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I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers

GUEST,Doc John 22 Jan 11 - 03:55 PM
Andy Jackson 22 Jan 11 - 04:00 PM
kendall 22 Jan 11 - 04:02 PM
ChanteyLass 22 Jan 11 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Gerry 22 Jan 11 - 05:50 PM
GUEST,jeff 22 Jan 11 - 06:27 PM
Little Hawk 22 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM
Will Fly 22 Jan 11 - 07:03 PM
Dave MacKenzie 22 Jan 11 - 07:20 PM
kendall 22 Jan 11 - 07:21 PM
Spleen Cringe 22 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM
kendall 22 Jan 11 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Gerry 22 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM
J-boy 22 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM
Taconicus 23 Jan 11 - 12:23 AM
BrooklynJay 23 Jan 11 - 01:10 AM
Jim Carroll 23 Jan 11 - 03:27 AM
Acorn4 23 Jan 11 - 04:20 AM
GUEST,Ray 23 Jan 11 - 04:42 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 11 - 05:12 AM
alanabit 23 Jan 11 - 05:46 AM
GUEST,Grishka 23 Jan 11 - 06:06 AM
Silas 23 Jan 11 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,Doc John 23 Jan 11 - 06:21 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 11 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Gerry 23 Jan 11 - 06:45 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 11 - 07:14 AM
blinddrunkal 23 Jan 11 - 08:18 AM
blinddrunkal 23 Jan 11 - 08:20 AM
Bobert 23 Jan 11 - 08:23 AM
GUEST,kendall 23 Jan 11 - 08:31 AM
Alan Day 23 Jan 11 - 08:33 AM
GUEST, topsie 23 Jan 11 - 09:24 AM
ChanteyLass 23 Jan 11 - 09:42 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 11 - 09:48 AM
Steve Shaw 23 Jan 11 - 10:24 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 23 Jan 11 - 10:32 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 11 - 10:41 AM
Wolfhound person 23 Jan 11 - 10:49 AM
Maryrrf 23 Jan 11 - 11:13 AM
Bobert 23 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM
GUEST,HiLo 23 Jan 11 - 11:50 AM
GUEST, topsie 23 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,kendall 23 Jan 11 - 01:21 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Jan 11 - 01:26 PM
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MGM·Lion 23 Jan 11 - 01:56 PM
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GUEST 23 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Jan 11 - 04:55 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Jan 11 - 06:29 PM
Don Firth 23 Jan 11 - 06:30 PM
Don Firth 23 Jan 11 - 06:44 PM
kendall 23 Jan 11 - 08:04 PM
Dave MacKenzie 23 Jan 11 - 08:12 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 23 Jan 11 - 08:49 PM
Haruo 23 Jan 11 - 09:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jan 11 - 09:45 PM
Ron Davies 23 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM
MGM·Lion 23 Jan 11 - 11:46 PM
GUEST,Patsy 24 Jan 11 - 04:10 AM
GUEST,kendall 24 Jan 11 - 06:49 AM
Dave MacKenzie 24 Jan 11 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Grishka 24 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM
DonMeixner 24 Jan 11 - 12:29 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Jan 11 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,DWR 24 Jan 11 - 02:57 PM
DonMeixner 24 Jan 11 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,DWR 24 Jan 11 - 03:21 PM
gnu 24 Jan 11 - 03:33 PM
MGM·Lion 24 Jan 11 - 04:01 PM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 25 Jan 11 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Patsy 25 Jan 11 - 08:30 AM
Will Fly 25 Jan 11 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Zoe Bremer 25 Jan 11 - 01:42 PM
Ron Davies 26 Jan 11 - 08:38 PM
Janie 26 Jan 11 - 10:13 PM
wysiwyg 26 Jan 11 - 11:14 PM
The Fooles Troupe 27 Jan 11 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Ross in Toronto 27 Jan 11 - 02:49 AM
GUEST,Steamin' Willie 27 Jan 11 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,glueman 27 Jan 11 - 03:34 AM
Ron Davies 28 Jan 11 - 07:27 AM
Lighter 28 Jan 11 - 08:02 AM
Teribus 29 Jan 11 - 03:16 AM
Van 29 Jan 11 - 03:29 AM
Dave MacKenzie 29 Jan 11 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,matt milton 29 Jan 11 - 01:06 PM
Jack Campin 29 Jan 11 - 05:11 PM
BDenz 29 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM
GUEST,glueman 29 Jan 11 - 06:51 PM
Don Firth 29 Jan 11 - 08:01 PM
Fastauntie 30 Jan 11 - 05:51 AM
Old Vermin 31 Jan 11 - 03:35 AM
Don Firth 31 Jan 11 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Grishka 31 Jan 11 - 04:28 PM
RTim 31 Jan 11 - 04:40 PM
Don Firth 31 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 31 Jan 11 - 07:15 PM
Janie 31 Jan 11 - 11:44 PM
keberoxu 30 May 16 - 02:46 PM
meself 30 May 16 - 03:37 PM
Helen 30 May 16 - 03:39 PM
keberoxu 30 May 16 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 30 May 16 - 04:55 PM
Steve Shaw 30 May 16 - 05:30 PM
Gurney 30 May 16 - 06:01 PM
gillymor 30 May 16 - 07:14 PM
CupOfTea 30 May 16 - 08:41 PM
Mark Ross 30 May 16 - 08:47 PM
Padre 30 May 16 - 10:05 PM
Joe Offer 30 May 16 - 11:22 PM
Dave Hanson 31 May 16 - 02:34 AM
Helen 31 May 16 - 02:40 AM
Helen 31 May 16 - 02:43 AM
GUEST,HiLo 31 May 16 - 02:53 AM
Jim Carroll 31 May 16 - 03:55 AM
Will Fly 31 May 16 - 04:21 AM
Steve Shaw 31 May 16 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,HiLo 31 May 16 - 06:33 AM
Steve Shaw 31 May 16 - 08:57 AM
Padre 31 May 16 - 09:21 AM
keberoxu 31 May 16 - 10:01 AM
GUEST,Tunesmith 01 Jun 16 - 05:48 AM
Will Fly 01 Jun 16 - 06:03 AM
MickyMan 01 Jun 16 - 04:26 PM
Helen 01 Jun 16 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,HiLo 01 Jun 16 - 06:51 PM
Steve Shaw 01 Jun 16 - 07:04 PM
Helen 01 Jun 16 - 07:20 PM
Steve Shaw 01 Jun 16 - 08:37 PM
Helen 02 Jun 16 - 12:38 AM
GUEST,HiLo 02 Jun 16 - 02:05 AM
Will Fly 02 Jun 16 - 08:01 AM
RTim 02 Jun 16 - 12:26 PM
andrew e 02 Jun 16 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,HiLo 02 Jun 16 - 06:47 PM
leeneia 03 Jun 16 - 12:31 AM
Teribus 03 Jun 16 - 04:07 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Jun 16 - 07:40 AM
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MGM·Lion 04 Jun 16 - 09:07 AM
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Subject: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 03:55 PM

I know this will considered a heresy and I'm sorry but I just hate the sound of 'classically trained' singer - tenors, sopranos and the like. They sound so unnatural and forced and have the effect on me like chalk squeaking on a blackboard. And why do they have to affect such silly accents such as pronouncing 'bosum'as 'boo'sum'and 'hill' as 'heel'. And then there's that silly r rolling which sounds like that parody of a Scot from the Goon Show. Then there the unctious backing they always seem to require. Pretentious, precious of course: what all cultured people should like. When they attempt folk music the result is really quite ridiculous. OK, it may be techically clever to do what they do,rather like ultra high speed banjo playing, but to my ears that doesn't necessarily sound pleasant. Yes, I'd rather listen to Dave Burland and Christine Kidd than Pavarotti and Joan Sutherland.
Doc John
PS I think Shakespeare's plays are a verbose, incomprehensible, badly researched pantomine too.
PPS The Philistines had a bad press


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 04:00 PM

I could get to like you Doc.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: kendall
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 04:02 PM

So could I until he started on Shakespeare.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 04:24 PM

I like the sound of opera singers when they sing opera, but not when they sing folk music. Last year I started to go to Metropolitan Opera rebroadcasts at a cineplex near me. It's a genr, of music I've had little chance to listen to except when singers appeared on TV variety shows, like the Ed Sullivan Show, when I was a child. At that time I hated their sound: screeching or shouting, I thought. Over the last several years I've found myself in groups of people that included opera fans and decided, in my early 60s, to try to find out why. However, I don't like it when opera singers sing folk songs as if they were songs in an opera. I've heard this in some of the public television specials along the lines of The Three Tenors. That does not work for me. Opera music will never be my favorite. I'm definitely a folkie. Also, when I see the operas it helps that the acting is much better than I had expected and that there are English subtitles. I'm even beginning to think of some opera singers as my favorites in that genre, but I probably like them because of their acting since I am a just learning about the sounds.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 05:50 PM

Judy Collins was classically trained, and I won't hear a bad word about her folk recordings. It's a question of whether you know which parts of your classical training to apply to folk music, and which parts to save for another day. There's nothing wrong with hitting the notes spot on, clear diction, wide vocal range, and some of the other things one may get from classical training.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 06:27 PM

Being trained by a classical contralto in my mid 20s was the best decision I made in my musical career. She emphasized the importance of maintaining a physical regimen in addtion to any musical growth. She changed my life focus and for that I'll be forever grateful.

