The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128145   Message #2865960
Posted By: Charmion
17-Mar-10 - 08:50 AM
Thread Name: Finger in Ear - what's all that about?
Subject: RE: Finger in Ear - what's all that about?
Your mileage may vary -- good advice to anyone wishing to criticize another's singing technique.

The ability to identify and maintain within a specific pitch range ("stay on pitch") while singing unaccompanied is highly influenced by muscle tension in the throat, mouth and torso, and people who have been coached effectively do it much better than those who have not.

In my opinion, singers focus far too much on repertoire -- learning the words and how to present the song -- and not nearly enough on vocal production, i.e., learning how to control their bodies to produce both excellent and exciting sound and clearly articulated words. The physical skills required for good vocal production are difficult to learn because you have to do so many things at once: what to sing now, what comes next, and managing the muscle tension and air supply to complete the line, the stanza, and the song.

Oh, yes -- and you have to do it all without letting the audience see any stress; it has to look perfectly effortless so your performance doesn't distract the listeners from the song. Because it's all about the song.

I am always angry when I hear folkies distinguish between singers and musicians. The singer's instrument is his or her voice, and singing well is not "natural"; it's a learned skill that requires every bit as much effort and practice as, say, the fiddle or the harp.