Critique of My Very Own

This second written assignment blog post is a critique of this performance of My Very Own by Susan LaBarr.  Please listen to this performance and choose three of the following criteria to comment on; Tone, Intonation, Musicality, Diction, Accuracy, Balance, Blend, Presentation.  Your post must be 5-7 complete sentence.

This assignment is due on Monday September 9th, at 11:59 pm.  It is worth 10 points and you may earn 2 bonus points for each classmate’s comment that you comment on for a maximum total of 6 bonus points.  You may not receive extra credit point if your original post is late The link to the grading rubric and a document explaining the criteria can be found here.

Love you more than first concerts!!

Mrs. R.

60 thoughts on “Critique of My Very Own

  1. What this performance lacks most are emotion and movement. The presentation is lacking because the audience cannot connect with the singers since they do not show any emotions. There is only one girl in the first row who smiles and a few performers that move a little, but the choir members never look at or connect with each other. If the performers do not feel the emotions of the song, the audience will not. At minute 1:45, the altos and sopranos balance nicely and the volume is accurate since one section does not overpower the other. Cutoffs throughout the piece were correct. For “I will go where you will go” and “With you…” the volume goes to mezzo-piano, which is accurate. Throughout, people scoop on the word “love” instead of hitting the note powerfully and confidently.

      • It is very easy to see all that is wrong in a price when we are intended to critique it. I 100% agree, that the rhythmic and intonation aspect of it was preformed very well.

    • I think that your comment about “emotion” and “movement” is extremely true. The lack of any facial expressions show that this group does not connect with each other or the piece itself.

    • I also noticed that some people were scooping on the word love. High notes can be challenging but I agree that more power and confidence will help to improve this.

    • I definitely agree there was a lack of emotion and movement which contributed to the audience to feel unconnected

    • I agree that the lack of emotion and movement were the biggest problems for this performance. Even when I wasn’t looking at the video I could hear their lack of emotional expression, so that tells me that emotion and movement can really alter the way we sing for the better.

    • I agree that many of the problems they had could be solved by having more emotion and moving instead of standing like statues. Especially in a piece with so much emotion like this one, it is important to feel the music and think about the words and let yourself move.

  2. The first thing that I noticed was that the phrases were not carried out to the end of the measure or to the next. This is a factor that Vocal really needs to work on and that’s why I noticed it first. So the accuracy of this sing needs some work. My other two critiques are on presentation and blend. The presentation was off because none of the sections seemed into the piece and therefore the audience will not be moved as a consequence. The blend and mainly the ring of the chords that are held out don’t click. Overall, the accuracy, presentation and blend need some work.

    • I agree that the chords didn’t ring like they were supposed to. Everyone’s vowels weren’t matching up, so the held out chords didn’t click.

    • I think it sounded pretty good. I did notice some of the “s” were not together. I also noticed that the guys got covered up by the girls witch I get they didn’t have as us but it’s not ideal. Further more, there was a weird part when the girls just didn’t blend right and the guys were kind of straining. BUT over pretty good.

      • I noticed the “s” as well throughout. The cutoffs where they end with s could have been far more clean and would’ve made the sound more cohesive. Also good job on doing the assignment 🙂 ❤

    • The choir clearly had a much smaller male section so they needed to adapt to that to achieve a good blend but instead, the women overpowered and obliterated the guys’ vocals.

  3. Well, I think the overall choir is good but it could have done better in these areas. First of all, the balance was not really good. I could not hear the guys and the girls were overpowering them. The diction also could have been better because they are not saying the words with passion. The tone was a bit off and they were off pitch a bit in a few parts. They however, did a good job with engaging with the music and moving around.

    • Christian, I agree about the imbalance with the guys and girls. Specifically, I think that the guys need to sing louder and with more emotion to their part in order to stand out because they are outnumbered by the amount of girls.

