Saturday, 27 September 2008

Cyberbass helps singers learn choral parts more easily


If you sing in a choir, Cyberbass is a useful growing online "note bashing" resource for choral singers to study and learn their own part more easily.

It provides free MIDI files (playable automatically on most modern computers, but their FAQ includes troubleshooting tips for Windows) which will play out each individual section's part or line against a metronome click, in some cases with the accompaniment in the background. You really need to listen to it in stereo - the selected part will play out of the right speaker or right headphone, a bit more loudly than the other parts.

It has .MID files for soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts (including splits e.g. soprano 1 and soprano 2), for almost all of the most popular oratorio works in the modern choral repertoire - from the Faure Requiem, Bach's Magnificat, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Mozart's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana and Verdi's Requiem, to (perhaps more usefully, as they're rather less commonly performed) Britten's War Requiem and Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem. (No Allegri Miserere, though?).

Check out their list of major works, by composer, and the full music index (by composer, with a Christmas tree symbol for "good for Xmas"!). Not all of them are 100% complete and the site's a bit basic in design, but hey it's free.

It's the usual - click on a link to play it live, or rightclick to download to your computer. A lot of mobile phones and MP3 players can also play MIDI files. For some pieces you can even play back all parts at once and try to sing your line in context, by clicking "Tutti"; or change the playback speed (tempo) if you have Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11.

They make money from ads & affiliate links and selling learning CDs for the major works, or from donations. Cleverly they provide free concert listings on the site - but only for choirs that have learned their lines for the forthcoming gig using their service!

Very useful if you can't read music or don't sight read well - or just to help you learn your part by playing it over and over again in your earphones on the train.

If the use of technology for music interests you (or just singing generally), see also my other posts on music and on singing, including:

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