Last summer I was helping my organic farmer friends at the Rockford Farmer’s Market when we needed more $1 bills for the cash box. I jogged over to the bank and exchanged three twenty dollar bills for sixty ones. On my way back I was struck by the fact that the same amount of money can feel so different in your hand – three piece of paper versus a one-inch stack.
At the beginning of the school year, when I ask my choir to sing fortissimo, they give me a stack of one hundred $1 bills. Rich, substantial, powerful. And when they decrescendo to pianissimo, they simply take away ninety-nine of the bills. Weak, unsupported, lifeless.
Now I ask them to keep the fortissimo as twenty singles, but to make the pianissimo a $100 bill. The stack has less height (volume) but retains the same fiscal power (vocal energy). The end result is a vital, engaged sound across the dynamic spectrum.
Photo by Doctor Wonder under Creative Commons License