  4. In terms of accuracy, I feel that phrases are not held to the entire note value. Many individuals that run out-breath simply abandon the note and look for support in others, which is very evident. Every time “my love” was said, for example, some people would run out of breath and go directly to the consonant “vuh” creating an incorrect and messy sound.
    One of the things we worked on in class was making the notes spin and adding some shape to the words because without it the phrase becomes meaningless, and just as was said by Aly, the presentation lacked this emotional movement I waited for the entire song. There was no spin of the notes, manipulation of emotions, or interest on the musicians’ faces. It is essential to become invested in pieces because the audience can then reciprocate those emotions and feel equally as moved.
    Finally, because of the recent comments from Rylinn at our Friday rehearsal about how the sopranos and altos were almost “fighting” for sound, drowning out the sound of the guys, I focused on the balance of the sections here. As there already seems to be a lack of guys in this choir, the sopranos especially need to reduce their volume. For instance, at 1:36, every part joins together on this beautiful chord, but so much of the sound is overwhelmed by the upper range of voices, unfortunately, ruining this climactic moment.

    • I also noticed that the sopranos seemed that they were overpowering the other parts. I definitely think that that is something our choir should keep in mind as well, making it so that we do not make the same mistake.

    • Hadley, I like what you said about the parts fighting for the note, pointed out by Rylinn. This is important because each group really needs to focus in order to share the note well.

    • Wow this is such a good critic. I definitely agree they need to work on carrying the notes out and spinning the notes!

    • I completely agree about what you mentioned about Rylinn’s comment from Friday. I’ve been thinking about what she said a lot and it is hard. For a choir like ours, the guys should sing louder (I think/hope that part of it is just that we aren’t sure of our notes yet) to match up with the girls, but in a choir like this where there are very few guys, the girls should be more accomodating and willing to sadly lessen their volume in order to make the tenor and base parts come out more. There were very few times in this recording when I could really pick out the men’s parts.

  5. I think the word I would use to describe this performance is good. It wasn’t a bad performance, but it also was far from spectacular. I will compliment the blend of this group, for they sounded as one voice the majority of the piece. However, this one voice they decided to unify on had extremely poor vowels and tone, often going to unpleasant diphthongs on held notes. I think the most blatant, eye-catching error of this performance is the complete lack of emotional connection with the music. The array of stoic expressions did not at all match with the mood of the song they were singing. If I were a deaf member of the audience, I could never imagine that this group was singing about the beauty and magic of love. The utter abandon should be present on all of their faces! Overall this was an okay performance. Okay in that it checked most of the boxes for a performance to be okay, but lacked all of the qualities that could have made it phenomenal.

    • I agree with you on the part about diphthongs and the issue with vowels. It took away from a unified voice and sound

    • I agree that this performance was just okay. They sang all the notes but I did not feel anything while they were singing.

    • Garrett, I like how you used the idea of a deaf person in the audience trying to understand the emotion of the piece. I think this is something we need to keep in mind when conveying a performance on our faces and through our body movement.

    • They definitely lacked emotion and wasn’t the best performance. It wasn’t bad but there are a few things like extending the notes until the rests

    • I remember talking a lot about the term “abandon” last year and we definitely carried into Women’s performance of “Warrior.” I hope that we can emulate this emotion in this song as well!

  6. Their first downfall was the absence of emotion throughout the piece. They lacked facial expressions and movement to help convey they emotion, and they barely used dynamics. Also, their cutoffs were not completely together most of the time and were pretty weak. Along those lines, they didn’t completely carry over their phrases to the end and would cut off a little to early, On a more positive note, their blending was great and they stayed in tune throughout the song. Overall, I would say it was a good, but not great, performance.

    • I agree with your point that there was an absence of emotion. There was no change in anyone’s faces which made the piece boring rather than moving.

  7. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. I definitely could see the lack of emotion, and movement. But I also didn’t like their vowel. I could hear many people sticking out because of their vowels, and tone. All together I definitely think they could’ve improved upon blending. And some words i feel like they forced like ‘you have captured my HEART’ and it was noticeable. Cutoffs needed to be emphasized more for sure.

