Polyphony for a children's choir?
  • I will be starting a children's choir in the fall at our church which will sing once Sunday per month. I envision it being 10-15 members, mixed, ages 8-18, boys with unchanged voices. I intend them to sing at least one (maybe more) Latin chant and would like them to sing polyphony, 2 part. We have an English motet book but I'm not sure if the children, at least at first, could sing the syncopated rhythms per part. Do any of you have 2 part polyphony that you've had success teaching to children? It can be either in English or Latin. Thank you.
  • Incardination
    Posts: 832
    I had a lot of success with a Mass ordinary in 2 part... the Saint Anthony of Padua Mass by Fr. Wilkens. (I can send you a copy if you need). It is simple, but very nice - they can feel the parts working together. It does have Gloria / Credo, but you could save those for later (or pass on them altogether - those parts are a bit more challenging). There is also a two part Mass by Carnevali - Missa Stella Matutina.

    I also had success with some standard SATB pieces - just as SA... O Sanctissima, Panis Angelicus (Lambilotte), Ave Maris (Ett), Veni Iesu Amor Mi (Cherubini), etc.. The Dona Nobis Pacem round can be a good introduction to 3 part when ready. Non Nobis Domine is another easy two part piece.

    Prayers and best of luck!!
  • Thank you. I hadn't thought of O Sanctissma and I wasn't familiar with Veni Jesu or Non Nobis Domine.
  • I'd appreciate the Saint Anthony of Padua Mass, please. It's not readily findable on-line. Thank you.
  • Orlando di Lasso Canticum Duorum Vocum
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • Incardination
    Posts: 832
    Here's the St. Anthony of Padua Mass...
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen canadash
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,911
    If you have a competent organist, you might look into Fr. Carlo Rossini's Canticum Novum. (I'm trying to attach it but it won't for some reason; if you'd like for me to send it to you, PM me and we'll get cracking.)
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,021
    A link to the online pdf of Rossini's book is at CC Watershed here.
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • bonniebede
    Posts: 756
    i have a younger childrens choir, so maybe this is no use to you but I have found canons a great way to prepare their ear for polyphonic singing. Dona nobis pacem is lovely.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,692
    Why not have them sing the soprano line of a polyphonic piece with the adult polyphonic group?
  • We do not have an adult polyphonic choir - only in my dreams. LOL
  • bonniebede - thanks for the music! These simple pieces are a great way to introduce polyphony! The easier ones I can also teach for VBS week! Thanks so much
  • Carol
    Posts: 837
    My mother taught all of us children to sing in harmony by teaching us rounds. We would first plug our ears so we would stick to our own part and then we learned to be able to sing and listen to one another simultaneously. I did the same with a little choir I once had. Also, I believe the group who starts in the middle has the most challenging time, so putting the strongest singer with the second group may be a good idea.

    The attachments of bonniebede are excellent! Thank you for sharing them!
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • rich_enough
    Posts: 1,021
    I've had success with two old chestnuts, "Adoro Te" by Michael Haydn (arr. Proulx, published by GIA), and "Give Ear Unto Me" by Benedetto Marcello (various editions). The parts generally in thirds following the same rhythm.
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,911
    only in my dreams. LOL

    Give it five to ten years. Then your current choir will have grown up into the polyphonic choir. ;)
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • There are several volumes of children's music published by Concordia, the Lutheran publishing house. I recall one set called 'Morning Star', which has multiple volumes and is mostly SS or SA. The repertory is really good and consists mostly of two- and three-part music from the baroque and classical periods - such as Marcello's 'Give Ear Unto Me', which was mentioned above.

    Some SS or SSA books by Oxford would not be out of reach for children.
    Thanked by 2canadash rich_enough
  • Ken of Sarum
    Posts: 406
    MJO - excellent suggestions! Don't forget the "Sing Joyfully" Books One and Two edited by Mason Martens from Walton Music Corp. Book One is in unison and Book Two is for two voice parts.

    If she is still working and hasn't retired, Mrs. Lois Fyfe of Fyfe Sheet Music in Nashville, TN would be an extremely valuable resource! The staff there is excellent!