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What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?

GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1 20 Aug 13 - 06:55 AM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 13 - 07:52 AM
GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1 20 Aug 13 - 10:02 AM
redhorse 20 Aug 13 - 12:41 PM
Thomas Stern 20 Aug 13 - 05:23 PM
Don Firth 20 Aug 13 - 07:21 PM
Steve Shaw 20 Aug 13 - 07:41 PM
Eldergirl 20 Aug 13 - 08:04 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 13 - 08:12 PM
Don Firth 20 Aug 13 - 08:18 PM
GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1 20 Aug 13 - 09:01 PM
Eldergirl 21 Aug 13 - 09:03 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Aug 13 - 09:41 PM
Don Firth 21 Aug 13 - 10:42 PM
Don Firth 21 Aug 13 - 10:47 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Aug 13 - 11:43 PM
GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Aug 13 - 01:50 AM
Eldergirl 22 Aug 13 - 03:21 AM
GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Aug 13 - 04:47 AM
GUEST,Grishka 22 Aug 13 - 06:23 AM
Edthefolkie 22 Aug 13 - 07:17 AM
Don Firth 22 Aug 13 - 05:18 PM
GUEST 26 Jan 14 - 04:18 PM
Dave Hanson 27 Jan 14 - 03:48 AM
GUEST,mg 27 Jan 14 - 10:40 PM
GUEST,Learaí na Láibe 28 Jan 14 - 04:07 PM
GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach 28 Jan 14 - 07:30 PM
McGrath of Harlow 28 Jan 14 - 07:44 PM
Don Firth 28 Jan 14 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,RBG 04 Apr 14 - 05:20 AM
Lighter 04 Apr 14 - 12:43 PM
Stringsinger 04 Apr 14 - 07:26 PM
Musket 05 Apr 14 - 09:39 AM
GUEST 05 Aug 15 - 04:11 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 05 Aug 15 - 04:24 PM
MartinRyan 05 Aug 15 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Alan Ross 05 Aug 15 - 04:57 PM
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GUEST,Alan Ross 05 Aug 15 - 05:31 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 05 Aug 15 - 06:16 PM
Steve Shaw 05 Aug 15 - 06:30 PM
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GUEST,Desi C 07 Aug 15 - 05:13 AM
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Subject: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 06:55 AM

OK, so here's something that's been bugging me. Around the Internet, certain male singers are described or have described themselves as Irish tenors, mostly very early recording artists like Billy Murray and John McCormack, who actually were Irish by descent and nationality.

Both of those singers have recordings uploaded on Youtube and when I listen to them, I get the impression of a classically-influenced but very nasally singing style. Is that actually what the term "Irish tenor" refers to in terms of singing voices or styles- a nasally yet "refined" tenor voice? Or is it something much broader than that? Billy Joel, quoted " here describes his "own" voice as "a pure Irish tenor like Paul McCartney". I don't hear anything nasal in Joel's voice, though he is a tenor.

So, what exactly is an 'Irish tenor'?


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 07:52 AM

http://books.google.com/books?id=1ubj-rzyZRgC&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=tenorile&sourc


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 10:02 AM

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: redhorse
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 12:41 PM

From memory, Spike Milligan described it in "Puckoon" as the "high nasal tenor known and feared the world over"


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 05:23 PM

There is an amusing bit of dialog in the 1930 John McCormack film
"SONG O' MY HEART" concerning nasality.
The film is available in large box set: MURNAU, BORZAGE, and FOX,
but also was issued as a single DVD or VHS which may take
a little searching.....
Thomas.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 07:21 PM

The "Irish tenor" is generally just a light, lyric tenor. John McCormack, or the American, Dennis Day, who was a regular on "The Jack Benny Show" way back, were good examples.

By the way, "nasality" is not good in any voice. My voice teacher, Edna Bianchi, used to say that a good singer should make good use of "nasal resonance" (or "singing in the mask" as some describe it), but without allowing the tone to get "nosey."

