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My Singing: A Revelation!

Rob Naylor 18 Nov 11 - 04:59 AM
BobKnight 18 Nov 11 - 05:52 AM
Allan C. 18 Nov 11 - 05:53 AM
BobKnight 18 Nov 11 - 05:57 AM
Tunesmith 18 Nov 11 - 06:03 AM
Phil Edwards 18 Nov 11 - 06:04 AM
Hamish 18 Nov 11 - 06:24 AM
GUEST,matt milton 18 Nov 11 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Nov 11 - 08:23 AM
Will Fly 18 Nov 11 - 09:35 AM
Rob Naylor 18 Nov 11 - 10:35 AM
Deckman 18 Nov 11 - 01:52 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 18 Nov 11 - 03:44 PM
Phil Edwards 18 Nov 11 - 04:54 PM
Crowhugger 18 Nov 11 - 08:35 PM
Leadfingers 18 Nov 11 - 11:15 PM
Rob Naylor 19 Nov 11 - 02:16 AM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 19 Nov 11 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,999 19 Nov 11 - 04:08 PM
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Subject: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 04:59 AM

I've struggled to sing many of the songs in my repertoire either powerfully enough or "clearly" enough.

Had a revelation at an Open Mic session I attended earlier this week. I thought I'd try capo-ing up the guitar just as an experiment.

So I capo-ed up ONE fret only...and the difference was astonishing! Not only was my singing sweeter and more powerful, but the guitar playing was much better too, as I wasn't having mental angst about the quality of singing during the songs, and could "relax into it" more.

I can't believe one fret, a single semi-tone, could make such a difference but it did. And I got loud applause and cheers instead of the polite smattering I usually get, so it must have been obvious to the audience, too.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: BobKnight
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:52 AM

Many people start singing at a level they are comfortable with in the house, but that doesn't neccesarily translate to singing in public. What I call, "bedroom singers." For every song you sing there is an optimim key, but you have to find it. Just because you can sing a song in "C" doesn't mean that's the best key for your voice. It may be or even higher still in E. This is especially true if you have never sang with a band, and I mean a "loud" band, where you need to project above the music to be heard. I hear so many singers at sessiosn who I think could be a lot better if they just sang in a higher key. Of course you can go too far the other way, which is why I mention the optimum key for your voice.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Allan C.
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:53 AM

Yep! Songs I have sung for more than forty years began to lose a bit of something. Eventually, I realized that the high and low of my optimal vocal range had changed. It was time to change keys to accommodate the range. In my case, I have lost a bit of my upper range, defeating the possibility of simply capoing. Transposing to a more suitable key has been a slow process in the doing. After all, one gets pretty used to playing a song in a particular key and the sounds each chord produces. This is especially true for me because I can't always fingerpick the melodies using the new chords.

Congrats on your discovery and especially upon the effect.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: BobKnight
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 05:57 AM

Oh dear - the "D" in the sentence "It may be D or even higher still in E," Seems to have disappeared - sorry about that.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Tunesmith
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:03 AM

I've not got a great natural vocal range and a fret or so neither way with a capo makes a big difference.
I've always believed that the TV talent show auditions that we see where a singer stands in front of the judges and just sings - without reference to any note or chord - must result in lots of performers singing way to high or low - and really not showing what they can really do.
I bet quite a few performers at these auditions must use a pitch pipe but that part is edited out before the show is broad-casted.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:04 AM

I've been doing this for so long it's instinctive - very often when I'm singing around the house I start in a 'speaking voice' key and up it by a third or so once the song gets going.

The obverse of this is when the top end goes, as I'm afraid it does with age, and you start a song you learned years ago and find the top notes aren't there any more. In those situations I take it down a semitone at a time (hit the note and then Do, te...); very often you only need to go down one semitone to make a song singable again.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Hamish
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:24 AM

But when you're singing in a session with folks who are limited to D or G, they don't always appreciate you wanting to sing in Ab or F#: but sometimes I just have to cos I can't do justice otherwise.

Oddly enough, I was at an Elvis evening a month or two back (don't ask... but it was great fun!) and was convinced I needed to sing One Night With You in C; but the band did it in E and it was great! Something to do with the live situation, the adrenalin... I hit those big notes in a way I wouldn't dare to have attempted at home!


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 06:26 AM

I'm not sure that top range going with age is necessarily inevitable. I don't know if anyone saw the Reggae Britannica TV documentary last year, but the producer Dennis Bovell, who must be in his mid-late 50s at least, sang the chorus of Janet Kay's "Silly Games".

