CONCERT OR CAMPFIRE ?: KEY CHOICE FOR PHIL WICKHAM ’ S “ HOUSE OF THE LORD ” | Grant Norsworthy
How are keys chosen for the songs that you and your team use to lead sung worship ?
Typically , it ’ s the “ worship leader ” - the leading vocalists in the band - who gets to choose the key for a song they ’ re leading . Sometimes that could be the same key as the original recording artist ’ s version , but more often than not , they ’ ll want a different key .
Switching from one key to another ( especially with digital chord charts and capos in widespread usage ) can be pretty straight forward for most instrumentalists . Even the drummer ! It may not make a huge deal of difference to the band , but key choice is
HUGELY important for singers .
And ( again ) typically , the leading vocalists will choose the key for any given song based entirely on how they feel about their own vocal performance . They don ’ t want to be singing at either extremity of their range . They don ’ t want to be reaching for notes that feel too high or too low or require too much effort . They want to feel comfortable as they sing . In the sweet spot . They want to give themselves the best chance of performing well .
I ’ m a singer too . I get that .
And ( for a third time ) typically as a result , we might end up with two or even more different keys for each song in our repertoire . There might be the key that Stephanie prefers when she ’ s leading , and another for Chad . I have worked with churches where their whole repertoire has a “ male ” key and a “ female ” key . But with no two voices being the same , we can sometimes end up with three , four or even more keys for each individual song . A key for each different leader on the roster ! It can get exhausting and ( for many amateur , volunteer church musicians , to say nothing of the congregation ) confusing .
In my article last month , I introduced the concept of “ Concert or Campfire ?”. I think understanding this concept - and making