pyramidIf you are looking for new repertoire for your choir, you have to estimate whether a piece fits the level of the singers. For that it’s helpful if the level of difficulty of arrangements is indicated. The scale that is mostly used for arrangements ranges from level I (very easy) to level V (very challenging).

In an earlier message we have looked at characteristics of the different levels. To understand the levels even better, in this post there are examples of the levels. All these examples are arrangements of a fragment of Rosanna by Toto.

Level I

Kind of singers: inexperienced
Range of the parts: small
Number of voices: 2-3
Syncopations: hardly any
Rhythms: alle voices homophonous
Kind of chords: triads
Chromatics: no

For a choir at this level, a cappella singing is hardly possible. That’s why the example is with piano. The arrangement is for three voice groups, two female and one male. The voices sing in unison for a part. In the original song there are several syncopations on the lyrics ‘Rosanna’. At this level, the syncopations are left out. Because the singers are unexperienced, the parts lie relatively low.

rosanna i

Level II

Kind of singers: with some experience
Range of the parts: rather small
Number of voices: 3-4
Syncopations: few
Rhythms: all voices homophonic
Kind of chords: triads and some chords with one addition
Chromatics: none

For a choir at this level, singing without accompaniment is still rather tricky. The arrangements may be for four voices with piano. The rhythms on ‘Rosana’ are still simpeler than in the original melody. In some the chords there are additions. The parts still lie rather low.

rosanna ii

Level III

Kind of singers: rather experienced
Range of the parts: intermediate
Number of voices: 4-5
Syncopations: yes
Rhythms: sometimes several rhythmical layers
Kind of chords: chords with a single additions
Chromatics: a little

A choir of this level is capable of singing a capella. The voice groups can sing rhythmical independent rhytms. Triads and chords with just a single addition work better than more complex harmonies.

rosanna iii

Level IV

Kind of singers: good amateurs and professionals
Range of the parts: big
Number of voices: unlimited
Syncopations: unlimited
Rhythms: unlimited
Kind of chords: triads with two additions
Chromatics: some

A choir of this level can sing practically any music. The only limitions are on chromatics and difficult intervals.

rosanna iv

Level V

Kind of singers: good professionals
Range of the parts: big
Number of voices: unlimited
Syncopations: unlimited
Syncopations: unlimited
Chromatics: yes

Below is an example of an arrangement on such a level. It’s by Paul Langford. The score is beautiful, but very hard to perform.

rosanna varosanna vbrosanna vc