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My DipABRSM Singing thread :)

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#1 MusicMatters!

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 14:52

Hi everyone, 

I am new to the forum. 

Im just beginning to prepare for my DipABRSM in Singing. I doubt I'll take it this year, so this thread could go on for quite some time but I thought it would be nice to keep a record of my progress and to chat with fellow musicians about this exciting...but challenging exam. 

I took the Dip a number of years ago....was in no way ready vocally, was on antibiotics for a chest infection and suffering from a slipped disc...so obviously that went very well..hahha!

At the moment, I'm just taking some time every day to sing a variety of pieces (segments of songs etc) that are on the Dip repertoire list and also some early music (have a growing love for lute songs). This time around my main goal is to not allow myself to get stressed out and to really enjoy singing every day. If and when I'm ready to take the exam, I'll take it :)

 

I thought I'd start by introducing the pieces I'm looking at. (not all in the one day of course)

 

-Purcell: An evening hymn, Music for a while and farewell limpid springs

-Dowland: Flow my tears and in darkness let me dwell

-Campion: Shall I come love

-Mozart: Batti batti

-Gia il sole del gange

-Meine leibe ist grun

-Orpheus with his lute (Coates)

-Blow blow thy winter wind (Quilter)

-Corcus christi carol-Britten

-Solveigs song

-Villanelle

-Scioglie omai le nevi

-The nightingale enslaves the rose..one of my favorites!

 

I'm also beginning to ponder the quick study. On my first attempt I was given 2 pages. That's all I can remember. Would be great to hear from others who have experience in this. Were you given atonal music, or something with a sweeping melody? Keys, tempo, breathing etc.

The thought struck my yesterday..if a candidates presents a programme with strong melodies, will they then be given a modern piece with "jarring, jarring sounds" as Dowland would say in order to challenge them musically? :)

 

Anyway, hope your all having a great day :)

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#2 jjosiejo

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 16:32

Hi MusicMatters, good luck with your preparation.  I have just taken my Dip in voice last Dec and I really enjoyed the whole process - writing the programme notes was really helpful to make me think about the music in more depth - my advice would be to start making notes about anything interesting to do with each of the pieces as you look at them and then eventually the prog notes should pretty much write themselves when you get to that stage.

 

The quick study for Dip level is pretty straightforward.  There is a choice of an Italian piece or English - the Italian is in the style of a simple aria antica and the English one is in a folky style (think Michael Head or something like that), mine had dynamics, sotto voce, it was moderato from what I recall with a rit but no complicated tempo changes, and sat in the middle of my voice.  They are standard for everyone and you can choose whichever you want to do (I did English as I find it easier not to have to think about text/language and notes at the same time!).  Have on look on the ABRSM diplomas section as there are samples you can download to practice and get a feel for the standard.  Don't forget you also have 5 mins at the piano to play through it, sing through anything you want to etc.

 

I did 2 of the pieces on your list for my recital (Evening Hymn and Corpus Christi Carol) but I am a mezzo and I am guessing from your list you are a sop, so there probably wouldn't be much overlap otherwise!

 

I look forward to hearing your updates.  I am planning to take my LRSM in December if I can get myself organised in time...


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#3 MusicMatters!

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 21:01

Hi MusicMatters, good luck with your preparation.  I have just taken my Dip in voice last Dec and I really enjoyed the whole process - writing the programme notes was really helpful to make me think about the music in more depth - my advice would be to start making notes about anything interesting to do with each of the pieces as you look at them and then eventually the prog notes should pretty much write themselves when you get to that stage.

 

The quick study for Dip level is pretty straightforward.  There is a choice of an Italian piece or English - the Italian is in the style of a simple aria antica and the English one is in a folky style (think Michael Head or something like that), mine had dynamics, sotto voce, it was moderato from what I recall with a rit but no complicated tempo changes, and sat in the middle of my voice.  They are standard for everyone and you can choose whichever you want to do (I did English as I find it easier not to have to think about text/language and notes at the same time!).  Have on look on the ABRSM diplomas section as there are samples you can download to practice and get a feel for the standard.  Don't forget you also have 5 mins at the piano to play through it, sing through anything you want to etc.

 

I did 2 of the pieces on your list for my recital (Evening Hymn and Corpus Christi Carol) but I am a mezzo and I am guessing from your list you are a sop, so there probably wouldn't be much overlap otherwise!

 

I look forward to hearing your updates.  I am planning to take my LRSM in December if I can get myself organised in time...

Thats wonderful...Will also be great to hear about your preparations for the LRSM:)

I didn't realize there are examples of the quick study on the website. Will definitely have  a look tomorrow. Thank you for your insight! 

