How is Dorico used by choral societies?

I find Dorico incredibly useful for practicing parts for choir practice. How do other singers find it, and are there any choirs that use Dorico in a more formal sense? eg where members, using SE or better, are provided with their parts from the choirs Google Drive account or similar.

The choral society I’m a member of is not exactly brimming over with young, IT savvy members - I suspect this is typical. Are there any useful ideas on how to overcome IT phobia? How about a cut down version of the iPad app which would work on an iPhone, to at least allow basic playback to practice a part? A repeat feature would be useful, set between particular bars.

According to the oracle (GPT4), more people are members of choral societies in England than watch soccer matches (so it must be true). A big market.

Having a score of course is essential, not least for performance, and allows pencil markings as per how the musical director decides on interpretation.

I suspect that most choral societies won’t be using it significantly, because the repertoire isn’t sufficiently available in a Dorico format. Most chamber choirs will hire scores from the usual publishers, or use crappy CPDL PDFs where possible; and create a Spotify playlist of the programme, for their members to listen to.

Some will create their own MIDI or MP3 files of each part, if the director has the necessary files/time/skill. And assuming the work is not in copyright.

However, I am seeing increasing use of iPads in choirs. I very much like the idea of Dorico for iPad’s Read mode, allowing personal annotations in the score.

(Something nkoda does is to share annotations, so the conductor can mark up the score and then send that to everyone.)

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I don’t normally practise my part for choir. Being currently one of only two tenors who can be relied on to turn up to rehearsal, there’s no way I would be thrown out for indolence – anyway, this particular choir isn’t good enough to do music which requires a huge amount of learning (no modern stuff). The other one has his Nelson Mass score in an ipad which actually seem quite a good idea, especially as the edition he is using seems musically correct, unlike our Carus. And his score seems to be fully editable - I must ask him what that the software is. But I digress. And I doubt anyone else in this choir has heard of Dorico.

We don’t use Dorico for this.

I make “old fashioned” practice tracks which are then shared with the choir.

This is another plug for, which has been an absolute godsend for me and my amateur choir.

  1. Put score in Dorico
  2. Export to XML
  3. Import to Cantamus
  4. Export audio and send it to the singers

Yes, I’m quite impressed by Cantamus and always encourage folk to try it out. Of course there are any number of rehearsal aids these days. For my Nelson Mass, the published Carus has its own “Choir Coach” software which will play your own part on the piano at normal or slow speed overlaying a normal recording. it’s quite expensive in my view, though.

I’ve played around with it, but the tuning is AWFUL.

I ran it through Melodyne and it was allll over the place. Particularly the beginning and endings of words.

Perhaps it’s improved in the last few months.

It’s always fascinating to read about the experiences of others with church choirs. When very young, I was in the choir of my parish, but the Catholic church is/was very strict with the repertory. We had very bad music to sing, and I was extremely unsatisfied. In the end, I only participated as an organist at the main celebrations for a couple years.

There have been a few great amateur church choirs in my area, but they have been gradually dismissed. The official choir at the Basilica of Loreto was shut by the archbishop after five centuries of existence (Mozart composed music for this choir, even if it seems there is nothing left in the archives). Other main churches have had valuable choirs, but they have now nearly dissolved.

On a side track, there are professional choirs trying to do some great music in a semi-clandestine way. There was a recently formed semi-professional choir singing the Libre Vermell de Montserrat at the local cathedral a few days ago, and it happened with no advertising, before dinner, with very little attendance. In the end, the parish priest was praising the choir for how difficult it must have been to sing in Latin!

On the next Sunday, there will be one of the best Italian ancient music ensembles (Micrologus) at the main cathedral of my region, and it will happen before dinner. The news about this commendable event is semi-hidden, and is only buried in the messy web site of the regional symphony orchestra.

I wonder if it is typical of the Protestant churches to give much attention to music, therefore stimulating new production, curiosity, quality. I also wonder if the situation of the Catholic church music out of Italy is as bad as it is in my area and, in general, in this country. I feel, with some of my friends notable scholars of ancient music, that there is a great need for new religious music, but there is no space for it.



It is very common for protestant churches to have musical budgets and participation that faaaaaar outshines any catholic church in the area. I know of protestant churches with huge choirs, orchestras, etc. I can barely get 10 people to show up and sing, in spite of offering good repertoire (when we can swing it). It is very disheartening at times.

As for the semi-clandestine thing, mercifully, this is not the case here. We have some groups that are really starting to shine in our region, including a semi-professional choral group that I was a part of last year. We even received a commendation from our bishop, which was a lovely boon.

I just think a big part of the problem is that doing authentic liturgical music, of high quality and pristine provenance takes a lot of work, and doesn’t come cheap. Most people don’t have the requisite singing skills to pull off hard 8 part renaissance polyphony, or even a movement from a Bach cantata, until they’ve been in a choir for quite some time and have built up to it. That takes great time and years of cultivation, and on shoe string budgets, with small congregations… coupled in with the fact that music is hardly taught in schools, and many people don’t grow up singing in church these days… well… it’s rare as a result.

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Where I live in Stuttgart there are 300 choirs – supposedly more than anywhere else of its size in Europe. Several are famous and a few more are reasonably good but obviously the majority are not. Churches are state funded in Germany and most choral societies are connected with a church so there is no membership subscription (unlike in the UK). Since the pandemic, my current choir has definitely got worse with half decent sopranos in particular at a premium. At one stage there were 8 tenors, now it seems 2-3 which is pretty dispiriting. I’m not sure if it’s a common phenomenon that choirs are struggling since Covid?

As it happens, the choir director was quite interested in my choral music so of course if she at some point might want to consider performing something, I will make it quite clear which software enabled me to produce such masterpieces… :smiley:

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