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Ho-lee Smurfs?


Guest delvin146
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Guest Barry Williams
Yes, this would be a good idea.

 

This is by no means a bad example in comparison with others. Many modern recordings exhibit the faults of inadequate choir training. A very common error is " Jesus Klyst", heard from some quite well known establishments and correctable in a matter of seconds.

 

All of these faults arise from errors in choral technique that can be put right by any choir director who has a basic knowledge of the elementary skills. Regrettably, these skills seem to be rarer now than hitherto.

 

Barry Williams

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A very common error is " Jesus Klyst", heard from some quite well known establishments and correctable in a matter of seconds.

 

All of these faults arise from errors in choral technique that can be put right by any choir director who has a basic knowledge of the elementary skills. Regrettably, these skills seem to be rarer now than hitherto.

 

Barry Williams

 

I was always taught to roll my Rs whilst singing, so making “klyst” an impossibility. I dislike an extra “H”, for example turning “born on Christmas Day” into “bor horn on Christmas Day”.

 

:)

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This is by no means a bad example in comparison with others. Many modern recordings exhibit the faults of inadequate choir training. A very common error is " Jesus Klyst", heard from some quite well known establishments and correctable in a matter of seconds.

 

All of these faults arise from errors in choral technique that can be put right by any choir director who has a basic knowledge of the elementary skills. Regrettably, these skills seem to be rarer now than hitherto.

 

Barry Williams

 

I actually thought it was rather good. What other than "eee" do you tell a bunch of Liverpudlian kids to sing at the end of "holy"? And as for the micro-pause before "morning" I thought it very effective musically as well as ensuring the M is attached to morning and not "early in them orning".

 

It's certainly not poor enough to be cited here as an example of bad singing. There was once such a site, but I believe it has now been deleted.

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Guest delvin146
I actually thought it was rather good. What other than "eee" do you tell a bunch of Liverpudlian kids to sing at the end of "holy"? And as for the micro-pause before "morning" I thought it very effective musically as well as ensuring the M is attached to morning and not "early in them orning".

 

It's certainly not poor enough to be cited here as an example of bad singing. There was once such a site, but I believe it has now been deleted.

 

I'm sorry, but personally I think it's absolutely dreadful. It doesn't matter where one is from be it South East, South West or Liverpool, one often gets a "Ho-LEE", and it's up to the choirmaster to change it. How can sound possibly project if the mouth is pulled the the side singing an "EEE" sound? One needs to relax and drop the jaw.

 

It's just as easy to get Liverpudlian kids to sing "Ho-li", (my personal preference), or "Ho-lay" if you must. (Persoonally speaking, I think Ho-lay reduces the power and encourages things to go flat). Just as you ask not to have "Mer-CEEEEE", as opposed to "maaaar-ci".

 

It's not about getting at a regional dialect because this "Ho-LEE" seems to have crept in in many places. (My roots are firmly in Somerset). I suppose I was spoiled having excellent and respected choirmasters such as Anthony Crossland and Brian Anderson. Not forgetting the late Alan Harwood. when in the Southern Cathedral Singers. I might have been a little spoilt. One of the first things I was taught as a choirboy was not to sing about a chinese man. (I accept that's probably not very PC nowadays).

 

Sing the word like "holly", but shade the second syllable. Personally I think singing "Ho-LEE" is anything but musical! That's open for debate I suppose. In context of that hymn, I think it actually leads to a disjunction and would discourage the legato musical flow of the phrase to the cadence.

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Sing the word like "holly", but shade the second syllable.

 

I'm glad you think that! I'll go on singing it like "holy" - my personal preference.

 

Holly? Holay? It's bloody HOLY!!!! Why must people make it more difficult than it already is - and thereby make children believe it's difficult? To open the mouth and make a sound is one of the most natural things in the world and if you allow singing in a natural and unforced way, this is something that cannot be forgotten. Once you start laying down arbitary rules about how to pronounce things, you're pushing water uphill because you'll spend the rest of your days trying to enforce something which is basically unnatural and a lot of far more important things (reading music, singing in tune, enjoying what you're doing, etc) will fall by the wayside.

 

I have done a small experiment in the comfort of my own home and discovered (by saying the word "holy" to two crotchet beats) that the "ee" sound does not require any gurning or mouth stretching at all. Unless, of course, someone tells me to make strange mouth shapes different from those which come naturally.