By way of comparison, Luciano Pavarotti could never be mistaken for an "Irish" (light, lyric) tenor. His milieu is more opera by Verdi, Puccini, and other Italian composers And certainly not Danish tenor Lauritz Melchior, who is a dramatic Wagnerian tenor. BIG voice, good for Wagnerian roles like "Siegfried" and "Lohengrin."

A good current example of a light, lyric ("Irish") tenor is Finbar Wright. Here is a clip of him singing "So Deep is the Night," a set of words written to the music of Fredrick Chopin's piano Étude Op. 10, No. 3.

HERE.

By the way, it's Finbar Wright's masterful breath control and control of nasal resonance that allows him to fill a large auditorium or theater with his voice, despite singing over an orchestra.

(I think he's about the best "Irish" tenor afloat these days!)

Don


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 07:41 PM

Count John McCormack has a tenuous link with my family. His father and my great-grandfather were at odds over their competition for the foreman's job at their factory in Athlone. The story goes that fisticuffs were even resorted to, and that his father came out victorious (at least when it came to getting the job, dunno about the fist-fight). I have some wonderful versions of Irish ballads sung by him in his later years, when his voice had allegedly lost some of its youthful flexibility. I have to confess that I have no idea what you're talking about in describing his delivery as in any way "nasal". That's the last thing I'd have said about his singing.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Eldergirl
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 08:04 PM

Finbar Wright: lovely! Hadn't come across him before, but now I know who to look out for.
"Irish tenor" makes me think of Feargal Sharkey, the Undertones' lead singer, voice somehow more typically Irish in style?
"Irish tenor" also reminds me of the joke about the eighteen pound note, but perhaps we won't go there today, if at all....


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 08:12 PM

Most tenors use head resonance to create carrying power. Also remember that Youtube is playing recordings of early pre war records which are not the best sound quality. To make judgements on this basis is erroneous.

The Count was a well respected artist in the operatic world and much admired by Caruso prior to embarking on the Irish songs. He had a large powerful voice which is not apparent on the records.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 08:18 PM

Eldergirl, I shall be waiting for the joke like the cat hunting for the mouse, who ate a quantity of cheese, and waited for the mouse with bated (baited) breathe. . . .

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 09:01 PM

A reply to points raised in previous posts. OK, I'll admit McCormack may not be a good example, but he was described as "the original Irish tenor".
(He really must have had a great voice if Caruso admired him. Billy Murray though- but maybe, as a previous poster, it's due to bad recording quality)

Would Paul McCartney count as an Irish tenor, or do pop singers not count? What about Billy Joel, who does, or did, have a strong light tenor voice? (BTW, Joel was reportedly one of Irving Berlin's favourite singers, and also reportedly admired by Leonard Bernstein.)
None of those singers have nasally voices.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Eldergirl
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 09:03 PM

Cheers dark Elf-maid, yes I'd say pop singers do count, many of them sing quite well! I'm not sure Paul mccartload oops McCartney classes as a typical Irish tenor, tho he's certainly at the right pitch.(thanks to Gibb Sahib for informative post on types of tenor.) I'll stick with Feargal Sharkey for 'pop' Irish tenor.
Don F, agree entirely about nasal quality in singing. To be avoided by practitioners and listeners both! 2 days later, now:
An Irish man walked into a high street bank and asked Can you change me an eighteen pound note? Bank teller replied There's no such thing, go away. Irish fella tries every bank on high street with much the same response in all of them: Lloyd's, NatWest, HSBC, etc until he gets to the Allied Irish. Can you change me an eighteen pound note, so? And the teller replies Sure and will you be wanting two nines, or three sixes?
Can't recall if that was Jimmy Cricket or not. Sounds like one of his...


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 09:41 PM

Don -

By the way, "nasality" is not good in any voice.

Why not? "Any"?!


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 10:42 PM

Gibb Sahib, perhaps I wasn't clear. By "nasality," people usually mean that someone is singing through their nose, which is generally a pretty unpleasant, "pinched" sound.

But by "nasal resonance," my voice teacher meant "allowing the tone produced by the vocal folds to resonate in the nasal cavities." Using all of the body's resonating chambers. Lots (most) untrained singers sing pretty much with mouth and throat resonance, but a good, ringing tone includes the "mask," which essentially means the sinuses, with the front of your face feeling a bit like a vibrating sounding board.

