Preparation of the song from A to Ω

Preparation of the song or aria by logical steps. In the conclusion an approach that has significantly shortened the time for a qualitative preparation of an aria, song or composition from the treasury of the choral literature is presented.

Preparing an individual song or a whole concert can be compared with building a house or a housing estate. You have to be constantly be careful for accurate measurements, the choice of material and careful planning all the way from designing the sound foundation to the watertight roof. As with a building, choosing bad isolation or building to quickly is not an option so it is with preparation of a song. There, you also need to be careful by the order when adopting individual singing elements.

Consistently following some of the logical connections assure avoiding problems which can occur later on and which frequently occur in the final phase of the concert preparations. Such problems are: unclear diction, intonation slips, lack of concentration, shortness of breath, burnout, no facial expression and more.

Basically the preparation is divided into two parts. First you have to focus on precise vocal and technical performance and second when listening intensely you already assimilate melodic sequences. In choral singing listening also involves mastering the harmonic relations in polyphony.

I. Analyzing and preparation of the song, aria or choral partiture

1. Overview of the message content and sections for breath intake

In the song you determine word hierarchy and mark syllable stress. Personally I manage this by underlining key words and stressed syllables. At the same time basic possibilities for expressions are checked. When you determine and underline appropriate sections for breath intake you need to be careful of the punctuation (comma, full stop, exclamation point, question mark …). Breathing between words or in the middle of a singing phrase is considered to be wrong if the punctuation does not clearly define it. More about the correctly performed breath intake was extensively discussed in one of the previous units.

2. Singing the song without the melody merely rhythmical on the leaning tone

During the performance you need to be careful to breath properly, that the vocals are even and the diction of the text is clear and also that the articulation of the consonants is appropriate. After few repetitions your mind process enables you such range of concentration for you to integrate performance of appropriate musical dynamics (pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff …). You still insist on the leaning tone.

II. Listening the melody and harmonic relationship

Singing the melody on a neutral syllable

The melody of the song should be introduced without the lyrics or dynamics, it has to be sung merely on a neutral syllable (for example; Na, Bri, Du …). During singing you need to keep horizontal physical appearance and be intensively focused on listening to your own voice. When searching the precise intonation you cannot set yourself any boundaries. The basic theoretical recognition of intervals is welcomed.

When preparing for polyphonic singing, you insist on the known performance of the song on the neutral syllable, but this time it has to be focused on every harmonic relationship with other voices or the instrumental accompaniment.

Personally, I mark the parallel performance of intervals in the score and focus on the bigger harmonic leaps and other sequences with interesting and demanding harmonic features. It is known that intensive listening among other things also integrates adjustment of personal singing voice colour.

III. Final musical harmonization

After the exercises of the individual elements and mastering of the vocal technical skills it can be formed as a whole. When performing a technically perfect song it has to be focused on the final musical moments such as; appropriate physical interaction, following the ensemble or the conductor’s hand, noticing the acoustic abilities and building a sincere relationship with the audience.

Are you “curious” about your prior singing knowledge? A broad description about warming up before singing, breathing, singing vowels and consonants, about the singing expression, singing in polyphony, correct phrasing, vocal ambit (gentle singing of extreme remote tones) and about the contentual preparation of a song you find in the material of The basics of vocal technique.

Did you find in the article “Preparation of the song from A to Ω” some useful advice for yourself?

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Robert Feguš