Tone Quality and Intonation »
Date: May 30, 2010
by Tim Sharp mail icon
Views: 245
Last week I took my banjo to a technician to have the neck adjusted (ok...the "reply" button below this article is where you can deposit the jokes. I think I've heard them all, so it better be good.) Why was I doing this? Because tone quality and intonation matter--a lot.

As I watched and listened while the technician adjusted first the neck, then the bridge, and then surveyed the frets, I thought about how peculiar it was that two people were spending serious time focused on the maintenance of tone and intonation. As that thought crossed my mind, right behind that thought my life flashed before me with the realization that this is all I have been doing since I graduated from high school. Then I remembered the response legendary guitarist Chet Atkins gave to an interviewer that asked him what he would like to be remembered for, to which he replied, "That I played in tune."

There is no question about it--intonation and tone quality are defining issues. I have a collection of pop songs recorded over the years that completely stump me regarding why, in studio conditions, a song was released in which something was out of tune. There is a flute solo in "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas & Papas; there is the pinultimate measures in the first verse of Gary Puckett's "Young Girl", and there is the wrong note in the trumpet introduction that follow's Steve Cropper's opening guitar solo in "Soul Man." Why?

As one of our imminent choral conductors has said, the primary reason choirs sing out of tune is...because the director lets them sing out of tune. We know, however, that poor intonation and poor tone quality are poison to our art. Yet, it is one thing to diagnose a problem, and quite another thing to correct the problem. There are several pedagogical reasons, in addition to the "let them" problem, that contribute to poor intonation and poor tone quality. And this brings me to the surprising bottom line for this blog--the person that knows how to fix those problems is a person trained in choral and vocal production.

The reason I took my banjo to a technician is simple--I recognized the problem, but I did not have the skills to fix the problem. People other than chorally trained people may hear a problem, but can they fix the problem?  It is my hope that as choirs are shifted to new types of directors during a time of budget concerns and budget cuts, that those making the decisions know the difference between a technician and a substitute. A choir can be an instrument of beauty, if the tone is pleasing and the singing is in tune. That takes a leader that knows what they are doing.
 
A blog post »
Date: May 30, 2010
by philip copeland mail icon
Views: 257
This is my first blog post in the Copeland community.  It is just a test but it seems to be working now.  I had no problem getting my cursor into the text field.
 
Special characters?  @Æç
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Watching the Clock Tick »
Date: May 4, 2010
by James D. Feiszli mail icon
Views: 1993
Philip Copeland's announcement that Tim Sharp would begin contributing to the ChoralNet Blog was another small reminder of the changes coming to ChoralNet in the next few months as we make the transition from an independent non-profit corporation to being a part of the American Choral Directors Association. Tim and I have spoken often of the need for better communication with our constituents.
 
Towards that end I have written here before about the development of ChoralNet Communities as a major thrust towards developing a communications system for the 21st century choral world.  While the surface of the ChoralNet website is not changing much right now, much is happening beneath the surface as our Manager, Martin Knowles, and Webmaestro Allen Simon are building, installing, and testing new features and tools for the communities concept.
 
You are already experiencing the ChoralNet Communities as you read this. This "About ChoralNet" section was created to try out some of the tools and features that will be part of ChoralNet Communities. It is very rudimentary and will have to be rebuilt when the system changes are finished; but we thought it might be instructive to see what was needed for a lay-person (me) to create and edit these pages. While I fancy myself somewhat knowledgeable about web design and formatting, in truth, web programming left me in the dust years ago. ChoralNet Communities are designed to allow anyone (even me!) to create and maintain groups of people of similar interests so that they might share information among themselves and so better the choral collective.  ACDA Repertory & Standards groups, geographic groups such as state or division chapters, or any other legitimate group you can imagine will be able to organize, create forums, share files, and do other types of networking.  We'll roll out the Communities at the ACDA leadership conference in late June.  And it won't necessarily be limited to ACDA functions.  Why not a Latin-American community?  Or a choral composers community?
 
It was just a year ago that ChoralNet 2.0 made its debut.  We hope that this new iteration of ChoraNet will be embraced as warmly as those changes have been.
 
ChoralNet Communities »
Date: April 19, 2010
by James D. Feiszli mail icon
Views: 2001
Last week I wrote about the concept behind ChoralNet Communites. We are now at the stage in which those of us involved behind the scenes discuss the differences between what is necessary, what is possible, what is desireable, and what is simply more frills than meat.  These discussions take the form of:
If you have opinions or ideas, please feel free to let us know.
 
 
 
Coming soon to ChoralNet »
Date: April 13, 2010
by James D. Feiszli mail icon
Views: 1560
ChoralNet's decision to become part of the American Choral Directors Association is already changing the way ChoralNet operates.  ACDA wishes to use ChoralNet's ability to create networks to facilitate its communications.  This does not mean that what ChoralNet has always done will be ignored nor neglected.  Indeed, it may well turn out to benefit the entire global online choral community.
 
ChoralNet 2.0, launched in April 2009, was a total re-design of the way ChoralNet operates. It is based on software created by our our Manager, Martin Knowles, assisted by Webmaestro, Allen Simon. That system has the capabilities of doing far more.  While continuing to provide you with the current resources, our two resident geniuses are working to develop new tools and features that will enhance communications between choral musicians. While beta versions are not anticipated until mid-2010, I'll share a vision of what is down the road. The way I described it recently to those of us working on this social networking concept (to be called "ChoralNet Communities”) is this:
ChoralNet is a community of all choral musicians - North American, European, Latin-American, Asian - who are online.  ACDA is a subset, so is IFCM. So are all male chorus directors and singers, or Spanish-speaking choral musicians, or those particularly interested in the music of the Renaissance, etc..
Modelled after social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace, ChoralNet Communities will allow registered users to create meeting places for choral musicians with common interests.  Community administrators will be able to choose between various feature modules to create blogs, calendars, forums, photo and audio archives and other items which will allow their communities to easily share information with each other.  It may well be that these features will be introduced gradually throughout the end of 2010 and into 2011 but we see a future where the distinctions between websites, newsletters, forums, blogs, calendars, and the like gradually blur into web-based, mobile-accessible information sharing.