Showing posts with label YouTube. Show all posts
Showing posts with label YouTube. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Practising with YouTube

When using a YouTube video as a practice resource it is useful to know how to adjust the speed of the video. You might want to start slower and and then increase the speed as you become more familiar with the notes and the words.

Here is a short tutorial that may come in handy if you don't yet know how to adjust the speed.

1. Start the YouTube video and pause it (you can change the speed while it plays but to begin with you might want to pause it first).

2. Click on Settings, that is the wee cog in the right-hand bottom corner of the video player. If you hover over the cog you'll see the word "Settings" appear.

3. Once you have clicked on Settings, select Playback speed

4. From the speed options choose the speed you would like to try. Three-quarter speed = 0.75x the normal speed. If you go too low the sound gets distorted. Play around with the options until you find what works for you.

 5. If you don't like any of those options, click the Custom link and use the slider to select your optimal practice speed.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Young Julie Andrews - Polonaise from Mignon

I thought you all might appreciate this lovely old recording of a very young Julie Andrews, long before she grabbed a magical carpet bag or donned the habit and became world famous in Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

(In case you wondered, that top note at the end is an F, I think!)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you a Gleek yet?

Okay - I'll admit it. Over the last few months, I've become a Gleek.

What's a Gleek? A fan of the hit series "Glee" of course! "Glee" is a musical comedy series about a high school glee club in the USA.

The series has heaps of great music, and while the standard of supposedly typical high school singers is a bit unbelievable (most of the cast are professional performers with long CVs, and some are off Broadway), it's a lot of fun.

So if you're not a Gleek yet, and you love music and good TV, here's a few snippets to convince you to start following and join the legion of fans :-)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A few days ago, a whole stack of my friends were involved in a Hallelujah Chorus flash mob in Melbourne.

I thought people might enjoy the Youtube of the event. For me, it's a bit like watching a "who's who" among my Melbourne friends :-) The flashmob was conducted by old time mate Trevor Jones, who is awesome.

So - next year in the Meridien for City Choir, maybe?

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone, and see you in 2011!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The funky dance moves we're NOT doing

Last night was fun, wasn't it?

Learning to move and actually dance while singing is something new for most choristers. I'm no dancer, so it was a bit of a challenge to sing and think right foot double stomp left foot double stomp while singing. How do those singer-dancer types do it? Beats me!

You know, one of my earliest memories was having my little girl ballerina dreams quashed when my dance teacher told me, at the tender age of about three, that I "wasn't going to be no ballerina, mate!"

Some dreams come true, others get relegated to the wheelie bin. That's life.

Today I've decided to share with you another musician's dream. The dream of creating the world's funkiest music video.

I'm afraid its another dream that should have been relegated to life's wheelie bin a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Enjoy. Or whatever.

Now - after seeing that - don't you feel better about our own easy dance moves? At least we don't have to conga-line across the stage!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Examples and discussion: Soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass...

The following is a cross-post from my blog The Chorister. I have copied it to here, because I thought members of City Choir might find it interesting. I hope so.

The following post provides example clips and discussion of these voice parts: whistle register soprano, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, basso profondo and oktavist.

A lot of people find it hard to work out which voice part they should sing. Soprano or alto? Tenor or bass?

These samples may help you. They're all of well-known singers, starting from the top to the bottom, who can be classified into the various voice parts.

If you're not sure where you fit in, try singing along with the clips. They might just help you put yourself in place!

I've used popular music clips in this post, and kept away from opera-style vocal stuff, because that is what most people are familiar with, and that is how most of us sing as choristers - I hope!

Correctly classified? Maybe!

Some of these singers are easily classified, others not. Mariah Carey is obviously a soprano, and John Denver is obviously a tenor.

Other singers, such as Charlotte Church, claim to be one thing when the evidence suggests otherwise - to the best of my knowledge, she is still claiming to be a soprano, but my ears tell me I'm hearing a very definite mezzo.

And some have debated whether Elvis was a tenor, but I'm hearing baritone, and Elvisologists (yes, they exist!) now agree he was a baritone.

I hope these clips are useful as well as interesting. What they show me, as a chorister, is that human voices - like people ourselves - are not easily classified into little boxes where we can be categorised and labelled.

Voices follow a spectrum from high to low, and there are a number of us who can sing a variety of voice parts. Flexibility can be incredibly useful, both in the amateur and in the professional world.


Whistle Register - Soprano

Mariah Carey is a soprano, who can also sing in the highest part of the voice, the whistle register. In classical music, the whistle register is famously used in Mozart's Queen Of The Night aria.

Here's a clip of Carey.

Mariah Carey using whistle register.

