Date of Award
Master of Science
Gordon L. Ring, D.M.A.
Charles E. Kinzer, Ph.D.
Christopher Swanson, D.M.A.
As a choral teacher of middle school students, one of the most difficult tasks is finding music that suits their young voices. When a choral director wants appropriate music for young voices composed by George Frideric Handel, the challenges increase. In many situations, music arranged for two-part and three-part choirs can be used in place of the original composition. Although the vocal parts are adapted to fit the special requirements of the young vocalist, the general tone of the composition is similar.
To adapt these original compositions to the middle school choral repertoire, the previous arranger's techniques were observed and analyzed. Then, three different choruses were arranged implementing these techniques. When arranging each piece, the focuses were to keep the style true to Handel's own and to simplify the music enough for these young singers. The presentation of these techniques can be used as a resource for any middle school choir director in need of arranging music to meet the needs of their choir.
When analyzing previously arranged choruses, the specific techniques used were extracted. These techniques focus on the limited abilities and special requirements of the middle school choir. Transposing the chorus down helped the range to be more appropriate for a younger singer. Choosing other notes from the chord structure prevented extreme skips between pitches, notes out of the students' range, and poor voice leading practices. The simplification of rhythms prevents students from misunderstanding rhythms that are less familiar. Examples and clear explanations are given on implementing these techniques and others.
When choosing the arranged music, the decision was based on the abilities of and the requirements for middle school vocalists. Three choruses were analyzed. Linda Spevacek arranged "Music, Spread Thy Voice Around" for two-part treble choir. "Hallelujah, Amen" from Judas Maccabaeus, arranged by Russell Robinson, is a three part mixed vocal selection. Sherri Porterfield arranged "Swell, the Full Chorus" for three-part choir and John Leavitt arranged this chorus for two-part treble voice. The analysis of these choruses set the foundation to arrange the other choruses.
This thesis includes arrangements of three different oratorios, so there would be variety of techniques used in the arranged choruses. The chorus from Messiah is "And He Shall Purify." This chorus has complex melismatic phrases often used by Handel and is a good example of how to simplify music. In Saul,"May No Rash Intruder" is used to show diversity of vocal parts and texture. "Mourn, Israel" is the final arranged chorus from Solomon, which has a variety of part entrances and portrays Handel's great ability of showing emotion through music.
Neely, Maya Louise, "Integrating Handel's Oratorios into the Middle School Repertoire: Arranging for Middle School Choirs" (2008). Theses, Dissertations & Honors Papers. 61.