If you listen carefully, you can actually hear this in Finbar Wright's voice.

The way to find this kind of resonance is to hum an "mmmmmm," feeling the vibration in the front of your face, then open the mouth while sustaining the tone. You wind up singing an elongated "mmmmmmaaaaaaah." Take special note of the feeling and the sound of this vibration, not just in the mouth and chest, but in the sinuses ("mask") as well. And then try to maintain this feeling of ringing vibration when singing other vowels and consonants.

Sometimes you have to experiment a bit. But if you get it right, it can really make a difference in your singing voice. And your ability to project without having to "yell" the tone (which can damage your vocal folds).

All of this presumes good breath support. Breath "all the way down," not just with the chest.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 10:47 PM

"Breathe," that is.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Aug 13 - 11:43 PM

Thanks for the elaboration, Don.

I know what nasality is! :)

You're an old-timer, with a ton of experience: Do you by chance know about Alan Lomax's (and others'!) "Cantometrics" project? It was an attempt to study vocal style in music-cultures around the world, to test a theory that there were correlations between vocal style and social features. Lomax and other (less famous researchers) assembled a database of singing examples recorded "everywhere", for comparison.

The argument about correlations were not widely accepted. However, one thing that came out of it was the sort of "rating" system for vocal quality. Voice quality was evaluated according to many dimensions, along scales (e.g. from 1 to 10 or whatever). One of the voice quality dimensions was "nasality."

My oblique point is that each type of voice could be rated as more or less nasal. As you can imagine, there was no judgment by the Lomax team on whether the degree of nasality was a good or bad thing! Indeed, this was not an assessment of how good individual singers were, but rather an assessment of the degree of nasality typical to the (presumably) preferred style of singing in a given genre or music-culture.

Suffice it to say, a large number of the hundred of vocal styles analyzed had some degree of nasality, and some preferred more of it than others, naturally. Degree of nasality is one dimension that makes the styles what they are.

As far as I'm concerned, "Nasality is bad" sounds like just one of the talking points of Western European art music voice teachers. I was fortunate enough to go to something of a "school of (Western) music" in college—although not as a vocalist—so I heard many voice instructors repeating their rules for training in *their* style of singing. Try telling *them* that vibrato is not good, ha! (Opera-style singing probably sounds ridiculous, if not hideous to most people in the world who could not sing with such a degree of vibrato.) Similarly, try getting a classical violinist to play without vibrato...or to accept the fact that all across Africa you find people deliberately adding "noise" making devices to their instruments. They want it to have a buzzing sound; indeed, without those buzzes, the musical sound is considered incomplete and bland. Likewise (in some cases) with a nasal timbre applied to the voice.

What I am confused about is whether you, Don, are mainly echoing the voice teacher or if you really find vocalists singing with a degree of nasality to be unpleasant and/or inferior...especially since that ban on nasality is typical of Western "classical" music, not really "folk" music... or if there is some other confusion (perhaps my own)!

Gibb


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 01:50 AM

@Eldergirl: Someone who gets the Tolkien reference! :)


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Eldergirl
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 03:21 AM

Erm, everybody's Tolkien at me??


..sorry!
;^D


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 04:47 AM

@Eldergirl: ha ha ha.

What about Billy Joel? Do you think he counts as an Irish tenor?


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 06:23 AM

You can be a tenor without ever having sung a note. Some have the natural ability to produce high notes with relative ease, with or without a "classical" voice training. This seems to include John McCormack, Paul McCartney, and Billy Joel. Obviously it is a genetic property, but I am not at all convinced that Irish genes favour such voice types - our samples are simply too small and selected with a cultural bias.

Finbar Wright seems to be (- though I am not quite sure -) of the opposite "baritonal" type, who may well be at a loss when asked to imitate Paul McCartney. The sophisticated technique he employs is particularly effective for 19th century operatic singing, so McCormack had to learn it as well. Paul McCartney and Billy Joel both came from "Soft Rock'n'roll" - quite a difference in aesthetics, not only in technique and preferences of voice types. A negative illustration of this is McCartney's "Liverpool Oratorio".