Yep, I'm a soprano. Evening Hymn is such a beautiful piece but pretty tricky in trying to keep the sound pure and without too much vibrato on the top..but I am only on the first page of that one. Would be nice to use the sheet music in the exam...technically its a sacred piece but I don't know if thats ok..as its not oratorio?

Would love to hear what pieces you've picked for the LRSM! 

There are some lovely pieces on the repertoire list :) I love the Elgar songs


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#4 MusicMatters!

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 10:19

Well, this morning I fell into the age old trap of over singing. 

Working on "Evening Hymn" and couldn't figure out why the "Where shall my soul repose" and "any so sweet security" was tight??

And then after doing it maybe 10 times I realized that after it was right on the 3rd or 4th time...that was the time to stop and give my voice a break!!

The pitching on "security" bar 35 and 36 was driving my crazy...

Note to self: When you get it right...do one more but then stop! Trust that it is enough :))

i suspect this thread is going to be my little online diary of one step forward and two steps back

Time for a nice cup of peppermint tea :rolleyes:

 

This afternoon I got stuck into the Perti piece "Scioglie omai le nevi". Singing the high B flat is always fun but that darn repeated F never feels quit right to me. But considering that I haven't sung this piece in a few years, I'm pretty happy with how the runs turned out. I'm thinking my over singing this morning has affected my F...a touch tired.

That's it for today. 

Happy singing!


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#5 AnnC

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 07:41

Be careful that what you choose is not on the grade lists - you would not be allowed to present those. Flow my tears and Music for a while are both on the grade 8 list.


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#6 AnnC

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 07:43

The F is probably your passagio note - talk to your singing teacher about how to over come this. S/he will be able to give you some exercises to improve and eventually eliminate this issue.


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#7 MusicMatters!

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 22:41

Be careful that what you choose is not on the grade lists - you would not be allowed to present those. Flow my tears and Music for a while are both on the grade 8 list.

Many thanks. I wasn't aware of this rule :) Will keep it in mind.


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#8 MusicMatters!

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 22:45

The F is probably your passagio note - talk to your singing teacher about how to over come this. S/he will be able to give you some exercises to improve and eventually eliminate this issue.

Good point. Silly it didn't dawn on me!


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#9 MusicMatters!

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Posted 15 April 2017 - 09:03

Was pondering Batti Batti last night. From a singing point of view, its wonderful. Has such lovely interval jumps and the runs etc..they are pages of vocal exercises in themselves! But what about the text?
I still have a bit of research to do on the plot, and its not an opera I've seen live, but from what I've read so far....Zerlina is somewhat seduced by the Don, but when he leads her away, she cries for help! Not exactly positive.
Then when her Masetto is jealous afterwards, she advises him to "beat her"...I know its got comic elements but still not sure how I should react to it. Starting to wonder if it says something about the time period it was written in as well as how talented Da Ponte was as a librettist?
Maybe reading too much into it (and I know, can't judge past centuries by modern western standards) but how should a modern woman play it?
Can't help feeling it has a touch of black comedy or dare I say S&M about it..hahah!
Is Zerlina manipulating Masetto and playing her cards as she chooses or is he behaving like an insensitive, overgrown child?
Is she really worried he will leave her? 
Did she go with the Don of her own free will?
So many questions, so little time :)
---------------------------------------

I've just watched the first 1/2 hour or so on youtube.



Initial thoughts:
This is in no way a comedy. Yes, there are comic elements and a general playfulness to the music and acting but its way more serious then that. Its about real life issues, but magnified...
Elvira is my favorite character so far..she enters with such power and force.
As for the Don, well, he has serious mammy issues to put it mildly!
His servant is quite pleasant, but then again, if he was a nice guy, he'd hardly be hanging around with the Don now would he? Perhaps there are no other jobs available.
No thoughts at the moment on the father/daughter at the very beginning. Maybe she will be more prominent later.

Happy singing!


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#10 MusicMatters!

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 12:43

About half way in now.

So Zerlina sings "Batti batti" after the Don's first and failed attempt to seduce her. Just as he thinks its all going well, Donna Elvira interrupts them and saves Zerlina. 

Shortly afterwards, she sings "Batti batti" to a disgruntled Mazetto, but its all in good fun. Shes playing with him. Seems to me she used the words "beat me, gorge out my eyes etc" to show him how silly he was for doubting her. 

Later the Don finally corners Zerlina and draws her off stage. Its here she is heard to shout for help. They return shortly afterwards and Giovanni tries to blame the seduction/assault on Leporello but no one is fooled. Elvira, Donna and Ottavio reveal their identities and demand justice. 

