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Choral Speaking

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26550.  Tue Oct 11, 2005 3:17 am Reply with quote

I was discussing the subtleties of choral speaking with somebody this morning, and it struck me suddenly that maybe there aren't many countries outside Wales where this is practised.

Anything from 10 to 100 people come together to learn and rehearse a piece of poetry or prose, under the tutelage of a "conductor" (who doesn't appear on stage in performance), in preparation for concert appearances and/or competition.

There are big prizes to be had, and audiences of thousands.

There are two sub-genres of choral speaking -

1. Accompanied choral speaking (where a musical score has to be composed to synchronize with the performance);

2. Choral speaking with movement and/or costume and/or props - this was highly controversial when first introduced, but now seems to have become tiresomely standard.

The closest practice I can think of in other countries would be religious chant, but it isn't the same at all; could choral speaking be a uniquely Welsh phenomenon?

26578.  Tue Oct 11, 2005 9:26 am Reply with quote

We used to do that at my secondary school in Hull in the early sixties. One of our teachers (not a Welshman but from the Midlands I think - at any rate he pronounced tongue as ton-g) was keen on it, and we did a lot of poems that way in class. I loved it. I remember doing 'Do you remember an inn, Miranda' and 'The Congo' among others. Great fun.


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