I continue to apply classical training in my singing to this day. While I don't have a 'classical voice' I've got the highest respect for those who do. But, I'm in agreement when an opera singer trys to tackle 'Ol' Man River, Wayfarin' Stranger or Amazing Grace, etc. W/all do respect...yuck.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 06:57 PM

Focus on what you like. It will make you happy.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 07:03 PM

I don't have any problem with liking both Dave Burland AND Luciano Pavarotti - what's to dislike? I'm no fan of classical singers performing music outside their sphere - such as jazz or folk - any more than I would like to hear most folk singers attempting the classical repertoire. But I loved operatic singing from the very first moment I heard it as a small child (78rpm shellac records played on my grandparents' old wind-up gramophone) and it has a place for me alongside all the other music I love - folk, blues, classical, ragtime, jazz, rock'n roll. Classical singing may be many things but pretentious it ain't - it's a hard craft requiring rigorous training and application, like most good music.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 07:20 PM

I must admit that I like opera but I don't like opera singers, or at least tenors and sopranos - they seem to be more concerned with showing off than communicating, and when I go to opera I go for the full experience - what's the point of Da Ponte or W S Gilbert's words if you can't hear them? For the same reason, unless it's an opera I know really well, I'm not too keen on just listening to the sound - I want the whole thing! Different musics require different vocal techniques. Some folk music can be sung with a 'big' voice - just listen to Bob Davenport for instance - but that would not be appropriate for delta blues.

I don't think classically trained singers are pretentious. They just sound that way. I didn't appreciate folk music when I was very, very young, because in those days Scottish music on radio was performed by the likes of Robert Wilson, Kenneth MacKellar and Calum Kennedy. It was only when I began to hear more traditionally sounding singers that I began to appreciate my national heritage.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: kendall
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 07:21 PM

I hate the sound of those women screeching in the super markets. They sound like a hog caught in a barbed wire fence.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Spleen Cringe
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 07:24 PM

I'm with Little Hawk. Not literally, but you know what I mean...


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: kendall
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 07:29 PM

I also hate the sound of a bowed psaltery and the Saxophone. One sounds like a fly under a shingle, and the other sounds like a giant Kazoo.
Now, does anyone care what I don't like?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 09:34 PM

I hate the sound of one hand clapping.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 09:49 PM

Lets not denigrate the singing forester, Kenneth McKellar. An unforgetable singer of 19th C. parlor repertoire.
It takes a great voice to sing "Kishmul's Galley." Or Burns' "Scots Wha' Hae."

Traditionally sounding? Like a fishwife hawking her wares?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: J-boy
Date: 22 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM

Of a tree falling in the woods. Unless I'm not there to hear it or something.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Taconicus
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:23 AM

I also don't much like the sound of many (not all) 'classically trained' singers who sing in the bombastic stylistic classical style.

But I like Shakespeare's plays.

And many classicly trained singers, Judy Collins for example, don't use that bombastic style, and those sound fine.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:10 AM

Now, hate is a strong word...

Let's just say I strongly dislike not being able to decipher the lyrics when someone sings. If I cannot understand 90%-95% of what I'm hearing, I just shut off. Doesn't matter what the genre is. Of course, if someone is singing in a language I do not speak, I will, of course, make some allowances. But generally speaking, I do like to understand the lyrics.

Case in point: I remember I liked Rickie Lee Jones many years ago, when she released her first albums. But she was absolutely unintelligible on so many songs that if they didn't print the lyrics on the back of the album cover I would have given up on her after the first few minutes.

Sites with a lyrics database (like Mudcat's DT) or recordings where lyrics are provided are a real blessing.

Jay


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:27 AM

Treat classical singing as music rather than song and it can work if the singer is skilled - Callas, for instance.
I can remember my mother telling me of, when she was young, climbing up a fire escape onto the roof of a cinema with a group of friends and listening to the aria from Madam Butterfly drifting up from below - magic. She hated opera all her life, but she always remembered 'One Fine Day' as the piece of beautiful music that it is - I still agree with her; though I do love Carmen, song, music and plot.
I have to say I hate folk songs sung in operatic style - like throwing away the toffee and keeping the wrapping paper.
Shakespeare, like the big ballads, takes work to appreciate, but it's a journey worth making.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Acorn4
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 04:20 AM

It does sound rather daft when a group of classically trained parlour ladies sing how they are "off to fight the F-r-r-r-ench!"


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Ray
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 04:42 AM

Its the people who tell you what you should and shouldn't like or those who tell you how you should and shouldn't do something that I can't stand.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 05:12 AM

I'm always rather wary of blanket pronouncements - statements a bit like "I dislike all Taylor guitars" or "I dislike opera" or "I dislike all Volvos", etc. Such pronouncements seem a little simplistic, on the whole, and deny the chance of individual assessment of the thing in question.

I could say, with some some truth, that I'm not - on the whole - a fan of choral music, that I'm not - on the whole - a fan of church organ music, and that I'm irreligious. Going on those statements, I should really hate Janacek's "Glagolitic Mass", which is a huge choral mass in an obscure Czech language (Glagolitic), with a massive organ section in the last section. But I love it, and I think it's one of the greatest pieces of 20th century music.

To take "opera" as genre, once you dig into it, there are huge differences in style and approach from composer to composer - producing works which are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. "Carmen" and "Madame Butterfly" have been mentioned in previous posts - both examples of a tradition in both French and Italian opera in which arias and formal choruses are interspersed with spoken or sung recitative. Wagner changed the shape of all this when conceived opera as a continuous piece of music with sets, costumes, music all woven into one art form. Janacek went out into his native Czech countryside, noting down speech rhythms, the sounds of animals and insects, the feel of nature all round him - and then composed "The Cunning Little Vixen", in which nearly all the parts are animals. Utterly different again from Bizet, Puccini and Wagner.

It's worth digging deeper sometimes. Even if you end up hating it, at least you can say "I hate it" with informed conviction!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: alanabit
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 05:46 AM

On the whole I feel the same as Doc John on the topic of classically trained singers tackling other genres. All the things, which annoy him, annoy me too. I can not help but admire their craft and skill when they sing their "own" music, although I generally do not like that either. However, when I have heard good soloists singing in "The Messiah", or when I heard Robert Tear's tenor once making every timber of the building reverberate to Fourré's "Libere Me Domine", I could not help but be moved. My mother had a recording of Kiri Te Kanawa singing jazz standards. It came as a pleasant surprise to me that she concentrated on showing the songs rather than simply showing off her voice. I would not buy it, but I found it quite bearable.

On the subject of Shakespeare, I can appreciate that it is not for everyone, but I will take the liberty of remarking that Doc John is one of the less erudite critics whom I have read.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:06 AM

The OP has a very strong point in criticizing singers singing out of style. Record companies sometimes indulge in crossover experiments with famous performers, aimed at their admirers. Barbra Streisand singing Brahms, for example, was a universal ridicule. But even within each of the major categories such as classic, pop, jazz, and folk, there are hosts of stylistic approaches, each requiring good acquaintance and special training, as Will exemplified in the classical case. Sadly, many attempts fail, and more sadly still, this often goes unnoticed by the public, so that whole genres are misrepresented and brought into disrepute.

I'm with Gerry et al. that a good general training will mostly be found useful, if it is complemented with the requirements of the specific style of the pieces to be performed.

Shakespeare, on the other hand, was and is Shakespeare (whatever his or their real name/s may have been).


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Silas
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:15 AM

I will never forget a TV programm with Kate Rusby and that Northern Tart Opera Singer, I can't quite remember her name now, but it was roll on the floor hilarious, how Kate and the band kept a straight face I will never know.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Doc John
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:21 AM

Glad to hear what other 'catters think. It all started when I commented unfavourably on a classical tenor singing a song in the folk tradition on You Tube and that I preferred the versions sung by the amateurs. I received several abusive e-mails calling me ignorant, uneducated, pathetic and the like.
Now there's a one way ticket operating here. It's fine for the 'culture vultures' to say 'Lead Belly can't sing, he just shouts' or 'Bing Crosby can sing, he just croons' but you just cannot criticise the tenors, sopranos etc or you open yourself to the comments I received. It should be what you like or what you don't like but there's this attitude in society of what you should like if you're an 'educated' person. This attitude seems to be most prevalent in music: I can say I like David Lynch films and cricket and don't like John Wayne and football and this doesn't cause the same reaction. In this latter case, it's usually the 'each to his own' attitude.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:27 AM

Doc - I'm with you all the way on the snobbishness you sometimes get from classically trained singers towards more popular musical idioms. The acid test is when they try and do it themselves.
Some years ago, when that great tenor sax player and broadcaster Benny green was alive, he was comparing Kiri Te Kanawa's treatment of "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" from South Pacific to the treatment by Mary Martin in the film version. He demonstrated beyond doubt that, in that genre, Mary Martin had "it" and Kiri Te Kanawa - great as she was and is - just didn't have "it".


