the intake of breath all contribute to a successful sound. The best way to learn this is to listen carefully and try out different approaches to singing.

Many of the pieces written for choirs in the traditional era were originally intended for solo performance, and although the singers may be performing with a group, it is important to treat this music with the same care that an individual singer would require. It is also a good idea to practice with the music as a group, since this will improve the quality of the sound and the ability to perform difficult musical passages. It is also a good idea to regularly listen to choral recordings, as this will help you develop your own singing style and technique.

One of the most significant challenges of choral singing is achieving good blend between voices, particularly in higher ranges where the tessituras can be difficult to match. In this DVD, Weston Noble lectures and demonstrates through live action his proven methods of matching voices to create a beautiful, seamless choral sound in any ensemble. This is a must-have for all choral directors, regardless of their level of experience.

There are different types of choral groups, but the most common is the adult mixed choir, consisting of soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices, usually abbreviated as SATB. Occasionally, the choir is divided further into two semi-independent four-part groups by adding a baritone voice (e.g., SATB). Some composers also specify that the choir should be separated into two choirs in order to achieve an antiphonal effect, such as Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

A skilled choir should always be able to sing with ease in all registers and dynamics, even at the very highest tessituras. In addition, they should be able to support their tone with breath at all times. This is especially important in choral singing, where the sound of the entire group depends on the sound of each individual voice.

This book contains hundreds of practical suggestions, tips, and ideas for running a successful secondary choral program. Written by two master teachers, it covers classroom management, choral rehearsal management, working with the changing male voice, and much more. It is an invaluable resource for the new teacher, and a motivational “shot-in-the-arm” for the experienced teacher.

In an era where it’s become increasingly difficult to attract new audiences, many choirs are searching for ways to appeal to the broadest range of music lovers. They’re experimenting with innovative programming, hosting community sing-alongs, and offering educational workshops to find the right balance of art and accessibility. They also want to make sure that their music continues to connect with today’s audiences.

Some choirs still have a distinctly traditional focus on classical repertoire. This type of music tends to be more challenging, with a high standard of singing and a strong performance focus. It includes religious pieces, such as masses, requiems and chorales. It may also include other large-scale orchestral choral works such as Richard Strauss tone poems and Mozart’s Requiem.

Other types of choral music, however, are not so closely connected to religion or culture and are more likely to appeal to people with diverse musical interests. They may include popular songs, top-10 hits, songs from musicals and music-hall or slightly easier classical choral pieces that are easy to learn by ear. These are often sung in mixed voices. Sometimes singers of the same voice are grouped together in pairs or threes, especially for polychoral work such as 16th-century Venetian style music. With antiphonal music (effectively two choirs in one, such as Belshazzer’s Feast by William Walton) singers might be separated into different sections for the effect of SSTTAABB, or, with the use of spatial separation and amplification, the sound might be more like ABBATT.

The current popularity of classical choral music has been fueled by an interest in exploring the connections between human emotion and complex musical structures. Audiences also have been influenced by the rise of social media and online streaming, which has enabled them to discover concerts they might not otherwise be aware of. These concerts are also attracting people who are not traditionally engaged with classical music, such as young people and millennials.

Many traditional choral music organizations are concerned about losing the older members of their audience, as well as about a general trend in American society that seems to treat old people as expendable. At a time when new social protocols are being developed in the face of a deadly pandemic and uncertainty about what the future holds, it’s important that choral organizations continue to value older members of their audience, providing them with experiences that are meaningful to them.

Drywall Repair – How To Repair Small Cracks And Dents

drywall repair

Las Vegas Drywall Repair is pretty tough stuff, but it’s not indestructible. Minor blemishes like nail holes and dents can be touched up with paint, but cracks and water damage require a little more work.

drywall repairTo fix drywall cracks, you’ll need mesh tape, joint compound, and a putty knife. First, you need to create flat surfaces on both sides of the crack.

If your drywall is suffering from small dents and cracks, this is a do-it-yourself project that most homeowners can handle. You will need a few basic supplies, including a putty knife, hot water, sandpaper or steel wool, and drywall mud (also known as “mud”).

The first step is to clean the area around the hole, using a broom or vacuum. Then sand the surface of the wall or ceiling to smooth it. Once you have done this, apply a coat of primer to the surface to prepare it for painting.

Once the primer has dried, apply a few coats of drywall joint compound. Be sure to sand in between coats, using 80-100 grit paper, to ensure that the new patch is flush with the rest of the wall.

When repairing larger holes, it is best to use a California patch. This is a piece of drywall that contains gypsum in its front, and it provides additional support to your repair. It is easy to install, simply cut a piece of drywall a few inches larger than the hole and attach it with drywall screws. Once in place, spread 20-minute mud (also called dura bond) over the backed drywall, covering about 4 inches beyond the edge of the patch.

Before starting any drywall repair, it is always a good idea to locate the wall’s studs using a stud finder. This will help you avoid drilling into electrical or plumbing wires. It is also important to wear a dust mask for safety. This helps prevent inhaling drywall particles and can make the repair process easier. When you’re finished, be sure to sand the patch and surrounding surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper.

