Building the Chorus
Compiled, Adapted and Arranged by Arnold Logan
This volume contains the folksong arrangements which have appeared in the volume Building the Chorus. The first group of selections are for treble voices alone. They are directed at younger voices, but are also useful for mixed groups. The arrangements progress in difficulty, so that the second half of the collection is primarily for older or more experienced groups, although it contains material which is quite appropriate for younger, treble voices as well.
Strictly speaking, these are not all "folksong" arrangements. You will find hymns, spirituals and other traditional, well-known sources, as well as some composed music.
The musical themes are designated as cantus, which is usually abbreviated as "c". As the cantus parts are passed from one voice group to another, it is expected that the singers will become conscious of this process. Out of this awareness arises the first experience of choral singing, which is actually a choral listening. This must be practiced and learned!
Essentially this is a collection for practice. This does not rule out the possibility of incorporating these songs into musical performances to be shared with all. With a couple of exceptions, the arrangements are for a capella singing. Experience shows that choral practice independent of any instrumental support is essential in the training of voices. Once this independence has been attained, the singers are then able to adapt to piano or other accompaniment with ease. Emphasis has been placed on two-part exercises. Not only are these particularly valuable in musical training, but in addition they offer access to a more contemporary musical form. A study of the two-part works of Kodaly and Bartok is very instructional in this regard. Many of the selections expand the two parts to three or more voice groups.
As a final note, it should be understood that the book wishes to appeal to an improvisational style within the chorus. Several variations are offered in the realization of much of the material. The verses may be exchanged, solo voices may be used within a choral setting, treble and bass voices may be interchanged at the discretion of the choral director. The endeavor should be light-hearted as well as serious!
~ Arnold Logan, January 1995