Choir direction

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chorleitung is the guide of a choir , especially the conducting during rehearsals and performances . It usually includes additional tasks that benefit the musical work, e.g. B. the vocal and musical training of the choir singers , the selection of the pieces to be performed, the organization of concerts and other things. If the educational aspect of choral conducting is to be emphasized, it is also referred to as choral education .


Choirs in the current sense, that is, vocal groups with several singers per voice, have not existed much longer than since 1700. For example, the number of members of the choir available to Johann Sebastian Bach is still controversial - some scholars believe that this consisted in many cases of a soloist quartet. In the even earlier art music of the Renaissance and Early Baroque, it is assumed that it was usually performed with soloists, so it does not represent “ choral music ” in today's sense.

Nevertheless, choral music was already being made in the Middle Ages , namely in the monastic responsory chants. The cantor , who was singing to the other monks himself, had to indicate the course of the chant by hand. The written record for such "hints" led to the forerunner of our musical notation, the neumes .

In vocal or mixed ensembles in the Renaissance, Baroque and Viennese Classic periods, the person in charge usually played along with them, analogous to the role of the conductor in those times. The ensembles known as “choirs” existed mainly in the context of public-church institutions (e.g. Latin schools) and were led by church musicians in addition to their other obligations; The rehearsals were often taken over by suitable choir members, the so-called prefects .

With the development of choirs towards numerous and non-professional choirs at the beginning of the 19th century , the importance of the specialized choir director increased. The development culminated in the middle of the 20th century in a professional job description with specially developed literature (e.g. Kurt Thomas : "Textbook of Choir Direction", 3 volumes; Martin Behrmann: "Choir Direction") and corresponding training opportunities at colleges and universities.


The tasks of choir management can be broken down into several sub-areas, which, however, do not necessarily have to be carried out by one and the same person and are weighted differently depending on the type and ambitions of the choir.


Today, choir and ensemble management is traditionally one of the main subjects of music studies for professional church and school musicians. However, at some music colleges you can also study choral conducting as a sole subject; this is a rarity due to the very limited job prospects. In addition to the actual choral conducting itself (which also includes the subjects of singing , voice training, accompaniment , score playing and music theory ), mastering as many instruments as possible (especially orchestral instruments) and knowledge of composition can be of practical advantage.

In the lay sector, various training paths are offered in order to qualify as a choir director as a part-time job or on a voluntary basis, without having to study (full-time) at a music college (to become an A choir director). Outside the church, state music councils often offer D (choir helpers) and C choir director training at state level, the latter usually lasting two years. Choir associations also offer courses. In addition, there are further qualification options at the federal level, such as the two-year courses in Choir Conducting B or Jazz and Pop Choir Conducting Level B at the Federal Academy for Cultural Education in Wolfenbüttel.

Budding church musicians offer churches D- and C-church musician-courses, which usually include also Ensemble governance issues, such as blowers choral conducting and organ playing.

Employment models

Specially trained choirmasters can only be employed to lead a choir; however, this is the exception. The most common case in Germany is the direction of church choirs and choirs by the cantor or church musician , who, in addition to other tasks within a parish, is also responsible for the direction of choirs or instrumental ensembles. The choir conducting activity by school musicians is also widespread, and this often goes beyond the school framework.

The function of a choir director can in principle also be carried out on a freelance basis: It is not uncommon for a choir director to be under contract with several ensembles or choirs and for his income to be made up of the income from various choir directing, music lessons and other activities. In such a constellation in laypersons, it is critical that the performances of several choirs regularly overlap, especially in the Advent and early summer periods, as these take place primarily on weekends. In the professional music business with correspondingly high artistic demands (similar to renowned conductors or vocal soloists), the fees are also correspondingly high in order to be able to secure a living with relatively few performances.

The largest proportion of choir directors in Germany, however, are made up of part-time and in some cases also voluntary choir directors who exercise this function as a “hobby” alongside their main job.


Many traditional choral societies, church choirs and choirs have concerns about young talent. There are many reasons. One reason is certainly the increasing number of leisure activities for adolescents and young people. Researchers attribute the limited attractiveness of choirs among younger people to the general reduction in singing activities in everyday life. Other reasons can be seen in the general aging of our society and the lack of youth work (children's choirs) in recent decades.

But even among the choir directors, there is some discrepancy: While professional is - embossed especially among artistic point - choirmaster complain about the poor general situation, currently there is a huge demand for qualified choral conductors in addition to office , especially in the field of popular music .

Terms for choir directors

For the position of the choir director, no completely uniform designation has emerged. In addition to the widespread designation choirmaster There are two variants - can be found - especially historically choir dirigent or choirmaster . The term Kapellmeister is also widespread, especially when the position unites the management of vocal and instrumental ensembles in one person.

The terms Chorregent , Regens Chori are also used for the choirmaster of Catholic choirs , in Austria and within the language area of ​​the former Danube Monarchy Austria-Hungary also Regenschori is written ( regens participle from Latin regere , "to lead"; chori genitive from Latin chorus , " Choir"). Choir leaders at cathedrals often have the title of cathedral music director .

Choir directors of Protestant church choirs often have the title of cantor or church music director .

In many larger choirs (especially boys' choirs ), a choir prefect is an assistant to the choir director, who in many places also performs duties as assistant choir director.

See also

Portal: Choral Music  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the topic of choral music


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Froher Schall on , accessed on November 18, 2018
  2.  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. accessed in August 2008@1@ 2Template: Dead Link /