Page 162 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 162

                                31. May the road rise to meet you
This beautiful song is a setting of a traditional Gaelic blessing.Although it may be used at any time of year, it is particularly suitable for use at weddings or at the end of a church service or concert programme.
Teaching the song
To begin with you can either teach the melody by rote in four-bar phrases, or ask your singers to sightread the first verse of the melody.The harmony part is optional, but if you opt to sing the whole piece in unison think creatively about how you can still achieve contrast and musical interest: you could, for example ask a soloist to sing the melody the first time it appears (bars 8–21), use a small group for bars 28–37 and reserve tutti for the final rendition of the melody.
Although there is only one harmony part,during the second verse this harmony often lies underneath the melody (and would probably be more suitable for singers with lower voices), whereas in the final verse the harmony part is a descant.You may like to use different groups of singers to sing these sections.
Using the voice well
Encourage your singers to use a full dynamic range – the vocal parts cover everything from piano to forte and including these dynamics will significantly improve your performance of the song.
It can be difficult to crescendo without pushing the pitch sharp and to diminuendo without allowing the pitch to flatten, particularly when holding a long note at the end of a phrase (e.g. bars 57–58).You can help your singers practise this by using the following game: ask them to hold a long note to a vowel of your choosing (they should stagger their breathing when necessary).They watch you for the relevant hand signals to crescendo or diminuendo – you can make these long gradual changes in dynamic or rapid changes.All the time they need to concentrate on keeping the pitch absolutely steady.
Musical skills and understanding
The piece starts in B flat major. In what key does it end (from bar 45–end)? How long does the note on the word ‘meet’ (bar 17) last?
What does the abbreviation cresc. (bar 51) stand for, and what does it mean? What is the pitch of the highest note in the harmony part (bar 55)?
Track 31

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