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:45 AM

Two people have mentioned Kiri Te Kanawa, so I'll add my two cents. She did an album of folk songs which I found unlistenable - those poor songs were helpless against the onslaught of that voice. Then I listened to her doing South Pacific and expected the same, but was pleasantly surprised; she was singing it as Broadway musical, not as grand opera, and it sounded great. Maybe if I had the benefit of the broadcast Will Fly refers to, I'd agree that Mary Martin did it better, but I thought KTK did it very well.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 07:14 AM

Hi Gerry. I think Benny Green's opinion was that, although KTK sang the South Pacific piece beautifully, her interpretation lacked that essential "pizzaz", the gutsiness of Broadway singers like Mary Martin, Sophie Tucker, Ethel Merman, etc., which that particular tune - and musical - demands. Once again, it's horses for course. I'd no idea she'd done a folk album - must check it out, just out of interest...


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: blinddrunkal
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:18 AM

Can't help but agree - operatic singers "doing" folk or show tunes generally lose the "feel" of the music - one exception I would make would be John Shirley-Quirk singing Percy Grainger's arrangement of "Shallow Brown"
: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL5G9C59Iao


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: blinddrunkal
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:20 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL5G9C59Iao


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:23 AM

Well, seein' as my wife is classically trained (soprano) I gotta, at least, say that I love her voice... But the rest of 'um??? Like fingernails on the chalk board...

BTW, I kinda like Shakespeare... Not love, mind you, but like...

B~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:31 AM

And enterprises of great pith and moment become sicklied over with the pale cast of thought, and lose the mane of action.
How can anyone NOT like that? Sure, by modern standards it is a bit verbose, but it is so much better than simply saying, "On second thought, screw it."


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Alan Day
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:33 AM

This is interesting as I had a dilemma when compiling English Concertina International as I had a the very thing that Doc John is referring to. A Folk Song sung in an operatic voice. Lovely singing and beautiful accompaniment. From the test samples I put out this song came out as the most loved and alternatively the most hated of the collection. One of my jobs is to ensure that where possible I do not set someone up for criticism, but at the same time try to create an interesting varied selection.It was decided not to include it as I thought that certainly the UK Folk listeners would not enjoy it. From the general level of replies on this thread I did the right thing.
Al


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:24 AM

There's a lot of Shakespeare and not all of it is wonderful, but now and then a line or two will just knock you for six.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:42 AM

Tiny bit of trivia: Mary Martin starred in the original Broadway cast of South Pacific, but Mitzi Gaynor starred in the original film.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:48 AM

Indeed she did, ChanteyLass - there's a YouTube b&w clip of Mary Martin singing the piece in the 1952 stage production in London - and I prefer Martin to Gaynor meself...


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:24 AM

I'm right with you on that Glagolitic Mass, Will. And we have the great Charles Mackerras to thank for his advocacy of Janacek.

What about John McCormack? He was a celebrated classical singer yet he could turn his hand to those Irish ballads in what I consider to be a wonderful, inimitable manner. Another bloke who could do the same kind of thing was Peter Dawson. Still, it's just my taste I s'pose. If I ever hear that Andreas Scholl countertenor bloke singing folk songs I have to leave the room immediately. Mind you, I'm like that with countertenors anyway. :-)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:32 AM

I am often surprised at what I like on first exposure. It is sort of like the saying "You should never see how sausage is made." The list of things I don't like is endless but so is the list of things I do.

I think the issue with opera singers is more one of the material than the voice. I once heard an operatic tenor singing Buffy St Marie's song "Up Where We Belong". It sounded great by Jennifer Warnes but stilted and never quite in key by the tenor.(A problem I have with all operatic voices outside of the opera setting)

I often quote Jean Redpath in this regard. "I have a too highly refined sense of the ridiculous to truly appreciate opera."

Shakespeare on the other hand has to be heard rather than read.

Don


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:41 AM

Another bloke who could do the same kind of thing was Peter Dawson.

Coincidentally, I was listening to Peter Dawson this morning - his were some of the old 78rpm records I used to listen to as a child on my grandparents' gramophone in the early 50s. I still love his voice, and he was a fine bass-baritone singer. He was renowned for diction and I was told once that he used to turn his back to the audience at a concert, take out his teeth and then sing! Whether that's true or not I don't know - but it's a great story!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Wolfhound person
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:49 AM

As a teenager, an aunt obviously asked my parents what I would like for Christmas. "Folk songs" must have been the reply.

I ended up with two Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten EPs, probably very good but not at all what I wanted in the mid 60s. (CND stuff was more my thing) I never have cared for the trained approach, and I still don't.

Mind you the poor aunt must have had trouble - real folk (no don't go there!!!) was hard to find in Bournemouth at the time. I hope I wasn't too rude when I opened them.

Paws


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Maryrrf
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:13 AM

In general I would agree that classical trained singers often mangle traditional songs, but there are exceptions. Judy Collins is one. Have a listen to Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Two Time Loser couldn't be done better, and then there is the incredible Ladino song "A La Una Yo Naci". Rhiannon is classically trained, but while that certainly contributes to her range and lovely voice tone, it doesn't get in the way of her singing when she goes traditional.

I also have a CD of traditional Appalachian ballads by Custer LaRue. She's very "classical" in her approach, but I still enjoy the songs.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Bobert
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:36 AM

And let's not forget that memorable quote from Shakespeare afetr his dog peed on the carpet...

..."Out, damned Spot"....

B;~)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:50 AM

I don't usually get into conversations of this kind as I find that people seem to have so many preconcieved notions about different types of music..i.e. "classical" is the music of "snobs" and the "educated"! Whatever that means. I have been listening to folk music for many years and I love it..However, the best singer I have ever heard, bar none, is Cecelia Bartoli...not only because she has been well "trained" but because she sings with such passion and deep understanding.
   Also, I belive that Judy Collins was trained as a pinist and not as a singer, that is not to say she isn't a grand singer, she is.
I guess my overall point is that I hate the stereotyping of classical music lovers as snobs and elites, they are just music lovers like everyone else..yes ?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM

What I really dislike is poetry read in an affected, slow, "poetry reading" voice with too much "feeling" and the emphasis all wrong.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:21 PM

Vernon Dalhart (Marion T. Slaughter) was an opera singer who went into early country music, and it showed. Maybe that's why he wasn't very popular.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:26 PM

I hate the sound God makes when he's boiling up the leavings from his neep lanterns at Halloween; it's a sort of high pitched multi-layered whoop-whoop not unlike the triumphant chorus of destroyers at the end of The Guns of Navaronne - see HERE, 3.59 - only louder. Why does he do it? He is God, he can do anything.

Not too keen on the sound of recycling and wind-farms, nor yet of the screaming sheep in the abbatoir. There are certain frequencies the South-East wind makes whilst keening through my next door neighbour's over-flow pipe which inspires in me a certain melancholy, whilst a North-East wind inspires a wistfulness and longing that I can't readily account for. The demolition of coal-fired power stations is a sound I dread; likewise the seventh note the Westminster Chimes and the neighbour's cat Wilson crunching on the rat heads which seem to be its staple diet.

That'll do for now.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: G-Force
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:36 PM

One point that nobody has made yet is that the reason why opera singers strongly trill their 'R's and emphasise their consonants is because they're singing without mikes to a large theatre. If they didn't do that, you'd only hear the vowels and not the consonants. The same applied to music hall artists.

Modern popular singers whether Bing Crosby or Stevie Wonder have never had to do that, so a whole style of singing has grown up which just sounds completely different to anything before the 20th century, and fans of popular music just expect their singers to sound the way they do.

Of course, folk song was never meant to be sung in a theatre.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:38 PM

Iagree that Kiri Te Kanawa is not great at folk songs..she's not great at opera either. Great voice, no passion.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:56 PM

"Sure, by modern standards it is a bit verbose," said Kendall of a passage he quotes from Hamlet. Shax indeed sometimes may appear so. But just as often, it is the intense concentration of his concepts which make his work, tho sometimes a little obscure, so uniquely satisfying.

Take, e.g., the passage from Henry V: "Now all the youth of England are on fire, And silken dalliance in the wardrobe lies". Try to paraphrase the last 6 words, and analyse their precise meaning. The best I can come up with is something on the lines of "The sort of luxurious clothes appropriate to flirtation and idle high living have been abandoned in the wardrobe, and this is symbolic of the abandonment during the national emergency of the kind of lifestyle to which they were appropriate". Can anyone find a briefer paraphrase which will comprehend the whole, concentrated, significance of the line?