  8. I thought the overall performance was average since there weren’t any areas in the piece that were extremely faulty. However, there are many things that could be improved upon such as their vowels. Overall, the vowels were pushed far back in their throat which warbled the sound and prevented the chords from tuning completely. I also noticed that following the instrumental breaks, the choir was very hesitant with their first note which caused their starting pitch to be slightly out of tune as they tried to find it. The choir also lacked in emotion and expression. This song is not the most challenging in regards to the notes themselves, but is instead meant to be a piece that focuses on emotion and how one can move the audience with things like dynamics or facial expressions. This is one thing that I believe we need to be aware of and try to not only have note accuracy but also to make the audience feel something with our emotions.

    • I commented the same as you about the piece being more emotional than technical and that this choir seemed completely disconnected from the piece.

  9. From the beginning of this piece, I noticed an obvious disconnect between the performers and the emotion this piece requires to be effective. Most of the performers were not moving, and, thus made the few who were moving look out of place. The majority of the time, they all came in at slightly different times and did not carry out their phrases to the end. Unfortunately for this choir, they did not have enough males to create a good balance between parts. Certain places sounded unsure or confusing, usually when splitting into harmonies. The vowels made during this performance made it so they couldn’t blend very well on certain parts. Overall, the performance was good; however, there were definitely things that they could work on to improve it.

    • I definitely agree that the vowels were off. Due to the vowels being off, it sounded a little strange when they would sing certain words, and make it sound like they were not all together.

  10. I think that the major flaws in this performance were presentation and balance. I think that in terms of performance, everyone looked very stiff and there was no movement in their bodies. They did not get into the song which was clear in their faces and the words. They were pretty accurate but it is clear that they tried too hard to be perfect instead of being emotional and this showed in the presentation of the piece. Next, the balance throughout the song was off. I could barely hear the men and in many points throughout the song, the sopranos overpowered the altos. I think that the diction of the piece was pretty good because not many of the words were pinched but I could still understand what they were singing. However, the word “we” and the word “heart” had flaws because we was too pinched and heart sounded more like har. Finally, the entrances and cut offs were not all together which showed a lot and showed that they weren’t all on the correct rhythm.

  11. This piece was lacking a lot of emotion and movement both in their bodies, and in their voices; there was poor presentation. While the students were singing this song, they had good accuracy in notes, however, it felt as though they were just going through the motions and they did not put any feeling into this song. There were no noticeable facial expressions and it seemed as though none of them made any sort of connection with the words that they were singing. Near the end of the piece, there were some slight flaws with intonation where the chords sounded slightly off or out of tune. They also lacked in dynamics. The song felt like there was no climax, and it did not seem to go anywhere musically. While this choir did not have a very good balance between parts (probably due to the lack of male voices), they did have a nice blend within their own sections. Overall, I would say that this performance was good, yet there is much room for improvement. 🙂

  12. As stated by most people, there was absolutely no energy in this version of the song. The song’s lyrics are so beautiful and moving with phrases with “you have captured my heart” or “I’ll die with you”, yet the singers look like unfazed by the lyrics. The diction was quite odd. I felt that the “accent” used was highly British which made the song very stoic and lacking of emotion. The tone was very lackluster and boring with absolutely no artistic movement or dynamic. The choir definitely “got the notes” but did not get the song. The first sopranos were sometimes flat, especially when singing the word “me”. I feel as if the balance cannot be commented on excessively as the ratio between male and female voices was very uneven. The accuracy was there, but if I had watched this live, I would not have felt emotional or got the message of the song. I hope that VE can listen to this song and understand the importance of keeping the notes moving, having a pleasant face, and engaging in proper dynamics. This is a beautiful song that I feel we have the ability to make AMAZING! 🙂

  13. I have noticed that that they are hitting all of the correct notes but I got bored really quickly because they did not put any emotion into the piece. They were stiff and made me feel kind of weird because they weren’t into the song. Their diction was okay but they were trying to be to proper with their pronunciation. The balance was completely off especially when the guys first came in. All you can hear are the sopranos and altos.

