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Can the tone deaf learn to sing?

mauvepink 10 Jan 11 - 04:03 AM
andrew e 10 Jan 11 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,DaveMc 10 Jan 11 - 05:21 AM
Dave MacKenzie 10 Jan 11 - 06:12 AM
Allan C. 10 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM
JHW 10 Jan 11 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Jonny Sunshine 10 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM
Fred McCormick 10 Jan 11 - 07:19 AM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 11 - 07:23 AM
MikeofNorthumbria 10 Jan 11 - 07:26 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 10 Jan 11 - 07:28 AM
andrew e 10 Jan 11 - 07:45 AM
Fred McCormick 10 Jan 11 - 07:47 AM
Bernard 10 Jan 11 - 07:58 AM
Bernard 10 Jan 11 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Desi C 10 Jan 11 - 08:29 AM
andrew e 10 Jan 11 - 08:33 AM
Fred McCormick 10 Jan 11 - 09:12 AM
mauvepink 10 Jan 11 - 09:35 AM
autoharpbob 10 Jan 11 - 10:11 AM
Bernard 10 Jan 11 - 10:39 AM
Bernard 10 Jan 11 - 10:41 AM
Roger the Skiffler 10 Jan 11 - 11:03 AM
Fred McCormick 10 Jan 11 - 11:08 AM
Dave MacKenzie 10 Jan 11 - 11:19 AM
Fred McCormick 10 Jan 11 - 11:33 AM
GUEST,Auldtimer 10 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 10 Jan 11 - 01:48 PM
Jim Carroll 10 Jan 11 - 02:48 PM
gnu 10 Jan 11 - 03:28 PM
paula t 10 Jan 11 - 03:47 PM
Nick 10 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM
JohnInKansas 10 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM
Gallus Moll 10 Jan 11 - 05:19 PM
Bernard 10 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM
Tootler 10 Jan 11 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Rochelle 10 Jan 11 - 06:31 PM
GUEST,DrWord 10 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM
paula t 10 Jan 11 - 06:58 PM
Nick 10 Jan 11 - 07:18 PM
Nick 10 Jan 11 - 07:29 PM
ClaireBear 10 Jan 11 - 07:43 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM
GUEST,LDT 11 Jan 11 - 04:58 AM
Dave MacKenzie 11 Jan 11 - 06:08 AM
autoharpbob 11 Jan 11 - 07:23 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 11 Jan 11 - 07:44 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM
TheSnail 11 Jan 11 - 09:37 AM
Fred McCormick 11 Jan 11 - 09:53 AM
Bernard 11 Jan 11 - 10:08 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jan 11 - 10:22 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM
autoharpbob 11 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 11 - 11:12 AM
The Sandman 11 Jan 11 - 12:17 PM
TheSnail 11 Jan 11 - 01:21 PM
Jim Carroll 11 Jan 11 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,Rochelle 11 Jan 11 - 03:44 PM
paula t 11 Jan 11 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Margaret 11 Jan 11 - 04:16 PM
TheSnail 12 Jan 11 - 07:31 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 12 Jan 11 - 07:54 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 11 - 08:12 AM
TheSnail 12 Jan 11 - 10:03 AM
Dave MacKenzie 12 Jan 11 - 10:29 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 11 - 10:49 AM
TheSnail 12 Jan 11 - 11:24 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM
mauvepink 12 Jan 11 - 01:03 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 13 Jan 11 - 07:22 AM
mauvepink 13 Jan 11 - 08:31 AM
TheSnail 13 Jan 11 - 10:05 AM
autoharpbob 13 Jan 11 - 12:09 PM
Bernard 13 Jan 11 - 01:49 PM
Bernard 13 Jan 11 - 01:52 PM
ClaireBear 13 Jan 11 - 03:09 PM
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Subject: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: mauvepink
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:03 AM

Can the tone deaf learn to sing?

The BBC have come up with another musical snippet of interest

What do you think?

mp


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: andrew e
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 05:11 AM

I direct adult A Cappella community type choirs, and my experience is that no one who's ever come to a choir who can't pitch a given note, has ever learnt to do so. They might get some of them, but it's hit and miss!

The potential singer gives up, even after a few individual singing lessons. Most don't even get as far as singing lessons.
Not from me I might add. I wouldn't have the patience!

So it may be possible, but I've yet to see it.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,DaveMc
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 05:21 AM

I've seen lots of people who can't initially sing in tune - and who've often been told to shut up in their school music lessons - be successfully taught relative pitch in adult life. They often become confident singers and are able to deliver a solo song well in public. It just takes a lot of dedication between student and a very skilled teacher. "Find you voice" type classes are available in many places here in the UK and some of them are very good - but it does rely on the calibre of the teacher.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:12 AM

I think it depends a lot on the form of tone-deafness. Some can, as stated above, and some despite years of enthusiastic trying never get there. Maybe someone with medical knowledge could explain.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Allan C.
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM

One of my first choir directors did his Masters thesis on people who "couldn't" sing. As part of his research he assembled a group of such people and, after much hard work and some one-on-one tutoring, formed a choir of these people. The choir eventually performed songs before the entire university population!

IMHO singing on pitch is not something one is born able to do. It is a learned process. It requires practice. I grew up singing along with my little 45 RPM records of Disney's "Johnny Appleseed" and a Sons of the Pioneers recording, among others, as well as singing with whomever was on the radio. Some might say that I eventually got it right.

People who can't match pitch haven't given it an honest try.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: JHW
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:27 AM

andrew e - I can sing in tune alone but in a choir am guessing from the music. One of my choir directors tells me relative pitch can be learned but perfect pitch (which I would say she has) seems to be more genetic?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Jonny Sunshine
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:30 AM

If you can identify a friend or family member from their voice on the phone, or recognise a tune in a version you've not heard before, then chances are you're not "tone-deaf" - most likely what's lacking is the control of the voice to match it to what you hear.

