Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have found a treasure of a choral techniques book. I was browsing through ebay looking at 16th century music manuscripts that were being sold, and I stumbles upon a book titled "The Art of the Choral Conductor" written by Father William J Finn and published in 1939. It covers some wonderful topics like: Choral Musicianship, Accurate Pitch, Dramatic Voices, The Color Scheme, Changing voices and Men's Voices, Blend and Balance of Parts, Diction, Sightreading and more. I looked through some of the chapters and found that some of the chapters contain more information on some topics in the book than most choral technique books do today.

Eventhough the book is old, I find it a treasure to look into the type of training that choral conductors sought 60+ years ago. I also believe that the U.S. has a superb history of choral music and I think all conductors should know as much about U.S. choral music and the history of the conductors that come before us.

Here is a brief part of Father William J Finn's Biography I found online:

The best U.S. interpreter of Palestrina is an Irish-American named Father William J. Finn, former choirmaster of Manhattan's Church of St. Paul the Apostle, who has behind him nearly 50 years of high musical achievement.

To read more about Father William J Finn check out the following Link:,9171,791586,00.html

I'm glad I found this book from a 65 year old lady in West Virginia, and even though the book has only some pencil underlining it is in great shape. It also has a handwritten list of the chapters that the previous owner was tested on while in undergraduate school on the east coast.


1 comment:

John Y said...


If you are trying to follow trends in choral music performance, you might be interested in Blue Heron, based here in Boston. Their first CD -- focussing on DuFay -- came out about a year ago. I should know, I am on the board. A lot of buzz up here in Boston and they are starting to get out of town more frequently. Great reviews. I love it. Check out You can buy the CD there or at iTunes. Sample audio is available, etc. Best of luck in your choral directing career.
John Yannis