Idler Ensemble Singing course week 4

In session four, we discussed the break point between your chest and middle voices, how to find it; what exercises to do to develop and explore that. I’ll be going over that, (and the hand-out is here if you missed the session; Week Four Idler Ensemble Singing hand-out) but if you are very pressed for time, the most important thing to do this week is to latch on to your parts. I’ve put them all in this post, and if you have any time to go over them that would be brilliant. The best way to practice, once you’re happy with your part, is to sing it along with the all-voices part, and then to try singing it against each of the single other parts in turn. If you get used to that, you’ll be rock solid on your parts together. You might also really enjoy the different way the music sounds when you break it down into its constituent parts. The lowest video goes over the Latin pronunciation for Gaudete, as we only covered the first verse in the session.

If anyone wants to isolate bits they find tricky or slow them down, there is a brilliant piece of software called Transcribe that is free for 30 days and lets you loop bits of music and slow them down without changing the pitch. It’s really simple to use-if you’d like me to show you, post below and I’ll do or source a short explanation.

The first video goes over the break point, and has a reminder on how to locate your soft palate and identify whether it’s up or down. If you’ve never thought about your soft palate (!) before, it may take a little while to tune in to where it is and how to feel it. If this is the case, don’t be alarmed-the extra info is for reference and if it doesn’t immediately make sense to you, just keep on singing!  This diagram might help give you a rough idea of where your break is likely to be-I think quite a few of the ladies were in the C/C#/D zone; men may find they’re an octave lower. (The diagram uses ‘high voice’ instead of ‘head voice’.) (Click on the image to enlarge.)

voice range

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I’m also putting in a short reminder of the vocal tension exercise. We could devote an entire session just to tension and posture-this is an exercise I love because I think it releases much more tension more quickly than equivalents. Do give it a go-five minutes of it will transform how your head and neck feel.

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Here is the translation of the lyrics to Gaudete:


And here is a quick overview of how to pronounce the Latin.

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Parts! (Gaudete has first two verses; feel free to insert the others)

Gaudete all voices

Gaudete Soprano

Gaudete Alto

Gaudete Tenor:Bass

Carol of the Bells

Carol of the bells all voices

Carol of the bells soprano

Carol of the bells alto

Carol of the bells tenor:bass


Sway all parts

Sway soprano

Sway Alto

Sway Tenor:Bass

The music is all here if you missed this week or mislay it:


sway p1 

Sway p2 

Carol of the bells

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