Like any skill, it takes time to develop, and if children don't get the support they need (and some will need more than others), they're likely to get discourage and not develop it fully. Which is a shame.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:19 AM

A useful homily. In Len Graham's excellent book about his old singing partner Joe Holmes, he relates how Joe had been put off singing in public by a teacher who told him he was tone deaf. As a result Joe confined his singing to the home and limited his public musical activities to playing the fiddle. Len realising that Joe was actually a wonderful singer with a remarkable repertoire of songs, coaxed him into singing in public.

As a result the world is richer by some eighty songs, a lot of people enjoyed Joe's singing who otherwise wouldn't have done, and I have some fabulous memories of hearing Len and Joe sing together.

In my humble opinion very few people are so devoid of any consciousness of pitch, that they couldn't be trained to sing under any circumstances.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:23 AM

"A very small proportion of the population are truly tone deaf,"
Been saying this till I'm hoarse.
There are simple exercises and techniques to assist in learning to sing tunes.
One of the reasons why I get so pissed off with those who sling the 'finger-in-ear' insult is that they are detracting from the very simple, millenium-old and world-wide singing aid - cupping the hand over the ear to assist in singing in tune.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: MikeofNorthumbria
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:26 AM

There was a young fellow from Tring
Who said when they asked him to sing
'You may think that it's odd
But I cannot tell God
Save the Weasel from Pop goes the King'

If you can tell one tune from another, then you are not tone deaf. Very few people are. (Allegedly, King Edward VII was. He is said to have been able to recognise only two tunes - the national anthem and 'the other one'. The national anthem was the one people stood up for.)

If you can't sing a tune accurately, you are not tone deaf, just vocally challenged. A lot of people have this problem, but with the right kind of help, and a bit of effort, most of them can learn how to sing acceptably.

Unfortunately, some music teachers don't see it this way. Because singing came naturally to them, they can't understand why some people have problems getting it right. It saves these teachers a lot of trouble to write off students who have difficulty hitting notes accurately as "tone deaf" - as well as leaving them more time to get on with coaching the choir.

This strategy has produced some good choirs, but it has also let down a lot of students who might have gained great enjoyment from music, if only they hadn't been told at an impressionable age that they were 'tone deaf'.

Wassail!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:28 AM

I have a friend who cannot sing a scale, or sing an octave jump, but can sing the notes of a chord.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: andrew e
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:45 AM

andrew e - I can sing in tune alone but in a choir am guessing from the music. One of my choir directors tells me relative pitch can be learned but perfect pitch (which I would say she has) seems to be more genetic?

To JHW

You need to learn your part as if it was the "tune".
To you that's how the song goes.

I don't have perfect pitch, and have never met anyone who has!
I use a tuning fork for opening notes.

It's all relative, but also I think a short term memory of a pitch,can be developed with exercises, particularly for A Cappella singing.
For instance singing a semitone scale, and imagining/hearing in your head the first note whilst doing this.
Most community choir singers don't get this far.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:47 AM

Music perception is a very strange thing because it involves several different segements of the brain. If they are not all working properly, an individual will end up strong in certain areas and weak in others. For example I know someone who is a perfectly competent guitarist and has an excellent sense of pitch, but cannot sing a tune correctly to save his life.

BTST, I have no problem at all in pitching a note, staying on key and remembering tunes, but I cannot sing harmonies at all. So what happened when I joined a socialist choir where most of the songs are sung in four part harmony? Simple. I sing tenor so I get in amongst the rest of the tenors and sing what they are singing.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:58 AM

If someone can learn to speak, they can also learn to sing. Whilst there are obvious differences, there are many similarities, the most important of which is being able to hear.

A friend of mine, who is also a 'catter, is profoundly deaf but now uses a digital hearing aid.

He has always enjoyed singing, but until he got his digital aid, his attempts were a little less than tuneful. He still cannot pitch all that accurately, but the improvement continues, and is streets ahead of where he was with his analogue aid.

So it is possible that there may be a link with hearing and singing in tune (such as 'glue ear') that affects some children more than others during their formative years.

I can remember from teaching seminars many years ago that there were studies that suggested a child was more likely to naturally learn 'perfect pitch' under the age of two years of age than in later years.

In my days as a primary teacher I saw many children who had difficulty singing in tune, but learned the skill (I like to think through my help) by being allowed to join the school choir. If they weren't 'on key' for a specific event, I'd gently advise them to mime because 'they weren't ready yet'... I never ever found a 'growler' who didn't turn into a nightingale! How odd that, when I was at primary school as a pupil, I was told to shut up because I couldn't sing!

I believe that ability to sing in tune comes naturally to some, but others have to work at it. However, I also believe that too much effort can be counter-productive, if only because one's expectations are somewhat higher than one can achieve - and this applies to any instrument or activity, not just singing.

Whilst there may be a scientific explanation (or two, or three...!), I would suggest that the human mind is so capricious that there will always be exceptions to prove the rule!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 08:16 AM

On the subject of 'Perfect Pitch', it is something that can be learned (I have it).

Nobody is born with it - the very definition belies that as an impossibility. Some people have a better aptitude to learn than others, and this is where the error comes from.

Think... 'Concert Pitch' is a fairly recent innovation, and there are other 'pitches' still in common use. So the idea that someone can be born with such knowledge is daft! It's like learning to talk - we pick up the accent and dialect of those around us.

For example, older church organs are often higher pitched than 'standard', simply because it made them cheaper to produce. a lot of metal and wood goes into making the pipes, so if they are a little shorter, less materials are needed, especially with the lower pitch notes.

This is also why you will find that some ranks end at 'Tenor C' and borrow pipes from another rank - twelve pipes per rank is a considerable saving!