It is this sort of concentrated metonymic ellipsis that makes Will's images so often so expressive and laden with meaning.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 02:44 PM

Gary Morris is another country singer who sang opera as well. His "La Boheme" and "Les Miserables" were highly regarded by some...

What Shakespeare meant in 1600 by ".... a silken dalliance..." may have had an entirely different meaning as to how it sounds in 2011.

Gay and gay for instance.

Old Bill needs no defense by me, and for his words the charm may be in the puzzle of their meaning.

People cross over styles all the time. In retrospect I think it is more the individual's performance than the discipline it self.

Don


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM

You're all talking bollocks, what I like is good music and the rest of it is bad music.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 04:55 PM

What Shakespeare meant in 1600 by ".... a silken dalliance..." may have had an entirely different meaning as to how it sounds in 2011. ~ Don
····
So what? I am not quite sure what point you are making here, Don.

It is "silken dalliance", not "a silken dalliance".

~M~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:29 PM

Judy Collins was trained as a pinist

That's right. As a result, she's spent her whole damned life discriminating against spruces, firs and larches. Terrible woman!   ;-)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:30 PM

I shouldn't get involved in this.

Opera has been around for several centuries and it's still going strong. The style of singing has, of necessity, been dictated by a number of circumstances.

If you're used to singing in a coffeehouse or folk club, and over the sound of an acoustic guitar or 5-string banjo, you don't really have to put that much horsepower behind your voice to be heard. But—if you have to be heard in a large theater or concert house big enough to accommodate a couple thousand people and over what amounts to a full symphony orchestra often going full tilt, along with making sure the words you're singing are understandable, you'd better have some pretty solid breath-support, make sure you using the full resonance possibilities of you voice, and enunciate crisply and clearly.

Opera developed as an art form long before the invention of amplification. Anyone who wanted to sing opera had to have a big voice to begin with. Not everyone does. Bing Crosby, for example, was a baritone, as was Frank Sinatra and most of the crooners. But their voices were not big enough for opera. They had the benefit of coming on board as broadcasting was well under way, and spent their singing lives working with the benefit of electronic amplification. This made it possible for them to back off and "croon," and still be heard in large spaces such as in Las Vegas casinos.

With this matter of natural vocal power to deal with, believe me, opera singers—and classical singers in general—don't have the energy and concentration left over to be "pretentious." Years of training, practice, and bloody hard work goes into becoming a classical singer, and not all those who want to be have the kind of voice necessary. Matters, for example, of just sheer size of voice. Most people don't have a big enough voice. This assumption of "pretentiousness" is a projection of persons who just don't understand what the hell is going on.

And as to the kind of music one sings:   George London was a great bass-baritone, great enough so that he was the first American to be invited to sing at the Wagner festival in Beyreuth, Germany, and to sing the role of Boris Godunov at the Bolshoi opera house in Moscow. One of the great singers of all time.

But in an otherwise marvelous recital program, he included "Lord Randal." He made the mistake of giving it the "full operatic treatment." Gawdawful! The problem was that this was not his milieu, and he didn't understand that this sort of song requires an approach far different from the approach one would take to the death scene in Boris Godunov.

Let's put the shoe on the other foot: try to imaging THIS sung by, say, Bob Dylan.

Dmitri Hvorostosky is one of the finest baritones around these days.

Not all operatic tenors are rotund. Some are movie star good looking. Take a gander at Mario del Monaco as the troubadour knight (Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi). He has just learned that the evil Count di Luna has captured the gypsy woman he thinks is his mother and is going to burn her at the stake. A bit pissed about this, the troubadour knight is calling his soldiers TO ARMS, intending to ride out, rescue his mother, and tear di Luna a new one! Note also that he is singing over both an orchestra and chorus.

And if you're under the misconception that operatic sopranos are all fat and shrill, take a look and listen to THIS young lady! The poignant aria she is singing, "Song to the Moon," is from Rusalka, an opera by Antonin Dvorak, based on a Czech folk tale about a water sprite who is in love with a mortal man and yearns to become human. It's pretty sure that Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Mermaid" was based on this folk tale.

A mind that is closed and full of stereotypes and knee-jerk reactions is a sad thing. It denies its possessor a great many wonderful things in life.

Don Firth

P. S. Some classical voice lessons can be of great benefit to anyone interested in singing. Learning to use good breath support and how to make the best use of your own natural resonance and sing without undue muscular tension can keep your voice healthy and enable you to sing well into old age. But it will not make you sound like an opera singer as many folkies seem to think. Believe me, there are a lot of classical voice students who wish it were that easy!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 06:44 PM

Wow!! I just listened to that cut of Anna Netrebko again. In addition to being gorgeous, she has a singing voice like rich cream!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: kendall
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:04 PM

Say what you will about opera; it has been around for hundreds of years and will continue past our lifetimes.
Can you picture the youth of today in say, 30 years or so, all standing around the old upright synthesizer, trying to recall three words from Twisted Sister?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:12 PM

Just finished watching 'Prosperos Books' - great film even if I normally can't stand sopranos (boy or female).


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 08:49 PM

MtheGM

In 1600 a Faggot was a bundle of sticks that wereburned. Today it has, to some, a much different meaning. In 1969, when I was in high school,a Dork was slang for a penis. Today it is any clueless, nerdy, doof. A jock was an athletic supporter and not the athlete.

So what was a silken dalliance?   Words and their meanings change with in decades why not over the centuries?

D


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Haruo
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:40 PM

And Paul Robeson?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 09:45 PM

Yes, another attempt to generalize what can't be generalized.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Ron Davies
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 10:14 PM

I sing classical music all the time, in a big group which has sung in Carnegie Hall, the Albert Hall, and the Sistine Chapel, among many other places. And I have to say I agree with the opening poster.    I like opera overtures, opera choruses--and very few arias.   And the main reason is the classically trained voices of the soloists--especially the vibrato.

The interesting thing is that my conductor seems to agree with me on this--he is forever telling us to focus and produce only a straight tone--with very few exceptions, one being parts of Carmina Burana, when he wants an "earthy" tone from the altos--and sometimes from the sopranos.

Reason for his wanting a straight tone:   he wants to be able to add "color" as he sees fit.   Also, vibrato--aside from natural vibrato--can make it seem that you are not hitting the exact note immediately.

I have a friend who was recently let go from the group--even though he is a true tenor, and I always thought real tenors in choral groups could write their own tickets, and were invulnerable to the concerns of the rest of us.    But we have re-auditions every year, and he has a wide vibrato, though he is only about 50.    My theory is that that's the reason he is no longer in the group--which is like an extended family--and nobody wants to leave voluntarily--both because of the music and the camaraderie.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM

Don ~ "So what was a silken dalliance?"

Again, it was not A silken dalliance, but just "silken dalliance". Read my post about it again. If you still don't get it, forget it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 11:46 PM

... just to clarify, Don: I was not asking its meaning, or commenting on its meaning (I know perfectly well what it meant - & still means, for all your non-point about the mutability of language of which I am quite aware, thank you); but simply remarking admiringly on the amazing compression of Will's use of the phrase in this passage, and the amount of significance he contrives to cram into only six words.

Geddit now?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 04:10 AM

I hate it when operatic singers 'cross over' to other styles of music it doesn't do their voices justice at all, a bit like putting a ballerina into a pair of hobnail boots. Although I appreciate the quality of operatic singers I don't find it at all easy on the ear apart from the odd one or two Paul Robeson, Mario Lanza or Pavarotti. I would much rather just listen to classical music. But that is just my preference.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,kendall
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:49 AM

I would love to be able to sing like Pavarotti, and not.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:50 AM

I suspect opera singers hate it just as much when I 'cross over' to classical.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 12:02 PM

Patsy, Paul Robeson, who died 35 years and one day ago, was not an opera singer at all, but a lawyer and an actor famous for his Othello (Shakespeare, not Verdi!).


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: DonMeixner
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 12:29 PM

Gosh M, what did I do to earn your wrath this morning?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 02:03 PM

Don ~~ You took it on yourself to lecture me on the changes in meanings of words over the years, a topic of which I am perfectly aware; in apparent response to my post about how compressed was the Shakespearean expression of a certain concept, whose meaning I wasn't querying anyway. To compound this, you didn't even get the quote right, even after I had set you right about it, persistently rendering it as "a silken dalliance", when the actual words are simply "silken dalliance" without any preceding "a".

Do you really not think this was just an itty-bitty officious and uncomprehending of you, & liable to divert readers of my post from the point I was actually making?

Regards

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 02:57 PM

Time to play nice again, fellas? I really have been enjoying reading this thread and the different opinions. I'd hate to have to leave it if it is going to degenerate into name calling and unpleasant comments.

I love John McCormack, no matter what he does and have bought most of what is avalable. I like some other male operatic singers, but they are a minority of the whole. I dislike virtually all female singers of the genre. Some few are tolerable. A couple that I find enjoyable,both from the long, long ago are Ernestine Schumann-Heink and Florence Easton. I would apologize to my 7th and 8th grade teacher for not liking Madame Ernestine back then if I could.

