For everyone but the sopranos, the back half of this piece is extremely difficult (and might I say…. a great audition cut?) So here’s some info all about this beautiful fugue.
First of all, a fugue is a piece of music, whether a song or a section of one, in which one part states a melody and which is then taken on by other voice parts. The result is a dizzying whirl of music which is a delight to hear and a wonderful challenge to sing.
Sopranos, you are not taking part in the fugue, but instead singing a hymn. Think “Amazing Grace”, but it’s spread out over the course of these pages. It’s likely a hymn that would’ve been familiar in Bach’s time, but has fallen out of favor in modern Christian churches. I even did a search online to see if I could find it in a hymnal, and the only ones that had it were very old and traditional, including a Mennonite hymnal. But to give you an idea of how this would’ve looked, here’s an image I found:
So ladies, I would recommend practicing this “double time”, skipping rests, so that you can get the feel for how it would’ve sounded as a hymn. Then, with the other parts you won’t lose your place.
Altos, Tenors, and Basses, we have some more work to do!
Page 5-end of this piece are so difficult that we made some extra tracks to help you practice. Purchase here and you can speak along with Austin as he speaks the words in rhythm to the accompaniment track. You will also get some great ideas about word stress, breaths, and cutoffs! Here is a step by step guide for learning and practicing this section of the piece.
- Mark in breaths/lifts in pencil
- Read and write in translation
- Write in counts for every rest or series of rests
- Listen to Page 5-end several times, following along
- Sing Page 5 to the end in sections on different neutral syllables (dah, doh, dee, etc)
- Speak German out of rhythm, as many times as necessary to feel comfortable.
- Speak nicht several times in a row until you can do so confidently and consistently
- Chant German with a metronome on a very slow, then moderate tempo.
- Attempt to snap, tap, or clap on the rests.
- Chant German with official track, define sections and stop/restart as necessary.
- Sing with German, with the singer track first, then the accompaniment.
- Nail the audition
- Make beautiful music in the All State Choir!