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Conference Morsel: Re-Voicing Choral Works

(An excerpt from the interest session “Re-Voicing Public Domain Choral Music for SSA, TTBB, etc.: Tips, Tricks, and Time Savers,” presented by William C. Powell during the 2014 ACDA Southern Division Conference)
 
       When re-voicing choral music, it is helpful to compare SATB scores with TTBB and/or SSAA settings of the same title by the same composer/arranger. More specifically, one can listen to recordings of the piece, play the voice parts, sing each part, and analyze the melody, harmony, rhythm, vocal ranges, etc. 
       For example, when analyzing the melody, determine if the melody is best served in a single voice part throughout the piece, or if it should shift temporarily to another voice part? To facilitate the process, one should also assess the melodic contour and determine the width of the melodic range within each phrase. 
       Another element to analyze is the harmony of the piece when preparing to re-voice a piece from SATB to SSA(A) or TTBB. It is helpful to project how the harmony will support or balance with the melody, whether you can maintain the harmonic integrity of the original setting, and how the harmonic progression and cadences are approached in the original setting.