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Using the internet to learn vocal lines

Mo the caller 23 Sep 17 - 11:43 AM
Joe_F 24 Sep 17 - 07:02 PM
Mr Red 25 Sep 17 - 06:52 AM
Tattie Bogle 25 Sep 17 - 02:15 PM
GUEST 25 Sep 17 - 06:08 PM
Johnny J 25 Sep 17 - 06:10 PM
Leadfingers 26 Sep 17 - 04:50 AM
Mo the caller 26 Sep 17 - 05:01 AM
FreddyHeadey 26 Sep 17 - 06:14 AM
Tattie Bogle 26 Sep 17 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Sep 17 - 01:06 PM
Mo the caller 27 Sep 17 - 01:31 PM
Artful Codger 27 Sep 17 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Sep 17 - 05:53 PM
Mo the caller 28 Sep 17 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Sep 17 - 09:11 AM
Artful Codger 29 Sep 17 - 07:16 AM
Mo the caller 18 Oct 17 - 06:33 AM
leeneia 18 Oct 17 - 09:19 AM
Richard Bridge 18 Oct 17 - 05:28 PM
wysiwyg 19 Oct 17 - 09:32 AM
wysiwyg 19 Oct 17 - 09:33 AM
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Subject: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mo the caller
Date: 23 Sep 17 - 11:43 AM

this thread about a monk struggling to read music has wandered into thoughts about learning notes.
I wonder how many people sing 'from the dots'. I find it tricky, whereas learning tunes by reading comes more naturally than by ear. Not wishing to reopen that arguement, and I have, over several years learnt to play along by ear (hope other people don't disagree!).

But isn't the internet marvellous. Youtube videos like Choirparts Mean that while struggling to learn to sight read I can still go to singing days, or join a choir, work on things at home and not be completely out of my depth.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Sep 17 - 07:02 PM

No bouncing ball!


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mr Red
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 06:52 AM

can you learn via mail-order?

a sort of chorusponence course..................





I'll get my coat of one colour.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 02:15 PM

Oh no! YET another carefully worded post on this thread has not "taken". In short what I said was, I learn in the car - over the years, from tapes, then CDs. Can't learn from printed sheets or internet. (In a nutshell!)


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 06:08 PM

Many people can sing "from the dots" but usually have learned or been trained to do so.
So, this will include professional singers and those who have studied music for this purpose.

I can sort of do it but it's really a skill on its own as is playing music from notation. If I see a song melody, it's easier to try it out on an instrument first and then sing it by ear.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Johnny J
Date: 25 Sep 17 - 06:10 PM

Oops, last post was mine.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Leadfingers
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 04:50 AM

I am cursed with two conditions - very good ear ad total idleness so I have never had to learn to sight read music !!


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mo the caller
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 05:01 AM

Yes JJ, that's about how I am. I do a bit of notebashing on the keyboard, try a bit of sight reading and see if I end up on the right note - sing it, play it correct if wrong and carry on. Then try to sing along with a youtube performance. Trying to improve my sight reading. It took a few years to reach the stage of being able to play by ear (sort of), so I suppose, if I keep at it...
I shouldn't really be sitting here typing. We've got a rehearsal tonight and the email said we are going to do several difficult parts of the Mozart Mass. All diddley diddley quavers, nearly but not quite the same!


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 06:14 AM

I often find that something I want to learn is in the wrong key to sing along to.   
I'll make an ABC (recent threadthread.cfm?threadid=162111) and from that save the midi and then have it playing away in the background.
It's handy to be able to change the speed and key.

I print the dots to help, but in C because the key signatures complicate it too much for me.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 26 Sep 17 - 01:35 PM

I can read music and sight-sing too - but that just means, as one of our choir conductors said, "it goes in one eye and out the other".
But to learn both notes and words "by heart" it's pure repetition using aural media: for various stage shows I was in, I would have one note-learning track, then a word-learning one: eventually the 2 would come together with any luck!


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 01:06 PM

On that other thread, Leeneia suggested CyberBass, and I recommended John's Learn Choral Music. Both offer MIDI files of the classical repertoire and methods to use them for the purpose of this thread. The latter site features a page with a list of free player software to do the job of emphasizing, transposing, and slowing down.

Is anybody using any of these methods or software? Which ones do you like most?


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 01:31 PM

Thanks Grishka. I've finally worked out how to use that site and downloaded the tracks I needed. Now ALL I have to do is learn them!

Freddy - in choir we don't have a choice of key. But I agree about the complication of choir key signatures, all those sharps and flats, whatever is that interval??? Folk tunes are much simpler - often in D, or G (or A or C).
The other thing I learned imperfectly, along the way, was tonic-sol-fa. Which helps with sight reading a bit (but slows you down if there are 5 flats etc).
Tried a Shape Note workshop at Whitby - that one seems completely illogical.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Artful Codger
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 05:26 PM

I often learn melodies (and all the rest) from printed music--it may be my only source. It shouldn't be that hard for anyone: the notation is entirely scale oriented. Whatever the key, the key signature takes care of applying the requisite sharps and flats, so once you figure out the starting note for the key (the tonic), going up or down lines and spaces is just walking the scale. Keeping track of the sharps and flats is harder when you're playing an instrument, but when you're singing, you're dealing with a smooth, regular continuum of pitches--each key is as easy as any other (provided it fits your range well), and we hear and interpret music relatively anyway, rather than in specific keys. Ask anyone to sing "Happy Birthday" starting on a given note, and most people can do it easily, but ask them what note or key that was, and few people can do better than get in the ball park, while most won't have a clue.