 

Also, composers by and large aren't idiots and you'll find the music naturally provides in several ways for the phrasing of the words, and observance of the note values (especially in a large acoustic) will therefore be rewarded. Better by far than trying to clip virtually every word in a phrase. Where's the music in that? The rising thirds provide the commas for you, as well as forming a natural crescendo (each ho being greater than the ly which preceded it), and this (along with the natural emphasis of the beats of the bar) will provide the "shading" as you put it. Trying to break them up artificially means they'll all inevitably land on the next holy with a mighty thumping H (as well as naturally going sharp on the top note of the triad) and then that's something ELSE you've got to spend valuable time training in. No, thank you.

 

I won't even start on "maaaaaar-ci" because my brain is hurting too much.

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Guest delvin146
I'm glad you think that! I'll go on singing it like "holy" - my personal preference.

 

Holly? Holay? It's bloody HOLY!!!! Why must people make it more difficult than it already is - and thereby make children believe it's difficult? To open the mouth and make a sound is one of the most natural things in the world and if you allow singing in a natural and unforced way, this is something that cannot be forgotten. Once you start laying down arbitary rules about how to pronounce things, you're pushing water uphill because you'll spend the rest of your days trying to enforce something which is basically unnatural and a lot of far more important things (reading music, singing in tune, enjoying what you're doing, etc) will fall by the wayside.

 

I have done a small experiment in the comfort of my own home and discovered (by saying the word "holy" to two crotchet beats) that the "ee" sound does not require any gurning or mouth stretching at all. Unless, of course, someone tells me to make strange mouth shapes different from those which come naturally.

 

Also, composers by and large aren't idiots and you'll find the music naturally provides in several ways for the phrasing of the words, and observance of the note values (especially in a large acoustic) will therefore be rewarded. Better by far than trying to clip virtually every word in a phrase. Where's the music in that? The rising thirds provide the commas for you, as well as forming a natural crescendo (each ho being greater than the ly which preceded it), and this (along with the natural emphasis of the beats of the bar) will provide the "shading" as you put it. Trying to break them up artificially means they'll all inevitably land on the next holy with a mighty thumping H (as well as naturally going sharp on the top note of the triad) and then that's something ELSE you've got to spend valuable time training in. No, thank you.

 

I won't even start on "maaaaaar-ci" because my brain is hurting too much.

 

Of course it's HOLY!! If I say holy, it comes out as HO-LEE, perhaps you are different. Especially as I strongly prefer the sound to be right forward in the mouth and not in chest tone right the way through. But chest tone will be forced singing in any building bigger than one's average lavertory, therefore allowances need to made and the way words are sung needs to be modified.

 

The changing of vowel sounds is an "effect" and nothing else. In large building a changed vowel sound can have more power and impact especially when using the head voice. Forced chest tone just makes choirboys sound like smurfs. To me an "ee" does involve the stretching of the mouth, maybe yours has had more experience at being stretched than mine and perhaps you find it easier than I do? Singing in a natural way to me smacks of continental tone, alla Westminster Cathedral. Forced chest tone in other words. To me at least, English Church Music demands slightly more subtle treatment, especially an authentic rendition of music from that period.

 

I'd rather hope that they thump on the next note of the triad on each "holy", in fact I'd definitely encourage it to add interest, momentum and attack. The legato comes after the third "Holy".

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But chest tone will be forced singing in any building bigger than one's average lavertory
Have you ever had singing lessons, Delvin? Is a Wagnerian tenor's chest tone forced by having to fill an auditorium and compete with rather more instruments than the average music group? If it is, he isn't going to have a voice for very long, is he?
To me an "ee" does involve the stretching of the mouth
Obviously I missed my vocation as a ventriloquist because I can produce both vowels without altering my mouth shape at all. And that, in my opinion, is the nub of it. If you make your singers grin like a Cheshire cat for the second syllable then it's bound to sound ugly. And if you think head tone is the answer then it's only because head tone has a tendency to reduce every vowel to an "oo". In the style of singing this choir employs the key to getting the second syllable to sound decent is to moderate the degree to which to mouth changes shape. I say this as a non singer, so I'm open to correction, but it's what I find.