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 07:17 AM

How about Josef Locke? Ken Dodd used to recommend him!


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Aug 13 - 05:18 PM

Actually, John McCormack did have operatic training, he was not a "natural," as I've heard some people claim. He studied voice with Vincenzo Sabatini (the father of historical novelist Rafael Sabatini, author of such well-known novels as "The Sea Hawk," "Captain Blood," "Scaramouche," and other swashbucklers, many of which have been made into movies). Vincenzo Sabatini was a retired opera singer who turned to teaching.

I personally believe that the thing that makes a man an "Irish" tenor is being Irish. An "Irish tenor" is just a light lyric tenor. Who, by the way, happens to be Irish. And maybe sings "Danny Boy" a lot.

Gibb, I hadn't heard of "Cantometrics" before, but I'm currently reading "Alan Lomax: the Man who Recorded the World," by John Szwed. It's an easy read, although dense and packed with information. I'm about a quarter of the way through, and I checked the index in the back and it has a section on Cantometrics toward the end. I'll read up on it.

I know that different cultures have different vocal techniques, and that some cultures, far-Eastern, for example (Chinese, Japanese, etc.,) use vocal techniques that are very nasal. Within its own idiom, it works well, even though some Westerners get the hiccups when they hear that high, nasal sound.

The real distinction here is between "nasal" and what Mrs. Bianchi called "nosey," which is a very "pinched" sound. I can't really think of any examples offhand, other that maybe a couple of older Country and Western singers who actually cultivated the sound. But that puts it in a specific genre, which in other genres can be undesireable.

One characteristic of Western (European) singing, especially in bel canto operatic style is vibrato. A bit of vibrato is deemed desirable in this kind of voice because in makes the voice sound "alive," as opposed to a dead-flat, straight tone. But this can be greatly overdone. Mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli sang with a bit of vibrato, like most opera singers, when she was young, but within recent years, her vibrato has widened and become much more obvious, which is not good. She sometimes sounds like a bleating nanny-goat.

Even though I've had some instruction in the bel canto singing techniques, I don't sound anything like an opera singer. My main aim was to learn to use good vocal technique primarily to preserve my voice and keep it healthy. Bel canto demands keeping the vocal mechanism as relaxed as possible, using good breath support, and projecting the voice without "shouting" (which strains the vocal mechanism and can lead to hoarseness, which is a bad sign!).

I'm a bass or bass-baritone, and people told me (early on) that I sounded a bit like Ed McCurdy, and lately, that I sound a bit like Gordon Bok. But I don't really think so. I think they say that mostly because my voice is fairly deep.

I'm looking forward to reading the Cantometrics section in the Alan Lomax biography.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jan 14 - 04:18 PM

Some Country singers are nasal, but many are NOT! There are different styles of Country as well, so that fits into subsets. What bugs me is when people put on a fake twang. In certain parts of the Mountains in the Appalachian regions, there is a twang. Randy Travis has a definite twang in his voice- but it doesn't bother me- because its authentic

Patsy Cline and Marty Robbins, Jim Reeves, Glen Campbell, Dottie West, etc were all non nasal Country singers, and Kenny Rogers wasn't nasal either.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 03:48 AM

An ' Irish tenor ' is a banjo.

Dave H


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 27 Jan 14 - 10:40 PM

My father forbad me to bring one home.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Learaí na Láibe
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 04:07 PM

I don't think pop singers can be described as Tenors in the context, even if they sing in the tenor range and have very good voices.

A classically trained singer or a singer influenced by the classical style is what is referred to when talking about Irish Tenors. They may sing a folk song with an Irish accent and lighten the tone a little but the style is still very unique.

Irish folk or trad singers never sing in the Irish Tenor style.

