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Weekly Vocalize #1 from “Now Wolde Y Fayne Summer This Make”

Starting today every Monday I’m going to post a new vocalize that you can work on with your choir after you’ve done some warm ups. The goal with these vocalizes is to train your choir to be able to execute difficult passages with ease.

The primary focus of the “Now Wolde Y Fayne” series of vocalizes is to work on sostenuto or the act of sustaining long passages. This is done be working through the melismata–the sections of music where several pitches are sung on the same syllable–in the piece.

The secondary focus of the series is to train the ear in singing in the Dorian mode, and that really is what this first vocalize is all about.

The last thing we’ll incorporate into these vocalizes is working on dynamics.

So, this first vocalize is shown below.


It’s from the upper part of the last line of the song, and is, in my opinion, the tricky part. We’re working on it first because it’s a little bit strange to hear, and it’s also at the end of the melisma where the singers are most likely gasping for air. So, better to get it in mind’s ear of the singers so that they can focus on breath control in the later exercises.

The exercise should be sung on Mi (As in “Sing to me“) and the singers should try to feel a buzzing resonance in their faces. Also they should try to sing it as legato or connected as possible and without breathing in the middle. (This last part shouldn’t be too hard since the exercise is quite short.) The tempo should be be about the same as that of the MIDI… so not too fast.

If the singers’ intonation isn’t quite right you can have them sing on the solfege syllables as you play the exercise on the keyboard. This will have the effect of helping their intonation, getting them used to solfege, and getting them used to singing in the Dorian mode. All very good things. ^_^

With each repetition you can move up or down a halfstep. It doesn’t really matter. It’s not intended for range extension, though, so I wouldn’t have the choir sing it to high or too low. There’s enough to think about already!

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