Dear Worship Leaders,
This is a plea on behalf of those of us with mid-range voices to please pick a key that most of us can sing in. So many times these days I have to sing in an Octave below the worship leader because they picked a key where the top notes can only be heard by dogs. Or rather, the key was probably not considered at all. Yes, transposing is a pain. It takes time. But the result is that songs don't then have to go like this:
'There is no other name that is higher than squeeeeeea- eeeekus!'
Oh and that leads into another point. Please don't pick the song with the highest notes for the very first song on a Sunday morning. Or where the highest note is the long eeee sound. Just sayin'.
Thanks for listening! LOL!
Earlier Daniel Read wrote:
I usually reckon a safe range is Bb below middle C (or the A, at a push) to the D above top C (or the Eb at a push, occasionally the E). But, if the melody spends a long time near either extreme it can still feel too high or too low (for example, a long run of notes all above the B will still start to strain some voices).
I think that's an excellent, concise, summary. We could all take note of it and choose our keys accordingly.
The thing is, most church musicians I've played with wouldn't know how to work that out, or even know what notes they're singing. It's possible to become a good singer/guitar player (or even a very good one) without learning to read the notes - you don't need to. Learning to read music well is a big task, but I suggest this is one area where some theoretical knowledge, and maybe some formal musical training, can really pay dividends.
It does seem strange to me that song-writers should put their songs intended for congregational worship in keys that are too high for congregations to be able to sing them. But maybe many songwriters have not come from a background of formal musical education but have learned their trade and all their musical abilities in church. I'm not suggesting there's anything wrong with that, I just think it can help a lot if at least some of the musicians know more about music and understand the limits of congregational voice range - see above.