Chorister placement
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,380
    I've been thinking about chorister placement lately.

    I have 25-30 singers depending on many factors. I don't have enough tenors and basses to make this an issue.
    However, I have 8 altos and 10+ sopranos (two rows). Do you have any suggestions as to where to place people for the best sound?
  • Earl_GreyEarl_Grey
    Posts: 783
    It depends on a lot of factors--particularly the space you are singing in. However, the placement of not only sections but also individual voices within the ensemble can have a major impact on the overall sound. Follow your instincts, experiment and do what works best.
  • Never, never give the choir members the impression that someone's voice doesn't sound good. Rather, speak of blend or something similar.
    Thanked by 3tsoapm canadash Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,727
    Volume can be an important part of blend. My altos are weaker than my sopranos. Some time ago, they requested to not sit behind the sopranos since they were overpowered by them. They now sit in front of the basses.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • In my old choir, placement was something that changed periodically. We had two standing charts (which changed every so often) - one where sections had distinct areas to stand in; the other where everything was mixed. Mixed has a lot of advantages, including that weaker singers tend to listen more when they feel exposed. It can also have issues if there aren't enough singers that know the music well enough to carry it individually. In the new choir, we change periodically, but it is a different situation physically and logistically (hard to explain without a VERY long post).

    I definitely agree with EG... there is always a facet of experimentation and following one's instincts while incorporating feedback from individuals ("I'm having difficulty hearing our part in the new position", for example).
    Thanked by 3Carol canadash CHGiffen
  • Every placement policy depends on the singers in any given choir. Experiments with what sounds best in one's acoustical environment are paramount. In some instances, a weaker section may be improved by having it in front of a stronger one. This may result in them blending with what they hear behind them - as well as singing out more if needed. For choirs with chronic vocal production problems time spent on voice paedagogy will be well spent and yield better singers and a better choir. Where numbers and talent are not an issue some have placed their choristers in quartets. This produces a very smooth and well blended sound in which all blend with all other pitch registers - it also ensures that all know their parts well and are not dependent on their neighbours. At any rate, no placement should be thought of as permanent. New members, changing voice quality of old ones, this repertory vs that repertory, and other factors may make moving singers around a positive musical policy for long or short term.
  • Be sure to have them blend first, then place sops (4+6) left, altos (4+4) right and the men in the middle (tenors to the front) for an old fashioned 'bass boost'. PM me or more.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Protasius
    Posts: 468
    It can also have a major impact on the sound of the choir if one section is placed physically higher; e.g. recently for a concert we placed half of the basses and tenors one step higher behind the other half instead of in one long line behind the altos, which improved hearing the other parts and made the bass and tenor part more prominent.