 

A word about Donna Anna...she sings the most striking (and vocally difficult) aria asking Ottavio to avenge her fathers murder  Don Ottavio...Or sai chi l'onore 

This is followed by a beautifully legato aria by Ottavio where he expresses his love and concern for her Dalla sua pace

 

Note to self: Stop looking for problems where there are none. I'm singing well today with almost all my notes dead centre on pitch. Going to the piano to double check (again and again) is counter productive. There is no issue. Your just a little crazy ... :blink:  :rofl:

 

Happy singing!


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#11 MusicMatters!

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 15:58

Today, I haven't had time to do any singing but it has given me a change to ponder what I've been up to. Its been great to watch "Don Giovanni" but its also very difficult not to be influenced by the professional...world renowned singers! i found myself watching how Cecelia Bartoli contorts her lips etc. 

Yesterday, I also had a look at a few masterclasses by Joyce di Donato. I love her approach and open, friendly manner but again she was instructing professional (and almost professional) standard students...so a lot of the advise she gave them will be useful to me in the future but I'm not there yet...so again, best for me to stay clear of these videos for the mean time. Don't want to end scratching my head. I think it was Joan Sutherland who said "I don't believe in masterclasses. What can you do with someone in a half hour except confuse them"...or something like that! She does have a point. :clap:

 

Happy singing!


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#12 MusicMatters!

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 16:13

Got back to it today. Had another go at "Evening Hymn" and its gone quite a bit better. I've got as far as the runs which is nice :) Also, did a few different vowel over the tricky passaggio area so lets see how that turns out in a few weeks. Not going to worry about it...would hardly help.hehe!

Also, had a quick sing of "Du meines herzen" which seems a lot easier to me now than it did a few years ago. I find myself drawn back to "In darkless let me dwell", it seems to settle my sound nicely. Love a bit of melancholy!

Note to self: Its a super good idea to be runs at different speeds and to different vowels, consonants. Keeps the voice flexible and agile.

Had a look for "In Haven" but the musics gone a stray. Should turn up in a few days.

In case I forgot, Heard today that you can indeed sing Grade 8 pieces for the Dip...role on Flow my tears :rofl:

Its nice to get back to singing a little Bach  :D

 

Happy singing!


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#13 MusicMatters!

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 21:33

Dipped in and out of a few pieces today. Still playing around with "Evening Hymn"...improving bit by bit  :whistling:

Had a look at Dowlands books of Ayres...there is something so mysterious about Elizabethan music, especially when you consider the brutal times it was composed in. Adds a totally new perspective to the meaning of melancholy! And yet they are charming and full of lyrical beauty. So many contrasts. 

 

I've always loved early music but I used to think it was beyond my capabilities as my voice is quite sizable..but I'm beginning to see, it was my approach that needed changing. I was far too heavy handed...Note to self: Less most definitely is more!!

 

Am beginning to really take to Brahms "Die mainacht"...I've sung a good few of his songs and overall I've noticed how he weaves a beautiful melody with slightly unexpected intervals. And I adore singing in German :wub:   

Have downloaded Dowlands books and so shall continue my little adventure  :idea:

 

Happy singing!


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#14 The Land

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 12:17

About quick studies:

 

My impression after taking DipABRSM (twice ;) ) is that the examiners know what QS they are going to give you before you walk into the room (ie, before they know anything about your programme). After all, you could ask to take QS first in which case they wouldn't have a chance to work out what to contrast with your recital programme. [Obviously for voice this means they know what selection of 2 they're going to offer you]

 

I think there is some kind of rotation system to make sure no candidate sees the same QS twice, and to help stop excessively clever/gossipy teachers trying to game the system, not that that would really work anyway ("....well 2 of my pupils had this examiner and they were both asked to play THIS kind of piece so if your pupil has the same examiner make sure they practice sight reading tango rhythms...") 


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#15 MusicMatters!

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 12:21

About quick studies:

 

My impression after taking DipABRSM (twice ;) ) is that the examiners know what QS they are going to give you before you walk into the room (ie, before they know anything about your programme). After all, you could ask to take QS first in which case they wouldn't have a chance to work out what to contrast with your recital programme. [Obviously for voice this means they know what selection of 2 they're going to offer you]

 

I think there is some kind of rotation system to make sure no candidate sees the same QS twice, and to help stop excessively clever/gossipy teachers trying to game the system, not that that would really work anyway ("....well 2 of my pupils had this examiner and they were both asked to play THIS kind of piece so if your pupil has the same examiner make sure they practice sight reading tango rhythms...") 

Thats really interesting to hear, and makes good common sense. Thanks so much for letting my know :)


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