I may have trouble sight-reading on the fly, such as when a song uses a lot of chromatic notes outside the scale, or when there are leaps in the melody, but otherwise it's pretty easy. When I lose my local frame of reference or an interval just isn't "clicking", I just return to a nearby tonic and walk the scale up or down. Maybe that's where people have trouble: they can't easily sing the tonic of their key on demand, or bring it to mind for comparison.

Lead sheets and sheet music can help me more than hearing recordings, though I mostly do learn songs from recordings--cross-checking against sheet music, if available, to see what liberties were taken. Good singers often dress up lines in wonderful ways, but more often I hear singers opt for simplifications that strip life from how a song was written. I'll spare you my rant on how the "folk process" erodes rather than improves well-crafted songs--the tyranny of mediocrity.

For those having trouble, I recommend interval ear training, that is, learning to sing and recognize each interval, both upward and downward.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Sep 17 - 05:53 PM

You're welcome, Mo. If you choose to try some of the software, we would appreciate to read about your experiences.

Transposing: many singers, particularly of soprano and tenor voices, prefer a slight transposition downwards while practising their part, so that they do not strain their vocal cords. Of course, the sheet music must remain the same – people with a very marked absolute ear get problems. Switch to the final key as soon as possible.

Similarly with the tempo: slowing down at liberty helps a lot in the beginning.

Printing the sheet music transposed to a key without accidentals, as Freddy does, serves quite a different purpose, so-to-speak "mathematical". (He seems to sing his part in the original key.) This may work as a makeshift, but in the long run it is much more work than learning to calculate intervals from the dots with their flats and sharps. This also makes for a higher cultural level. (Assume, for comparison, learners of English were only taught to read and write texts in a phonetic script such as IPA - easier, yes, but not "English".)


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mo the caller
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 06:57 AM

"many singers, particularly of soprano and tenor voices, prefer a slight transposition downwards while practising their part"

That happened accidentally to a choir I know of when it was discovered, at the last minute, that the orchestral parts were in a different key to the ones the choir had practised from - so at the dress rehearsal they all had to transpose up (3 semitones I think). Some singers were not happy - not necessarily perfect pitch but the 'dots' tell you what the note feels like in your range, as well as the intervals. Not to mention the screeching sopranos!

I think Artful C, like Freddy is learning songs to sing solo. Obviously quite different from learning to keep up with a choir rehearsal.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 09:11 AM

I used to sing with a choir that did a classical concert once a summer, and I used the Cyberbass site to learn the alto lines. (I would have the music open before me, and I would read and sing.) John's Learn Choral Music site looks good too.

That was fine with Vivaldi and Mozart, but I lost interest when they switched to the moderns with harmony parts from hell. I refuse to sit at the computer, playing chaotic lines again and again, trying to drum them into my head.

I'm a musician, not a mere frequency-generator. I hope someday they get back to more accessible works so I can rejoin.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Artful Codger
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 07:16 AM

Mo the caller wrote:
I think Artful C, like Freddy is learning songs to sing solo. Obviously quite different from learning to keep up with a choir rehearsal.

I've done a fair bit of singing in choirs and small vocal groups, too, where my part was usually harmony, so no, I wasn't just talking about reading music for solo singing. I don't see the two as "quite different" except that harmony parts may make less sense out of context—and when I'm solo singing, I'm usually transposing on the fly into a more suitable key (something already done for you in choral arrangements). That bit's really a doddle, though.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Mo the caller
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 06:33 AM

I still can't work out how to use Cyberbass, but have tried Choralia for Haydn's Te Deum. It gives you the choice of hearing the words with your parts emphasised. And there's a hare and tortoise slider! Very useful.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 09:19 AM

Thanks for the tip, Mo.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 18 Oct 17 - 05:28 PM

It's very useful to me to be able to find vocal performances on the internet. I can very slowly decode pitch from dots, but timing totally eludes me without an exemplar - although fortunately in folk music one is not slavishly tied to previous versions.

However things normally done in harmony may be buggers for finding the correct lead line without dots. My late wife Jacqui Walker was useful for that, but I'd need a Ouija board to get help from her now.

And sometimes the accompaniment can obscure things. I'm STILL struggling with "Monster Science" aka "Lord of Steam and Iron" as performed by John Kirkpatrick despite Will Fly having kindly sent me the chords.    Similarly (absent Will Fly) Stockholm Tar as performed by the Spinners.

And for folk(ish) song the dots may be hard to come by.


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 09:32 AM

My experience of using dots is a lot like my experience with cookbooks-- following the directions gives me the chance to learn from myself. So I suspect that dot-readers are also actually learning primarily by hearing-- themselves, following the dots. Aboring by ear what the eye has seen, but more via the aural part of the brain than the rote-memorization part.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Using the internet to learn vocal lines
From: wysiwyg
Date: 19 Oct 17 - 09:33 AM

AbsorBing


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