Common, or garden variety, soprano

Chloe Agnew is a fairly typical clear-voiced soprano, although a bloody good one. Listen to the way her voice pops out at the top of her range, and disappears as she moves lower down in her range.

Chloe Agnew, Soprano, sings Panis Angelicus


Charlotte Church is a well-known child star, who rose to fame as a child soprano, but who is now, if you listen, clearly a mezzo-soprano. She also clearly has tuning problems in this clip, but that is not the point of using it.

Listen to the richness and lower tone to her voice, compared to Carey and Agnew (both sopranos). Sure, she sings high, but her voice lacks that bell-like clarity, and is richer and more solid in its lower notes than in its higher pitches.

Charlotte Church, mezzo-soprano, sings Ave Maria


Karen Carpenter would have been welcomed in any alto section! Listen to the richness and depth to her voice, and the ease with which she manages lower notes!

Carpenter is an absolute delight to listen to, and made lower voiced singing for women an art form. Women aren't just lovely when we sing high - we can be damn sexy in our lower notes too!

Karen Carpenter, alto, sings We've Only Just Begun.


John Denver is absolutely a tenor, and wouldn't have sung anywhere but the tenor section in a typical choir. Listen to the easy, higher tone of his voice - it echoes with warmth and lightness.

Denver's repertoire, focusing on natural beauty, home pleasures and country joys matched his voice perfectly, resulting in massive commercial success.

John Denver singing "Calypso". Clearly a tenor.


Elvis was a baritone who had great command over his upper register and incredible soul to his voice. When people first heard him sing on the radio, they found it hard to believe that he was a white man.

Because Elvis' higher notes were so solid, people have wondered whether he was a tenor, but his lower notes place him firmly as a baritone.

Never say that baritones are boring in my presence, or I'll hit you with a big whacky stick!

Elvis, the one and only, singing "Amazing Grace". A baritone, who often sang tenor-range songs. Pure bliss to listen to.


Leonard Cohen is a well-known bass. Those lovely deep notes are something only a true bass can pull off.

Only about 10% of men in western societies are true basses, according to a well-respected voice and music expert I am friends with back in Australia.

If you're a bass, and have good pitch, you'll be welcome in just about any choir!

Leonard Cohen singing "Hallelujah". A bass.

Basso profondo

At the bottom of the vocal range is the basso profondo and the oktavist.

Paul Robeson was probably the best basso profundo in the history of the world, for ever and ever, amen. Here he is, singing "Old Man River" from the movie musical "Showboat".

Paul Robeson, basso profondo, singing "Old Man River".


Finally, here's an interesting clip from a famous oktavist named J D Sumner. He's in the Guinness Book Of Records for singing the lowest note on record (C1, three octaves below middle C).

Oktavists are named such because of their ability to sing a full octave below the bass part in Russian Church music. Now that's impressive!

J D Sumner, oktavist, performing Wayfaring Stranger.

So there you go, from high to low, a few examples of the human voice, what it can sound like, with examples from popular music.

Interesting, huh?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody for Muppeteers

A few weeks ago I posted a YouTube of Bohemian Rhapsody For Geeks.

Now here's one for the Muppeteers among us.

Besides, you all need a break from that dreadful Cyberbass, don't you?


(Sorry about posting twice in one day. I really do have a life!)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bohemian Rhapsody for Geeks

Dedicated to the Inner Geek in every chorister.

Enjoy (or not)...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Choir singing is the latest trend in the USA

An interesting look at the growth of choral singing in the US. According to Chorus America, there are 10 million more choral singers in the US now than there were in 2003, and the trend is increasing.

Yes - we're part of a growing trend :-)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Snow Day!

We're snowed in, and if you haven't heard, City Choir is cancelled tonight. Whatever shall I do with all my spare time?

Well, I could build another snowperson. The first one didn't look too good:

snow poodle-person

But then, I am an Aussie, so concessions must be made. I'm not used to all this white cold stuff that falls from the sky. Cooking eggs on the footpath - now that I'm an expert at!

Or I could just enjoy the scenery out the window.

snowy view

I see scenes like this, and imagine Father Christmas (he is NOT "Santa Claus" in MY family, thankyou very much!) to come shooting over the top of Stone Street in his sleigh.

Or to at least cruise along Kaikorai Valley Road in a beat-up combi van with snow chains.

beat up combi van

On a more serious note, yes, City Choir is cancelled tonight. Yes, we have a rehearsal on Saturday morning instead, as I've just been informed by email. 10:00 to 12:30. Hmmm...that time slot is starting to feel a bit familiar!

So tonight, I shall grab my copy of Handel and go over "My Heart Is Inditing" for a couple of hours until I nail every last note!

