Friday, July 14, 2006

Don’t Sing So High!

This quote comes from the “Brehmcenter” on our tendency to hinder the participation of the congregation in singing our congregational music in too high a key. Of course, as a humble baritone I am a bit biased on this issue. There are a few generalizations in this quote; however, some good food for thought.

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“It seems that the world is full of tenor worship leaders these days! Think about it! Name a few and see if I’m not right. Great voices, great hearts . . . but tenors! I can’t believe how high Chris Tomlin sings “Indescribable”! Great song, but not me in that key! I don’t know what your vocal range is, but the average Joe and Jane Pewsitter have about a one octave range . . . from C to C. Though not all songs have a one octave range, many are very close or smaller. So, if the goal is to encourage congregational participation, then considerable thought should be given to that average C to C range. If you get beyond that range, be ready for people to shut down, stop trying to sing . . . and the cards and letters of complaint will follow! Adjust your comfort and playing ability to what is more important: congregational accessibility and involvement. Remember, the congregation is the largest group in your Worship Ministry, so their ability to focus on God and not the note they can’t reach should be of really high priority.”

(“The Worship Leader and the Vocal Range of Congregational Songs” from Brehmcenter)

1 comment:

dockanz said...

That's very interesting that you brought this up. After I read the first line, I thought yeah Chris Tomlin is a perfect example. We sang "Indescribable" in church on Sunday and I realized how much it taxed my vocal range and I consider my high end to be up there (low end, not so much). I thought, I hope all of these men drop an octive.