Rhiannon Giddens is a class unto herself. Unique is an overused word; she wears it like it was made for her.

I have yet to sample the examples in this thread, but I will.

Shakespeare? Mostly tolerant, sometimes enjoyed.

Dale


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: DonMeixner
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:20 PM

Michael

I have gone back and re read this entire passage of threads to try and understand this better. What I see is a typographical error by me. The mislocation of a few quotation marks. And a misquotation.

I am sorry if you read this as a lecture from me. I wasn't trying to lecture anybody. Lord knows that I don't have the complete knowledge it would take on this subject. My knowledge of Shakespeare is that of an evening reader. For pleasure, not for study.

I wasn't trying to divert anybody from anything. Your observations and your opinions are certainly well stated for all to read.

Nor was I trying to diminish you in the the eys of any other readers of this forum. But apparently I worded my comments in a way that you found offensive and for that I appologize. It was never my intent to be officious or make you look foolish in anyway.

Don


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,DWR
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:21 PM

Please disregard my first paragraph. Usually, I write my crabby comments, then delete them. Today I did not. I am sorry if it looks as though I may be adding my unrequested fuel to someone else's fire. This is one of those times that we do need an edit button.

I do know how to spell available, too. Sometimes my fingers do not type what my mind knows to be correct.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: gnu
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 03:33 PM

Kendall... two belly laughs in one thread! Thanks! Hahahahahaaa.

Pavarotti... the ex used to have the headphones on, volume cranked up, and listen to him while vacuuming... and SING! Drove me nuts. I asked her not to do it. She did anyway. So, one day I unplugged the vacuum. She was so wrapped up in the loud music she didn't know it was off and vacuumed away. And that's when the fight started.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 04:01 PM

Many thanks, Don. Good place to let the matter rest?

Best

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 07:53 AM

I find on occasions that I am unable to determine what note operatic style singers are actualy trying to hit! It is a rare thing to be able to make out the words even when they are in a language that I can recognise.

On the other hand I'm afraid that I must commit heresy and say that I don't care for Shirley Collin's singing voice either.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 08:30 AM

I think I am confusing Operetta - Paul Robeson, Howard Keel, Katherine Grayson etc. with Opera - Pavarotti, Domingo, Catherine Jenkins etc. but to me it still sounds like the kind of thing my parents would listen to on a Sunday morning not that there is anything wrong with that if that is what they like. Perhaps it is a generation thing.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 08:57 AM

Perhaps it is a generation thing.

Or perhaps not. I'm 66 and have spent 40+ years playing all sorts of music from Music Hall to Funk - with everything in between. Why should age be an indicator? My father was mad for Glenn Miller's music, as were many of his generation, and I grew up with it as constant background music. I can virtually whistle every one of Miller's hits, from "American Patrol" to "Moonlight Serenade"!

Patsy - try a little experiment: find yourself a copy of Pavarotti singing "Panis Angelicus" - you can get it on Spotify as a solo version - and sit down with a cup of whatever you like, relax - and just let the sound waft over you.

You may still dislike it, or not be interested in it after the listening - but you might actually find something you like in it. You never know.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: GUEST,Zoe Bremer
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 01:42 PM

What I hate is when so called "classically trained" singers sing in French but get the accent completely wrong, usually by using the modern French "r" which was unknown in France before the late 18th Century (it was imported from Germany).


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound...
From: Ron Davies
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 08:38 PM

"Bing Crosby was a baritone".    Exactly, and as the biography of him that I'm reading now notes, with the new recording technology--especially the mike--the era of tenor domination of popular music ended and the age of baritones began.   Admittedly the author has very little use for tenors, it appears--even Jolson gets grudging praise, and he quotes, approvingly, it seems, descriptions of people like Rudy Vallee as "whining a degenerate song, which is unworthy of any American man."


His own description of Vallee's music:   "He believed he possessed rare insight regarding his generation's musical tastes, which he construed as a desire for rah-rah Ivy League songs, adapted European ballads, and mildly risque novelties about stupid or easy girls."

It's a very lively biography.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Janie
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 10:13 PM

Rhiannon Giddens, of the Carolina Chocolate Drops is classically trained.

Ain't hurt her folk singin' one bit

Nope

(wait for it, wait, wait) Not one little bit!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: wysiwyg
Date: 26 Jan 11 - 11:14 PM

Some Catters I know who were classically trained do not sound hateful at all-- quite natural with rich, expressive, natural-sounding voices and, perhaps, now that I think about their CDs-- a finer touch on phrasing than some others. The training is not the sound-- the training is just the tools, and then what you do with the tools is up to you.

Had a bit of training myself once upon a time, I did. But I KNOW I do not SOUND like it. Not for any other reason than that I gave up singing the classical music that can NOT be done otherwise.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 02:22 AM

"There's nothing wrong with hitting the notes spot on, clear diction, wide vocal range, and some of the other things one may get from classical training."

Yep, and you don't hear whiny, nasally, breathy sounds either, with no breath control, and the inability to be heard with out a mic. Projection they have in spades, and they have learned to open their vocal tracts and sing from the diaphragm.

A breathy weak voice can be very alluring live in a small room, but I think the recording industry is using such a sound merely to sell 'sex'... amping the hell outof it does no real justice to it, anymore than taking a powerful voice and trying to 'wind it back' - like driving a Ferrari to the corner store...


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,Ross in Toronto
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 02:49 AM

When I think of crossover, I think of Freddy Mercury singing operatic stuff with Montserrat Caballe. Lovely. But Freddy had a natural aptitude that most rock stars just don't.

I sing in a folk chorus in Toronto with a classically trained conductor ... and I have to say that we cannot produce the folk sound we aim for *as a chorus* without the vocal training we get in rehearsal from Isabel Bernaus. If we do not all produce the same vowel in the same manner at the same time with the same consonants in the same instant, and for the same duration, we can make a muddy mess of (for instance) "Shenandoah" or "My City". But there are 70-odd of us. We can't sing "My City" the same way Grit Laskin does.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,Steamin' Willie
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 03:27 AM

When my mother in law (Northern comic gags are NOT part of this comment (for once)) first met me, my then girlfriend said I was a folk musician.

Oh, she said, I have a CD of folk music.

Andreas Scholl in homage to Vaughan Williams. I suggest you listen to it, and you may find yourself agreeing with the original post. I had to sit and listen to it, being nice. Trying to impress her. Eight years on and I have stopped trying as luck would have it.

That said, Wagner sang literally sounds just as false.

Horses for courses.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 27 Jan 11 - 03:34 AM

Anyone introduced to folk music through official channels (school, BBC) in the 1960s would assume Peter Piers was the authentic folk voice. I used to dislike classically trained interpretations of folk but am more sympathetic now.
Just been listening to Harry Christopher's 'The Sixteen'. It would be a strange soul that finds nothing moving in those sopranos.
Miserere Mei


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Ron Davies
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 07:27 AM

"...those sopranos".

True, but that confirms my point, not the advisability of classical voice training.

What is most stunning about the sopranos is their achingly pure sound---achieved by straight tone, not vibrato.    Any vibrato they have is natural--not the operatic vibrato which is the subject of the thread. This is why every note they hit is crystal clear.

Many things can be learned in voice training--but the universally useful lessons can be learned by just singing many types of music in many types of groups---doing lots and lots of singing, especially a cappella, in groups, under good conductors.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Lighter
Date: 28 Jan 11 - 08:02 AM

Tastes differ. Your results may vary. Artistic frissons not available in all areas.

As others have said, it ain't the classical training, it's what you and your accompanists do with it. Nonclassical singers can be awful too. I'm thinking of the kind with expert musical skills (in theory) but who think trad has to sound like pop to mean anything. Meanwhile, they and/or their musicians, are doing the jazz riffs and the bongos, etc.
Not that fusion is necessarily the kiss if death, but it *is* almost impossible to carry off. (But that's just an expression of my own taste.)

It also depends on your expectations. If you like bel canto and sit down to listen to a classical setting of a folksong, you won't be disappointed. If you sit down with, say, Harry Cox or Alameda Riddle as your standard, you will be.

For a somewhat less dramatic contrast, compare Jean Redpath's renditions of Burns's songs in the artsy arrangements of Serge Hovey with her less elaborate performances elsewhere.

You can't much help what you like or don't like.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Teribus
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 03:16 AM

A talk show on BBC (IIRC "Parkinson") had three singers on as guests - Rock (can't remember who); Pop (Cliff Richard); Opera (Placido Domingo).

As part of the "entertainment" each attempted to sing the others "music". Domingo wiped the floor with them and did so with ease showing himself to be quite comfortable and competent in the other genres.

Well said Don Firth, although I have yet to hear Bob Dylan actually sing anything.

I also particulalry liked this from Foolestroupe:

".....and you don't hear whiny, nasally, breathy sounds either, with no breath control, and the inability to be heard with out a mic."