Actually, I'll enjoy some of the gorgeous-smelling homemade shortbread I just baked, play a game or two of Up And Down The Creek Without A Paddle, and have a hot bath with lots of bubbles. Then maybe do a bit of rehearsing if I feel like it.

But if I told you I'm spending all evening rehearsing you wouldn't believe me.

Would you?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keyboard Cat takes on the beauty queen

Recently, we were treated at this blog to a little musical refinement (very little!) in the form of a cat playing the piano.

Here's a bit more random musical silliness.

So take it away, Keyboard Cat!

Monday, November 3, 2008

May The Force Be With You

The following is an a capella tribute to the Star Wars movies and composer John Williams.

If you, like me, loved the Star Wars movies (well, the first trilogy anyway), you'll probably love this.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

And now for something completely different...Australian Intervarsity Choral Festivals

I've mentioned to a few people here and there that I attend Australian Intervarsity Choral Festivals.

A few people have asked about these - what they are about, who goes, how often they happen. So I thought I'd do a post to tell you a bit more about this fabulous tradition, and explain why I've been dedicating two weeks of my precious leave each year to attending IVs.

Australian Intervarsity Choral Festivals (IVs) happen roughly once a year, and each year they cycle between seven different cities. So if you live in, say, Adelaide, a festival will come to your city every seven years.

University choirs from all over Australia get together to attend these festivals - at last count there were members from something like a dozen different University Choirs attending the festivals on a regular basis.

Some participants have been attending for years - I'm now in my third 'cycle', having attended more than two series of seven festivals. Of course, I started attending IVs when I was 3 years old, and am only 19 now ;-)

I started attending as a member of FUCS (1993), then AUCS (1994), then MUCS/MonUCS (1995-2002) (such crossover types are commonly referred to as MonMUCs), and finally as a ROC (2003-), as my ridiculous pile of degrees and various other factors shuffled me across Australia. This isn't unusual - one participant is reputedly a member of all IV choirs!

IV choirs share common traditions besides festival attendance - many 'pub songs' (mostly motets with a few oddities thrown in), traditions (including toasts for formal occasions) and other social curiosities help identify an IV choir. Many IV participants attend rehearsals at a fellow IV choir when in another Australian city - it is not uncommon for a FUCSter from Adelaide to attend MUCS rehearsals when in Melbourne and vice-versa. Many long-term relationships and friendships also cross state borders.

Getting back to the festivals: The festivals last for two weeks, usually from a Friday night through to a Sunday afternoon, and the standard pattern is to have two major concerts, with a variety of social events in-between. Some of these include a formal dinner, publicity singing around town, the Presidents Pyjamas (like a very messy and silly "It's A Knockout"), beer sculling, and a revue night.

The number of participants in recent times varies from as few as 88 (Brisbane IV 1993) to as many as 250+ (recent Melbourne and Sydney festivals). Many choristers are self-confessed IV-addicts, and claim they will attend "until I have to hobble up on stage with a zimmer frame."

The next festival scheduled is Hobart 2009 in July next year, and it will be the 60th festival - quite an achievement for a movement of this kind.

IVs welcome interstate and overseas choristers, and any Kiwi choristers who are interested in attending would be very welcome, and would absolutely have a wonderful time.

I'll leave you with an embedded mini movie (unofficial) of Brisbane Intervarsity Festival 2007. You won't see much of me, as I was the chick behind the camera most of the time, but if you're quick (very quick!) you'll see me down a beer in the Womens' 4x sculling (we won, of course), getting down on the dance floor with a very young Dawnie (my now 21 month old daughter), and in a few photos at the end.

I'll also add a link to a homemade Adelaide IV 2006 movie, so you can see more of the sort of silliness we get up to.

WARNING: Parts of these movies may offend the faint of heart ;-)


And Adelaide IV 2006

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Danny Boy

A new spin on an old classic.

Nothing to do with the Christmas Oratorio, but I do think these guys have real talent - don't you? (Maybe we could invite them to the tenor section? [G, D & R])

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ode to Joy

Okay, so it's not Bach, but it is a wonderful interpretation of one of the choral masterpieces.

Enjoy. Or not.

Monday, July 14, 2008

music on YouTube

You can find lots of Choral Music and other Classical Works on YouTube, just type in the name of any piece. One especially recommended is a performance of Dream of Gerontius, conducted by Andrew Davis, in St Paul's Cathedral. London. There is also a great Pictures at an Exhibition, from a London Prom. There are some performances where you wonder why they bothered putting it on YouTube, but lots of the performances, especially some of the amateur ones are worthwhile.

You can also see classic episodes of Dr Who with Patrick Troughton, including Tomb of the Cybermen, and also The Magic Roundabout. (Just to avoid confusion, no Patrick Troughton was not in a classic episode of The Magic Roundabout.)