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a new thought on singing

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GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 10 - 12:11 PM
MMario 20 Oct 10 - 12:17 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 12:45 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 20 Oct 10 - 12:59 PM
Suegorgeous 20 Oct 10 - 01:23 PM
Suegorgeous 20 Oct 10 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 10 - 01:53 PM
Amos 20 Oct 10 - 01:56 PM
Don Firth 20 Oct 10 - 02:41 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 02:55 PM
Don Firth 20 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM
foggers 20 Oct 10 - 04:59 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 05:00 PM
Crowhugger 20 Oct 10 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Oct 10 - 05:13 PM
Joybell 20 Oct 10 - 05:15 PM
GUEST,Young Buchan - cookieless 20 Oct 10 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,DrWord 20 Oct 10 - 07:52 PM
Genie 21 Oct 10 - 12:11 AM
Valmai Goodyear 21 Oct 10 - 02:19 AM
Slag 21 Oct 10 - 03:43 AM
Valmai Goodyear 21 Oct 10 - 04:12 AM
KirstenE 21 Oct 10 - 05:29 AM
JHW 21 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 21 Oct 10 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Oct 10 - 10:38 AM
Don Firth 21 Oct 10 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Oct 10 - 05:31 PM
Crowhugger 21 Oct 10 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Oct 10 - 11:33 AM
Crowhugger 22 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 10 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 22 Oct 10 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 22 Oct 10 - 01:53 PM
Slag 22 Oct 10 - 09:08 PM
Genie 22 Oct 10 - 10:39 PM
GUEST,leeneia 23 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM
Crowhugger 23 Oct 10 - 07:14 PM
Art Thieme 24 Oct 10 - 12:12 AM
Art Thieme 24 Oct 10 - 12:16 AM
Crowhugger 24 Oct 10 - 01:53 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Oct 10 - 01:59 AM
Jim Carroll 24 Oct 10 - 03:46 AM
Crowhugger 24 Oct 10 - 04:04 PM
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Subject: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:11 PM

I've just been to Milwaukee to marry off a niece. (Mission accomplished.)

While there, the DH and I went to hear his sister sing in Mozart's Requiem Mass. So we are not talking about an amateur here.

At one point during our visit she mentioned that her choral director tells people to 'sing the way they talk.' Well, I had never heard anything like that before! Sing the way I talk?

I've been trying it, and bedad, I think it's good advice.

Try it, see what you think, and report back.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: MMario
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:17 PM

Sing the way you talk in what manner? phrasing? accentted sylables? stree?


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:45 PM

Is this what you're talking about, Leeneia?
Clicky...


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 12:59 PM

I had a voice teacher who said, "Singing is speech on a pitch". I didn't believe her. I spend lots of hours in vocal therapy before I realized that basically she was speaking truth!


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 01:23 PM

It's true, it works. A lot of voice teachers suggest this, folk or otherwise. At a masterclass this summer, the tutor got me to speak aloud the whole song before I sang it, and it made a huge difference to my projection and expression.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 01:25 PM

Jim Carroll often has things to say on this - where are you, Jim?


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 01:53 PM

Hi, Suegorgeous. I'm pleased to hear that a lot of voice teachers suggest this. Apparently I missed out.

The next time I sing a whole song I'm going to try that idea of reading it aloud first.

I have been picking up stray pieces of printed matter, reading the words, then singing them while holding my mouth, throat, etc in the same position they were in while reading. It seems pleasant and natural.

Of course, I do more singing than most people of today, I think.

Crowhugger, thanks for the link. But that thread is much too abstract for me.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Amos
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 01:56 PM

But sing the way you talk when you really mean what you are saying!! Viva la difference.


A


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 02:41 PM

American Metropolitan Opera tenor Jan Peerce said that one of his voice teachers insisted that when he was learning a new song or aria, he memorize it as a poem--without the music--and recite it as a poem. Once he could to that, then and only then add the music to it. Peerce said he thought this was a nutty idea, but he did as he was told, and found that his interpretation and delivery of songs he did this with was much better.

