Have you ever decided not to add a song to your set list due to its range or singability? Are there songs that are great songs both in lyrical and musical content but you just don't do them because they might be too difficult for non-musicians/singers to follow or do you just go for it?
We introduced Tim Hugh's Jesus Saves and it has a pretty wide range. Someone ends up having to jump octaves (depending on the key) either the guys or the girls. Great song, but difficult to sing.
Are there songs you have nixed for this reason? What were they and what was the problem?
Some songs by Chris Tomlin and other tenor-types. Also many Israel Houghton songs, which get so high that altos can sing the melody along with him!
But it's not the key (which can be lowered) but the range that can be too extreme. I have heard it said that a good Congregational range is one octave, from C to C. Don't quite agree, (maybe from A below middle C to about D or Eb above the next C) but if a song is as rangy as the Star-Spangled-Banner (octave-and-a-half) it's not as likely to be done...
We've had to dump or adjust a few because of singability issues. Isreal Houghton has already been mentioned, some of his stuff is HARD. "He Lives" comes to mind immediately as having a very wide range and uncomfortable for not only the congregation but the singers as well. I think we ended up changing the melody on one note because none of our singers could hit both the top and bottom of the female lead part.
I think many songs that aren't immediately accessible can eventually be singable by the congregation - play the CD before/after the service for a few weeks, use it as "special music" if your church does that, find other ways to work it into the service without asking folks to sing along. With enough repetition, if the melody is catchy, enough folks will learn it. If the song is good enough folks won't mind making the octave jump.
Tomlin's songs are not that hard if you move the key down. He sings high, but he doesn't have much range. Matt Redman has more range than Tomlin for sure.
On the other hand, Desperation Band's "Pleasing to You" is hard for me. Another is "Majesty" by Delirious. I still try to sing them anyway, albeit with cracking voice.
I change keys on many songs. Often will have a girl lead key and a guy lead key.
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Let's face it - a lot of these songs are better done as solos/small groups than sung by congregational voices....
It's not really the keys. We transpose all the time. It's the range. No matter what key we put it in, someone has to drop out or jump octaves. There are also some difficult rhythms. When I go to other churches, I will sing the verse in the melody and then I have to go to harmony on the chorus because it gets too high. I have a pretty good range, not terrific but probably better (because I do sing on a regular basis) than most of your average congregational members. I also have the ability to go to harmony when necessary, but not every congregational member can, so I find they just stop singing. I just wonder if we should be concerned about that or just teach people to worship differently without singing.
We have even ditched songs because the lyrics do not match the melody.
example: (yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord) to (pressed but not crushed , persicuted but not abandon). The timing and lyrics caused some stumbling.
Is this an old post?