Worship Musician Magazine September 2022 | Page 37

of that vocal register as low as A and the upper register as high as C # or even D as long as the melody does not linger for too long at that upper or lower register . And thank goodness for that ! Quite a few of the songs we want our congregation to sing have a register that is wider than a single octave .
NOTE : This “ C to C ” concept is not my original idea . I believe it ’ s been around for a long time and has often been stated as “ C to shining C ” by arrangers and choir directors for generations .
Now , I recognize that not everyone agrees with me on this . Key choice for sung worship is a highly contentious issue . While I have found that most people quickly become convinced of the effectiveness of C to C once they hear the difference in the volume of their congregation ’ s “ voice ”, there is still some resistance .
In my experience as the principal instructor with More Than Music Mentor - providing training for the heart and the art of worshipping musicians - most of that resistance seems to come from a relatively small proportion of female singers . While their number is small , their argument is totally valid and deserves deeper consideration .
“ That ’ s too high for me . I can ’ t sing that C note .”
I say “ small proportion ”, but responses like those have happened often enough for me to need to do further research . If C to C is supposed to invite everyone to sing , why do some female singers say it ’ s too high ? The hope is that we would all find C to C easy to sing . I ’ ve had to own my ignorance on this issue . I am a guy after all . I don ’ t know what it ’ s like for a female as she sings . How could I ?
Perhaps having a whole congregation sing the same melody together - even over a single octave ( and a bit ) - is not possible !
I have even had female singers explain to me that the C5 note is too high for them because they are an alto - the lower category of female voice for choir . This has confused and troubled me because the alto range goes well above C5 . If a singer claims they are an alto , then C should be well within their range , not outside it !
ANOTHER NOTE : My research suggests that there is no consensus on the exact range of an alto voice . Most sources seem to say that F5 or G5 is the highest note , although I have found as low as E5 and as high as A5 . Still , it ’ s true to say that no two voices are exactly the same . And while vocal ranges vary a great deal from one singer to another , all descriptions of the alto range I have found comfortably include the C5 and higher . So , on that basis , the ideal C to C congregational range should be great for altos .
So , why do some female singers who label themselves as altos struggle with C5 ?
Even though it ’ s clear that an alto ’ s range should easily take in a C5 , or even a D5 , it ’ d be naive ( and perhaps even arrogant ) of me to simply tell that small proportion of women that they should just sing higher . ( I am truly sorry for the times I have done something like that in the
past … even to my wife !)
So what ’ s going on here ?
I ’ ve thought about this a lot . Made observations and spoken with numerous female singers in my workshops . I ’ ve read articles and watched YouTube videos from female voice instructors . Asked questions of [ WM ]’ s very own expert vocal coach Sheri Gould and interviewed Voice Up Coaching ’ s Carolyn Baker on this issue . After all that , I think I ’ m beginning to see what the problem is .
There is an answer to this perplexing question , but it ’ s not a simple answer . It might be more accurate to say that there are several contributing factors that leave some female singers resistant to C to shining C .
I plan to expand on those reasons in my article for next month , but for now , please watch this short video of my interview with vocal expert Carolyn Baker from Voice Up Coaching . Our discussion - and especially her response to my question - will shed light on this particular problem .
# 41 “ Head Voice ” & the Female “ Flip Zone ” - Carolyn Baker Interview
Grant Norsworthy founder of MoreThanMusicMentor . com
MoreThanMusicMentor . com Here ’ s the potentially tragic implication : If even a small number of female singers with microphones are unable to sing C5 , this would indicate that there must be some women in the congregation who are struggling there too ! But it ’ s going to be very tough to go any lower . Guys will be “ bottoming out ” and unable to sing along because the vocal range is too low !
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