    • None of the lower parts stuck out at any point and I couldn’t even really hear them sometimes when I was listening for them. They gotta sing out.

    • Yes I agree. They did hit every note correct but their lack of emotion took away from their performance. They did not seem into it

  14. One of the first things I noticed was the major separation between the vocalists and the piece itself. It felt as if there was no connection between the words they were singing and the emotion in their voice and facial expressions. I also noticed the lack of feeling in the overall tone. Everything felt disconnected, like the body language, the annunciation, the piano, the dynamics, the vowels, the tempo all flowed on a different level, each going their separate ways. It also felt like they were forcing crescendos and diction at an awkward time and all at the same time. However, during “better than wine” it was like fifty sound waves, fifty vowels all clashing and bumping against one another attempting to put puzzle pieces of all shapes and sizes into one intricate piece of art. Also, during “I’ll die, I’ll die”, it seemed as if the sopranos were competing to overcome the altos and vice versa. I would have loved to hear more of the tenors and basses, but I see that there are very few. In addition, I feel as if the phrases were lost and drowned in the clashing of competing voices. My hope for this piece is that we are able to accomplish the challenging task of putting this delicacy together with all the balanced components of awareness, vowel, tempo, dynamics, movement, diction, and unity. This is such a beautiful piece, and I would love to perform it the way it is written. Beautifully with purpose and balance.

  15. Overall I think the group is singing the song much differently than the way we have, which is totally okay but it also needs work in its own way. For example, the group has a very strong intro with the sopranos and altos singing, but the guy part lacks balance and doesn’t seem to add much to the song. I did see that there wasn’t as much guys in the group, so it makes it even more important for those guys to change the song once they are thrown in. Overall, I do think they blended well, but on some of the louder notes it got a bit pushy and almost a screech sound. I think that at the beginning they did sing with emotion but as the song went on, they forgot about what the lyrics were. When they shouted “I’ll die” it seemed like the lyrics didn’t even phase them. I think the biggest areas of improvement surround the male voices and the emotional presentation with this piece. What I really liked was how that ending note was very in unison, something we are having a hard time pulling off!

  16. The first thing that I noticed was they did not wing with much emotion. They weren’t into the song and everyone singing was quite stiff Another thing that really bugged me about the piece is that the blend was off. I noticed that there weren’t many guys in the group, so that contributed partly to the problem. Besides that though, the girls overpowered the guys for almost all of the song. If there are fewer guys than girls in the group, then the upper voices should collectively sing at a slightly lower dynamic to adjust for the low amount of low voices. On the part where they sang “I’ll die”, it sounded more like they were just trying to belt that note as loud as possible. On the other hand, their diction worked great for the styling of the song, and they were able to make that final note unison which is something we still struggle with. Their dynamics were also on point especially the crescendos and decrescendos.

  17. Okeyyy, right off the bat, I’m listening without watching, so I can hear more intently, and right when they say “You have STOLEN my heart” They’re pronouncing it STOL-EAHN as opposed to “STOL-EHN” if that makes sense. And because of that it makes the phrase vocally sound wonky AND also I’m pretty sure this is all one part at this point, but it sounds like a few people are singing a tad higher than the intended note which kind of messes with the concept of Unison. OH MY GURSH! I listened for literally 15more seconds into the next “STOLEN” and now they’re all doing their own thing. Basically before they were all doing the same weird Vowel, but now altos and sopranos though they are singing different parts, aren’t pronouncing it the same. One group is saying “STO-LUHN” and one group is saying and one is going more “STO-LEHN” making the chord not sound as pretty. Okay Hoooold upppp. What is that cut off for “with one GLANCE…CE” they’re not together😤! Maybe there’s a delay?… but they just did it3 seconds later again on “CAPTURED..D..D”. So the next entrance at 1:23 they’re saying “VEREEEYYY own” then again with “CAPTURED” CHOOOSE!! Are you going to do “CAAP-CHUHD” or “CAP-TURED”. I guess all my comments are on pronunciation, because now some people are saying “WEIIHHN” and some are saying “WOHHN”. And I understand, the note you sing determines the shape but stillll. “My VEREEE” own. Sounds great. And then they announcing the R a tad too much on the second to last “Heart”. Anyways besides the fact that I kept stopping due to minuscule differentiations, the performance like I know other people are saying is pretty bland, there’s no emotion or energy,but I’m not going to add more to that because I know whoever’s reading this has probably already read a ton of similar comments so I’m not going to bore you. And though you can talk about the Energy in the piece for a long time, at the end of the day, it’s pretty difficult to have a whole choir put a lil extra sumthin sumthiin into a piece, so I’m going to let it slide. Okay thanks for reading, Shalom!

