Page 178 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
P. 178

                                33. Give us light
The words and music of this arrangement were written by Charles Vas, a priest and Doctor of Music, born in India in 1944. It is a simple song with a chant-like, almost mesmerising quality, achieved through the use of repetition in the melody and drones in the accompaniment.
Make sure your singers understand the geography of this piece. In the first verse, they need to repeat the same text and music in bars 5–8 rather than sing the words underneath (this is the fifth verse, the text of which also needs repetition when it is sung later in the song). Go through and identify the other repeats in subsequent verses.
Explain that the marking over bar 57, D.S. al, stands for ‘Dal segno al coda’.This means the singers need to return to the sign (‘segno’) at the beginning of the piece and sing it through again: when they reach the coda sign () they should jump to the coda section at the end of the score.
Teaching the song
Start by teaching verse one, where the melody is at its simplest (this section is repeated in the final verse). Next teach your singers verse three: ask one group to keep singing the tune while you demonstrate the upper part (from bars 32 to 41); then get them to imitate what they have heard.
Verses two and four share the same music, so finish by teaching your singers how the vocal parts fit together in these sections.
Using the voice well
Be careful that when singing repeated notes your singers don’t let the pitch gradually flatten (e.g. bars 21–23).Ask them to visualise the notes coming from a spot in the middle of their forehead area.This should help to keep them bright.
There are a number of occasions when all the voices sing in unison which is harder to get in tune than your singers might expect. Once they have learnt the melody for verse one, ask them to sing it with their eyes closed, listening carefully to everyone around them for the tuning and timing.
Musical skills and understanding
In this piece, the six crotchet beats in each bar are divided into two groups of three: this is known as a compound time signature.This means that the conductor should beat in two.Ask your singers to practise conducting this piece in two while you play the piano part.
What does D.S. mean?
What does the sign stand for? What is a coda?
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