Writing for Adult Treble Choirs – Elektra’s pianist and much-performed arranger/composer Dr. Stephen Smith provides detailed guidance for emerging composers (or experienced ones new to writing for choirs) in a series of three videos:
General thoughts – knowing the choir, some basics of notation, etc.
Text matters – finding a text, understanding a poem on its own terms, some pitfalls of text-setting, more about notation.
Elektra’s Artistic Director Morna Edmundson created this series of educational videos for choral conductors.
Warmups – Some of Morna’s favourite warmups that promote free and fluid singing: folk song melodies and “umbrellas”.
Tessitura – Where a composition is placed in the female range has a huge impact on the sound, on text intelligibility, and the possibilities for expression. This video might help you spot pieces that are going to “sing well”.
Dynamics – The dual aspects of dynamics in choral singing: 1) the need for core tone at all dynamic levels and 2) how dynamics express emotional intentions in the music.
Repertoire – One of the most important parts of our job as conductors is to choose the right repertoire for our choirs. Morna talks about the importance of having a simple piece in the folders at all times for teachable moments that build the ensemble’s tone.
Word Stress – Attention to word stress is the secret ingredient that takes an accurate performance to an expressive one.
Divisi – One of the most complicated things about leading a treble choir is clarity around who sings which lines. Morna shares her nomenclature and method.