    • Wow this is a lot! I like how detailed you are in your response and very much agree with a lot of your statements. Especially with how little energy there was.

  18. Balance: Most of the song I felt the bottom parts were too quiet, I wish I could have heard more of them.

    Presentation: I like how they all are wearing the same dress except for the guy in the back but he is still wearing black. They did not look very into it and I feel it would have been more entertaining too watch and to listen to if they were.

    Blend: At a few parts the choir did not start and stop all together. This causes viewers to focus on a mistake rather than listen to and enjoy the rest of the song

  19. For this song being one of my favorites, I had pretty hopeful expectations. While this performance was not the best, it was not the worst. The blend was good and they had impressive moments during the piece. However, the completely lacked emotion:( Their voices were disconnected from their bodies and had little to no movement. This caused a lack of dynamics and phrasing. In addition, the cutoffs were very sporadic and not clean which could have used some work. This performance needed many improvements but had some beautiful traits that did not make this the worst performance. I see a lot of things vocal does and can also work on

    • Yes, I noticed the lack of feeling too. They seemed like they weren’t even focused on the meaning of the song or knew what they were singing. They very much lacked emotion throughout.

  20. I think it sounded pretty good. I did notice some of the “s” were not together. I also noticed that the guys got covered up by the girls witch I get they didn’t have as us but it’s not ideal. Further more, there was a weird part when the girls just didn’t blend right and the guys were kind of straining. BUT over pretty good.

  21. First of all, this almost had me falling asleep as I was watching it. Basically the entire group showed no emotion and movement throughout the piece whatsoever. When performers aren’t engaged with the music, the audience won’t enjoy it either, especially when it comes to presenting a piece which relates to one of the most important emotions to a human being can feel: love. Second, whenever the group held out long notes such as “my loooooove my very ooowwwwwnnnn,” the song tended to go out of tune and the sound became very bland, and I believe the reason why is because the note had no shape or structure, which is something vocal went over multiple times with this piece. Lastly, I noticed some of the vowels didn’t seem to be rounded very well which produces a weak sound that doesn’t seem rich. I would like to point out, however, that dynamics and crescendos/decrescendos were executed very well and they appeared present throughout the performance of this piece. Overall, I felt that there were many things that needed improvement within this performance, and I believe that the group itself had much more potential to give a better performance than what they gave.

  22. The performance was overall pretty good, however I did notice a few things. First the intonation was a little shaky. It seemed like they all used different vowels and then would eventually match tone instead of starting with one solid vowel. However, the musicality was pretty good as it seemed they hit every note, but they just had some hard times with dynamics and blending well together. It seemed like they blended in their sections, but struggled to work together and sound as one.

  23. The song is all about connecting and moving the audience. It is not impressive in technique but rather the dynamics should hit the audience and move them emotionally. The choir I watched lacked facial expression, no body movement, and had bland intonation as in the dynamics of the rise and fall of their voices, therefore there was zero emotional connection which resulted in the poor presentation. They did have a disadvantage with a small male to female ratio but instead of compensating for the lack of male voices, the women powered through and vocally eclipsed everyone on stage, thereby destroying any chance at a balanced blend. I think it also reminds us of the importance of smiling as it not only opens the mouth for articulation and a brighter sound but it connects with the audience on an emotional level.

