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Jewish Sacred Music for Two-Part Choir and/or Duet
by Michael Reid Winikoff

Two-part pieces can come in very handy in synagogues with small choirs, when it's a challenge to find singers for all four parts, or when easier music is called for.  Instead of having four separate parts to learn, there are only two.  Accompaniment, where present, is always optional.  One option that often (though not always!) works very well is to have Tenor on the top line and Alto on the bottom.  Often, two-part works may also be performed entirely or in part as solo duets.

A-donay Ro-i may be sung in this version with solo voices throughout, tutti throughout, or both (as indicated in the score).  May be performed with Soprano-Alto or Tenor-Bass voicing, or with soprano-tenor on the top, and alto-bass on the bottom (ST & AB).

Hashkiveinu may be done in this 2-part version with Soprano & Alto, or Tenor & Bass voicing, or with soprano-tenor on the top, and alto-bass on the bottom (ST & AB).

Havein Yakir Li is technically in three parts -- a solo duet against a choral unison ostinato (repeating pattern) -- and is somewhat challenging with its 5:8 meter and long, irregular phrases.  In the context of this excerpt, the duet may be sung by Tenor & Bass, though Soprano & Alto is perhaps more appropriate to the mood and meaning of the text. 

V'shamru has a four-part choir on the refrain, of which the tenor and bass parts may be omitted.  The duet "verse" passages may be done with Tenor & Alto voicing, as may the refrain when sung without the 2 bottom parts. 

Yism'chu is well-suited for a cantorial duet, with optional two-part choir joining in certain sections
as indicated.  Or the entire piece may be done tutti.  Works well with Soprano & Alto, Tenor & Bass, or Tenor & Alto voicing, or with soprano-tenor on the top, and alto-bass on the bottom
(ST & AB).

("The Lord My Shepherd Is")

Two-Part Version SA or TB
Two-Part Version SA or TB
(excerpt from V'al Y'dei Zichronot)
SA or TB

(Duet/Choir/Cong.) SA, TB or TA

(Solo Duet, Choir, or both) SA, TB or TA