Music for December 2019 - Handel: Messiah

Cyberbass is an excellent training resource for this piece. You can change the speed of playback and can also set up a "loop" to repeat tricky sections!

John Fletcher also has the Messiah. It can be accessed through the FREE version of JF, but you will still need to get registered with his website here.

Music for our Family Christmas Carol Concert 2019
The John Fletcher site has rehearsal aids for all of the Carols for Choirs series and for all of the carols we will be doing in the Christmas 2019 concert.
However, these can only be accessed through Paid For subscription. Contact me if you wish to join our subscription group (£3/year).
I have also added in the list below links to YouTube versions where I have found good versions.

The carols we will be doing in the 2019 concert include:

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day (Gardner version, NOT CC2) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)

My Lord has come (Will Todd, in CC5) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)

What sweeter music (John Rutter) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)

Wassail Carol (William Mathias) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)

In dulci jubilo (arr Pearsall, in CC1) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)

Ding dong! Merrily on high (arr David Willcocks, in CC2) - Available in John Fletcher (PAID FOR)
and on YouTube here

Rehearsal Aids - John Fletcher & Cyberbass - Please Read

Cyberbass can be accessed freely by anyone without any registration process. I have recently looked again at Cyberbass, and I think its usability has improved dramatically in the last year or so since I last tried to use it.  In particular it allows different speeds of playback, and also allows you to jump back or forwards by 3 or 10 seconds, and to set up repeating loops. You may need to scroll down the page slightly to find the control panel for all the playback features.

John Fletcher
Some pieces of music are available to people who register with John Fletcher for a basic, FREE subscription. Others will require you to be have a PAID subscription. I have set up a paid subscription group - if you wish to join (£3 for a year), please register with John Fletcher for a free membership, then contact me, and I can add you to the list of paid people.  Then remember to pay me £3!

Advice on playing Midi files

How to play Midi files:

On most PC set ups, you simply need to double click on the Midi file for it to start playing, using whichever is your PC's default programme (eg Media Player or Quicktime).  However, if you want to see the score and manipulate it by emphasising one part then you will need to use a different type of programme.  My current favourite freeware Windows programme is VanBasco's Karaoke Player which can be downloaded from this site.  It is elderly and probably unsupported, but runs perfectly well under Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Another is MidiPlay, which is also freeware and can be downloaded and run from this site. Since it involves downloading and running an executable file, you might want to be cautious about using it - but it seems innocent enough to me and hasn't caused any problems with my PC. I would really appreciate feedback and advice from anyone with experience in this area - please get back to me.  Thanks.


Playing Midi Files on a Mac computer:

Oddly enough, playing Midi files on a Mac is not as straightforward as you might expect. The latest versions of Apple's QuickTime do not play Midi files, for some reason best known to Apple. However, an earlier version (QuickTime Player 7) works fine, and is still supported by Apple.  In addition, the standard Safari browser does not open files, so you will need to use an alternative browser - Mozilla Firefox.

So try the following approach in order to be able to play midi files:

  1. Go to the Mozilla website here and download and install Firefox. You can choose to make Firefox your default browser if you wish, or keep your existing browser as the default.
  2. You will then need to install Apple's QuickTime Player 7, even though you may already have a later version of QuickTime.  Go to this website to download and install the programme.

Now you should use Firefox to navigate to the LearnChoralMusic page from the links given on this page.  When you click on the appropriate Midi file, it should open and play.

Please try this and let me know how you get on. Thanks. 

Steve Weighell -


Interesting iPhone / iPad App for Singing Practice...

I have been experimenting with an App for iPhone / iPad (not yet available on Android) called "Learn My Part".  This allows you to import a midi file, and then play it back.  It allows you to change the emphasis on different parts, and also to change the speeds.  I believe the App costs around £3, and it seems to work very well.  Take a look at this video on YouTube which demonstrates the App pretty well.

Recorded Music from the BBC

We sometimes are able to provide music recorded from broadcasts by BBC Radio 3.  We have received BBC's permisssion to use these recordings to assist in the choir's preparation for the concert, provided that we do not make them available to the wider public.
The music can be played by using the player controls.  Alternatively, this music can be downloaded to your PC as zip files. Click on the links and save the files to a location on your PC, then use a suitable programme to unzip the music.

For information, here is the question that was asked of the BBC, and the subsequent email from David Stuart of the BBC on 1st December 2009:

Question from Steve Weighell of CPC to BBC:
"Can I record a radio programme extract and pass it onto friends in my amateur choir to help in practicing a piece of music? Does it make any difference if the recording has been taken directly off-air, or from a podcast, or recording of a streamed iPlayer programme? It would be copied onto a CD or as mp3 file onto a memory stick for private use."

Email from BBC, dated 1st December 2009:
Dear Mr Weighell
Thank you for your email to BBC Information regarding the use of recordings
of BBC programmes in your choir.
The BBC would have no objection to this personal use providing the
recordings are not posted on the internet or broadcast in the public domain
in any way. 
Thank you again for taking the time to contact us with your request.

Yours Sincerely
David Stuart
BBC Information