 

That said, despite the fact that the hymn has been carefully rehearsed and is nicely in tune, I do dislike the tone of the top line. It sounds like the vocal equivalent of a neo-Baroque Krummhorn. This is not an inevitable consequence of the use of chest voice, though; I am convinced that the tone is thinner than it needs to be. That they are being drowned by the organ doesn't help either.

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I actually thought it was rather good. What other than "eee" do you tell a bunch of Liverpudlian kids to sing at the end of "holy"? And as for the micro-pause before "morning" I thought it very effective musically as well as ensuring the M is attached to morning and not "early in them orning".

 

It's certainly not poor enough to be cited here as an example of bad singing. There was once such a site, but I believe it has now been deleted.**

 

** Fret not - anyone wanting to hear how singers should not pronounce the English language, there is an object lesson most days at 9.45am on Radio 4.

 

In case anyone involved should object to this comment, I should cover myself by saying that once in a while a good (and normal-sounding) broadcast slips through by mistake. I have heard some.

 

I have come to the conclusion that:

1. Singing teachers these days don't care whether the words are intelligible or not - the letter e seems to be a particular problem

2. those in musical charge of BBC religious music broadcasts seem to be paid per note for anything extraneous they can add to an existing piece by way of Oboe descants, elaborate introductions without reference to the main tune etc. etc.

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....How can sound possibly project if the mouth is pulled the the side singing an "EEE" sound? One needs to relax and drop the jaw.

 

It's just as easy to get Liverpudlian kids to sing "Ho-li", (my personal preference), or "Ho-lay" if you must. (Persoonally speaking, I think Ho-lay reduces the power and encourages things to go flat). Just as you ask not to have "Mer-CEEEEE", as opposed to "maaaar-ci".

 

<snip!>

 

Sing the word like "holly", but shade the second syllable....

 

"Holly" has a short o, which is not a pure vowel for singing and needs to be modified to be sustained for a full beat. I end up with something like "Arrh" if I try to sustain it but that might just be my dialect. The vowel sound in the second syllabe is an "ee", which is a pure vowel and so can be sustained.

 

So what on earth do you really end up with if you sing "holly" but shade off the "ley"?

 

"eee" is one of the most resonant vowels to sing - that's probably why it might stick out in your ear, especially when a long "o" is not as easy to get as much resonance. I suspect they're not pulling their lips tight over their teeth to produce that vowel as they sound like they've had some proper singing lessons.

 

Also, David's right, they don't take a breath before morning. Where's the musical crux of that line?

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Of course it's HOLY!! If I say holy, it comes out as HO-LEE, perhaps you are different.

 

Well, sing that then.

 

 

...the stretching of the mouth, maybe yours has had more experience at being stretched than mine and perhaps you find it easier than I do?

 

Hmm. No, I doubt that most sincerely. Find some thicker ice to play on.

 

 

Singing in a natural way to me smacks of continental tone... Forced chest tone in other words.

 

Singing in a natural way means "open mouth and sing"; there is nothing forced - that's the whole point. You'd be surprised just how right people get it without having to translate the words into Delvinesque.

 

 

I'd rather hope that they thump on the next note of the triad on each "holy", in fact I'd definitely encourage it to add interest, momentum and attack.

 

Hoe-li, AHow-li, AHOWWWWW-li!

 

Oh dear....

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... I suppose I was spoiled having excellent and respected choirmasters such as Anthony Crossland and Brian Anderson. ...

 

Although in the areas of diction and pronounciation, I cannot imagine that Bryan was particularly helpful.

 

I recall an RSCM course many years ago (I think that it might have been the Bath one) when Martin Schellenberg was holding court (and his fortieth cigarette of the night). Clearly the hilarity had permeated upstairs because at about two a.m. the door opened and there, framed in a blue haze of cigarette smoke, stood Bryan Anderson, who looked owlishly at the assembled company and announced:

 

"Gentlemen, this womb smells wather wank!"

 

 

 

There was a similar problem in a DCF service in, I believe, Salisbury Cathedral, when Bryan stopped the proceedings because he was unhappy with the men's tuning, and said:

 

"Let's pick it up fwom 'wank on wank'...."

 

Well, it took a couple of minutes, but eventually the men were able to sing again.

