A Space for Music

Douglas Galbraith

Open air and indoor music is discussed, with church music among the latter. The building itself is an instrument; the size and shape of the space and the materials from which it is made and filled are all relevant. How sound works. Carpets can inhibit singing. The location of the music-makers matters, not just for sound but how the relationship with each other is best to be expressed. The congregation are one such musical group; they need to feel safe to sing. A skilled choir adds to and completes the offering of the congregation; it does not perform to them (and should therefore not be announced and thanked as if an 'act'. A choir also interacts with and enables the congregation's own music. Movement and vestment may add to the experience of worship. The placing of the choir is discussed. The placing and the manner of playing of instruments is discussed, including the siting of an organ – including electronic/digital organs and their speakers. Use as a concert hall may lead to modifications of the building but there are dangers to be avoided. It is to remembered that music is not only to do with the space in which it is made but the inner space in which it is heard.

Volume 37 Spring 2001, p14
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