How to Arrange a Choir

By Kimberly Turtenwald ; Updated September 15, 2017
Arranging a choir by voice section creates a unified, yet distinct sound.

One of the duties of a choir director is to decide how to arrange the singers for the best sound. He must take into account the type of music the choir performs, as well as the blend he is looking for. Some choir directors prefer to organize singers by voice, while others attempt to mix things up. However, according to choir director Harold Rosenbaum, mixed voice arrangements have more disadvantages than advantages and thus, arranging singers by voice is preferred.

Group the choir members by voice: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. You can allow each singer to choose her voice or you can audition the members and select their voice for them.

Count the total number of members in your choir. Plan to have one row for each 12 singers in your group. The farther apart your choir members are, the less unified they will be.

Organize the singers with the basses on the left from your viewpoint. Move to the right, positioning the tenors next, followed by the altos and finally, the sopranos. If your rows consist of 12 members, place three of each voice in each row if possible.

Place your stronger singers in the back because their voices will carry more easily. Those with weaker voices should be closer to the audience.

Arrange the choir members by height as much as possible without changing the voice-strength positioning too much. This is not as important if you use risers for your choir.

Tip

Listen to your choir once the members are arranged. Make alterations to improve the sound if necessary.

Warning

Avoid placing someone with a strong voice in close proximity to a microphone because his voice will overtake the entire choir.

About the Author

Kimberly Turtenwald began writing professionally in 2000. She has written content for various websites, including Lights 2 You, Online Consultation, Corpus Personal Injury and more. Turtenwald studied editing and publishing at Wisconsin Lutheran College.