With the advent of electric action, 'unit organs' provided an even bigger saving - one rank of pipes with notes from 32 foot to 1 foot, and the stops simply selected the 61 notes from the rank at the pitch the stop required. Okay, over simplified and off topic...

All I'm saying is there can be many outside influences on someone's musical learning... far too many to quantify, maybe.

;o)


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 08:29 AM

Well from what I hear around the Clubs including my own, I think some already do! A lot of people who are described as Tone deaf or describe themselves as so, can often be thought to sing quite tell or to some standard. But if they're literally tone deaf then I'd say no and I count my own Brother and my Brother in law as two who truly should only use their voices for talking. there's some quite good singing exerises on line and vocal exercises etc, for anyone wishing to try


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: andrew e
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 08:33 AM

Perfect pitch is usually understood to be the ability to sing any chosen note out of thin air as it were. So it's an ability to remember pitch.

Doesn't matter if A=416 or 440 or whatever.
It's very very rare, even with highly trained musicians. They might have a good guess, but are never 100% sure.

Remembering colours is also similar.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 09:12 AM

Bernard. On the contrary, everyone is born with perfect pitch but most people, to a greater or lesser extent, lose it in later life.

I'm not sure why this should be so, but maybe it's something which was linked with survival among the higher primates. IE., a new born baby being able to distinguish its mother's voice from all the others.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: mauvepink
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 09:35 AM

Dame Joan Sutherland did not have perfect pitch and yet anyone who ever heard her sing the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor would certainly doubt she had not. Her pitch, alongside the flute part, was perfect to listen to. From this we can deduct that not having perfect pitch may be no obstacle to being a good singer.

I am minded to think of identical male twins I knew when I was in the church choir many many moons ago. One had the most gorgeous boy soprano voice: his twin brother was typically what we would call tone deaf and seldom hit a note proper. We had to put up with the one in order to enjoy the other and their Mother insisted they do everything together! We accepted that as a given but no-one was keen to sit close to the one who could not hit a note as it used to put you off what you were doing yourself. In the end the choirmaster put him in among the bass and alsto singers where he got drowned out affectively with no cruel intent.

mp


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: autoharpbob
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:11 AM

I came across one boy when I was teaching music for a while in a secondary school, who not only had no sense of pitch, but also no sense of rhythm. His "Nellie the Elephant" was a thing of wonder! I have no idea whether he could eventually have been taught to sing, but suspect not. No more than you can teach colour blind people to recognise colours. There are IMHO some people who are unable to distinguish any difference in tones, and cannot tell whether the sound they produce matches what is required or not. Anyone had any experience with the standard tests - can't recall the name now - that asks you to tell whether two separate tones are the same or not? They all sounded exactly the same to this boy.

And perfect pitch does not mean being able to sing in tune. Perfect pitch means being able to pitch a note without outside stimulus - sing any named note on cue without relating to any aural input. I knew a guy who had that in a male voice choir I belonged to. We called him the human tuning fork.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:39 AM

Fred, I agree, but disagree...

Everyone is born with the ability to LEARN perfect pitch, but the accepted definition of 'perfect pitch' is the ability to sing (and name) accepted reference notes. It does NOT mean the ability to sing in tune per se, that is a somewhat different skill.

Perhaps this thread has greyed the definition somewhat, but we should go back to first principles if we are to find agreement.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:41 AM

Sorree! Seem to have crossed posted!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:03 AM

In my case it is more "how can we stop him singing"!

RtS


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:08 AM

Bernard. We are indeed greying the waters. Whether a person has perfect pitch or not, singing is still an acquired skill. However, it's worth recalling John Blacking's dictum. "In primitive societies everyone sings. In agrarian (peasant) societies, most people sing. In modern society hardly anyone sings."

If that's true we may well pause and wonder what went wrong.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:19 AM

The walkman, for a start?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 11:33 AM

No, the problem goes back a long way before the walkman, and stems I think from the growth of mass society and from forms of mass media which were around before the walkman.

IE., if people cease to live in small communities it becomes ever more difficult to get them to sing because they have no communal ties to the people they would otherwise sing to or with.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Auldtimer
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM

If you can talk, you can sing. How good may be the sticking point, but that's no reason not to try.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 01:48 PM

Well for my two cents worth perfect pitch is split in two parts. If you can properly tune a piano by ear you would have aural perfect pitch but you may not be able to sing in perfect pitch. You may have vocal perfect pitch but not be able to tune that damn piano at all. However if you have a good ear you can train your voice to follow a reference. Most people can come close enough accompanied to annoy only ears that claim perfection. Pitch is only one part of singing, and timing, presentation, and a good song are also just as important!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 02:48 PM

"If you can talk, you can sing."
Sorry to digress - couldn't resist.
There's a rather derogatory saying in the building trade' "If you can piss, you can paint" - no relation, I trust?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: gnu
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 03:28 PM

Well said, Sandy.

I might add, knowing which songs you just CANNOT sing is a priorty. Sorry if that is preaching to the chior.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: paula t
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 03:47 PM

I teach music in a small primary school. It makes me very sad when adults tell me their teacher told them they could not sing. As far as I am concerned, everyone has a different voice and everyone's voice is for singing with!(I demonstrate this by explaining that I have a deep voice for a lady and that lots of the teachers and children are able to sing much "higher" than me but it doesn't matter a bit). I don't have a choir, because I do not believe in ruling people out.Every child takes part in performances because I believe that everyone's contribution is valuable. We all work hard to learn the songs and do our best every time, but I stress that mistakes happen in any performance because it is live!
If someone is not accurately pitch matching every note then that is because we are all still developing our voices, in just the same way that we learn everything else and that's all part of the school experience.We are showing what we have learned to do so far. I stress the need to warm up (We have lots of fun!)and to stand properly and breathe properly- right from the reception year. I introduce songs / games with 2 notes at first and then gradually add on as we learn to pitch match. At the moment every child in reception is accurately pitch matching in songs with a limited number of notes and we are very proud of our voices. This might seem a bit twee, but hey ho!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 04:46 PM

Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll - PM
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 02:48 PM

"If you can talk, you can sing."
Sorry to digress - couldn't resist.
There's a rather derogatory saying in the building trade' "If you can piss, you can paint" - no relation, I trust?
Jim Carroll

>>"If you can talk, you can sing."

