Choral Verse Speaking: Pointers for Rehearsals

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Rehearsals usually follow after the director and the group has had a preliminary discussion of the literary work to be interpreted. Remember that choric interpretation is not a matter of voices alone, but it also involves the use of the body and gestures
                    choral speaking rehearsal

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Pointers for Rehearsals

Rehearsals usually follow after the director and the group has had a preliminary discussion of the literary work to be interpreted. The following are some guidelines for effective group rehearsal: It is wise to work in unison until everyone has a sense of the entire selection. This is presumed that each individual member of the group has done a thorough job of analyzing the literary work and as he blends with the group during the rehearsals, he finds himself moving towards unity with the group and the members soon move from unison to whatever voice division is decided on.

Before rehearsals, it is wise to mark the manuscript clearly so the members will remember all directions. Mark each unit as you go along, using LV for light voices, DV for dark voices, and U for unison. It will help keep the unity of the selection if you know which group is to speak which unit. When you work alone, read the entire selection several times and then work in detail on your assigned units. If you are blending selected light and dark voices for a particular effect, you will find it convenient to designate them as group 1 and group 2, etc. Mark the entire arrangement on your copy and underline those units you will speak.

Bodily Action in the Choric Interpretation and Timing of the Gestures

Remember that choric interpretation is not a matter of voices alone, but it also involves the use of the body and gestures during the choral interpretation. For this reason, voice, body and gestures must work together in order to communicate what the mind has learned. Whenever the audience sees the choir of interpreters, bodily action must be considered because it can add or detract from the effect of the communication. Posture and muscle tone must be as alert and vital for group work as for an individual performance. During rehearsals, the choral group must be sure to respond to all the imagery and emotional elements of the literary work and must use this response as one unified group.

A choir may use gestures just as an individual interpreter does. However, in using the gestures, the choir members must remember this basic rule: "Gestures do not describe an object but gestures must come from the way the object makes you feel." Thus, a group of choric performers with their arms stretched out to look like trees is distracting to the audience.

When the group uses gestures, they must be carefully worked out so that their timing is perfect. Hands flying up and down at various intervals are totally ineffective. All the palms should be turned the same way, and the pace and extent of each gesture should be the same for every member of the group. It is better to understate than overstate any big gesture but don't be afraid to use one when it is appropriate.

Depending on the requirements of the selection and the ability of the group, bodily action may range from a subtle change in muscle tone to dance movements. For instance, if much action is to be used, it is probably more practical to work without a manuscript since the manuscript could be awkward to handle.

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Posted on Jan 5, 2012
Donata L.
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Posted on Jul 1, 2011