Singing scales at choral competitions

Annie Blakeley - Contributing Columnist

This past Wednesday, Richmond County Chorus visited Wingate for M.P.A. M.P.A stands for musical performance assessment and is a competition that can be either chorus or band centered. The classes that participated include vocal ensemble, women’s choir and concert choir.

I am currently in concert choir and have been to M.P.A (chorus) four times. When I went to Hamlet Middle School, we also attended chorus competitions so, this was not new to me. Though, I will say that this year was much different then all the other years I went to a chorus competition.

M.P.A produces two scores from an onstage performance and a sight-singing reading. Concert chorus sang a song entitled “Bonse Aba” and a song called “Oh Shenandoah.” The onstage performance requires you to sing two conflicting pieces with one that is sang in a different language. These songs are preformed in front of three judges who score you by listening to different aspects of your performance. Balance between sections and the balance of a section, pronunciation, tone, dynamics and musical interpretation are all included, along with others.

The sight-singing portion is done in a separate room with a new group of judges. There are varying degrees of difficulty in each eight-measure phrase. You must preform a rhythmic and melodic phrase. Takadimi is the method used to read rhythmic phrases. This method shows the beat value of notes by labeling them ta, taa, ta di or taka di mi. The melodic phrase uses a method called solfège (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do). To understand what solfège is, you must first learn that a scale is a group of notes that ascend or descend from order of how high or low they are. There are many scales that have different groupings. C major has no sharps or flats and uses C, D, E, F, G, A and B notes. These notes translate to do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti and do. Both lower and higher C translate to do, re is D, mi is E, fa is F,sol is G, la is A and ti is B. When sight singing you must interpret each note into solfège and use their according hand signs — which you will be graded on.

This year of M.P.A. went surprisingly well and I am proud and excited for my next few years of chorus.

Annie Blakeley is a student at Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy, is a band and chorus student and a member of First United Methodist Church in Hamlet.

Annie Blakeley

Contributing Columnist

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