Why would anyone expect a choir to be able to (intentionally) sing microtones?

The Journey In (Performing Microtonal Choral Music, Part 1)

The Journey In Performing Microtonal Choral Music is a fascinating article by Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, Music Director at Temple Emanu-El in Tucson, Arizona, and Guest Composer in Residence with the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra.

‘All the literature seems to be on choirs’ limitations. Everyone knows that choirs are devastatingly conservative… They, and their audiences, would surely revolt at the slightest hint of strangeness. There are some who celebrate this paradigm, saying that the limitations on the massed human voice have constrained choral music to a more traditional style in the face of modernity, and that it’s a good thing they have!…

‘Looking beyond the Western choral paradigm, the world overflows with examples of formidable vocal control. There are Indian, Turkish, and Arabic singers, for whom a fundamental part of music is very tiny intervals, without which the very identity of a given melody would be compromised.’

Click here to view the full article on nmbx.newmusicusa.org

Header photo: a 19-tone keyboard with 7 white and 12 black keys per octave. Photo by Dan Pelleg, from the Creative Commons

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