Shouting the Church. Quartet Performance Strategies essay sample

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In chapter 4 there is a description of shouting at the church with an emphasis on quartet performance strategies. A special attention is attributed to the setting and the audience. Thus, it is underlined that when members of a quartet stand in church before their community, they aim to do more than an entertain. On the contrary, in singing they are aimed at Spirit moving interaction and keeping in a deep touch with all the members of the mess.

Seeking to bring on the experience of the Holy Ghost is called in their words “shout the church”. The author exemplifies that in order to achieve this emotional effect, gospel quartet singers use a variety of expressive forms, such as song, narrative, gesture and dance. The performers are organized into a series of dramatic expressions and performance strategies. The author divides them into three categories, such as dramatic movement (gestures, dance, processionals and lead switching), spoken and chanted narratives (audience greetings, song commentaries, and dramatic narratives) as well as song improvisation (variations in rendering, lyrics, melody, rhyme as well as improvised drive sections). The author points that the strategy of lead-switching is often used during the singing performance which has two advantages.

First of all, it contributes with variety and intensity to the drama and, secondly, when a leader becomes emotionally or physically exhausted, another leader takes turn and maintain the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit. Importantly, during spontaneous and authentic holy dances the musicians continue to play a rapid 2/4 rhythmic beat that is commonly associated with the holly, sacred music. Sometimes the participants of the community are overwhelmed by the Spirit and continue to dance in a fervent manner. The body language is crucially important during these dances: thus, hands are usually kept tightly to sides, whereas hips and torso are generally kept tense and straight. Individual dancers are often involved in the dance with grimacing faces and closed eyes. As far as spoken and chanted narratives are concerned, introduction to messes are usually prefaced with stock phrases giving honor to God. Also, sometimes the background singers work out e series of choreographed moves to dramatize the words to a chorus.

Also, the leading singers often use dramatic narratives and commentaries to preface and connect songs one to another, so that the audience understands them. It is also emphasized that so-called “metanarrational” are often chosen for enhancing and framing the narrative texts. Among these are such techniques as opening formulae, repetition, parallelism, elongation of vowels, as well as variations in vocal delivery style. Sometimes, on special occasions, introductory narratives are developed into full special didactic fables, involving folkloric characters with a special Christian moral. However, some of these pieces are not full didactic fables but just short moral commentaries or reminiscences somehow related to the theme of the upcoming song. Other song commentaries take a form of brief …

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