With all due respect to Billy Joel, I don't think he really knew what the term Irish Tenor meant.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Tony Rath aka Tonyteach
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 07:30 PM

I am a Liverpool Irish Tenor. I did sing Danny Boy and other Irish songs. I also sang Siegfried and Radames - Hoffmann - Canio and Calaf. Singing over 90 - 100 piece orchestras for two hours or more and not a microphone in sight. I carry my own amplification

The Count had a powerful operatic voice which suited the recording conditions of the time as did Caruso. Tenor singing is organised head voice which is supported from the diaphragm and with an open throat. It is not artificial because some nationalities have it naturally ie the North Welsh and Italians and Spanish. What operatic training does is to free the voice and place it in the right area as opposed to the dreadful adopted nasal quality of the acolytes of McColl. Diaphragm support is a technique used by actors and speakers who want to project their voice without strain

I teach a lot of good natural voices who once they latch onto this technique embrace it with enthusiasm, no not high falutin classical types but those who sing gospel and praise music who really want to let it rip. In my part of East London the people's music is gospel


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 07:44 PM

I 'd only use the term to refer to ethnicity. While there are some national style tendencies in singing they aren't the crucial factor for the label. A lyrical light-tenor from Italy wouldn't be called an irish Tenor - and if Pavarotti had been Irish he'd have changed the way people would expect an Irish tenor to sound.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Don Firth
Date: 28 Jan 14 - 07:54 PM

Amen, Tony Rath!

Among other things, good diaphragmatic support, placement, and an open and relaxed throat will help keep the voice healthy and allow someone to sing well long into old age.

AND--taking some lessons from a good voice teacher will NOT, ipso facto, make someone sound like an opera singer. I knew voice majors, aspiring opera singers, at the University of Washington School of Music who wished fervently that it was that easy!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,RBG
Date: 04 Apr 14 - 05:20 AM

An "Irish tenner" is a one pound note.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Apr 14 - 12:43 PM

MacColl was usually not nasal, but later he often switched back and forth from normal to very, very nasal (though not within the same song!).

Was he trying to imitate somebody? Or what?

I haven't noticed any special or affected nasality in British (or American) "source singers," but maybe I'm not very observant.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 04 Apr 14 - 07:26 PM

It's a special category for trained Irish singers such as Frank Patterson and John McCormick who gave concerts of Irish traditional, popular songs and classical renditions.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Musket
Date: 05 Apr 14 - 09:39 AM

To be fair RGB, an Irish tenner was about £9.00 in English beer tokens for the final few pre Euro years.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 04:11 PM

Morton Downey was often cited as an Irish tenor.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 04:24 PM

To quote my late father, an Irish Tenor is a size 13 neck in a size 12 collar.

Let's just gloss over the fact that my mother's father and brother were both Irish tenors, and that *Count* John McCormack was highly regarded on their side of the family. They both sang in the choir behind him at the Mass for the Eucharistic Congress of 1932 in the Phoenix Park, though the specific light timbre of the Irish tenor voice wouldn't really come across in a choir.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 04:32 PM

If I remember aright, my father was part of a Boy Scout guard of honour on the said occasion! He was no great shakes as a singer, mind you..

Regards


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 04:57 PM

I don't get this. I got to Wiki and they have a page of Irish 'tenors' with such names as Stephen Gatley (pop singer); and Daniel O' Donnell, listed as Irish tenors. I thought a tenor is specific timber of voice, and usually classically trained operatic. But able to vary the marerial so the novelty often used by record companies (Scottish Tenors/Irish Tenors) is in taking a classical delivery then applying to a totally different style of song.

So Universal Records used to market loads of those singers mixing in contemporary songs, Musical Theatre hits with standard classical repertoire. Same with Irish singers, mixing different types of songs sometimes with nationally identifiable choices.   

Although Daniel O' Donnell is an Irish crossover singer who has sung many of the same songs as Irish tenors, I find it incomprehensible that he is being labelled by Wiki as an Irish tenor. That is not anything to do with whether you like his singing or not. He has not got a classical type trained operatic voice. It depends on whether you are describing the timbre of voice, or the 'stage' genre that is conjured up by the term.

I have a song my old man wrote recorded by Daniel 'O Donnell, there is no way I would market it 'as recorded by Irish tenor' Daniel O' Donnell.   Kenneth MacKellor, Peter Morrison, Denis Clancy etc. are examples of the well known 60's and 70's Scottish Tenors. Can somebody point out any technical detail I'm missing on what makes the tenor genre?