The size of the hole determines what type of repair is needed. Small holes can be patched with a patch kit that includes a self-adhesive mesh patch for quick and easy application over the existing wall surface. Larger holes need to be repaired with a drywall compound and primer combo. This method requires a bit more work but results in a surface ready to paint.

No matter what type of hole you’re dealing with, make sure that the surrounding area is smooth and free of any bumps. Random blemishes will show through a coat of paint. A smooth surface will also allow the drywall compound to adhere to the patch and blend in with the rest of the wall.

Cut out a piece of drywall for the patch that is slightly larger than the hole. The shape doesn’t matter — it’s how well the patch fits and the blending that will make the difference. Before you start cutting make sure that there are no wires in the vicinity of your patch. If there are, stick your hand in the hole to feel around and make sure that you won’t accidentally cut into any cords or other electrical components.

If you’re dealing with a hole that is causing structural issues, consider cutting out a piece of the furring strip — strips of wood nailed along the back of the drywall at a height equal to the thickness of your existing drywall. Screw these strips to the studs behind the drywall, and then anchor the new patch to the furring strips with drywall screws. Make sure that the screws are countersunk so they don’t protrude from the surface of the patch.

A drywall patch will not hide properly unless it is taped correctly. This means putting on multiple thin coats of joint compound over the entire area around the patch and then sanding it down to smooth the surface. This may require several applications of each coating and waiting for the compound to dry between each application. Using this process will ensure that the patch blends into the surrounding wall, rather than looking like an obvious repair.

If you have a small amount of sanding to do, try to do it while the compound is still slightly wet. This will help the sanding go much faster and easier. The last thing you want is to sand the dry patch too deeply, which could expose the drywall tape and leave the new hole visible.

For this job, you’ll need a gallon bucket of drywall compound and a roll of paper or mesh drywall tape, in addition to the tools required for the size hole you’re fixing. If you’re going to be doing a lot of these repairs, also pick up a sack of quick-setting joint compound. This type of compound dries much faster than ordinary joint compounds and doesn’t shrink as it dries, so you can apply more thin coats and sand between each.

When the first coat of mud is completely dry, use a four- or six-inch drywall knife to apply a second thin coat, extending it beyond the edges of the patch a few inches on each side. Let the second coat of mud dry, and then sand the area lightly again.

Some drywall repair kits come with self-adhesive drywall patches that cover the holes and don’t require any tape or mud. This is a quicker and less expensive way to fix smaller holes, but it’s usually better to do the work the proper way. If you do this, make sure to prime the patch before painting, as unprimed drywall will absorb the paint and may stand out in a different color than the rest of the wall.

A drywall repair job requires finesse to ensure that the patch is blended into the wall. The trick is to use a light hand and not apply too much joint compound. Too much mud makes it difficult to fit baseboard or crown moldings tight to the wall and can lead to cracking along the metal outside corner beads (a common problem that only becomes noticeable after painting).

A little sanding will make the patch nearly unnoticeable. A good rule of thumb is to apply multiple thin coats of drywall compound. This takes more time and creates more dust, but it will ensure a smooth surface.

A joint compound is typically a white powder of gypsum dust mixed with water to form a paste that’s spread onto drywall and then sanded to prepare it for paint. It’s the go-to substance for finishing up a drywall installation, but it also works well to repair small damage. A variety of types of joint compounds exist, including all-purpose, taping, and topping, each with different properties that suit specific applications.

For example, an all-purpose joint compound is thicker than a spackle and is meant to be used as a base coat for a drywall installation. It dries by evaporation of moisture, so it can dry fairly quickly for small repairs. Taping and topping compounds are thicker and can take a bit longer to dry, but they provide a smooth, durable finish that’s ideal for painting.

For medium-sized holes, you should use a specialized type of joint compound that includes reinforcing mesh. The mesh gives the mud something to bond with when it dries, which can help prevent the hole from leaking or crumbling down the line. After applying a bed coat of mud to the seams and corners with your knife, you’ll add a layer of mesh tape over the mud.

Typically, the simplest solution is to cut a patch out of another piece of drywall and secure it to the wall with wood backing strips and drywall screws. You must then tape and “mud” (apply joint compound) over the seams just like you would when installing new drywall. When done properly, the patch will be virtually invisible.

For a small nail hole, all you need is some spackle or joint compound and a putty knife or sanding block. If you’re dealing with a larger hole, however, you’ll need more than just the basics. For a square patch, for example, you’ll need a drywall saw to get a straight edge and the proper size to match your wall.

Before cutting into the wall, make sure it’s safe to do so by determining that no wires or other objects are near the area you plan on sawing. This is also a good time to check that your sanding work was successful and that there are no areas of unevenness.

A tip: Always be careful when using a saw to avoid nicking or cutting into the corner bead. This metal strip is designed to protect the drywall corner from damage, and it can be damaged by accidentally running a power tool into it or even just by someone flinging something against the wall.

Once the patch is cut and stuck in place, you can start to blend it into your wall. This is done with a special drywall compound that most drywall repairmen have on hand in large quantities. This material is applied with a putty knife that’s made for drywall repairs, rather than the kind of utility knife you might use for wood filler. It’s then smoothed and feathered around the edges to help it match the rest of the wall.