This past Tuesday for the gay chorus, we did something called “voicing” during the Bass sectional.
What this entailed was having all of the lower basses line up side-by-side, and sing “You Are My Sunshine” in adjacent groups of three.
The first three would sing while the chorus director (Ben) listened. We only had to sing the first line or so, thank Buddha. After each rendition, Ben would either leave the three untouched or he would ask a couple of the guys to trade places. Then they would sing again.
This process continued down the line of basses– sometimes with an entirely new group of three, or a blended version of two from one group and then the next guy in line. He would listen, and shuffle guys as he saw fit, then listen again.
Occasionally a guy would me moved to an entirely new area of the line and tried there.
The reason I bring this up is that you would be absolutely astounded how much difference can be made just by making two guys (who are standing right next to each other) swap positions.
In some of the trios I was singing in, the sound reaching my ears was uncomfortable and awkward. Then with a simple positional switch it was like the sun coming out on a cloudy day.
It all has to do with vocal timbres, oscillations, tonal brightness and blend. Basically it was acoustical physics in action– and the engineering side in me was jizzing all over the musician side in me!
It honestly was mind-blowing. And it was fascinating to see the upper basses go through the same exercise and hear the differences from an audience perspective. The sound was night and day!
And even more mind blowing was the fact that I have never gone through a voicing exercise before. Not once in all the years I’ve been singing. And it really impacts the overall choral blend!
Anyway- it just thought it was cool and I geeked out over it a bit.