Have I ever explained my theory as to why Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble needs to be played in D?
Here’s a little secret about females when they sing – a lot of times with praise songs, when it’s too high, they just go an octave lower. A lot of girls do this. Some guys do it to, like Eric Mao, who, when he sings, emits an unrecognizable low-frequency rumble. With guys it usually sounds terrible. But, the way girls’ ranges are, they can sing low comfortably. That’s why all the female singers you hear on the radio sing in a range much lower than what the guy singers do. They can do it comfortably and it sounds good.
When you sing it in D, you force the guys to go high, and that increases energy. Yeah, some guys wuss out and sing lower, but these same guys would be singing low anyway, so, it doesn’t really matter. But if they do go lower, since it’s a higher range (when played in D), it sounds better. And there’s more energy. For most guys, though, you have to belt out to hit that F#, and a lot of the energy comes from that.
The critical thing though is the female vocals. When I’ve led this song, I’ve instructed the girls not to sing the same note the guys are. They should sing either an octave lower (which makes it sound like the same notes the guys are singing), or about 6 steps lower, ie. they’re singing the high harmony. Does this make any sense? So, they’re singing lower than the guys, but because of their tone, it makes it sound like they’re singing a third above the guys.
Here’s another secret. Any time you add a high harmony, it increases energy. Like with Matt Redman’s Everything That Has Breath, when they go to the voices only part, this new harmony, higher than the parts that have been going on before, kicks in. More energy.
Another law is that girls should never sing a high harmony (sing above the melody), and guys should never sing a low harmony (below the melody). There are exceptions, but this is my strong strong opinion. Otherwise it spreads out the vocals across a too large range.
The beauty of Did You Feel… is that because of its unique range, the girls can an octave lower comfortably, and some can sing the high harmony by singing a third above the melody that the other girls are singing an octave lower, if that makes any sense. So it sounds like they’re singing a high harmony. And, it’s in a range where the girls singing the high harmony have to use a bit of energy. So guys are singing with energy, girls are singing with energy. And you have a high harmony – listen to the original Delirious? version – there’s a high harmony at the chorus. But no fertile man I know can sing that high (an A). Thus, you need to use girls, and singing it in D makes this technique where the girls sing an octave lower work better.
If you go down to C, either the girls are singing way high, which sounds terrible, or they’re singing slightly lower than what would be comfortable while still maintaining energy. And if you sing it in A it just sounds terrible. It will sound OK, but you miss out on the cool energy trick that the female vocals could provide. The song’s a good song, so it will never be terrible, except at CFC, but you maximize energy at D.
So, a big key is that you have to force the females to sing down an octave. And in D, you guarantee this.
I could talk more about it, but that’s the jist. Basically what I’m saying is that when I told Charles why it needs to be sung in D, I wasn’t just being flippant. I seriously analyzed it. And whatever, it’s just my opinion. But, it’s been done many times in D, and, it works, so at the very least you can’t say it’s impossible in D.