  24. Overall, the piece was very pretty, but lacking in depth. In the start of the song, the sopranos and altos have a very dark sound that I think should be a bit brighter for this particular song. This is because the song is very emotionally driven. It is all about love which in this song is something to smile about and to feel. The sound has a lot to do with that. In addition, everyone in the choir is very stiff and is not truly connected to the song. In this song, it is imperative that the singers connect their own experiences with the lyrics and carry that through the full song. I think they could’ve been WAY more emotionally involved which is something we should strive for.

  25. I’ve actually listened to this video before (sometimes I get emo and crave this song lol), and I have the same reaction every time.

    In my opinion, their overall tone is too light for the song. It could sound warmer, in my opinion. There were many spots where their vowels didn’t match, such as when they say “captured,” “wine,” and the long “love.” The weirdest spot vowel-wise, for me at least, was the “you looked at me” part. I think they tried to fix their vowel blend by singing “in a british accent,” but it sounded VERY BRITISH and was way too over the top. They tried fixing their vowel problem, but ended up sort of making it worse. The dynamics throughout were fine, but at the “i’ll die,” they just started screaming. There way no real transition between the two dynamics. There could be WAY more guy sound, and in some parts I could barely hear them. I understand that this is because there are very few men to sing those parts, but the sopranos and altos could have quieted down a little so as to not completely overpower the tenors and bases. There were only a few people who moved and looked like they had emotion, which I think would’ve helped the overall sound a lot. The song is emotional and the choir should reflect that.

    All of that being said, it’s not a bad performance, but it’s far from great. It’s good 🙂

  26. Now I’m no professional, I’m just someone who is a novice to how choirs should sound but to me a few things stood out. The male voices were non existent to me if I’m being honest. I actually didn’t realize that there were guys in the choir I just assumed it was an all girl choir because either the girls were too loud or the guys were too quiet. The tone was kind of not present in my eyes I didn’t feel like any feeling was there mainly because, in my opinion, most of the tone is set with the mix of male and female voices and those male voices just disappeared. Another thing is I found myself feeling like it was too loud; like it was more of a competition to see who was the loudest and who could be heard. So the blend, the tone, and the volume were just something’s I picked up on.

  27. Overall I really didn’t enjoy this performance of the piece. Within seconds of the parts starting harmony it did not sound good at all. It was clear that each singer had decided how to sing each vowel on their own rather than deciding as a group how to sing each vowel. As others mentioned above, theres noticeable scooping on several words/notes where they should’ve hit the note dead on in order to have a sound that blends together. They also seriously lacked emotion and it was evident in not only their body language but also in their voices. As someone listening I couldn’t connect to the song whatsoever which is saddening as the main goal of this song to paint a picture of the love you feel for someone else and give the audience a space to imagine the people that remind them of that type of love. I feel that this song is too mature a selection for the sound this choir produces, and is a piece that-obviously- very few, if any, of the members can personally connect to.

  28. First of all overall is ok, it wasn’t amazing but it wasn’t terrible. But there was absolutely no expression on anyone’s faces which made the performance feel incredibly unemotional in some areas. There were also a few voices that I heard from time to time not blending what so ever with anyone. The overall tone of the performance was also too strident,it was sadly obnoxiously bright in some areas. All of this combined with a few of the opening notes being a little wonky made for a decent performance, as I believe their dynamics were good, it was just warped a little through the audio. I also did enjoy their blend in some areas, overall not bad.

  29. It’s definitely not terrible but it’s not really good either. Right off the bat, there is little to no emotion in their faces or sound. The vowels on love and own sounded off at the beginning and me sounded pinchy. The guys did not sound united and strained a lot. The girls overpowered the guys for a majority of the song and there were a few female voices that stood outa lot. Tone-wise it sounds too bright and it feels really off with this song.

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