Antiphonal music means the intent of the composer is for the chorus (and/or instrumentation) to be split in left and right halves of equal strength and composition.
Since higher frequencies are easier to locate, spatially, than lower ones, this typically means that, when splitting up a chorus, the left and right, or first and second, sopranos are placed furthest apart. The two alto sections are usually the next furthest apart, then the tenors, and finally the basses.
Antiphony can be thrilling to listen to when properly used by a composer and properly performed. It's probably the single best argument favoring stereo over monaural recordings.
Copyright (C) 2000 James Craig Burley
Last modified on 2000-06-14.