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Choir and Piano

  1. Oct 20, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone. I have a question on the role of piano in choral music.

    Piano seems to be the "default" instrument for accompaniment in many choral works. May I know why is piano the "preferred" instrument?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    The piano-forte is very versatile, you can play pretty much anything on it - it is also the preferred instrument for composing, same reason.

    The preferred accompanyment for choirs, though, tends to be a full orchestera. Piano would accompany rehearsals - since it is easier to stop and start one instrument and the pianist can isolate particular parts of the music, maybe just the beat, as needed. You only have to try practicing with another instrument to get the advantages.

    Very often, though, for modern amateur choirs, the Piano is used because it is there already.
  4. Oct 21, 2014 #3


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    Indeed, I'm sure this is true for professional performances. I have a large collection of recordings of classical music, and I'm sure it has far more works for chorus + orchestra or chorus a cappella than for chorus + piano.

    However, I suspect there is a body of choral music written specifically for schools and other amateur organizations, which use piano accompaniment for logistical reasons and because pianists are so commonly available. And as you note, for rehearsals of performances that will eventually be accompanied by an orchestra, it's easier and cheaper to use an arrangement for piano.
  5. Oct 21, 2014 #4

    Simon Bridge

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    I've seen choirs accompanied by acoustic guitar for practice too ... for much the reasons outlined for the piano... a guitar and guitarist was available, both were portable and the performance was out-doors far from the nearest piano.

    Presumably a Ukelele would be possible ... you can also clap or stamp out the rhythm. I think the answer becomes easy once you start imagining what other solo instruments would be like to sing to. Kettle-drums, piccolo, violin, double-bass? Harpsichord OK but when was the last time there was one in a local community hall? By comparison it seems like everyone has a piano.
  6. Oct 26, 2014 #5
    Hi jtbell and Simon. Thank you for your replies. I did some research over the Internet and what both of you said were true. It depends on the performance settings and the requirements, for example, is this a 'traditional' choir performance or is the choir used as a background voice for a performance, etc. I have seen choirs accompanied by orchestras though, but not guitars. Haha. I think the standard is still the piano as it is versatile and can play both the bass and the treble.

    Thank you once again for sharing your knowledge. :)
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