Special Form of Public Speaking: Choral Verse Speaking
Choral verse speaking is group performance of poetry where the group reciting in unison interprets the fullest meaning and conveys the fullest measure of the poet's thoughts and feelings embodied in his poems. As Archibald MacLeish says, "A poem should not mean, but be!" - And a poem is brought to life by a verse speaking choir. Choral speaking is nothing new or merely a passing fad. Down through the ages, people have read in unison. The antiphonal chorus was common among the Hebrews; the speaking chorus was an essential element in the plays of the Greeks, and later, we have the ballads, the communal property of early England, composed by the peasant folk and were sung or recited together.
Choral speaking is not merely a concert recitation of poetic works. Rather, it is a form of art which consists of oral reading and reciting of beautiful verses and brings poetry to life, through the use of many voices, bodies, and minds working together. Choral verse speaking is like choir singing of beautiful melodies and songs in an "a cappella" manner (singing without the use of any musical instrument) and simply relying on the beautiful but precise and perfect blending of voices to convey the fullest meaning and beauty of the song or melody performed.
Since choral verse speaking involves interpretation of a group of the works of poetry, it is also governed by rules and methods of interpretation. Since it makes use of many voices, bodies, and minds working together, there is the need to learn the proper techniques of choric interpretation. Remember that good choral verse speaking or choric interpretation is more than just a group of people saying the same words at the same time and standing and stopping altogether. In choral verse speaking, precision is important because without it, the audience cannot understand what is being said.
Choral verse speaking or choric interpretation, as a form of literary interpretation of poetry involves a director and a group. The members of the group are chosen on the basis of the quality and tone of their voices, for, as in choir singing, there is the choice of a tenor, a contralto, a basso, an alto and the common tone, the same thing is true in choral verse speaking where the director selects the voice group on the basis of the quality and tonal pattern of the voices that will bring out the beauty and desired emotional effect of the poetry being recited aloud.