A voice teacher I took some lessons from had me bring my guitar to lessons, and after working on vocal exercises and such, he'd ask me to sing whatever I was currently working on. He would frequently stop me in mid-song and say, "Okay, what does that line mean?" He knew perfectly well, but he wanted me to explain it to make sure that I knew what it meant and wasn't just singing the song by rote. He also recommended the "learn and recite as a poem" approach to learning songs.

One teacher I had tried to squeeze me into a specific category?bass-baritone, which I am?but singing even fairly easy art songs in the strict bass-baritone range was difficult for me because they put me into a range that was uncomfortably high for me. The second teacher, the one who had me sing the songs I really wanted to work on (folk songs, ballads) thought that folk songs were a particularly good idea for voice students because they were not locked into pre-set keys like most classical songs and arias are, you could put them into keys that were well within your comfortable?and best sounding?vocal range.

Indeed. Sing the way you talk.

Don Firth


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Subject: A not-so-new thought on singing?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 02:55 PM

LOL, Leeneia, no kidding! I find the whole notion entirely abstract, perhaps because I learned to sing at the same time I learned to talk.

Would someone explain: What is singing if it's *not* melodic talking? That may sound flippant but it's an honest question--one that jumps into my mind every time I read about this "new" way to sing. Is it use of the voice as another instrument?

The speech-singing phenomenon always sounds to me like they're talking about a combination of things, which are not new at all but have been done for decades in barbershop and for centuries in songs where the story is not subjugated to the music.

BTW, that thing of speaking through the lyrics before singing is exactly how my quartet goes about choosing how to bring a song to life, because we learned from others (barbershoppers) who've been doing it for ages.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM

Actually, I think this whole business of "sing the way you talk" and "speech-level singing" is very old news.

The vast majority of singers in almost all genres do that as a matter of course. Listen to pop singers, say "crooners" like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, et al., and female singers like Patty Page, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, and so on, and it's obvious that they sing very much in the vicinity of their normal speaking range.

Most operatic and art singers' vocal types are predetermined by their normal speaking range. Basses always have quite deep speaking voices, most baritones what we consider the most common male voice (Crosby, Sinatra, Martin, all baritones), tenors lighter voices. Same with contraltos, mezzo-sopranos, sopranos. Then, they usually go to work developing their upper registers, so they can hit what are sometimes referred to as "the money notes." Like the famous tenor "high C." Lots of tenors poop out at around Bb. Those who can do a solid high C get lead roles in operas like Il Trovatore and Daughter of the Regiment. But this takes a helluva lot of work!

The best known singers in the folk genre who have cultivated voices are Richard Dyer-Bennet, who had some five years of classical voice lessons and can do a pretty good job on art songs and lieder as well as many folk songs?and Joan Baez, who has a classical sounding soprano. I don't think she actually studied voice formally, but in her autobiography she mentions doing a lot of singing in her high school choir, where usually the choir director will instruct the kids in good breath control, vocal placement, and such.

But?just opening your mouth and singing in your most comfortable range is as old as the hills.

Don Firth

P. S. Just take a good breath, keep your voice relaxed, don't strain, and don't try to make your voice do something it doesn't want to do.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: foggers
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 04:59 PM

Aye - it may not be a new idea but it certainly is very good advice indeed!

My OH is having singing lessons and changing teachers has done wonders for his expressive ability as his new teacher uses a lot of these ideas, whereas the previous one was more focused on the purely technical aspects of singing, thus rendering it rather formal and devoid of feeling.

Sing like you speak - indeed, speak like you sing!


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Subject: A not-so-new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:00 PM

I think you're largely right Don, (self-evident from my posts I suppose), and that the so-called new way to sing is in fact a less-than-honest attempt to brand it for the purpose of marketing voice lessons.

I'd only note that although a good general guide, sometimes the speaking range is misleading as to one's singing range.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:01 PM

BTW, great thread, Leeneia.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:13 PM

"...Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, et al., and female singers like Patty Page, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney"

Let us keep in mind that those are old timers. Anybody listening to the media today is not going to hear them.

