The Driscoll Alphabet for chorus is a set of twenty-six blocks of music, each corresponding to a letter in the English alphabet. It can be performed in two ways:
- The entire alphabet can be performed, A to Z, as written. The duration is about 15 minutes.
- Any of the letters can be performed, in any combination. They need not spell actual words, although this might be a good place to start. (At the first performance, VocalEssence spelled out “Voices of Quiet Joy”, a piece lasting about 7 minutes.)
Dynamics and tempo can be modified when creating each new configuration. Several letters can be performed by treble choir (for example, the word “Treble”); or, a full choir can choose to omit voices marked “Optional” for the purpose of contrast. If your choir is repeating the letter ‘N’, for instance, you might decide to use only the treble voices the first time, and all voices the second time.
Some of the letters are fairly challenging to perform, while others are accessible to school or community choruses, so ensembles of all kinds can use the alphabet to construct pieces that uniquely suit their tastes and abilities. You can spell the name of your choir, school, or town, or just experiment with different letters that appeal to you. It is my hope that this tool will empower singers to participate more actively in the process of creating music.