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Dismuke's Message Board _ 1900 - 1940 General Topics _ What is a Chorus?

Posted by: Roseman Feb 11 2008, 05:31 AM

With my limited formal music training, I had always thought that a chorus was a vocal ensemble made up of a large group of singers with more than one person taking a part, as one may hear in this song.

Louis Armstrong Feat. Decca http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3w/1938_300.mp3Going To Shout All Over God's Heaven (1938)


I've run across several examples where the record description seems to run counter to this thought. Can someone explain what the meaning of 'chorus' is as it relates in the following examples?

Orrin Tucker And His Orchestra Vocal http://www.jazz-on-line.com/mp3/770465135.mp3 You'd Be Surprised (1939) LA 2075 COLUMBIA 35344

Louis Armstrong And His Savoy Ballroom Five - http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3c/COLW402170C.mp3- Trumpet-Louis Armstrong Save It Pretty Mama (1928) W402170C COLUMBIA 35662


Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3b/ColW149149-4.mp3
I'm A Dreamer - Aren't We All? (1929) W149149-4 Columbia


Paul Whiteman And His Orchestrahttp://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3b/ColW91790-1.mp3 Moonlight And Roses Medley (1929) W91790-1 Columbia test



Don...


Posted by: birdible Feb 11 2008, 05:55 AM

QUOTE(Roseman @ Feb 11 2008, 12:31 AM) *
With my limited formal music training, I had always thought that a chorus was a vocal ensemble made up of a large group of singers with more than one person taking a part, as one may hear in this song.

Louis Armstrong Feat. Decca http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3w/1938_300.mp3Going To Shout All Over God's Heaven (1938)


I've run across several examples where the record description seems to run counter to this thought. Can someone explain what the meaning of 'chorus' is as it relates in the following examples?

Orrin Tucker And His Orchestra Vocal http://www.jazz-on-line.com/mp3/770465135.mp3 You'd Be Surprised (1939) LA 2075 COLUMBIA 35344

Louis Armstrong And His Savoy Ballroom Five - http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3c/COLW402170C.mp3- Trumpet-Louis Armstrong Save It Pretty Mama (1928) W402170C COLUMBIA 35662
Paul Whiteman And His Orchestra http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3b/ColW149149-4.mp3
I'm A Dreamer - Aren't We All? (1929) W149149-4 Columbia
Paul Whiteman And His Orchestrahttp://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/mp3b/ColW91790-1.mp3 Moonlight And Roses Medley (1929) W91790-1 Columbia test
Don...


A chorus can be defined many ways, a common definition is:

-A chorus or refrain is a line or lines that are repeated either musically or lyrically or both musically and lyrically. A chorus tends to musically contrast with the verse melodically, harmonically and rythmically.

So it's generally the part that repeats in a song, If I get a chance I'll post an example tomorrow.

Posted by: Tony Feb 11 2008, 06:17 AM

I BELIEVE IT'S ALSO USEFUL TO NOTE THAT WHERE VERSUS DO OCCUR IN A SONG, THEY IMMEDIATELY PRECEDE CHORUSES. AND ON OCCASION A VERSE -- OR A SINGLE LINE FROM THAT VERSE --IS REPEATED AT THE END OF A SONG.

Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 11 2008, 07:03 PM

The Dictionary says this:

chorus:

2 a: a part of a song or hymn recurring at intervals b: the part of a drama sung or spoken by the chorus c: a composition to be sung by a number of voices in concert d: the main part of a popular song; also : a jazz variation on a melodic theme


Posted by: gregoryagogo Feb 11 2008, 07:11 PM

"Mixed Chorus" has been troubling me! My first thought "Maybe it was black and white!".

But After thinking about it and googling it, I tend to think it was because it had a main vocal, Louid Armstrong, and the choir, the two twogether being a "Mixed Chorus"....

But... Then they say "Decca Mixed Chorus" Makes one think it might be the name of the group... Then, why is it "mixed"?!! Ha ha... Hmmmmmmmmm Maybe someone can help us with this!

Posted by: Roseman Feb 12 2008, 04:23 PM

Hey Greg,

By mixed course I would think that it means male and female, as opposed to Male chorus or Female chorus. And to further complicate the matter, I've seen an example of 'for solo soprano and male chorus'. Now that is another hybrid of sorts.

I guess the bottom line as it relates to the examples I cited above, is that I think the use of the word 'chorus' would been better served if they had said 'vocal refrain' or 'vocals by'. When you use the word 'chorus', it really requires some further explanation as to what meaning you are inferring. As has been noted, there are many musical definitions for the word. And in the examples above, using 'chorus' was a poor choice. To wit, Bonnie Baker singing verses and chorus for almost half of the song.

Don...

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