Which is true

But Jim will always be there behind you to tell you what is right

Angry post but Jim that's very very smug.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM

One of the simplest barriers to a person learning to sing is having nobody to sing with.

There's no such thing as an "out of tune" note in isolation. It's only when two separate notes sound at the same time that it becomes necessary to distinguish which one is "right" and which is "wrong."

If two people sing together, it's physically easiest if they both sing at the same pitch. The difference in being "in tune" and slightly "out of tune" may be quite small, but it is present, and if a person can be taught to "tweak to the match" the external sound from the other singer makes the tone come more easily, and sound "fuller" and more resonant.

Singing with an experienced singer can help a "learner" to discern when the tones are "coupled" to another singer; but the physical coupling between the tones is only easily discerned when both tones are nearly equally loud. The "head echo" for the learner can obscure the "synch" that you're trying to teach, unless the "teacher" is able to sing in full voice and fairly loudly nearby, or if the two singers are "intimately close" at comparable loudnesses. Once the matching of tones is recognized, a less close coupling of the tones should be sufficient.

Our entire systems of "western music scales" is based (partly by accident) on each tone in a chord being "in step" with harmonics of another tone of the scale. Once the learner has developed the ability to "feel" being in tune singing the same note as another singer, the same ability to find the "easiest tone production" in synch with a harmonic of another voice should be fairly easily developed with a reasonable amount of practice.

The same principle applies to many musical instruments. A saxophone, which was my first "main instrument" can be "lipped" over a range of somewhat more than a semitone in either direction, but with practice there's a definite "feeling of ease" when the note is "pulled into synch" with other players. A clarinet possibly has a shorter "bend range" but experienced players use the same sort of "tweak." When the note is "on" it can be felt all the way to the bottom of the lungs.

Fiddlers perhaps can't get the "whole body sensation" enjoyed by wind players, but at least the sound "swells" to detectable fullness when the finger rolls onto the point of synch with the rest of the music.

Guitar players ... (I guess they're pretty much out of luck on this?)

A popular mantra for lap dulcimists is "just find a pleasant tone." That part's pretty easy, and with accurate frets other "pleasant tones" are a simple result. Getting some of them to get close to the same pleasant tones everyone else is playing can be an excruciatingly prolonged process - - - if they haven't really learned to "sing."

I haven't encountered a person who, with practice, could not sing reasonably in tune as part of a group of singers, although there may be a few. Teaching how to "feel being in tune" has been helpful to several where I've observed "the method." Not all made it to the point of being candidates for "close harmony in four parts" a.la. "barbershop;" but with practice most ceased curdling the milk when they felt the urge to sing a solo out in the barn.

John


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 05:19 PM

Like Auldtimer,
I agree that if you can talk, you can sing - think of some of the old traditional singers, they may not have had 'good' voices but they had total belief in what they were delivering, and commitment to the song or ballad - and that is what is important! I much prefer the diamond in the rough than the polished sparkler! Imagine if someone was the only person to know a song, and couldn't /wouldn't /was discouraged from singing it - it would be lost forever!
Many years ago at summer school one of the class embers was a Canadian who had spent the previous 8 months in Ireland, heard lots of great Irish songs - but was tone deaf. He sat in our Scottish ballads and traditional singing class and did not even try to join in a chorus. At the evening sessions, he constantly asked if anyone knew. could sing, some of the Irish songs he named - but none of us came from that culture; we tried to persuade him to have a go, and eventually as the week progressed and sufficiently relaxed by whisky, he finally sang! That was the first time I ever heard Raglan Road, and it made a great impact on me - and despite his not holding the pitch etc I was able to learn the song from him - and surely that is what singing is about, communication? The guy was liberated, and for the rest of the week he sang along in class - and it didn't matter that his voice droned, the rest of us were loud enough and strong enough to support that - and how he enjoyed himself!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM

Paula - I couldn't agree more. What you are doing sounds much like what I did some thirty years ago.

Although I had a 'school choir', I should clarify that any child could be a member if they wished to give up part of their lunch break and stay after school for twenty minutes twice a week.

In other words, the only criterion for selection was that they wanted to sing!

Here in Lancashire (UK) there is an expression 'Cock of the School' which is the 'badge of honour' earned by the boy who could hold his own against any other boy in a hand-to-hand fight. The school staff were always perplexed as to why the 'Cock' was a member of the school choir...!! I must have been doing something right!! ;o)


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:18 PM

"Perfect pitch or, more correctly, absolute pitch is defined as an ability to effortlessly name a note or a group of notes without comparing it with any external reference tone (my italics) when they are sounded, also people with perfect pitch can produce the note in instrument or via voice when it is told."

The jury appears to be out as to whether it is an innate or learned ability but current research seems to suggest it is a combination of both. i.e. there is both a genetic and a learned component.

Those who possess absolute pitch say it is a mixed blessing. I can remember clearly reading a letter in one of the UK broadsheet newspapers many years ago (Telegraph, I think) from a man with absolute pitch who had been to a concert of music by Bach played on "authentic instruments". He had been looking forward to the concert and had been disappointed because the orchestra was "out of tune" and had played a semitone flat throughout the whole concert. This had spoilt it for him. He was unaware that the orchestra had been tuned to A=415, that pitch standard being relatively new at the time. I think the letters editor or the music correspondent of the paper had added a note to the letter pointing this out.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Rochelle
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:31 PM

I think you guys are talking about something different from tone deafness, are you talking about people who can't sing in tune?

