Holy Cross Lutheran Church ELCA
Holy Cross “Music Notes” blog by Jack Hamill
June 7, 2022 Mp3 practice files
After I select an anthem for the choir to sing, I then make mp3 practice files so that the choir members can learn their parts. The first step in the process is to type in each note of anthem into my PrintShop program. This is the most extensive part of the process. Depending on the difficulty of the writing and amount of repetition-which shortens the process through cut and paste, this part may take from 2 to 5 hours.  When creating the file I have to select the choral part staves S.A. and/or T.B, then I have to add the accompaniment staves, sometimes organ most times piano, then I have to enter the time and key signatures and finally individual notes are typed or put into the score.  Most anthems run between 80 – 150 measures. At my top speed an easy measure may take 15 seconds, the most difficult may take up to a minute or two to input the notes into the score.
Once the notes are typed in, then I go back and listen to the music for mistakes. I can usually catch a mistake faster by listening than by reading the notes. Most of the time if something doesn’t sound right then it’s usually a wrong note typed in. After I am satisfied that the notes are all correct, then a folder is set up by title and type such as OCTAVO and sometimes the composers name is attached.  Once I have transferred the file into the folder, I duplicate the file and add ORIGINAL to that file’s name.  This becomes a back-up file if something goes wrong. I also make a copy of the file which begins with the letters CD. From this file I will make each individual part-Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Once that is done, I make a working copy from which I make each mp3 file. If it is a Soprano part then I delete the Alto, Tenor and Bass parts.  If it is the Alto part then I delete Soprano, Tenor and Bass – you get the idea.  Once the part is made then I listen to it to make sure there are no mistakes and that the mp3 file can be followed by the listener. The file is then labelled by title and type – Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass
The CD file has no dynamic markings because someone listening to it would have to keep adjusting the volume to hear the music. The purpose of an mp3 file is for the choir member to learn their part, I save the interpretation which includes loud and soft for rehearsal.  The vocal parts do not include sung word but instead a synthesized voice is used which comes across in Oo’s and Ah’s.
I do put in phrasing and breathing.  This requires looking at the music and creating space on the mp3 which simulates the place where the choir takes a breath. Most of the time it means shortening the length of the final note of the phrase and replacing it with a rest.
The next step in the process is to “Export the File” and this creates the mp3.  I have a folder which contains all my mp3 files which I make.  I then set up a folder by title for each anthem which will eventually contain all the vocal parts.
Then, the next step is to e-mail the files to the choir members.
Next time I would like to talk about the choral composers and the ones I gravitate to when choosing music for the choir to sing.  
If you have any comments about this blog you can e-mail me at jhamill376@gmail.com
Posted By: 6/22/2022 1:13:04 PM

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