A choir is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written for such an ensemble to perform. Choirs may perform music from the classical music repertoire, which spans from the medieval era to the present, or popular music repertoire. Most choirs are led by a conductor, who leads the performances with face gestures. A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a chorus; the former term is often applied to groups affiliated with a church and the second to groups that perform in theatres or concert halls, but this distinction is far from rigid. Choirs may sing without instrumental accompaniment, with the accompaniment of a piano or pipe organ, with a small ensemble, or with a full orchestra of 70 to 100 musicians; the term "Choir" has the secondary definition of a subset of an ensemble. In typical 18th- to 21st-century oratorios and masses, chorus or choir is understood to imply more than one singer per part, in contrast to the quartet of soloists featured in these works.
Choirs are led by a conductor or choirmaster. Most choirs consist of four sections intended to sing in four part harmony, but there is no limit to the number of possible parts as long as there is a singer available to sing the part: Thomas Tallis wrote a 40-part motet entitled Spem in alium, for eight choirs of five parts each. Other than four, the most common number of parts are three, five and eight. Choirs can sing without instrumental accompaniment. Singing without accompaniment is called a cappella singing. Accompanying instruments vary from only one instrument to a full orchestra of 70 to 100 musicians. Many choirs perform in many locations such as a church, opera house, or school hall. In some cases choirs join up to become one "mass" choir. In this case they provide a series of songs or musical works to celebrate and provide entertainment to others. Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as a choral concert, by way of visible gestures with the hands, arms and head.
The primary duties of the conductor or choirmaster are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble. The conductor or choral director stands on a raised platform and he or she may or may not use a baton. In the 2010s, most conductors do not play an instrument when conducting, although in earlier periods of classical music history, leading an ensemble while playing an instrument was common. In Baroque music from the 1600s to the 1750s, conductors performing in the 2010s may lead an ensemble while playing a harpsichord or the violin. Conducting while playing a piano may be done with musical theatre pit orchestras. Communication is non-verbal during a performance. However, in rehearsals, the conductor will give verbal instructions to the ensemble, since they also serve as an artistic director who crafts the ensemble's interpretation of the music. Conductors act as guides to the choirs they conduct, they choose the works to be performed and study their scores, to which they may make certain adjustments, work out their interpretation, relay their vision to the singers.
Choral conductors may have to conduct instrumental ensembles such as orchestras if the choir is singing a piece for choir and orchestra. They may attend to organizational matters, such as scheduling rehearsals, planning a concert season, hearing auditions, promoting their ensemble in the media. Eastern Orthodox churches, some American Protestant groups, traditional synagogues do not use instruments. In churches of the Western Rite the accompanying instrument is the organ, although in colonial America, the Moravian Church used groups of strings and winds. Many churches which use a contemporary worship format use a small amplified band to accompany the singing, Roman Catholic Churches may use, at their discretion, additional orchestral accompaniment. In addition to leading of singing in which the congregation participates, such as hymns and service music, some church choirs sing full liturgies, including propers. Chief among these are the Roman Catholic churches. Mixed choirs; this is the most common type consisting of soprano, alto and bass voices abbreviate
Sweden the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian Nordic country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and north and Finland to the east, is connected to Denmark in the southwest by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund, a strait at the Swedish-Danish border. At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the largest country in Northern Europe, the third-largest country in the European Union and the fifth largest country in Europe by area. Sweden has a total population of 10.2 million. It has a low population density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre; the highest concentration is in the southern half of the country. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats and Swedes and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is forested. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia; the climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, the sovereign state of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture and languages; this led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and the Swedish Empire was formed; this became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809.
The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs; the union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 moved towards cooperation with NATO. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum, it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens, it has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality and human development.
The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power. Before Sweden's imperial expansion, Early Modern English used Swedeland. Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod, which meant "people of the Swedes"; this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige means "realm of the Swedes", excluding the Geats in Götaland. Variations of the name Sweden are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and Norwegian using Sverige, Faroese Svøríki, Icelandic Svíþjóð, the more notable exception of some Finnic languages where Ruotsi and Rootsi are used, names considered as referring to the people from the coastal areas of Roslagen, who were known as the Rus', through them etymologically related to the English name for Russia; the etymology of Swedes, thus Sweden, is not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", referring to one's own Germanic tribe. Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød oscillation, a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
This period was characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology. Sweden is first described in a written source in Germania by Tacitus in 98 AD. In Germania 44 and 45 he mentions the Swedes as a powerful tribe with ships that had a prow at each end. Which kings ruled these Suiones is unknown, but Norse mythology presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC; as for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts of male names, demonstrating th