I don't think it's about being tone "deaf" it's about being tone "dumb"-I apologize for the use of the word dumb. Just because you can't sing music, doesn't mean you can't play it. In my experience a great deal of musicians who play instruments can't sing very well. You can have both, but a lot of the times you usually have one of the other. So it isn't about not being able to hear the tune, or even recreate it on something else such as an instrument. It's about being able to "speak" aka sing it. People can whistle, people can tinker on the piano, everyone posses some ability to express music and rhythms in some way, even deaf people. (Beethoven wrote some of his greatest pieces while deaf)

Singing is solely based on biological factors, you can't teach someone to make a noise in their throat if they have no ability to do this. Or you can teach them the technical process of this, but it's not going to make them sing in tune. Singing is not "talking" it's a specific type of sound your larynx makes. When you sing, your larynx acts like a reed and creates a sound, our vocal chords allow us to manipulate that sound. (Of course all due to air, which creates the sound waves) This is what singing is, just speaking is not necessarily manipulation of your vocal chords. (Often times people just speak in the same tone-although good voice actors probably have the ability to manipulate while speaking) People who are tone deaf aka dumb, have no real ability to manipulate like a singer does.

I suppose you can look at it this way, everyone possess the reed, but not all of us our instruments. Not everyone is physically able to manipulate their vocal chords to match musical pitches. There are disorders in which people have medically lost their ability to be unable to possess pitch, such as Amusia. Of course actual deafness doesn't allow someone to hear pitch.

There are people who of course are just singing incorrectly, but usually you can hear some type of a resemblance of music. In reality there are actual people who simply have no biological ability to sing musically in pitch. My mother is one of them and it sounds like she can't physically sing the notes in tune, rather than she has no ability to distinguish pitch. We used to watch American Idol when it first came out and she could tell that the people who auditioned could not sing in tune.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,DrWord
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM

vocal CORDS


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: paula t
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 06:58 PM

Hi Bernard,
Coming from Rochdale, I remember the term "cock of the school" very well!
I developed my love of singing while only a toddler , but I was inspired at primary school by a wonderful, fierce teacher called Mr. Gee. He had a nickname for every child in the school.None of the boys had the impression that singing was for softies, because Mr. Gee was quite a toughie.He would hammer on the piano as brutally as he hammered his finger onto our foreheads when telling us to think about the tone of our voice .Thus we spent our time in lessons, half scared that we would get his undivided attention for a couple of minutes (he would rib us mercilessly and we loved it) and the rest of it worried that we wouldn't!)
It was cool to sing!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:18 PM

Most - I repeat most - people can sing 'Happy Birthday'

I seem to remember that and still listen to people singing it in tune

How does that work?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Nick
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:29 PM

Jim - I never really know who you are attacking or what standards so I always react.

Does politics (small 'p') touch singing somehow?

Singing in tune has never been the measure of a singer has it?

Cliff Richard at Wimbledon got pilloried for being cliff rather than for technical ability which he has. A man who can always sing in tune

I go to all sorts of stuff where tradition/balls/americana/ rock /substitute whatever/ performance triumphs over 'in tune'

In trad folk the roots rather than the notes always seemed to win out. When the notes went the tradition kicked in because it was worth more.

It was why I've never been a proper folk person because I never understood that. I may do one day or it may pass me by like garage


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: ClaireBear
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:43 PM

When I was in college, I took on a dulcimer student who, when I played her the A string and then the high D string, literally could not tell me which note was higher. She was also totally unable to reproduce either note vocally or on the instrument by ear, even within a half octave.

Thus, I believe she could be called tone deaf.

Yet she loved music, had a good sense of rhythm, and went to great pains to memorize the fingerings it took to play tunes accurately on the dulcimer. She defied her inabilities and, to the extent she could, vanquished them. Very impressive lady.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM

"Angry post but Jim that's very very smug."
Sorry - not sure I understand - I was passing on a building trade joke - nothing more - I was not attacking anybody.
I believe that, excepting physical disibilities, which I believe are few and far between, ANYBODY can sing - as long as they are prepared to put in the work. The problem for me comes with those who argue that singers should be encouraged to 'practice in public'; to go up before an audience without having masterered the basic techniques of holding a tune, and remembering, and to some degree, making sense of the words.
I believe that clubs who encourage this are copping out; they are failing to provide an audience with a reasonable standard of singing, they are leaving the singers who have done the work to pick up the pieces after a bad piece of singing, and they are failing the inexperienced singer by throwing him/her in at the deep-end rather than offering constructive help.
I also believe that they are also displaying a contempt for the music they are presenting as being 'not worth applying standards to'.
I've even heard the argument, including on this forum, that good singing is not desirable as it "puts off the lesser talented".
If club organisers are serious about encouraging new people on to the scene as singers, they would offer help to struggling new singers and not leave them to struggle unassisted.
"Does politics (small 'p') touch singing somehow?"
Sorry, totally beyond me - explain please.
"Singing in tune has never been the measure of a singer has it?"
JUST singing in tune hasn't certainly, but surely it has to be a basic requirement, a starting point, or hasn't it - you tell me?
"...tradition/balls/americana/ rock /substitute whatever/ performance triumphs over 'in tune"
Are you advocating that singing in tune should not be a requirement for singing in public?
You'll have to leave me to struggle with the rest of your postings I'm afraid - I have no idea what you are talking about.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,LDT
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 04:58 AM

The quiz 'questions' seemed to be biased towards singing.

I'd be surprised and very impressed if anyone could get me to sing pleasantly...and in tune.
I'm not comfortable with talking let alone singing. In my head I have the notes but I just can't reproduce them. This is why I took up an instrument.