Now that's a high head-voice note for a woman, let alone a man!


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 08:23 AM

Congratulations! I'm glad to hear about the happy discovery.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Will Fly
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 09:35 AM

Rob - when I last heard you at the High Brooms session, that very thought came to my mind - that a semitone or tone up would make a difference to your voice. Then I forgot to mention it to you at the end of the evening! Glad you got there - we'll be expecting an aria or two at the Bull...


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 10:35 AM

Will: strangely enough another friend said almost the same thing when I met him for lunch (after collecting my "No 30" guitar from Ian today, after he'd fitted it with an LR Baggs pickup for me).

I said to him..."I made a discovery bout my singing in Wednesday" and straight away he came back with: "don't tell me....that you needd to capo up a couple of frets?"

So I now have this vision of everyone who's ever heard me sing with thought bubbles saying "that'd sound better a (semi-) tone higher" coming out of their heads. :-)


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 01:52 PM

NOW ... if someone would just invent an effective "throat capo" so we could all increase our vocal range! bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 03:44 PM

i shall look forward to hearing the fruits of this discovery if i catch you at the 7 stars sometime rob
polite applause does not always indicate poor performance.the same song the same way,in my experience can in one place be just about ignored but enthusiastically recieved elsewhere.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 04:54 PM

I'm not sure that top range going with age is necessarily inevitable. I don't know if anyone saw the Reggae Britannica TV documentary last year, but the producer Dennis Bovell, who must be in his mid-late 50s at least, sang the chorus of Janet Kay's "Silly Games".


Falsetto, shirley? Impressive, anyway - hope for us all I probably need to work on my range - as soon as I've shifted this irritating slight headcold (slight, as in no symptoms to speak of except for headaches, vague 'sinus-y' feeling and making me sing flat; that's my story anyway). "Green Isaac" by Prefab Sprout is my personal benchmark, incidentally; "making such a fool of thee...". Sung it before and I'll sing it again, dammit.

I feel for Janet Kay - I'm sure she gets lots of work, but at the end of the day (or rather, at the end of the night) everyone wants to hear That Song, and especially That Note in That Song. So, no pressure!


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Crowhugger
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 08:35 PM

A workshop about "The Aging Voice" some friends attended (and brought me a copy of the hand-out) had this advice particularly for amateurs who don't already sing daily or do vocal warm-ups:
When you start to notice you can't pull your usual range and flexibility out of your pocket at will, it's high time to start singing daily using gentle warm-ups to begin with and building in range and intensity up to from there, if you want to regain and hopefully keep what you're starting to lose.

The attendees at this workshop were mainly folks who perform or rehearse weekly and practise maybe one or two other days plus earlier the same day as their weekly 'thing.' So it seems to me this advice would suit weekly/monthly song circle participants, open-mikers and amateur choristers equally well.

Basically their message was "use it daily or lose it." They also pointed out that genetics and past or present vocal fold abuse such as exposure to smoke/booze has notable bearing on our late-life voice but these don't always need to be the only controlling factors.


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Leadfingers
Date: 18 Nov 11 - 11:15 PM

I recall a 'Song Presentation' workshop by George Deacon (Author of a book on John Clare) when he said there is a tendency for Male singers to pitch songs too low and female singers to pitch too high !


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 02:16 AM

Pete (Seven Stars): it's getting harder to get up there now.

My training session on a Monday has gone to its winter timetable so now instead of being able to select the 1800-1900 session from the 2 offered, there's only the 1915-2015 session which means earliest I can get up there would be 2115. And I'm often too knackered to make the effort, especially considering I need to get up at 0430 Tuesdays to drive to Devon.

It's not that I don't WANT to come, and I'll make it again soon I hope.....


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 03:56 PM

rob-i dont think i would make it either in those circumstances.
best wishes-pete


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Subject: RE: My Singing: A Revelation!
From: GUEST,999
Date: 19 Nov 11 - 04:08 PM

"Pete (Seven Stars): it's getting harder to get up there now."

No comment from this old guy.

############################################

Pat Sky sat with me many many many moons back and suggested I raise everything I did a tone. He was right in that it served a few purposes.

1) Get the song to a pitch where it needs to be paid attention to
2) Creates a 'tension' that makes the singer work a bit harder

I have since dropped a half tone as the aging process began to take hold.

Interesting thread.


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