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AMERICAN CHORAL DIRECTORS. “ASSOCIATION REPORT ON COPING WITH NEW CHORAL SOUNDS AND NOTATION Author(s): DOROTHEA WADDELL Source: The Choral Journal, Vol. 11, No. 9 (MAY 1971), p. 15 Published by: American Choral Directors Association Stable URL: https://www jstor.org/stable/23543534 Accessed: 01-02-2019 07:11 UTC TSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover. use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more Information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor org Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about stor org/terms cA American Choral Directors Association is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and ro extend access to The Choral Journal This content downloaded from 168.176.5118 on Fi, 1 Feb 2019 07:11:28 UTC “Allus subject to haps:/about sto or/eras are no longer valid for those who stay. In their desperate struggle to. change, they have confused “secular” with “new.” ‘They have thrown out their stock of con- ventional music, locked the organ. and loaded. the choir room with folk-song hhymmnals, electric guitars, and trap sets. By failing, in many cases. to adjust the rnon-musical portions of worship to ac- commodate this blatantly secular intra tion, these clergy have succeeded only in reversing the age group that has become alienated. In short, the Church has ex: ploited contemporary secular elements instead of assimilating them into a struc- ture uniquely its own. Church music does not have to be secular to be new. In many cases, it does not even have to be contemporary to be new. To the congregation who has never heard it. Bach, Brahms, or even Franck is much newer and fresher than a replica of their favorite popular song. That it is not as immediately familiar does not. nor should it detract from its val- ue, even in the most illiterate church. ‘The most well-intentioned lie ever propa- gated by religious leaders is that fable Which tells us that musically uneducated people are incapable of appreciating great music. The use of this music, however, puts more responsibility on the shoulders ‘of the minister, for if music is to be the representative of permanence, the other elements of the service, including the sermon and scripture lessons, must neces- sarily minister more directly to the cur- rent needs of the congregation, This also places great responsibility on the church musician. First of all, he must be a competent musician, and he rust be capable of presenting any kind of music enthusiastically and positively to his choir and congregation. This implies that he be also a teacher — actively en- ‘gaged in teaching the congregation, not only about music, but about God, and not merely providing an outlet for their emo- tions, or entertaining them during the anthem, Finally, the church musician must be capable of making value judgments, For some time it has been popular to ask not “Is it good?” but rather, “For what is it ood?” The later is certainly a valid question, because as long as there are parishioners whose youth coincides with the initial popularity of certain types of ‘music, this music (in its religious guise) ‘can remain valid (although this validity appears to diminish with age). But a ‘church musician must also ask “Is it good?" Not to do so discredits his own competence as a musician, and is a dis- service to the composer who is attempt ing’ something more than functional serv- ice music. Both questions, then, must be applied even in the most contextuali may s071 REPORT ON COPING WITH NEW, CHORAL SOUNDS AND NOTATION DOROTHEA WADDELL Huntington, New York ‘An outstanding feature of the ACDA Convention was’ the session on new choral sounds and notation with Robert E, Page, Temple University of Philadel- phia, presiding with panelists Brock McElheran of State University College ‘of Potsdam, New York and Frank Pooler ‘of California State College at Long Beach. A very unique demonstration fea- tured segments of the score being flashed ‘on the screen before Frank Pooler's ex- cellent choir demonstrated that portion of the score. It not only heightened the in- terest for the audience but also helped to clarify the type of notation. The four avant garde selections, all by Scandina- vian composers, were presented in the following order. Note- Jan Bark. All voices converged fon a unison at the outset with an interes- ing use of consonants, vocal sounds, and other devices. Rondes- Folke Rabe. Performed with body movements such as gesturing with arms, swaying, changing places, as well as many spoken and sung vocal sounds. ‘Suoni= Knut Nystedt (Souni means sowids). Written for women's voices on the twelve tone row with flute and mar- mba accompaniment, the work was a real spiritual experience for the listener. Tema- Alfred Janson. Program notes stated that this was a musical picture of the Nazi war (horror) camps when mass executions took place. Written for three circumstances. If this is done, even otherwise inadequate or outdated music fean enhance a worship service, and not detract from the permanence-funetion of music, if the service is designed to ab- sorb it The appropriateness of this de- sign to its individual components is the key to a relevant worship service. Not since the first century have con- regations generally sought so personal a relationship with God, Highly personal ‘emotions, because of their immediacy, are usually expressed in transient unsta- le ways. Highly subjective art passes from the scene much more rapidly than the man who conceived it, leaving him with the same emotions, but no adequate artistic expression for them. During the last century, church music, serving this subjective function, has left the old lonely and the young discontent. Because they too are men, the clergy must now assume the subjective role, and music must point directly toward God. choirs of 2-part women's and two 2-part male choirs with piano, organ and per- ‘cussion, the emotional impact on the per- formers was very evident with every choir member completely involved. Cer- tain sounds were repeated to produce certain emotions, During the following discussion, Mr. McElheran was asked the following’ ques- tions Q: “When did you start to use avant garde music? ‘A: “When the Potsdam Choir was ex- tended the invitation by Lukas Foss to perform Stockhausen's Momente with the Buffalo Philharmonic, The score looked like the wiring for a space ship.” Q: “Where did this type of mus begin?" ‘Az “Perhaps John Cage in the late 'S0s and with Penderecki’s work at about the same time, Stockhausen says no one is, certain as to who did this first; all learn- ‘ed from each other.” Q: “Are composers using the same type of notation 2" ‘Ar “Certain notational devices are becoming standardized such as squares, inverted triangles, and tone clusters.” Q: “Avant garde music frequently has no text. Do you miss this wedding of text and music?” ‘A: “No, because each singer becomes so much more involved with a definite personal contribution, Your ears seem to ‘grow because there is so much listening to each other. Avant garde music makes traditional music tame.” Mr. Pooler was asked if any problems had arisen with voice teachers and he replied, “T haven't asked!", adding “if singers don’t overblow or overdo, 1 can see no harm.” He also mentioned the excellent rapport between the singer and the conductor. At the insistence of the audience, Mr. Pooler and the California State College choir performed Creation by Michael Hennegin. The work is part of the set, Family of Man, with words by James Joyce and employing multi-media dimen- Sions which is to be published by Walton Musi Corporation ‘Our congratulations to Mr. Pooler and the choir for their terrific performance and to the panel for their contributions To those not attending the convention a personal note of encouragement: If a director wishes to start with something easy in avant garde music, try Brock McElheran’s Patterns in Sound and se- cure a copy of a book on notation by Pooler and Pierce, titled The New Choral Notation, published by Walton. “This conten downloaded from 168 1765.118 on Fx, 01 Feb 2019 07:11:28 UTC “Allus subject to haps:about stor or/terms