I got:
Enthusiasm for music 49%
musical perception 35%
Emotional connection 2%
Social creativity 13%
Musical curiosity 38%

In group the music 0 (I really didn't understand what they were looking for if they'd have said the genres I might have stood a chance)
Match the beat 15/18
Out of nine 6 high 3 medium
Melody memory 7/12


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 06:08 AM

"No, the problem goes back a long way before the walkman"

I agree entirely, Fred. My 'start' did not imply a temporal meaning. The main problem is that, with massive help from the "music industry", people are encouraged to regard music as something done by "professionals" rather than an activity that everybody can partake in. I often feel that I'm the only person in Britain who whistles.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: autoharpbob
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 07:23 AM

Surely there is a spectrum here from completely tone deaf - I have met a tone deaf student and so apparently have others - to possessor of perfect pitch, whether aural or vocal. Both are extremes of the "normal". The question is whether anyone can get better. I suspect there are some people who cannot - my example of colourblindness applies, some people cannot distinguish colours at all and see the world in tones on black and white, and these cannot be taught to see colours. You try distinguishing between dark blue and dark red when you are looking at a black and white printout.

A lot of people though can be taught to improve. Listening exercises will train the ear. Over many years I have taught myself what my throat feels like when I sing a high E or a low E, and can pitch those notes close enough for unaccompanied singing. I have also learned through many years of practice to sing intervals like 4ths and 5ths. But IMHO the answer to the question "Can the tone deaf learn to sing" is probably No - depending on your definition of singing!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 07:44 AM

90% of the time I can reproduce a Bb and work up from there to the note that I want.
Most time if I do not think about it I can correctly pitch the starting note of a piece I am familiar with. If I start to think about it I doubt myself and lose the abillity.
It is very rare for me to have to re-start a song because I have pitched it too far away from the correct note.

I do not claim to have perfect pitch because I am not perfect!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 08:48 AM

yes.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 09:37 AM

Jim Carroll

The problem for me comes with those who argue that singers should be encouraged to 'practice in public'; to go up before an audience without having masterered the basic techniques of holding a tune, and remembering, and to some degree, making sense of the words.

Sigh. Nobody ever has argued that Jim.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 09:53 AM

"The main problem is that, with massive help from the "music industry", people are encouraged to regard music as something done by "professionals" rather than an activity that everybody can partake in."

Amen to that. Curiously enough, the idea that professionals are the only people who can make music and are therefore deserving of vast amounts of hero worships and shed loads of shekels is a peculiarly western thing.

Elsewhere, traditionally at any rate, music was frequently regarded as a lowly profession, and often followed by people who were on the margins of society.

Oh for a return to common sense and the realisation that there is nothing god-like about being able to make music.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 10:08 AM

Bloody 'ell, Paula, would 'Mr. Gee' be a little over sixty by now, first name Len? He was a mate of mine at Hopwood in the late 1960s!!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 10:22 AM

Hi, Claire Bear

Your story about the dulcimer student who couldn't distinguish the D and A strings was interesting. A good example of someone who is truly 'tone deaf.'

As the article said more than once, such people do exist, but they are rare.

I am reminded of an article I once read about a couple who adopted a girl of 5 or 6 with handicaps. There was fear that she was mentally retarded, but the couple discovered that she could carry a tune. The had read that if she could, she was probably not retarded. So they adopted her, and she blossomed.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 10:42 AM

her is how you go about helping them, you teach them to learn to recognise intervals by association, for example the sound of a police car is an interval of a second,
a cuckoo is an interval down of a major third etcetc
then you find their vocal range, and with the aid of an instrument you get them to sing slowly different notes, you get them to sing a chromatic scale, and eventually all sorts of different intervals


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: autoharpbob
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 10:56 AM

But there are some who cannot recognise any interval as they cannot distinguish between them. These are the true tone deaf. I have met at least one person with this disability.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 11:12 AM

"Sigh. Nobody ever has argued that Jim."
Sigh. Yes they have - you included, in claiming that the basic standard for giving a floor spot to a singer was that "they should want to" and that refusing a singer a spot because they were unable to hold a tune was equivelent to 'turning them away'.
There are numerous examples on the relevant threads where people have claimed that the folk club should be a place to practice - learn to sing - read of a song sheet -....
As I said, one contributor went as far as to claim that good singing was a drawback because it put off the untalented.
SAY THAT NONE OF THIS HAS BEEN POSTED and if you have now changed your mind please say so.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 12:17 PM

autoharp bob , they are extremely rare, most of the supposedly tone daef are not tone deaf at all, they just need help and tuition.
   i had a half brother who was a real room clearer, he frequently changed key during a song[ are you there Vic Smith ,you know who I mean] but he was not actually tone deaf, after having fiddle lessons, and some guidance about pitching and interval recognition, his singing improved in as much he was able to hold a tune, and did not change key during a song.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 01:21 PM

Round and round and round....

Jim Carroll

"Sigh. Nobody ever has argued that Jim."
Sigh. Yes they have - you included, in claiming that the basic standard for giving a floor spot to a singer was that "they should want to"


Sorry Jim, I can only take responsibility for what I actually said, not your interpretation of it. You seem to believe that anyone who wants to sing must, by definition, be incapable of doing so. That is not my experience.

Show me where I have argued "that singers should be encouraged to 'practice in public'; to go up before an audience without having masterered the basic techniques of holding a tune, and remembering, and to some degree, making sense of the words."

and that refusing a singer a spot because they were unable to hold a tune was equivelent to 'turning them away'.

Again, show me where I have ever said that.

There are numerous examples on the relevant threads where people have claimed that the folk club should be a place to practice - learn to sing - read of a song sheet -....

Then it shouldn't be difficult for you to find a few illustrative examples.

