More on choral harmonies and congregational singing
See, I am not the first one to notice this problem:
A certain number of settings have been(S. Royal Shore, “A New Form of Choral Composition”, The Musical Times, 1 June 1919)
composed, simple in form and low in pitch, so that
the congregation, besides following, can reproduce
the top part when they have succeeded in picking it
up from frequent repetition. This is unsatisfactory
and unfair to the choir-who are an entity in themselves,
and are not only leaders of the congregation because
the trebles and generally the other choralists
are singing in the ineffective range of their respective
voices. It is also inartistic, inasmuch as the treble part
will be doubled in octaves with overwhelming force
if the congregation are doing their duty, and all
pretence of a choral balance will be at an end.
The problem really is how to combine artistically
the voices of a congregation singing in octaves
in the limited range of from about D to D with
the harmony of a choir singing in the effective
range of the respective voice parts. It is now
intended to show how this can be solved.
The ensuing discourse basically shows unison melodies in alternation with or independent of the choral parts.
I am really looking forward to trying out the Victoria Conditor alme siderum in alternatim with the congregation. I think this may be a nice new direction for my parish music program - heh, now if I can find alternatim settings of all the other congregational hymns we sing. :)