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Choosing the right key for each song is critical for you, your team and your congregation. Choose too low and you might lose the ‘brightness’ of the vocals. Choose too high and someone is likely to get hurt – or stop singing!
It’s important to remember that not everyone has the vocal range of Chris Tomlin – especially not your congregation. Often, worship leaders choose the key that works for their voice but it leaves the congregation in the dust. The whole point in corporate worship is to worship TOGETHER, not SOLO. That said, here are ideas to help you choose the right key for each song.
7 Steps To Help You Choose Song Keys
1. Find the melodic range of the song and try to keep the range within an 10-note spread.
2. On fast songs you can stretch that range a bit because you donâ€™t stay on the high note long
3. For medium/slow songs you’ll need to watch the top range because notes are sustained
4. Listen to your churchâ€¦is it working or are do you hear people screaming?
5. Modulate for impact so that your high notes are minimized at the end. Don’t stretch the range to the high end and then modulate up 🙂
6. Harmonies can help spread the notes out so everyone finds something comfortable. Encourage your vocalists to experiment with parts if the song happens to put their usual part in an uncomfortable range.
Workshop Wednesday Tip: Serve your church by using congregationally-appropriate keys. This is the not the place to show off your range. This is the place to ensure everyone who wants to, can make a joyful noise with you.