As I said, one contributor went as far as to claim that good singing was a drawback because it put off the untalented.

"one contributor". Right. Can't recall this one. Who was it? Were they an organiser? Can you produce the quote?

SAY THAT NONE OF THIS HAS BEEN POSTED

Oh, I expect it has. "I know it's true. I read it on Mudcat."

and if you have now changed your mind please say so.

Not in the slightest. We decide our policy from our direct experience of running a club, not from what we read on Mudcat and our policy is that we encourage everyone who wants to to sing or play. If from your experience of our club, you feel that this leads to a poor standard, please feel free, as I said elsewhere, to name the names of those you think should be taken aside and given tuition before being allowed back on.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 01:52 PM

Bryan,
It seem an act of sheer vindictive spite for you to inflict an argument that has been going on between us for (if feels to me) most of my lifetime.
In the years this has dragged on you have had adequate opportunity to point out where I have misunderstood you - you haven't.
As soon as I get time, I'll put up the titles of the relevant threads in the remote chance anybody is the slightest bit interested in them and wishes to make up their own mind on who said what when - or feel free to put them up yourself.
Until that time, I suggest you take your argument elsewhere and allow those who are interested in the subect in hand to get on with the discussion.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Rochelle
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 03:44 PM

No offense...but what's the point of singing-manipulation of your vocal chords to create a musical effect-if it's not in tune? It kind of defeats the purpose of singing, in my opinion.

I understand what you're getting at, I've enjoyed singers who focus on other things besides being perfectly in tune. Some singers have very gruff voices, but other qualities that catch my ear. Or sometimes the gruffness itself catches my ear, a good example of singing I enjoy that most everyone I know hates: Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera. I can't really explain what it was that I enjoyed about his singing performance, I guess the struggle to get over the gruffness was what I liked. There was something distorted and almost haunting about his tone, which is something else that intrigues my ear.

The thing though, is that even though his voice is not majestic and pure aka I guess what we know as "in tune," it was still technically in tune. Gerard Butler can use his voice to manipulate and reproduce musical sounds. There are actual people out there who just can't do this and it has nothing to do with the fact that they were trained incorrectly. Sometimes people just can't sing.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: paula t
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 03:53 PM

Hi Bernard,
I'm not sure what his first name was.It would be a wonderful coincidence if it was the same guy. He taught me at Bowker Vale primary school from 1967 to 1971 and was still there years later.He was a great teacher and I often wonder what happened to him.I think there used to be a picture of him on Bowker vale's Friends reunited site. I'll have a look.If I find out more I'll let you know.
Paula


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: GUEST,Margaret
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 04:16 PM

If this seems too OT to others (it feels very apropos to me, especially as I sing very badly but love to do it when I can't be overheard), please feel free to delete:

You Can't Keep Me From Singing
(Gordon MacDonald, Jr./tune: How Can I Keep From Singing?)

My life flows on, but something's wrong--I'm caught in consternation;
Whenever I begin to sing there's rising agitation.
My singing voice was not my choice, Fate brought it sweetly winging,
Since Fate's to blame, I now proclaim: you can't keep me from singing!

My voice is hoarse, but then, of course, a sweet smooth voice is boring.
And if a song be sad or long, I pep it up by roaring!
To sing on pitch is something which was not in my upbringing;
To sing off-key sounds fine to me, you can't keep me from singing!

If I sing just right I can incite a peaceful group to riot
Or offer me a handsome fee if only I'll be quiet!
But I don't bargain with a mob, though tar and feathers they're bringing,
Put down that noose and turn me loose you can't keep me from singing!

The birds have fled my neighborhood, their tiny eardrms shattered;
My neighbours, too, have said, "Adieu!", but it hasn't really mattered.
My daily mail brings threats of death and curses coarse and stinging,
I heed them not they're a tin-eared lot
and they can't keep me from singing!

Each living thing its song must sing, life sings to life in chorus;
Our song brings courage when we do not know what lies before us.
Our songs of freedom, love and hope down through the ages ringing--
Cold Death defy and that is why you can't keep me from singing!

(Dedicated to those of us who cannot sing but do anyway.)
No rights reserved. Lyrics may be reproduced on the side of a building, on novelty toilet paper or on any reasonably flat surface in between without compensation to the author; just sing the bloody song and get on with it.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 07:31 AM

Jim Carroll

Bryan,
It seem an act of sheer vindictive spite for you to inflict an argument that has been going on between us for (if feels to me) most of my lifetime.
In the years this has dragged on you have had adequate opportunity to point out where I have misunderstood you - you haven't.
As soon as I get time, I'll put up the titles of the relevant threads in the remote chance anybody is the slightest bit interested in them and wishes to make up their own mind on who said what when - or feel free to put them up yourself.
Until that time, I suggest you take your argument elsewhere and allow those who are interested in the subect in hand to get on with the discussion.


Jim, you took the opportunity of your little personal spat with Nick to launch another of your bilious attacks on UK folk clubs. I responded to what YOU had said. If by "take your argument elsewhere" you mean you wish to feel free to continue to make attacks on UK folk clubs and there organisers without contradiction, then no. And if you mean you wish to feel free to respond to challenges with personal abuse and attacks on your perceived (from Miltown Malbay) inadequacies of the Lewes Saturday Folk Club, then no.

It's in your hands, Jim. Stop doing it.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 07:54 AM

I remember one singer in a folk club in Somerset who was very vague about key and intervals when he first came to the club.
After a while he started to improve and we found out that he had taken up the guitar and was having lessons.
By the time he had progressed to the point where he was confident to bring the guitar along and use it to accompany himself (about 18 months late) no one would have accused him of being tone deaf.

On the other hand my friend who can't detect an octave gap has tried several instruments!