Most singers I hear on the media today are working way too hard. They shriek, grate, whine, belt or sound strangled. (I only hear them in stores, so I can't name their names.)

In the church choir, there were many newcomers who did the same things. One year the tenors absolutely refused to do anything but belt. It was awful. They were age 25-40, and that was their idea of how famous singers sing.

I think the concept of 'talk the way you sing' is not as well known as it should be. If it were better known, more people would be enjoying singing.
=========
Thanks, Crowhugger.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Joybell
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 05:15 PM

I sang at the same time I learned to talk too, Crowhugger. I agree with you.
I couldn't learn a song without the music because the two are intertwined. It looks as though singing uses a different part of the brain to spoken words. Work with people who have had strokes seems to suggest that.
On the original advice -- We were told to sing as we would speak, in the 1950s, by school teachers. They explained that they meant phrasing.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,Young Buchan - cookieless
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 06:45 PM

Somewhere there exists a recording ( I think by Peter Kennedy, althyough I'm open to correction ) of Jeannie Robertson talking about The Four Marys, and saying that some of the 'auld folk' rather than singing it used to 'say it - say it like a poetry'. He asked her to do the same and she apparently found it quite difficult, though she knew the song inside out. But the style she used to do it was very florid and over-intonated, quite unlike the way in which she sang it.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 20 Oct 10 - 07:52 PM

thanx 4 the thread, leeneia. good stuff

dennis


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Genie
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 12:11 AM

The idea that singing is "talking with a melody" is not new, and I think it applies well to many types of singing. But there are other types of singing/songs wherein I'd say the focus is more on using the human voice as another orchestral instrument, where the emphasis is on the tones and sounds themselves, rather than on the phrasing, etc., that seems natural for speaking.

For example, in many choral pieces the notation as to when to breathe or not breathe does not fit well with where you would normally pause in speech, though it may enhance the 'musicality' of the piece.

My own strong preference is for phrasing, breathing, vowel formation, etc., that correspond well to the way you'd speak a poem. But maybe that's because I'm a folkie, not an opera singer.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 02:19 AM

It's a very useful way of saying a tongue-twister without stumbling. Say it as if it had meaning and the repetetive syllables look after themselves. Sound is secondary to meaning.

Could I suggest that it's also true when you're playing a tune? A melody needs to be played as if the phrases have individual meaning; this goes beyond conveying a general mood into implying that each phrase is a sentence or a comment. It's very easy, particularly when playing fast sections with a lot of notes of the same length, to produce something that sounds like a list or machinery working rather than a sentence.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Slag
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 03:43 AM

Parlando?


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Valmai Goodyear
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 04:12 AM

1. Speak your text as if it had meaning.
2. Sing it as you would speak it.
3. Play a melody as if it was a text with meaning.

Valmai (Lewes)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: KirstenE
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:29 AM

I would advise - Singing in your own accent to find your own voice.
There is nothing worse, here in Scotland, than hearing so many people singing (usually pop and rock) in American accents that are not their own (they've been doing it for years), and it's now creeping into the folk world here too with 'R''s being softened beyond any recognition of our dialects, and transatlantic twangs making an appearance here and there.
STOP IT, PLEASE!!!!


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: JHW
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 07:46 AM

I've always tried to sing lyrics with the grouping and stress that they would have if plain text. Further still the meaning of speech can vary completely with the way the emphasis is placed so you need to decide what the songwriter intended to convey or alternatively make your own decision as a stage actor on how to present the words. You might have to shunt the notes of the melody about but imho that is vastly preferable to gabbling forced words to fit the wrong rhythm for their natural sense.

I wrote this on my website several years ago:-
'I am pedantic about emphasis and placing of words for intelligibility and nuances of meaning (as I see them intended). The timing, perhaps even the melody may give way to the story telling. Unaccompanied songs have that free flexibility but the guitar can bend too. I am a singer with a guitar, not a guitarist who sings.'


