According to DigoPaul, choir, from the Latin chorus (although with a more remote origin in the Greek language), is the group of people who, in a musical performance, sing the same piece simultaneously. For example: “Valeria sings in the church choir”, “The Canadian artist arrived in the country with his musicians and a choir of ten members”, “After the instrumental introduction, the choir must begin to sing the first verse”.
The choir, therefore, is the vocal group that performs a piece in a coordinated manner. Typically, the choir is made up of different types of voices (that is, voices with different strings).
In a professional choir, the soprano leads the main melody, being accompanied by mezzo-sopranos, contraltos, tenors, baritones, or basses. The most common formation of a choir includes sopranos, alto, tenor and bass.
It is possible to classify the choir in different ways. An a cappella choir is one that sings without any instrumental accompaniment, which is opposed to the configuration of a concertante choir.
The choir, depending on its members, can be a mixed vocal quartet (with four singers, one per tessitura), an octet (a duplicate mixed quartet), a chamber choir (with between ten and twenty singers) or a symphonic choir (with more than twenty members).
Culturally, the vocational choir can play a very important role in a society, since it usually brings together many people with a passion for music but without the necessary technique or training to aspire to a professional one. Although they are not usually well received by the purists of academic music, who look for groups of great prestige, more than one choir of this nature surprises by the quality of its interpretations.
In academic music there is great contempt for the lack of theoretical knowledge typical of the popular environment; however, knowing how to read scores has not been and is not the key to interpreting a piece properly. On the other hand, it is true that ignorance of musical language represents a barrier that only a few can cross successfully and without its limitations becoming evident. And it is that the complexity of certain compositions makes it almost impossible to learn them by ear, unless you have an unusual talent.
Singing in a choir requires a series of skills, which are possible to acquire if you have basic musical aptitudes. In the first place is the need to sing in coordination with a group of people; this is especially difficult when the works present rhythmic irregularities or very complex harmonies.
But in addition to the merely musical level, choirs generally address pieces in several languages, including Latin, for which it is necessary to learn the meaning and phonetics of many terms, seeking to understand the author’s intention, to offer a good performance.
The role of the director is perhaps the most difficult, and also the least appreciated, since it is the person in charge of guiding all the choristers in the hard process of learning the works, giving them advice to improve the technical and interpretive aspects. As if coordinating dozens of singers weren’t a complicated enough task, the director must pay attention to the tuning and execution of each voice at all times, to notice and correct mistakes before they become vices.
Choir is also a piece of music with diatonic melodies and simple rhythms or a monodic chant that develops in the liturgy of churches (such as Gregorian chant). The term, on the other hand, is used to name the fragment of a song performed by a group of voices (“The structure of the theme includes three verses, a chorus, three other verses and the repetition of the chorus”).