song keys

Finding the Right Key for Small Church Worship

Andy Chamberlain says don’t sing above top “D.”

I can’t help but notice how many worship song album versions aren’t very suitable for small churches. So many songs are either too rangy for small congregations with octave leaps that leave either the men or the women stranded. Or when original album keys are too high I’ve heard so many worship leaders change a song into a key that works for their own voice but is still equally unsingable for the majority of the congregation. So here are some tips that may help make those anthemic songs a little more singable.

When trying to decide a good congregational key many people say don’t sing notes above a top D but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Finding the right key is much more than purely locating the song’s ultimate high and low notes, it’s fundamentally more to do with finding where the power of the song lies and setting the key so that those power notes can be sung more powerfully by more of the people, more of the time.

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