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Voices, men , women, aging

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Les in Chorlton 05 Mar 09 - 12:38 PM
meself 05 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM
The Sandman 05 Mar 09 - 01:27 PM
Will Fly 05 Mar 09 - 02:18 PM
Stonebridge 05 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 05 Mar 09 - 03:14 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 05 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM
Don Firth 05 Mar 09 - 03:33 PM
Joe Offer 05 Mar 09 - 03:56 PM
Les in Chorlton 06 Mar 09 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,leeneia 06 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM
Acorn4 06 Mar 09 - 01:32 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 06 Mar 09 - 01:45 PM
Mr Happy 06 Mar 09 - 01:54 PM
Ron Davies 07 Mar 09 - 09:48 AM
Mr Happy 07 Mar 09 - 10:01 AM
rich-joy 08 Mar 09 - 05:59 AM
Acorn4 08 Mar 09 - 06:06 AM
VirginiaTam 08 Mar 09 - 06:22 AM
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Subject: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 12:38 PM

It's my general impression that women keep a good singing voice longer than men, all things being equal, if that means anything

They seem to keep their range, quality and volume longer than men of a similar age.

Is this generally true and if so why?

Cheers

L in C


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: meself
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 12:59 PM

My impression was just the opposite ...


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 01:27 PM

what about eunuchs such as myself .


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Will Fly
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 02:18 PM

In 30 years of singing, my voice has deepened by about 3 semitones. What was natural in, say, G some years ago is now easier to sing in E. The power and tone, oddly enough, has increased rather than decreased with age.


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Stonebridge
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 02:42 PM

In 40 years of adult singing (and 10 as a child) I haven't really noticed any significant difference. The way the voice changes (or degenerates) over time depends on how well you have looked after it over the years.
I agree with Will's observation that, in general, both for males and females, the top end of the range starts to go first, often with a corresponding sinking at the lower end. (That's the voice, by the way!)


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 03:14 PM

This gives a good explanation.


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 03:18 PM

Sorry, posted too soon.
It's my experience that men or women who have used their voices kindly, supported their voices, avoided smoking and other excesses, tend to have voices that last longer. I'm currently working with a 72-year old woman who has sung all her life, understands the principles of breathing, but has never really learned how to take care of her voice. I'm learning along with her!


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Don Firth
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 03:33 PM

I'm 77 years old (78 come June). So far, my voice seems to be holding up okay. It's deepened some (in much the same way as Will Fly's, above), which means that I've had to lower the keys of a few of the wider range songs I do. But it sounds a bit richer. Still, I have to pay a bit more attention to breath control than I used to, otherwise I can get a bit of wobble. I credit the voice lessons I took from Edna Bianchi and George Hotchkiss Street way back in the 1950s for teaching me how to take care of my voice and how to sing relaxed and without undue strain.

Here's an example of a guy who did it right. I don't sing this kind of thing, but this is what good voice technique can do. Russian basso Mark Reizen at age 79. He was still singing—opera, on stage—at the age of 90.

Some television interviewer asked soprano Beverly Sills why she was retiring, since her voice still sounded great. She commented that she felt her voice was not quite up to what it used to be, and she decided to retire from the stage before her audiences started noticing too. She said, "I'd rather have people say, 'Why did she retire?' than to have them say 'Why doesn't she retire?"

I'll keep right on singing until I either fall off my perch or somebody I trust tells me to shut up.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Mar 09 - 03:56 PM

My dad is 89, and his voice is still clear and strong. It's a pleasure to sing beside him.
I'm 60, and I've noticed a few minor issues with breath control - maybe because I smoked for 25 years (I quit 15 years ago).
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Les in Chorlton
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 10:38 AM

I guess we would need a larger data pool to get a decent view.

Another generalisation that may be related - the standard of floor singing from women is, in my experience, higher than that from men. On average and as a rough generalisation? Women tend to sing if they at least quite good or better (yes i know, what the hell does that mean??????) some men will get and sing when most of us would rather they didn't.

As these groups of floor singers age the blokes who are not so good get worse?

Just a thought

L in C


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 12:44 PM

Just last Sunday I read in the Sunday supplement (Parade Magazine) that when a voice gets creaky with age, it's because the folds are shrinking and letting leaks through. It is possible to inject something-or-other and reverse this condition.

That's all I know, so caveat emptor. Nonetheless, it would be worth looking into for someone who loves to sing.

My mother had a sweet, girlish voice into her 70's. Then acid reflux scarred her throat and made her sound old. Beware of acid reflux!