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 08:00 AM

KirstenE, it works both ways- we Merkans often try to add a "wee bit o' brogue" when singing Scots or Irish songs. We shouldn't.

(Why do I think of young Sandy Paton at this precise moment? He never lived it down... *BG*)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:38 AM

Hi, Valmai. I agree with your idea about playing an instrument as if the melody has meaning. I have been concentrating on that for about a year now (esp. at the piano) and it has added to the enjoyment of playing.
==============
There are two aspects of 'sing the way you talk.' The aspect I am interested in is not expression or accent. I am interested in voice production - how one holds the mouth, the throat, the diaphragm.

How many times do we hear a person say s/he can't or won't sing? Yet in previous decades almost everybody sang. The average person is being brainwashed into keeping silent, and I don't like it.

I think the advice to sing the way we talk might help such persons get over their fear of trying.

(There's no need to make a big deal of whether the idea is new or not. I called it 'a new thought' in my first post because it was new to me.)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 02:46 PM

"...Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, et al., and female singers like Patty Page, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney."

Yeah, leeneia, I name these singers in particular because, frankly, I can't really think of any current pop singers who actually sing well. The folks I mentioned really can sing.

There's the story about how Perry Como once told Bing Crosby that he really liked his relaxed, easy-going style, and that he, Como, was deliberately imitating his way of singing. Crosby said that he wasn't sure that imitating anyone, even him, was necessarly the best way to go, but "whatever turns your crank" or words to that effect.

Some years later, a young singer named Dean Martin told Perry Como, "I really like your relaxed, easy-going style, and I'm deliberately imitating your way of singing. . . ."

Como thinks, "Why does that sound vaguely familiar?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 05:31 PM

I can't think of any current pop singers who sing well either, but I quit listening to pop in 1983.

A couple years ago I posted here and asked people to recommend present-day singers who sing well. Nobody ever posted any.

Surely there are one or two...


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 21 Oct 10 - 10:24 PM

It's hard to answer such a request when the definition of "sings well" implies a judgement yet it is necessarily subjective. Does "sings well" mean to you that they sing the way they talk, if so, which way do you mean that?

I can tell you that my definition of "sings well" excludes singing with vibrato because to me it's wilfully singing off-on-off-on pitch, which curdles my blood. Obviously, my taste in this regard is at odds with much of the world.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 11:33 AM

It may be easier to say what does NOT quality as singing well than to say what DOES qualify. I say a person does not sing well if:

1.the music is grating, phlegmy or sludgy. I do not want to hear the music gurgling in a cigarette-scarred throat

2. the music is thin, whiny and nasal. I don't want to think about clogged sinuses, either

3. the music is out of tune. (occasional deliberate variations are okay)

4. the throat is constantly tight, projecting childish self-pity

5. relentless belting, hard tone. once in a while is okay, but not perpetually

6. poor breath control - the breath fails and the note flops. Or slams to an awkward halt. This happens when an amateur sings a long, high note but can't stop gracefully.

6. Numbers 1, 4 and 5 are examples of another rule - any way of singing which damages the voice itself is perforce 'bad singing.'

Anybody have any other ideas?


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 12:25 PM

I kind of like this approach because it allows a wide array of sounds and skills to please a vast array of tastes to fall under the 'singing well' umbrella.

Tho' I know of people who prefer the nasal sound, I'm not among them, all else being equal. Yet I thoroughly love Rosalie Sorrels' early recordings, which sound I would describe as nasal, more so than what little I've heard of her more recent offerings. And I would say she sings well. Taste is so mercurial, at least mine is!


