Choosing & learning your solo

Prospective singers for the Youth Chorus often ask where they can find an appropriate audition song, and we acknowledge that not everyone always has access to a music teacher to help them learn it. We've collected a few of our favorite songs for you to look through, and if one of these songs fits well in your voice, we've also given you some resources to help you learn it for your audition. The below songs are merely suggestions provided for those students who do not already have a prepared solo.

 

Please use the YouTube links and our notes on each song to familiarize yourself with these pieces and figure out which ones would be a good fit for you. We recommend that you follow along with the included sheet music as you make your decision. Once you start to get the song in your ear, use the track labeled "with melody" to help you get the tune into your voice. When you feel that you are secure on the melody, sing along with the track labeled "accompaniment" and take note of where your vocal line moves independently.

If you are making a video recording of your audition for us at home, we encourage you to play either the "accompaniment" or "with melody" track in the background and sing along. Be sure we can hear you over the track, and if possible, record your video in a well-lit space so we can also see you perform this piece. If you are auditioning for us in person, we will have a pianist to play your song for you. They will follow you as you sing, so you can perform the piece exactly as you learned it from the track or you can choose to change the tempo (faster/slower) or pause in certain spots for dramatic effect.

 

No matter how and when you sing for us, we'll be there to support you and answer any questions you may have. We want you to feel comfortable going into the audition process, and we want to be able to help you grow as a singer from this experience. Enjoy learning your song - we look forward to hearing you sing it for us!

Not sure what part you should sing? This video will help you find your range.
Solo Song Selections

Remember, you are not required to use any of these songs. They are provided here for students who are looking for suggestions. Each title has a PDF link to download sheet music, a YouTube link to listen to a reference recording, one study track for learning the song melody, and a second study track for learning to sing just with the accompaniment.

American Lullaby (high/soprano key)

by Gladys Rich

Range: C4-F5 (high key)

 

American Lullaby (high key) Reference Recording on YouTube

This song is typically sung by sopranos and altos, and we've included two different transpositions (high/soprano and low/alto) for each of those voice parts. Each verse starts in the low range and moves to the high range midway through. Be sure to sing through an entire verse to see if the low or high key is best for you. If you choose this song, consider that lullabies are not typically loud, showy pieces. Even though this song showcases your range, you want to perform it in such a way that you could sing it to a small child to lull them to sleep.

American Lullaby (sop) - melody
00:00 / 01:51
American Lullaby (high) - accompaniment
00:00 / 01:54
American Lullaby (low/alto key)

by Gladys Rich

Range: A4-D5 (low key)

 

American Lullaby(low key) Reference Recording on YouTube

This song is typically sung by sopranos and altos, and we've included two different transpositions (high/soprano and low/alto) for each of those voice parts. Each verse starts in the low range and moves to the high range midway through. Be sure to sing through an entire verse to see if the low or high key is best for you. If you choose this song, consider that lullabies are not typically loud, showy pieces. Even though this song showcases your range, you want to perform it in such a way that you could sing it to a small child to lull them to sleep.

American Lullaby (low) - melody
00:00 / 01:54
American Lullaby (low) - accompaniment
00:00 / 01:54
At the River

Traditional American, adapted by Aaron Copland

Range: Eb3-Eb4 (low octave) / Eb4-Eb5 (high octave)

 

At the River Reference Recording on YouTube

This song is a great fit for altos and baritones/basses, but all voice parts can likely sing it. You'll know if it fits in your range if you can sing the upper notes with fullness and ease and still sing the lower notes with strength. As you prepare this song, take note of when you're asked to sing quietly and when the arranger calls for a fuller tone. This contrast is part of what makes this piece so compelling.

At the River - melody
00:00 / 02:28
At the River - accompaniment
00:00 / 02:28
Bright is the Ring of Words

by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Range: Ab2-C4

 

Bright is the Ring Reference Recording on YouTube

This song comes from a larger cycle called "Songs of Travel" and is typically sung by baritones/basses. We've included it here because it features the middle and lower parts of the voice and may be a good fit for singers who want to showcase their low notes. The opening of this song is proud and full of tone, and then as the text changes, so do the dynamics and overall mood. This song has some unexpected shifts in harmony, so pay close attention to the reference recording as you're learning it.

Bright is the Ring of Words - melody
00:00 / 01:37
Bright is the Ring of Words - accompaniment
00:00 / 01:37
Linden Lea

by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Range: E4-E5

 

Linden Lea Reference Recording on YouTube

This song would be a good fit for sopranos and tenors, though other singers can try it if you feel confident about singing the top E in good voice. This is a very tuneful song, and you'll want to be able to sing it with ease. Make every effort to set the scene here: help us see the trees, the birds, and the water as you tell us how you'd prefer to be out in nature.

Linden Lea - with melody
00:00 / 02:14
Linden Lea - accompaniment
00:00 / 02:14
Passing By

by Edward Purcell

Range: E3-E4

 

Passing By Reference Recording on YouTube

This song is great for young tenors, though baritones may also want to give it a try. You'll want to be able to sing the high E with ease, though it is stylistically appropriate to sing that note in a lighter head tone if needed. The meaning of this song is pretty straightforward, and we encourage you to sing it with the joy and excitement suggested by the text.

Passing By - with melody
00:00 / 01:42
Passing By - accompaniment
00:00 / 01:42
Wayfaring Stranger

Traditional American, arranged by John Jacob Niles

Range: E3-E4 (low octave) / E4-E5 (high octave)

 

Wayfaring Stranger Reference Recording on YouTube

We recommend this song for sopranos and tenors, but altos and baritones who have a strong upper range could also sing this effectively. Be sure you can sing the top E with consistently beautiful tone. Be sure to pace your singing of this so you can build each verse. Use the text and the overall character of the piece to help guide your interpretation.

Wayfaring Stranger - with melody
00:00 / 02:59
Wayfaring Stranger - accompaniment
00:00 / 02:59
Who is Silvia?

by Roger Quilter

Range: F#3-D4 (low octave) / F#4-D5 (high octave)

 

Who is Silvia? Reference Recording on YouTube

Shakespeare's text makes this song a natural fit for tenors and baritones, but the limited range means that any voice part can sing it. Even though the song asks "Who is Silvia?", it becomes clear that she is someone to be highly regarded and who is worthy of receiving garlands of flowers. Note that at the end of the first verse, the word "admired" has three syllables, which happens sometimes in Shakespeare's writing - pronounce the word as "add-my-red".

Who is Silvia - with melody
00:00 / 02:04
Who is Silvia - accompaniment
00:00 / 02:03

Cleveland Orchestra Chorus Office - (216) 231-7374 - chorus@clevelandorchestra.com

© 2020 Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus. 

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