Workshop on Popular Choral Music © INTERKULTUR
International Choral Scene

Rhythm and Performance in a workshop about „Popular Choral Music“

More than 100 participants accepted the invitation by the Sängerbund Hüttenberg-Schiffenberg

What’s important when singing Popular Choral Music? Which exercises help to easily harmonize rhythm and singing? Many of more than 100 participants in a workshop about Popular Choral Music in Hüttenberg-Hochelheim were suprised when being confronted with this simple task, which is difficult to handle. The reason is that many singers hold the opinion that they can either sing or dance. “Doing both at the same time is really tricky,” says one of the workshop participants. But the workshop on Popular Choral Music was actually about this point: To develop a feeling for rhythm and let it easily flow into the own singing.

“The beginnings of Popular Choral Music root in Africa,” explains workshop leader Nicol Matt. Rhythm was in the African people’s blood, unlike the Europeans. Also the human voicebox was a complex device which was not only made for speaking but which was also a functional instrument of the human body, especially for singing, as Matt said. The selected welcome song “Morokeni” from Namibia thus combined the elements of both rhythm and singing in a harmonic way.

Complicated rhythmic patterns (five-four-times and seven-four-times), as from the circle songs by Roger Treece and Bobby McFerrin, served as a basis for the improvisatory elements. “The most important thing of this exercise,” said Matt, “is that the participants refrain from the scores as soon as possible and sing by ear.” So the participants were able to increasingly concentrate on the own body perception, and within shortest time a homogenous formation of movement emerged within the group.

Improvisation had top priority in this workshop. Using the piece “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd Nicol Matt arranged all singers to a band of drums, electronic guitar, and bass. He was especially glad about a high amount of male participants who were easily able to take elements like beat boxing and body percussion. The word-perfect women singing the soprano part took the melody and the accompanying claps of the whole group completed the impression of facing a real pop band.

The exercise for promoting the creative skills of the singers on the basis of the pop song “Mambo” by Herbert Grönemeyer was musically supported by the Gesangverein Harmonie Rechtenbach under the direction of Patrick Rudolph. At the end of the workshop one had the impression these experienced singers actually formed a considerable choir which enjoys its singing and would be ready for a concert performance with individual choreography. Even the youngest participants were thrilled after four hours of concentrated work.

“It’s all about promotion of choral music,” said INTERKULTUR President Günter Titsch. “Also it’s about addressing young talents and catching their interest in singing together.” INTERKULTUR was the presenting sponsor of this workshop event by the Sängerbund Hüttenberg-Schiffenberg.

Workshop on Popular Choral Music © INTERKULTUR