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:16 PM

Hi Suegorgeous.
'sing the way they talk'
Nothing really new about this.
Virtually all English-language traditional (in the 'source' sense) singers sang the way they talked - some even articulated the reasons for doing so.
They considered themselves storytellers narrating a piece of rhymed information - as distinct from actors, acting out a rhymed play (no need for assumed voices, pretending to be somebody else, stepping outside their own everyday character)
It manifested in their singing in two distinct ways.
1. Their singing tones coincided more-or-less within their speaking tonal range.
A perfect example of this is to be found in Sam Larner's singing of the song 'Butter and Cheese and All".
The third line of the last verse goes;
"The dogs they barked, the children screamed, out flew the old women all".
Here Sam always interjected the spoken phrase;
"And you know what they are, don't you?"
An then goes on;
"And then they began to blubber it out, he's got butter and cheese and all, he's got butter and cheese and all".
In no way does the spoken part interrupt the flow of the singing but is an essential part of it. It is totally different to recititive, as used in opera and music-hall.
2. The narrative of their songs fell more-or-less as they would be spoken - short snatch breath with a comma, longer breath with a semi-colon, definite gap with a full stop.
Breaking up words was a definite no-no.
"My name is Arthur Hollander (not "Holl-an-der" as is often the case with non-traditional singers.
Octogenarian small-farmer from County Clare, Ireland, Tom Lenihan spoke at length about "making the tune fit the words rather than the opposite way round" and "maintaining the "truth" of the story".
He described how, when the tune wouldn't allow him to follow the narrative patterns he would first consider altering the tune in that place, then, if that was not possible without reducing the tune, he would put in very slight humming notes, particularly at the beginnings of lines, in order to maintain the sense of the line.
These are not exactly the words he used, but a summation of what he appeared to be saying.
He related this approach as being a part of "truth" (emotional reality, not historical accuracy) of his songs.
It appeared to be a common attitude with all singers we talked to was that they considered their roles to be imparters of narrative information rather than passers on of a musical creation - the tunes were there to serve the words
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:27 PM

You could look at the thread on The Wesleys that is being posted to, as this covers the same thing.

Me? yes, I do try to sing as me rather than using my voice as a self standing musical instrument. (Many classical singers would use their voice as an instrument first..)

Ultimately though, you end up giving credence to the William Shatner genre (!)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 01:53 PM

If you repeat a recording of normal speech you very soon pick out the intonation and rhythm. Speech is musical, just less obviously so.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Slag
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 09:08 PM

Yes Jim_C, that is, I believe the definition of "parlando".


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Genie
Date: 22 Oct 10 - 10:39 PM

leeneia, it's interesting to think of singing as a form of talking and the instruction to "sing the way you talk. The ENT and speech therapist at the Kaiser vocal clinic I went to when I was concerned about what seemed to be chronic vocal issues (e.g., laryngitis) suggested that one should talk more the way one sings. I.e., the same basic mechanics that preserve your singing voice (proper breathing technique, relaxation of the throat muscles, etc.) help preserve your speaking voice too.   Many people talk in a way that forces too much air across the vocal folds and with too much tightness in the throat, straining the vocal apparatus.

Back to the issue of whether all singing is basically "talking," though, I still disagree with that categorization (unless you're claiming that all trumpet playing, drumming, didgeridoo blowing, etc., is "speech").   I think that some forms of singing, such as yodeling, scatting, and others that don't involve words but focus on sounds that don't represent a language, are no more "speech" than is playing the cymbals or pan pipes or the sitar.

Also, if we think of singing as, basically, "talking," where does harmony - especially multi-voice complex harmony - fit into that analogy?

Just saying I don't think it's necessary, or even that instructive or meaningful, to extend the "singing as speech" concept to include all forms of singing. : D


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 04:03 PM

A little background here:

The choir director (and I) are talking to people in the world of today, a world where many people refuse even to sing a note. They think only celebrities ought to sing.

When they do try to sing (for example, when first joining a choir) they think they have to imitate the stars - be they opera singers rock belters or bluesmen.

Today's popular music seems to supply a wide variety of horrible examples to follow. (And not much else.)

My post was aimed at helping such people be a little more confident about singing.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 23 Oct 10 - 07:14 PM

Find a baby to put in their arms or lap, to sing to. Often it helps people just enjoy the effect of their singing without feeling there's anything to prove. Where available & practicable.