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Guest delvin146
Well, sing that then.

Hmm. No, I doubt that most sincerely. Find some thicker ice to play on.

Singing in a natural way means "open mouth and sing"; there is nothing forced - that's the whole point. You'd be surprised just how right people get it without having to translate the words into Delvinesque.

Hoe-li, AHow-li, AHOWWWWW-li!

 

Oh dear....

 

Where did the "A" begin to appear in all of this? :)

 

Rather interesting to see other people's thoughts on these things. I do agree it is possible to sing well without going to the Delvin School of Choral Singing, on the other hand I do think altering the pronounciation of certain key words helps for a more mellow tone. (Which of course is what I am after). I'm afraid I cannot abide the tonal quality of that top line on the extract, or the way the "holy" remains unshaded, but then I must have been born about 50 years too late.

 

My singing lessons consisted of Italian arias and my teacher used to buzz so hard it reduced me to histerics, I didn't think he was being serious. Not my kind of thing.

 

Although in the areas of diction and pronounciation, I cannot imagine that Bryan was particularly helpful.

 

I recall an RSCM course many years ago (I think that it might have been the Bath one) when Martin Schellenberg was holding court (and his fortieth cigarette of the night). Clearly the hilarity had permeated upstairs because at about two a.m. the door opened and there, framed in a blue haze of cigarette smoke, stood Bryan Anderson, who looked owlishly at the assembled company and announced:

 

"Gentlemen, this womb smells wather wank!"

There was a similar problem in a DCF service in, I believe, Salisbury Cathedral, when Bryan stopped the proceedings because he was unhappy with the men's tuning, and said:

 

"Let's pick it up fwom 'wank on wank'...."

 

Well, it took a couple of minutes, but eventually the men were able to sing again.

 

Haha, I can quite imagine. He was a lovely chap though! Now there's an idea I could use, I could say I got it off a very high-wanking organist.

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...which makes even buying recordings a perilous affair...

 

I had no idea your neck of the woods had got so dangerous.

 

Reminds me of the old one - why does the Mersey run through Liverpool? If it walked, it would get mugged.

 

Or should that actually be "if et wohrrrrkt, et wuud git maahg'd"?

 

This was all descending into hyperbole and histrionics but then I see you've deleted what you wrote a moment ago.

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Guest Barry Williams
I was always taught to roll my Rs whilst singing, so making “klyst” an impossibility. I dislike an extra “H”, for example turning “born on Christmas Day” into “bor horn on Christmas Day”.

 

:)

 

'R' as a second letter is usually rolled, unless the context indicates otherwise. Tha main fault of 'Jesus Klyst' is a failure to realise that for the 'i' vowel the mouth opens downwards. The mouth is only opened sideways for 'ee'. Would that these were the only faults common in choral matters! All such difficulties did not arise when choirmasters had proper skills, as were taught years ago and as are detailed in the old books. It is certainly not a difficult subject, but it is neither taught nor, seemingly, generally known these days.

 

Barry Williams

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To me an "ee" does involve the stretching of the mouth, maybe yours has had more experience at being stretched than mine and perhaps you find it easier than I do?

 

My singing lessons consisted of.................

 

Either I seriously need some singing lessons or you need to sack your singing teacher. The amount my mouth moves between the O and E of Holy is minimal and could never be described as stretching. When you say Hoe Li, do you mean Li as in lift? Wouldn’t that tend to cause people to “snatch” the last syllable?

 

:blink:

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Guest Lee Blick
Either I seriously need some singing lessons or you need to sack your singing teacher. The amount my mouth moves between the O and E of Holy is minimal and could never be described as stretching. When you say Hoe Li, do you mean Li as in lift? Wouldn’t that tend to cause people to “snatch” the last syllable?

 

:blink:

 

I am wrong in saying the 'eee' is not a wide smile, but rather more a round mouth. I agree with Devlin that this is not a very good example of choral singing. The boys are literally shouting, which is a million miles away from singing with a strong chest voice. Surely in hymn singing choirs dont need to 'compete' with the congregation or organ?

 

About fifteen years ago, I went to Choral Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral when John Scott was conducting. Every other verse (apart from first and last) the choir didn't sing and let the congregation accompanied by the organ sing on their own. I thought that was a nice touch.

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