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 05:01 PM

I do notice I mistyped the word Timbre as Timber!


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 05:31 PM

I did have another thought though, I suppose the staging element is important as to how the sound was delivered in large theaters. And when John Mccormick, etc. were around, early microphones and recording techniques would also have affected the apparent tones and style of delivery of their voices.

Still can't see why Stephen Gately (Boyzone), makes it as an Irish tenor! No offence to anybody.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 06:16 PM

A tenor who is Irish is not necessarily an *Irish Tenor*. We need some sort of vinculum for the phrase to make that clear. My use of caps in my first post here was an attempt to get that across.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 06:30 PM

To misrepresent Dick Gaughan in words, but not In spirit, any mention of Daniel O'Donnell in a folk music thread renders that thread dead, just as surely as comparing someone with Hitler immediately kills off any political thread. ;-)


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 06:53 PM

Hey, don't get into that one! Don't be a folk snob! It's the principle of what an *Irish Tenor* is - and despite your protestations Daniel has recorded and popularised folk music as well as country and mor. That is irrelevant. He fits in this discussion as validly as talking about John McCormick   It is whether wiki were right in listing him as an *Irish Tenor*. I thought that term applied to semi-classical vocalists with a certain intonation. Musical scholars are the ones who may know this stuff.

I am now thinking that many people I thought of as *Scottish and Irish tenors* may actually be classified by voice as 'baritone'.
In recent years after the success of the classical 'Three Tenors', it became a marketing device for record companies and stage performers.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Aug 15 - 12:57 AM

Sorry, I spelt McCormack wrong (not McCormick).


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 05:13 AM

Billy Joel is quite simply a pure American Twat!
Re the style of MCormack and others of his era. I'm not sure Tenor is an acurate description of those voices. More a case of, as well illustrated in the recent BBC4 series on song, the methods of recording then were so fragile in comparison to later decades, that singers simply HAD to use a more operatic style and volume to be heard and understood. If the likes of Billy joel (heaven forbid!) had used the machines of McCormack's day he just wouldn't be heard (a bonus) By the same oken modern recording systems have become so advanced and sensitive that operatic over dramatised styles have all but died out except for proper classical music of course


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 05:42 AM

The music critic Desmond Shawe-Taylor, who wrote extensive sleeve notes for a collection of Irish sings and ballads recorded in the later part of John McCormack's life, remarked on the Count's expert use of the microphone technology of the time.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 11:05 AM

So, in today's terms is Daniel O' Donnell (who often sings Irish ballads), an Irish Tenor, when performing a certain type of material? I am only referring to the vocal classification.

I used to think it was a more macho type of trained voice, but then I think I may be mixing up baritones. It's operatic baritones who used the marketing of 'three tenors', 'three Irish tenors', 'Scottish tenors'. I suppose it's not very convenient to put on the cover 'the three baritones'.

I've got it the wrong way round if the lighte more effeminate type of voice of the likes of Stephen Gately (see Wiki) is actually what defines an Irish tenor!


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 06:44 PM

Quote from 'Puckoon' (Spike Milligan:
His voice was raised in that high nasal Irish tenor, known and hated the world over.

    'Ohhhhbhhhhhhhbhh IIIIIIIIIIIIIII
    Once knew a judy in Dubleen Town
    Her eyes were blue and her hair was brown,
    One night on the grass I got her down
    And I'

The rest of the words were lost to view as he turned a bend in the road.

Btw Father Sidney McEwen was an Irish teno, well that's what I was told in the national school.Having listened to the this clip I tend to agree.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gv0S3M-mR8


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 07 Aug 15 - 08:44 PM

Except that Father Sidney McEwen was Scottish, as was Kenneth McKellar.


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Subject: RE: What's an 'Irish tenor' (as in singer)?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 08 Aug 15 - 02:16 AM

I suppose Father Sydney McEwen partly crosses over - Glasgow born with an Irish mother. Repertoire of Scottish and Irish material. So though he is a Scottish singer, it's easy to mistake him for an Irish singer.


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