HomePractical AdviceChoralWhat is ‘Changing Voices’?

What is ‘Changing Voices’?

Changing VoicesChanging Voices is an exciting new series of choral arrangements written specifically for boys’ changing or ‘cambiata’ voices.

Changing Voices and Changing Voices Christmas each contain an exciting and eclectic mix of pieces. These range from classic folk songs to contemporary chart hits. Full of songs your boys will want to sing, these books offer a fantastic year-round resource for boys’ choral groups of all sizes and abilities.

Who are these books for?

These arrangements are designed to be sung by boys aged approximately 11; at the time when many give up singing as their voices cease to fit comfortably within traditional vocal ranges (e.g. unison, SATB, SAB, SA Men, TTBB).

Changing Voices and Changing Voices Christmas contain arrangements composed using cambiata vocal ranges based on extensive research by leading experts in this field; including the Cambiata Institute of America for Early Adolescent Vocal Music (US, dir. Alan McClung) and Professor Martin Ashley (UK), author of Singing in the Lower Secondary School (OUP) and Contemporary Choral Work with Boys (Compton Publishing). These vocal ranges not only encourage boys to keep singing with confidence as their voices change; it offers them a clear vocal and social identity as young men who enjoy singing.

What is ‘Cambiata’ and how does it work?

In a choral context, cambiata simply means ‘change’. Irvin Cooper and Don Collins originally developed the cambiata concept; they believed: “the song should fit the voice, not the voice the song.

A boy whose voice has recently started to change should initially be encouraged to sing the Cambiata I line in the choir. As his voice continues to change and deepen (exactly when will depend on the individual); he should then change part and sing the Cambiata II or (emerging) Baritone lines as appropriate. At any given time, a boy should sing the voice part whose range best fits with his own changing voice/vocal range.

Changing Voices and Changing Voices Christmas are suitable for boys’ choral groups of all sizes and abilities. Each piece has been written for Cambiata I, Cambiata II and (emerging) Baritone voices, plus piano accompaniment. However, if required, several songs in each book can be performed without the lower voice parts.

Changing Voices ChristmasCambiata approaches & individual voices

Teachers and choral practitioners worldwide have found cambiata approaches to be an invaluable resource; it encouraging boys to keep singing as their voices change. At the same time, it’s also important to remember that each voice is different. Such approaches therefore may have some limitations. Cambiata approaches encourage boys to concentrate on their developing lower range rather than use their higher registers whilst they still can. For some boys starting secondary school at 11; particularly those who have had prior vocal training; this might not be ideal. Teachers/practitioners may want to encourage these students to continue to explore their upper registers in addition to their developing cambiata voice during their first year at school. Ultimately, we must be aware of individual students’ previous experience and manage the situation accordingly.

Increased participation leading to a life-long love of singing

One of the aims behind the cambiata concept was to increase the level of adolescent/teenage boys’ participation in singing/choral activities. Establishing and maintaining a boys’ changing voices/cambiata choir can have a huge impact on the number of boys in your school/organisation who actively choose to keep singing during the time of vocal change.

The increased confidence gained from singing with a changing voices choir can lead to a life-long love of singing. Older boys in the group (by now role models to their younger counterparts) may wish (and should be encouraged!) to try singing music arranged for TTBB and (SA)TB voices. Not only will they be confident in themselves and in their identity as young singers; the will also feel confident exploring new opportunities to sing, potentially in a myriad of musical styles

Music for boys’ voices that boys love to sing

Changing Voices and Changing Voices Christmas are collections of music written for boys’ voices that boys love to sing. We hope they will enthuse, encourage and inspire your boys to keep singing as their voices change and beyond.

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