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 08:12 AM

"Jim, you took the opportunity of your little personal spat with Nick"
No personal spat with Nick - can't recall meeting him here before now - I was responding to his posting - since which, he appears to have gone awol.
Nor have I any argument with the Lewes Club, or any other club on the UK folk scene, except on the one issue - you chose to involve your club by claiming that your policy of encouraging non-singers to perform in public was club policy.
For me, the clubs are the public face of folk music; they should take the responsibility of presenting it at an acceptable level.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 10:03 AM

Jim Carroll

you chose to involve your club by claiming that your policy of encouraging non-singers to perform in public was club policy

There you go again. You know perfectly well I have never said anything of the sort. This is a pernicious attack on a well respected club.

I would love to be able to debate sensibly with you but when you resort to this sort of thing, it is impossible.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 10:29 AM

"Our entire systems of "western music scales" is based (partly by accident) on each tone in a chord being "in step" with harmonics of another tone of the scale. Once the learner has developed the ability to "feel" being in tune singing the same note as another singer, the same ability to find the "easiest tone production" in synch with a harmonic of another voice should be fairly easily developed with a reasonable amount of practice."

Possibly the problem lies at least partly in the use of equal-temperament instruments in school music lessons. The child sings a natural interval, but the teacher hears the note as being out of tune because it's not the ET equivalent, and condemns the child as "tone-deaf", when in fact it's the teacher's ear which has been trained out of natural scales, which non-keyboard instruments still use. Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 10:49 AM

"There you go again. You know perfectly well I have never said anything of the sort. This is a pernicious attack on a well respected club."
YES YOU DID - I SUGGEST YOU READ THE RELEVANT THREADS.
You even said you had consukted them on the matter - all this is there in the threads
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 11:24 AM

Jim, show me where I said "encouraging non-singers to perform in public was club policy". Direct quote or grovelling apology.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM

You said - all that was necessary to purt up a singer in from of an audience was "that they should want to sing" whether they were able to or not.
I callenged you on this - you then said you had consulted your committee on this and that was club policy.
As I said, I'll trawl through the relevant threads when I have time, or you are welcome to do so yourself.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: mauvepink
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 01:03 PM

Perhaps it's time to start a thread entitled "Can Jim and TheSnail learn" hear each other?

Can we get the thread back on topic please gentlemen and maybe try resolve this one in private? No disrespect but the thread had been going well amd I have found it very interesting to read peoples ideas and opinions

THank you :-)

mp


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 04:35 AM

"Can we get the thread back on topic please gentlemen"
Yes we certainly can - apologies.
Can the tone deaf learn to sing - probably not, but as I suggested earlier, I don't believe tone deafness to be a significant problem. Rather, I believe a major hurdle is having to overcome a prejudice instilled in us all from an early age by a musical heirarchy who advocate that the folk (natural) voice is ugly and folk song, primitive and non-creative - we were taught that unless we could emulate the clacissists we were bad singers.
In my experience in being part of singing workshops for several decades, anybody can sing if they are prepared to put the work in and if they are given the constructive assistance and advice. Some come to singing naturally, others, like me, have to put more time and effort into it, but all, or nearly all, are capable of becoming singers.
MacColl, Frankie Armstrong, and many others developed and used basic exercises to assist people to become singers; they're out there for people to avail themselves of should they need them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 07:22 AM

I've just read Stephen Fry's latest autobiographical tome in which he relates how he resorted to Hypnotism to get him through a comic sketch where he had to sing.
He claims that he still thinks of himself as tone-deaf, and Paul McCartney agrees with him!
However his tone-deafness stems from an incident at school where he was advised to mime and the hypnotism did work for the one occasion where he was told that after a cue sentence he would be able to sing in tune.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: mauvepink
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 08:31 AM

It seems the jury is still out on what tone deafness actually is and if it can be overcome. Neverless there have ben some insightful postings offering great hope for anyone who 'thinks' they cannot sings. It appears that most feel that singing can be taught and that practice can, and does, makes perfect.

Music in all forms is so rich. There is a vast depth of tunefulness and songs out there. So many singers have made it who, in many a way, have no conventional voice but nonetheless suit what they write/sing. Kris Kristofferson and Leonard Cohen are but two examples. They have fantastic voices, but many would say not in a conventional way. What they do do is sing in tune though. It appears from all that has been written here so far that what we accept from singers is that they should be able to sing in tune. Drifting too far outside of that remit will get censure.

Truly enjoying this thread...

mp


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: TheSnail
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 10:05 AM

Sorry mauvepink, I know it must be annoying. I can hear Jim all too clearly thank you; his silence would be welcome.

It seems I will have to let his latest disstortion of what I said go unchallenged.


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: autoharpbob
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 12:09 PM

Another who some claimed could not sing is Dylan of course. Like Kristofferson, Cohen - even Johnny Cash - he has his own style of singing, but if you listen he is in tune. And I think all of this was before AutoTune was invented. Isn't it a shame now that people rely on some electronic wizardry rather than doing it again and getting it right?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 01:49 PM

autoharpbob... I think the examples you have cited open another can of worms...!

There are varying degrees, I think, of what people consider to be 'in tune' or 'off key' or 'out of tune'...

So when someone is labelled 'tone deaf' it may just be a matter of opinion rather than fact?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: Bernard
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 01:52 PM

When someone is given two notes to compare, asked which is the high note and which is the low note, and they give the wrong answer, they may simply not have been taught which is which...

We often make assumptions based upon our own experiences, do we not?


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Subject: RE: Can the tone deaf learn to sing?
From: ClaireBear
Date: 13 Jan 11 - 03:09 PM

Bernard, that could certainly be true if there were cultural or semantic differences between the teacher and pupil that had not been considered, but I can assure you that was not the case with my student. She could not hear the pitch of a tone, or reproduce it vocally, at all...but she could memorize how to play a tune and do so with accuracy.


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