"A breathy weak voice can be very alluring live in a small room, but I think the recording industry is using such a sound merely to sell 'sex'...

Describes Kate Rusby to a Tee (I cannot even listen to her gasp her way through one verse let alone a complete song).


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Van
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 03:29 AM

Dave
There is a little couplet that goes "I can sing like Callum Kennedy, That's one thing I've got to remedy". Handy when you're tuning up. The tune will come to you.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 04:07 AM

The tune is 'the Son of the Earl of the White Banner', commonly known as 'Bratach Bana'. The last person I remember singing it was Dolly MacLennan.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 01:06 PM

classical singing is an established, learned, code practice (and therefore ultimately arbitrary, though no less meaningful for it).

In exactly the same way death metal singing, or folk singing, or throat singing, or blues guitar playing is.

Classical singing sounds great in classical music.

It sounds awful in folk music.

I don't even like pop music type vibrato in folk music, which I why I dislike 99% of today's folk singers.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 05:11 PM

Try this one. About as classically trained as you can get:

Ruhi Su

Does it sound like somebody who'd had a career singing Western opera?

The song in that clip is a lament for the leadership of the Turkish Communist Party, murdered on Ataturk's orders in 1921. Ruhi Su was the leading classical opera singer in Turkey, sacked for his politics. So he went into folk music and became something like a combination of Woody Guthrie, Leonard Cohen and Bert Lloyd, while reaching greater general recognition than any of them did - a bardic figure who communicated to an entire country for a couple of generations.

There's a Wikipedia page in English that gives more detail. Lots more clips on YouTube and other websites.

One of the best performances I've ever heard of a Scottish song was by Rita Streich. The really big thing she'd learned as an opera singer was how to be witty and touching at the same time. She had a slight Austrian accent but so what - all the feelings were in the right place and her timing was spot-on to the millisecond.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: BDenz
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM

There are two paths for singers. One can be trained "classically" and still choose the lyrical (less opera-y) path. The point of operatic/art song voices is the vibrato and that's not the point of lyric voices. The difference is the ability to "blend" with other voices. The more vibrato is involved, the more difficult it is to blend.

I don't know about you guys, but I used to do the local "everybody gets together and sings Handel's Messiah" events that happened around Christmas each year. I'm trained, but chose the lyrical path specifically because I want to be able to harmonize and blend, not stand out. It's a mish-mash in those "everybody sings" events and inevitably the over-vibratoed operay voices ruin the pitch of the group.

It's a taste thing, but it's also a "what kind of music is being sung" thing.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 06:51 PM

On the subject of not standing out, one of the things that cracked me up as a kid was hearing someone in a church congregation trying to sing 'properly'. Apart from the choir who have some kind of conductor, a hymn is almost impossible to sing well when surrounded by people murmuring it out of tune. Any attempt to do so results in comedy. A bad church soprano is the quickest route to eating your own fist.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Don Firth
Date: 29 Jan 11 - 08:01 PM

Obviously, there are a lot of misconceptions about vibrato, what it actually is, and how it comes about in a singing voice. With most singers, including a number of folk singers, it just happens naturally, and it's not something one consciously sets out to learn how to do. It's just there. And it is perfectly normal.

Actually, vibrato—in any kind of singing—is not something most people even notice. Unless (like some people posting on this thread) they are intentionally looking for it as if it were a symptom of some dread disease or something. It's not. It's generally a sign of natural, healthy voice production.

Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, competent classical voice teachers rarely even address the matter of vibrato. Unless there is too much of it and it is wide enough to obscure the basic pitches of the notes being sung ("vocal wobble"). Nor do they try to instill vibrato into a voice. Been there. Years of voice lessons from two different classical voice teachers:   one, a former soprano at the Metropolitan Opera who also sang on the radio back in the 1940s, and the other an operatic baritone who became a teacher and choir director when he retired from the opera and concert stage. I don't even know if my voice has vibrato. I've never really noticed and no one has ever commented on it. I just open my yap and sing. I can rear back and bellow it out like an opera singer (bass), but because of the material I chose to sing (folk songs and ballads—traditional), I chose not to.

Vibrato? I presume I have some. Most normal singing voices do. Naturally.

Read the following:   Understanding Vibrato, by David L. Jones. Along with information on why vibrato happens naturally in a normal, healthy voice, it also examines when vibrato goes wrong, such as the "vocal wobble" and the "overly-fast vibrato."

It also explains why choir directors who insist on a "straight tone" could be putting their singers at risk. Read especially section (3), entitled The Straight Tone.

Here's an excerpt from an article on singing:
A true vibrato is a small fluctuation in pitch. The best demonstration of this is what good string players do, that is, rapidly move the left hand on the fingerboard so the pitch moves minutely up and down. On a bowed, and to a lesser extent a plucked, string instrument, this is done to lend a "warmth" to the tone that doesn't come from simply bowing the string. This is such a common practice that composers will write senza (without) vibrato on passages they don't want played that way, the implication being that the music should be played with vibrato at all other times.

The thing about singers is they can easily alter the pitch or dynamic of a note, thereby adding warmth to the sound of their voices by duplicating what string players do with their instruments.
Some singers do overdo it, but generally not the more successful classical singers. If you want to hear some real heavy-duty vibrato, you won't find it nearly as much among opera and other classical singers as you will from many of the pop singings from the 1920s and 30s. Try expatriate American singer Josephine Baker, for example CLICK. Or Edith Piaf? Frankly, as broad as their vibrato is, I would find their voices a bit tough to take without it.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Fastauntie
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 05:51 AM

I agree with a number of posters who've pointed out that voice training alone isn't enough--you have to know what's appropriate for the music you're singing, and too many opera singers don't seem to understand that a full-on opera style doesn't work with folk music. Some few, fortunately, do get it, and they can bring something special to it.

Nobody's yet mentioned Odetta as a folk singer with classical training. You can hear that if you think about it, but because she knew what to do with it, and what not to, she just sounds like a great, great folk singer.

I've never been excited about opera per se, though some operas and singers I like very much. What I dislike about many opera singers' voices is a quality I don't have the proper technical vocabulary to describe. It sounds, not exactly strangled, but as if their voice is just too big for their their throat, and not all of it can get out, leaving some trapped inside the body. I find it uncomfortable to listen to whatever they're singing. Pavarotti, for example, had that quality, so my tolerance for him is very limited, but Domingo doesn't, and I could listen to him any time. (Can't say I recall hearing either of them attempt folk songs.)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Old Vermin
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 03:35 AM

From: Will Fly - PM - Date: 23 Jan 11 - 05:12 AM

"I'm always rather wary of blanket pronouncements ... "I dislike all Volvos", etc. Such pronouncements seem a little simplistic, on the whole, "

One person's simplistic is another's pragmatic? There's material for a BS thread on the attributes of drivers of particular makes of car - locally the more 'sporting' Audi seems to have supplanted the BMW as the car of choice for the aggressive moneyed sociopath.

As for classical training - was decades ago told to lose the "dreadful folk habit" of trying to make the words matter... and crossly told to relax ... Adult Education tutor employed by the Local Authority.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 02:30 PM

Old Vermin, I most definitely agree with what you said. But—about classical training, if I understand you correctly. . . .

I have never—ever—had one of my voice teachers tell me that the words don't matter. In fact, Mrs. Bianchi used to emphasis clear, crisp enunciation, "especially for the ballads you want to sing."

"They're stories," she went on to say, "and it's especially important that your listeners understand what you're singing."

George Street had me bring my guitar to the lessons. After we had spent some time on exercises and vocal technique, he would have me sing whatever song I happened to be learning and working on at the time. He would often stop me in mid-song and ask me, "What does that line mean?" He knew perfectly well, but he wanted to be sure that I knew, and was not singing it merely by rote.

And I have run into more than one singer of folk songs who, when pinned down, didn't know what the hell he or she was singing about!

I would often hear voice students at the University of Washington School of Music and the Cornish College of the Arts practicing enunciation exercises. The Cornish voice teachers used to pass out a small booklet of enunciation exercises to their pupils. Although I was taking from an outside teacher at the time (Mr. Street), I managed to score a copy of it. And still use it.

No, whether it is a border ballad or an operatic aria, the words are important.

Don Firth

P. S. The management of Seattle Opera considers the words sufficiently important that when the opera being presented is in Italian, French, German, or whatever, they project "supratitles" (like thesubtitles in a foreign movie) on a horizontal panel just below the proscenium above the stage. This, in addition to printing a synopsis of the plot in the program. I understand that this has become standard practice in opera houses all over the country.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 04:28 PM

Good teachers will tell you that words do matter, as pronounced and interpreted by the singer. Opera audiences have acquired a feeling for the languages being sung, even if they don't know the meaning of every word and are thus grateful for the "supratitles" as well.

Old Vermin, perhaps your teacher told you to pronounce the vowels in a way that they do not differ from each other more than necessary. This makes for a more consistent sound, so that the melody is presented as a unit, as if from an instrument. For the same reason, teachers will tell you to blend the registers of your voice. Both ideals apply to opera, lied, and (European) folk song alike, with the exception of yodelling. The best folk singers follow them without anyone noticing.