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Acorn4
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 01:32 PM

As Tom Jones remarked:- "Things drop as you get older!"


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 01:45 PM

'appens to uz all dun it?


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Mr Happy
Date: 06 Mar 09 - 01:54 PM

Never 'eard of it 'til now, however, don't like to remain ignorant so its herehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acid_reflux


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 09:48 AM

It depends on what you call a good singing voice.   It's just wonderful to hear about the guys who still sing well after age 70.   I think that's a clue, and having sung in choruses of all different sizes and sorts for well over 25 years, I'd say meself is closer to the mark; guys have it easier. My 94-year old stepfather still sings World War I songs and others delightfully.

Yet another unfair advantage we have, I suppose.

Female vibrato seems to widen with age; male voices seem to not have the problem--at least not as seriously--though our director has spoken to the basses about a "wine-cellar special--an amorphous low note. Or perhaps it's not as obvious. Garrison Keillor had a skit about various composers being hired as a church choir director. Including Messaien, who "believed in chance elements in music. But we'd already had that for years with the older sopranos".

Furthermore, as noted by other posters, voices tend to drop with age. With males, this, if anything, is an advantage, especially if you have a strong falsetto or keep your upper range other ways.   I've found that low D's (below the bass staff) and sometimes C's are much easier than ever.

With females, a sinking voice is really not an advantage. Our altos in my 180-voice group--though excellent-- are mainly much older than our sopranos.

There was a guy well over 70 in my current group-of just about 20 years--who was a stalwart member of the basses--far better than many younger members. No problem with Bach, Mozart, Verdi etc. His range was wonderful. We two were also the "consonant mafia".   The director would always call for more--and early-- consonants. He said he wanted the words in neon lights. And we'd deliver.

I'd imagine that for folk music, a "good singing voice" is something different than in classical music groups--since folk is much more forgiving about sliding, not singing with a straight tone, etc--especially if you're the only voice. And in folk you just pick the key best for you in a given song.


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Mr Happy
Date: 07 Mar 09 - 10:01 AM

Ron Davies,

Good point there;

'And in folk you just pick the key best for you in a given song. '

So many singers round my immediate area, in various places often seem to be singing & straining in most unsuitable keys for their voices [or the range of the song]

As most've these are accompanying themselves, on guitar usually, sometimes other insts., they somehow don't seem to have the nous that dots, guitar tab or other notationthey may've learned their song from really doesn't have to be carved in stone, immoveable!


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: rich-joy
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 05:59 AM

This is a copy of my March 7th post in the thread "Performance Ability, does it matter?", where only one person made a reply/comment (thanks, Kendall!)


"What about when you have "lost it" due to age??

I am thinking of a very keen local chap who absolutely LOVES the limelight, but can't accept that he no longer has what it takes to be in the least Entertaining - or even listenable! (e.g. he has a quiet warbling voice that can't stay in key and gives long rambling introductions in his quiet, heavily accented, voice) His songs are just not recognizable! (and nigh-on impossible to sing along with).

If asked to do just one, or maybe two items, he'll always attempt to do more - sometimes very cunningly!

Some of the audience consider he should always be given a go, purely as a mark of respect for his age (he's over 80), whereas many others find it a very painful experience and if they could get up and go to the Bar without being too obvious, they would!!!

He is the bane of the MC's too!

Any thoughts?!"


I am in my 50s and currently battling LPR (a type of acid reflux), due to my Heart medications and I worry that by the time I get off them (IF?), my Singing Voice will be wrecked :~(

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: Acorn4
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 06:06 AM

Rich-Joy,

We had a similar situation with a fiddler who was in his eighties and always a semitone or so out. That top note on Danny Boy was absolutely unbearable. The problem was that people would always applaud because of his age, and he thought it was because of his astounding ability on the fiddle.

I think the vast majority of people will respect senior performers, and on balance I would favour letting them have their moment of "glory".


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Subject: RE: Voices, men , women, aging
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 08 Mar 09 - 06:22 AM

The thyroid cartilage is what protects the vocal cords. SNIP

Did you know that rheumatoid arthritis can limit the motion of the cricoarylenoid joint, leading to hoarseness because the vocal cord cannot move well. SNIP

Flipping heck. 2 strikes against me then. Autoimmune hypothyroid disease and rheumatoid arthritis. But hey, I wanted deeper grittier voice. So maybe this is a good thing. So long as I can maintain control of notes.

Ah well! C'est la voix!


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