Tonight’s singing started out sounding quite good — lots of newcomers, but each section sounded solid. But part way into the evening, we began to slide out of tune with one another, and I could hear individual voices beginning to wobble; this began to happen as the class got louder. I’m increasingly convinced that the high ceilings in All Saints Chapel tend to push us to sing louder and louder as we try to hear our voices over other voices; when you sing louder and louder, eventually you pass the point where you can control your voice adequately. Not only that, but when there’s too much echo and reverberation, you can’t adequately hear what others are singing, and you tend to get out of tune and out of rhythm with other singers.
I mentioned this in passing to Rebecca at the break, and she said she had noticed something to that effect; she said it was especially noticeable since she had sung the day before at the San Francisco monthly singing, where there are low ceilings and you can hear other singers better. And perhaps I’ve become especially aware of the weakness of All Saints recently because the second Sunday Palo Alto singing is in such a good singing room; the contrast between the two singings makes me really notice the problems in Berkeley.