Part-song arrangements for junior high school voices
Foster, Viola Ruth
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The scarcity of song material suited to the ranges and abilities of junior high school students is a very real handicap to successful teaching. The changing voice of the boy sets definite limitations on range, and the uncertainty of pitch in that voice restricts the difficulty of the arrangement. The girl's voice is not so similarly handicapped, thus allowing more freedom in writing for upper parts. Taken in the light of these restrictions, much of the existing material is not practical. Verses in unison, or for a single part, do not encourage part feeling and tend to make the chorus sections more difficult to achieve after having learned the melody. Bass and tenor parts with a wide range, frequent skips, or quick-moving figures are not practical. In developing and arranging this material, the author started with a three-part song as a transitional piece. The tenor, or low-alto part is put in the bass clef as a start toward reading from that clef. The first few songs keep both tenor and bass parts very simple with only the elementary skips for the bass part. Gradually chromatic tones and more difficult skips are introduced in the bass part. Chromatics are used sooner and more frequently in the tenor part. Then come rhythmic problems, and last of all, combinations of all these problems. Opinion will differ as to the order of difficulty of these songs, since the difficulty depends on variable factors, such as melodic line, rhythmic appeal, key changes and the abilities and interests of the class. Some songs sung with ease by one class may prove troublesome in another group. However, an approximation of the order of difficulty was attempted. Some of this material is from well-known songs which ought to be a part of every young person's repertoire. The others are for the most part folk songs of fifteen different nations or peoples. One is part of an organ composition adapted for chorus. Two are original compositions. Suitable lyrics involve considerable research. Some of the catchy little folk songs, while very singable and easily arranged, cannot be translated literally, or definitely are not in good taste. In such cases, other lyrics must be found and adapted, or new ones written. In at least eight instances adaptations of words were necessary, different texts had to be found for five, and new lyrics were written for two.
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