Both Pavarotti and Domingo, by the way, interpreted the folklore of their countries in perfect taste. In other cultural contexts they were not quite as successful, artistically.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: RTim
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 04:40 PM

When Caruso went to his first voice teacher he said:
   "Who sent you to me God?"

When I went to my first voice teacher he said:
   "God, who sent you to me?!?!?!?!"

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 05:24 PM

Coffee all over my screen!!

Thanks, Tim! That's a keeper!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 07:15 PM

For Guest, Doc John (if you're still around)---

As to the PPS in your original post, you needn't be concerned about the Philistines. They have been, and continue to be, rehabilitated by Israeli archaeolgists, Trude & (the late) Moshe Dothan, and those who have worked with them. That maligned peoples turn out not to be philistine in our current sense of the word, but a quite advanced culture of the second millenium BCE, along the Canaanite coast.

There is much material available on the internet accessible for the layman.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Janie
Date: 31 Jan 11 - 11:44 PM

Much of the discussion here is over my head, making me recognize how very ignorant I am.

I'm learning a lot.

Thanks y'all!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 May 16 - 02:46 PM

You all can ignore this post if you like. I'm just having a tiny pity-party here.

My training is classical, my instrument was piano, and I accompanied singers and students of singers. I hate a badly executed classical-singing sound even worse than the rest of you. I love it when it is done correctly, but my idea of correct might be different than that of the singing teachers whose students I used to play piano for.

I'm feeling sorry for me wee self today because:
I just discovered the recordings of Mary Anne Gabriel Scully, better known as Máire Ní Scolaí, and this is an exceptional discovery. The contralto voice, first of all, is a gift from God, I mean hers is. She got the right teacher, secondly, who got her to use her voice in the way that would keep her voice intact, effective, and strong for the maximum amount of time -- and, believe me, as an accompanist, I have heard far too many singing students who fell into the hands of teachers who fail to teach that much correctly.

And who is around to appreciate my discovery? Really, I want to play these recordings for anybody who would listen....only to hear "God I hate it when the lady sings that way."

I'll probably have to keep my happiness to myself instead. Okay, I'm done.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: meself
Date: 30 May 16 - 03:37 PM

Well, yeah ... it IS a folk-music site ... !


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 30 May 16 - 03:39 PM

I haven't read the thread yet, and some classically trained singers do annoy me, but this one is, as you say keberoxu, a gift from God.

Vivaldi - Gloria RV589 - VI.Domine Deus rex coelestis

I'll have to look up the credits on the CD to find the singer's name.

I want this played at my funeral.

I have the whole collection of Vivaldi's Complete Sacred Choral works. I love almost all of it. This collection is brilliant.

Helen


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: keberoxu
Date: 30 May 16 - 03:56 PM

Margaret Marshall, soprano, I believe.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 30 May 16 - 04:55 PM

A post (way early on) mentioned the late Scottish tenor Kenneth McKellar, who was originally in forestry work before committing to classical voice training. An expert critic pronounced him the best singer of Handel's repertoire, and there are examples on YouTube (find Ombre ma Fui?) to convince. However, as far as I know, he never had much of an opera career other than recording material -- though I'm willing to be corrected,

But he also had a long career based on his sensitive interpretations of Scots song (Burns in particular, but also a repertoire that even veered towards the music hall, with some of his own self-penned comic songs). He had a series of television programmes over many years which promoted a real variety of musical styles, and he was pleasing in everything he attempted IMO.

The main point I want to make is that he had a truly musical voice with great technique which never got in the way of communication -- an instinctive sense of the importance of the words, a very natural and clear vowel sound, and a real warmth.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 30 May 16 - 05:30 PM

Have a listen to the singing of Emma Kirkby or Dawn Upshaw. That should cure any prejudice against classical singers.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Gurney
Date: 30 May 16 - 06:01 PM

Like so many here, I'm not so pronounced in my dislikes, nowadays. Earlier in life, I found the vibrato that classically trained singers affect to be very irritating, and the more vibrato, the more irritating. All classically trained singers do it.
Another irritation was with singers who didn't hit the note, but groped or slid up or down until they reached it. Like Doris Day among others.

Nowadays, Sarah Brightman and Doris Day are among my favourite recording artists.

Maybe it is because Her Indoors likes Country, Showbands, and Opera, and I like Jazz, Blues, and Folk. Exposure to, you see.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: gillymor
Date: 30 May 16 - 07:14 PM

I can tolerate this :)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: CupOfTea
Date: 30 May 16 - 08:41 PM

I saw this thread title, and my gut reaction was, OH YEAH- with a specific cantor at church in mind, But thinking it through, it is a particular mannered, affected, artificial sound that repulsed me, and many classically trained have the taste to avoid that style of singing when not appropriate.

Earlier mentions of Rhiannon Giddens' fine singing is a prime example of a conservatory training (Oberlin) augmented with traditional folk apprenticeship. Ya ever hear her sing Gaelic? Grand she is at that as well. I think that if operatic power, passion and projection can be funneled through a folk sensibility, we'd all be richer, both classical and folk facets.

Possibly the most profound, hair raising rendition of a folk song that I experienced live was delivered by operatic baritone Ben Luxon, while performing with Bill Crofut as "two Gentlemen Folk," in singing the Irish version of "Johnny I Hardly Knew You" - when he got to the line " you haven't an eye, you haven't a leg..." EVERY SINGLE hair on my body stood on end. He did it singing plain, but with power, no vocal pyrotechnics.

It goes back to the ethos of the singer: what is paramount, the singer or the song?

Joanne in Cleveland ( who wishes some singers came with a control knob to dial down the overdone vibrato)


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Mark Ross
Date: 30 May 16 - 08:47 PM

When I ran the soundboard at The Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village in the late '60's, we had Ed McCurdy in for a week or two. He would do this bit imitating a classically trained bel canto baritone singing a folk song that would have the audience rolling on the floor.


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Padre
Date: 30 May 16 - 10:05 PM

I grew up in Charleston, W.Va. listening to the "Magic Valley Jamboree" hosted by Sleepy Jeffers every day from 4-5 PM. Old style country and western music both live and recorded. But on Saturday afternoons, I listened to the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts. I recognize the differences between the two genres. Like many other commenters, I do not like the over-done singing of folk songs by classically trained musicians using the techniques of their classical training. It sounds forced and unauthentic.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 May 16 - 11:22 PM

I think many of us are not as taken aback by "classically trained" singers as one might think. I found three YouTube recordings by Máire Ní Scolaí here:I like them just fine, although I might like some of the "folkier" singers better. But the performances of Máire Ní Scolaí remind me of Paul Robeson, and that ain't bad.

On the other hand, there are some overdone, classical-style performances of folk songs that drive me batty. Some Mudcatters I love dearly, have personal or family relationships with singers I hate for their classical style, so maybe I shouldn't name names.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 31 May 16 - 02:34 AM

Martin Carthy summed it up for me in a radio interview a long time ago, he remarked that Luciano Pavarotti has got a god given voice and Bob Dylan hasn't, but I'd rather listen to Dylan because I can believe what he is singing.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 31 May 16 - 02:40 AM

Nice Puccini, Dave!

I bought a book way back in the mid-70's I think, called The Elizabethan Song Book: Lute Songs , edited by W.H.Auden, Chester Kallman and Noah Greenberg. It has short songs written for lute by Thomas Campion, John Dowland, etc. The songs are more like folk songs than classical songs, and some of them are beautiful.

A couple of years after I bought the book I heard that there was going to be a performance on the radio of some of the songs so I stayed home and listened to it. This was pre-internet, pre-YouTube, even pre me, a poor student, even owning a cassette radio that I could tape the show with.

Boy, was I disappointed in that performance! I was speechless. It was performed in that overdone classical style, which in my opinion was totally opposite to the style of the songs themselves. I am not quite sure whether this is the correct term but someone mentioned "bel canto" above.

I have never heard other people performing the songs until I heard Sting singing some of the John Dowland songs and accompanying the songs on the lute. I think his style suits the songs a lot better.

This morning I found a lovely choral version of Never Weather-beaten Sail - Thomas Campion on YouTube, so it must be time to do some more Googling so that I can finally purge that bitter disappointment out of my soul from 40 years ago.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 31 May 16 - 02:43 AM

"Nice Puccini, gillymor" - not Dave Hansen, in case I have totally confused you all.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 31 May 16 - 02:53 AM

Sting doing John Dowland and playing the lute ( badly) is an absolute travesty and a disservice to Dowland. I t is the only cd I have ever purchased where I can find no redeeming feature....sorry to be so negative but is it truly dreadful. I do like and admire much of Stings music and I respect his desire to branch out, but one must be aware of one's limitations , yes ?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 31 May 16 - 03:55 AM

It's always struck me that classically trained singing can, if well done, by extremely beautiful when regarded as music - as singing, they are more often than not nonsensical - try talking through some of the libretto some time.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Will Fly
Date: 31 May 16 - 04:21 AM

All music operates within certain tacitly or overtly agreed conventions - from the early country music of Jimmie Rodgers to Schubert's Lieder. I don't see any problem in liking more than one of them. I can enjoy Tex Williams' "Smoke That Cigarette" and then switch quite happily to Janet Baker singing "Che Farò Senza Euridice". No problem there - both styles have a huge amount of pleasure to offer in very different ways. The pleasure is enhanced if you take the trouble to dig into the convention to see what makes it tick.

