As you probably know already there is nothing that a church choir is typically more in need of than tenors. Second only to that is some knowledge of music. We see the little booklet of black dots and lines in front of us every Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon, but all those symbols do is make neat boundaries around where the words are; that’s all we really use it for.
The previous paragraph isn't entirely true: some of the choir doesn't make it to both morning and afternoon sessions on Sunday. For those that do, and those that are reading this who have some knowledge of music theory, you will forgive any typographical errors which may cause definitions of certain words to be expressed in ways that you are not familiar with, or cause definitions to appear to be factually incorrect. Also, for the more rigid lexicographical purists, you will note that I have disposed with the usual alphabetical organization of things because I felt like it.
As to my choice of words, I have chosen only the words most important for a Biblical understanding of church music: I have trimmed out all the fluff and developed what is a basic guide to choir membership. Anyway, let’s begin...
A Flat – n. The reason that half the choir was late to the Easter cantata.
Crescendo – v. To increase the volume of one’s voice, e.g. What happens in the Soprano section when the choir director is working with the Baritones.
Bass – n. One of the group of men who couldn't be a Tenor. Synonym: general population.
Soprano – 1. n. Women who sing the top set of notes in choir music. 2. n. Choir members who can comfortably sing the Tenor line in a David Clydesdale piece.
“Okay, let’s try it again” – 1. Uh, Oh. 2. We’re singing this Sunday? 3. What else do we know that we could sing Sunday?
“This may not be your best gift” - 1. What the choir director tells you at auditions to encourage you in your children’s ministries. 2. A sign that a recording contract isn't in your future. 3. Even Carol Cymbala might not want you.
Alto – n. A popular brand of mints.
Fermatta – n. A soft Greek cheese usually associated with pitas.
A Natural – n. The note that is a step above the range of some Sopranos.
B Flat - Colloquialism referring to the nature of the Tenors, i.e. “You B Flat.”
Solo – n. A section of music in which only one person miscounts the number of measures rest.
Decrescendo – v. What happens abruptly after a solo.
Duet – n. A solo for two people. See also: Solo.
Ad Lib – v. What the praise team does when the words get messed up on the projection screen.
Mass Confusion – n. Congregational Ad Lib.
Forte – 1. Adj. The median age of the altos. 2. Adj. Ten greater than the admitted median age of the altos.
Tenors – 1. n. The blessed ones. The elect. 2. Adj. The first half of the phrase indicating a value slightly greater than nine, i.e. What time did you go to bed? I don’t know, tenor ‘leven.
Pianissimo - n. The Italian word for Big Piano.
Mezzo Forte – Adj. The admitted age of the gray haired altos. See Also: Forte.
Quarter Note – n. One of those little black dots we don’t look at anyway.
Baritones – n. Fence sitters.