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 12:12 AM

In eighth grade we had a chorus and we all were expected to sing in it. I did that until the leader didn't like that I sang the way I talked. seemingly, it was all I could do, and it was a natural extension of my persona. Well, after that she told me to just move my lips--and not sing at all. Seems like I took her seriously as singing was the last thing on my mind.

When I heard folk songs, the story songs from history, I finally found a reason to want to sing. So I did. I sang like I talked. still do. I liked the way certain singers sang---Cisco Houston,
Mac McClintock, Jim Ringer, Sam Hinton, Jimmie Rodgers---even Jo Stafford on some songs. These never got in the way of the song they were singing--and I liked that.

So, I'm saying that I agree with you. It's what I always did, but there never was much choice or intention involved. Like the clothing on the fellow born with five penises; his pants fit like a glove.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 12:16 AM

Yes, you might say, it came naturally!

Art


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 01:53 AM

LOL!

But, in 8th grade doesn't nearly everyone sing the way they talk? Well if there is a god, there is also a special "heaven" for all the singing leaders who cruelly silenced the natural voices in their charge. The angels' harps in this heaven all have rusty strings and slipping tuning pins.
:-)


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 01:59 AM

But the style she [Jeannie Robertson] used to do it was very florid and over-intonated, quite unlike the way in which she sang it. (Young Buchan, 20 0ct)<<<


I am afraid that I always found Jeannie's singing florid & over-intonated also: what a critic who reviewed a folksong evening I did once at Eye Theatre in Suffolk as follows clearly meant by 'the folk voice':

"An unpretentious performer, he can talk to the audience in very middle class tones and then, without putting on the folk voice, can still go right into the spirit of a song."

which I still consider as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about me. I think this relevant to this thread.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 03:46 AM

Slag (hate these **** names - seem so insulting)
"Yes Jim_C, that is, I believe the definition of "parlando". "
To a degree I think this is right, but I have always associated parlando with classical singing, which is (I believe) aimed at a musical rather than a narrative objective. I may be totally wrong about this.
I can remember having long, somewhat drunken arguments with my neighbour, a music teacher, in my bed-sit days in London. He found it difficult to accept that the objective of a piece of singing was to put across a story rather than deliver a musical performance.
The secondary nature of the tune in traditional singing was brought home to us back in the seventies, when we were recording two elderly brothers here in County Clare.
Between them they sang us about two-dozen songs; at least half of these were to the same tune. For them, the tune was there to carry the text, and any one would suffice as long as it fitted.
Both of them had learned many of their songs from the ballad sheets that were still being sold up to the mid-fifties around the fairs and markets in rural Ireland, and these came without tunes (unless you could persuade the vendor to teach you one, otherwise, you had to find your own).
"But, in 8th grade doesn't nearly everyone sing the way they talk?"
Not unless things have altered radically since my schooldays. Any singing I did at school outside the music class was in imitation of what we heard on the radio, which, more often than not came with an American accent, along with a totally alien (to us) delivery: Slim Whitman, Hank Williams, Frankie Laine, Theresa Brewer, Kay Starr..... et al. The idea that we should sing in our own (in my case Liverpool) accents would have led to us being laughed out of the schoolyard and eventually into a back-to-front jacket.
It took MacColl, Lloyd, Lomax and the rest to persuade us that we might have something important to say in our natural voices.
As far as school was concerned, I still feel guilty for my part in a younger sister coming home in tears having been called "common" by a teacher for singing a folk-song in the way I had taught her - and this was in a comprehensive school on a working-class housing estate.
We were pressurised, by the media and by the education system, to despise the way we spoke - both the accent and the tone of our speech.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: a new thought on singing
From: Crowhugger
Date: 24 Oct 10 - 04:04 PM

Jim Carroll, I get what you're saying about copying what we hear. It's a normal part of the process as a child finds his/her own voice.

I've noticed that my niece (who recently started 9th grade) has her own voice when she improvises karaoke of songs she doesn't really know well, and a copycat voice when doing stuff she's heard over and over. Also she's different when she believes no one is listening. Better IMO.


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