When I was a regular attendee at classical productions in my years in London, I regularly borrowed scores from my branch of the Westminster music libraries - mainly the mini, pocket editions - and gave them a good read through to get acquainted with the music as written before going out to the theatre or concert hall. Very useful and very informative to see it all written out.

However, the problem, as set out in this thread, appears to be the "crossover" of performers from one genre trying their hand at another genre - which I commented on much further up the thread about 5 years ago! I also think it's very rare that it works - simply because the disciplines are usually very different and take years of working at them. So - Pavarotti singing with John Denver doesn't cut it for me. Marks for trying, but that's about it.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 May 16 - 04:30 AM

Well, HiLo, clearly you're not one of those unfortunates who bought Long Black Veil...


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 31 May 16 - 06:33 AM

Do you mean the one by the Chieftans ? No, I didn'T buy that . Bad, is it ?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 31 May 16 - 08:57 AM

Terrible. I'm getting depressed just thinking about it. I took it to the charity shop, which, on reflection, was a very uncharitable thing to do.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Padre
Date: 31 May 16 - 09:21 AM

Several of the comments here are less about the 'sound of classically trained singers' and more about the librettists who wrote for the operatic tastes of their time.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: keberoxu
Date: 31 May 16 - 10:01 AM

Joe Offer's comparison of Máire Ní Scolaí with Paul Robeson is apt, I would add contralto Marian Anderson as well. Ms. Anderson, within this rather dignified, restrained convention of singing, actually did switch between spirituals and the German Lied with distinction. And she sang Schubert's "Der Tod und das Mädchen" as if she owned it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbH1w_c_rxo


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 05:48 AM

Well, a lot of opera singers sound terribly "mannered".
I was brought up on Mario Lanza but, now, his delivery sounds artificial and even eccentric.
I do like Andrea Bocelli, as his delivery seems a lot more "natural" than is usual with classically trained singers.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Will Fly
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 06:03 AM

I think they sound "mannered" (I know what you mean) because we're not always familiar with the mannered tradition in which they sing and perform. It's perhaps a bit like looking through a window at it, rather than being inside the room with it.

I also dislike opera being translated, from the original language for which the music was written, into another language. The rhythms and cadences of the language would have gone more or less hand in hand with the the musical phrasing. I have an old 78rpm recording of Webster Booth (of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth fame) singing the "Flower Song" from Carmen, with "Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen" ("Che Gelida Manina") from La Boheme on the B side. He had a great voice - but they just don't have the same feeling as when sung in the original languages.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: MickyMan
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 04:26 PM

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see some Wagner opera performed by one of the best companies in the world. I have a formal music degree and I have played in the pit for operas, but I must say that those voices are a stretch for me to take for a long time. On the other hand, I have problems with lots of styles of singing if they go on for a while.   I LOVE good hardcore Bluegrass, but after about 45 minutes I tire of the "high lonesome sound" in much the same way. The same thing happens after a few Led Zeppelin albums.   Contrary to many of the people earlier, I abhor the way Judy Collins' voice made milk toast out of authentic sounding American Folk Music.
       I'm reminded of a great line I once heard from a wonderful folkie (His name escapes me right now.) He said, "We like to think that we play Country Music ..... and we like to think that a lot of other people don't."


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 05:34 PM

HiLo,

I'd rather hear Sting performing Dowland than that high voiced man who appears to be the only other option

Thomas Campion - I Care Not For These Ladies

I like to imagine what the original performances would have been like way back then, and that singer is not what I imagine.

I was listening to Alan Stivell yesterday and the way he performs some songs with just one or two instruments as accompaniment seems to me to be more like the original Elizabethan performance would have been, I think.

Alan Stivell - Silvestrig

Alan Stivell - Sally Free and Easy

Helen


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 06:51 PM

Helen, I love Alan Stivell, wonderful music, played with heart and skill. but Sting just does not "get" Dowland and he may love it, but he plays it badly, very badly ,and I feel that, in spite of his huge talents in other genres, he just does not have the skill or the understanding to play it well. I too try to imagine who might have sung it " way back Then". it would not, I think, have been someone with Sting,s obvious limitations! Just my thoughts!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 07:04 PM

In other words, Sting is a bit of an up-his-own-'arris twat. Hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 07:20 PM

Yeah, thanks Steve Shaw, for that in-depth, intellectual, highly technical analysis. LOL

So HiLo, would you rather listen to that high-voiced twat on the YouTube video? If it's a choice between Sting or that, I'd choose Sting, and as far as I can see there are not many other choices.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 01 Jun 16 - 08:37 PM

Eek. A Sting fan! Apologies, Helen!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Helen
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 12:38 AM

Steve, I like some of what Sting does, some of it I don't like so much. My main point is, if you were stuck on a desert island with only two musical performers: the high-voiced, classically trained singer like the one on the YouTube clip, and Sting playing the lute and singing Dowland's songs: which music would you listen to?


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 02:05 AM

Well Helen, I have already stated my views on Stings album, I loathe it. as for the singer you refer to as "that high voiced twat" , It is more in tune, literally and figuratively, with Dowland than Sting is.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Will Fly
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 08:01 AM

Steven Rickard, the alto voice on the YouTube clip, is a superb singer - and the sound is perfectly in tune with the music of the period.

If you don't like him, then you almost certainly won't like Alfred Deller, counter-tenor, and another superb singer who, almost single-handedly and with the Deller Consort, reintroduced the counter-tenor voice to English music.

It's good stuff and - to my mind - has more feeling and lyricism than any attempts by Gordon Sumner to reinterpret it.

All personal taste, of course.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: RTim
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 12:26 PM

Remember - the opposite of Love is Not Hate - it is Indifference!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: andrew e
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 06:20 PM

What about children who have been taught to sound like a 40 year old opera singers.
I just have to turn off immediately!


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 02 Jun 16 - 06:47 PM

I have not heard of that Andrew. Can you give an example, I would be interested to know of this !


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: leeneia
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 12:31 AM

For many years my only exposure to opera came from the Sunday afternoon broadcast on a classical music radio station. I didn't care for it.

But in the last few years I have been going to actual operas, and seeing the singers moving, acting, dancing and wearing costumes has changed my view. Live opera is not just about singing - it is a spectacle.

Also, attending the opera has made me appreciate the skill and physical fitness which enable a singer to sing an entire show of difficult music and produce a last note which is as good as the first note.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Teribus
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 04:07 AM

No problem listening to classically trained singers, the thing I absolutely detest listening to are people from the eastern side of the pond who feel that they have to sing in phoney American or what they call Mid-Atlantic accents.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 07:40 AM

A separate problem I think, tho, Teribus. I once OPd a thread on that very topic, called 'Midatlantic accent: why?' which iirc ran for quite a while -- Nov 10-Jan 14, I find on checking.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: Janie
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 08:38 PM

More often indirectly than directly, reading music threads on Mudcat has taught me to appreciate, value, and give credit to music and voices that don't particularly appeal to me. This thread was/is part of that education. I will probably never buy an album of an opera performance or of a classical singer. Doesn't mean anything about the quality or talent of the musicians and singers. Just means they are not to my taste.

Will say that when I was in elementary school, the music 'enrichment' portion of the weekly lessons generally consisted of lps of classically trained musicians and singers performing folk songs in a manner that belied they were folk songs. Old Dan Tucker, Sweet Betsy From Pike, etc. Bad choices for grade school kids.

Padre, all these years of reading your posts on Mudcat and somehow I missed that we are from the same place - or perhaps have forgotten. Lots of good country was around on local TV and radio in the 1950's and early 60's, including Sleepy and Magic Valley.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: brashley46
Date: 03 Jun 16 - 11:50 PM

It strikes me that the worst voice I have ever heard singing folk songs on record belonged to John Jacob Niles. He was classically trained, but I do not think the training was responsible for the voice.


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Subject: RE: I Hate the Sound..of 'classically trained' singers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Jun 16 - 09:07 AM

Niles was also an inveterate 'improver' -- ie one who thought that a song shouldn't sound the way it did, but would sound better when he had wrecked it with officious rewriting to his inappropriate classical tastes. Is there anything worse than his portentous version of the beautiful "Black is the Color" [see the version in Sharp's "Appalachians"]? - Tho it must be admitted that some of his originals, like Venezuela & Go From My Window are pretty good songs in themselves.

≈M≈


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