Hi everyone,

I had a quick practical question that some of you have probably encountered before.

It's been mentioned before that we should keep worship songs in between the two C's in pitch so that the congregation can sing them easily.

However, let's say I'm leading a song that's in C and only has notes within the 4th (from C to F). For a song like this, should I sing from middle C or should I sing from the C below middle C?

When I sing the lower one, it's at the bottom end of my range and things sound a bit dark. I can do it that way without a problem though but feel more comfortable singing the higher one.

But if I sing the higher one, will others (most likely the men) in the congregation think I'm singing too high, not realizing that they can sing the octave below me and be back in a comfortable range?

Is it important that I sing the melody on that lower octaves, while the Sopranos in the vocal team sing in the octave above me, so that both the men and women in the congregation hear an exact pitch that's in their comfortable range (verses having to sing an octave up/down)?

Thanks!
 - Cyrus

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I'm thinking maybe the song is "Alleluia" - melody is within a 4th...

G G C C,
Alleluia,
C B A A,
Alleluia,
A C B B,
Alleluia,
A B A G,
Alleluia,

In that case, I would put it in F or G, so the melody is in the middle of most people's range...

C C F F,
Alleluia,
F E D D,
Alleluia,
D F E E ,
Alleluia,
D E D C,
Alleluia,


Hope that makes a little sense...
The transposition to the key of F done here actually puts the song at the bottom end of the C-to-C range of "your typical congregational singer" (the lowest note is C, highest is F) while the original version of the song (key of C) at the top of the page puts it at the top of that C-to-C range (lowest note is G, highest is C). In this particular case, I would probably keep it in that original key, since it only sits on that high C for a couple of notes. But based on the original question, this wouldn't be the song "Alleluia" quoted here.

As the original poster mentioned, when the melody is in the lower part of that C-to-C range, it can start sounding kind of "dark" - unexciting might be another way of putting it.

So if you've got a song that just has a range from C to F, I would still move it up a few keys so that everybody is singing in the upper half of that C-to-C range, just so it sounds a bit brighter and more normal. And if you move it up in key like that, there will probably be a very natural point in your voice where you'll sing the song - it won't sound like you're showing off, and it will be in a good place for the congregation as well. Bottom line is still: if you have a song with a range from C-to-F and you're using it for group singing, transpose upward.
Ive heard HillsongUnited's Guys sing both octaves for dynamic effect.... Starting quietly in the lower register then with the build switching to the higher. Its do-able, but not in all songs. I dont think that most guys will be taken off guard by where you sing, especially when you have back-up singers in the mix. Think of overall effect and the story your song is trying to convey.

Like the other poster states though, transposing is easy if its needed.
If the low C is too low and the high C is too high, I would put it in a different key; if in G it would put the notes between a G and the C above it.
What everybody else said about transposing the song. My only addition would be that if the song spends a lot of time near the top of its range, then put it in a key where the high note is, say, an "A" rather than a "C" - especially if it starts out with several of the high notes. Even though the congregation is capable of singing that top "C", if the song starts out with several of those, or if it spends most of its time up there, it will feel "too high" to them, even if it's not.
I would think transposing into any key from D to F would be fine.
There are two things I consider when faced with this sort of situation. The first is that it is harder to sing the high notes then it is to sing low notes so we try to position the melody accordingly. The second issue is the word(s) that is/are sung at those high points. Some words sound awful when sung at a high note and may need the key to be dropped to get a better sound with the vocals.

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