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Voices that don't blend

Blues=Life 18 Aug 03 - 09:48 AM
C-flat 18 Aug 03 - 11:56 AM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Aug 03 - 12:48 PM
TheBigPinkLad 18 Aug 03 - 01:42 PM
Leo Condie 18 Aug 03 - 02:28 PM
Frankham 18 Aug 03 - 03:36 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 18 Aug 03 - 05:52 PM
LadyJean 18 Aug 03 - 05:57 PM
Burke 18 Aug 03 - 06:08 PM
michaelr 18 Aug 03 - 07:25 PM
Blues=Life 18 Aug 03 - 10:18 PM
GUEST,KB 19 Aug 03 - 02:58 AM
Liz the Squeak 19 Aug 03 - 11:01 AM
GUEST,Pelrad 19 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM
Frankham 19 Aug 03 - 02:09 PM
Blues=Life 19 Aug 03 - 02:40 PM
GUEST,KB 19 Aug 03 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 19 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM
GUEST,mg 19 Aug 03 - 04:22 PM
GUEST 19 Aug 03 - 05:20 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 19 Aug 03 - 06:04 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 19 Aug 03 - 06:52 PM
Blues=Life 19 Aug 03 - 07:43 PM
Bev and Jerry 19 Aug 03 - 11:41 PM
Liz the Squeak 20 Aug 03 - 12:58 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Aug 03 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Aug 03 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,KB 20 Aug 03 - 03:21 AM
Blues=Life 20 Aug 03 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 20 Aug 03 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 20 Aug 03 - 04:40 PM
MAG 20 Aug 03 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Anne Croucher 20 Aug 03 - 08:26 PM
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Subject: Voices that don't blend
From: Blues=Life
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 09:48 AM

I was going to post this on the "Good Voice" thread, but it was closed, so I guess we'll start something new.

I've been told that I have a "good blues voice." Unfortunately, this comment comes from choir directors, etc, when I'm attempting to sing something other than the blues. *g* However, I have sung in choirs for years, and can hold my own in the bass section. My sister, on the other hand, has sung choral music since Junior High, and has a well trained, schooled soprano. The funny thing is, we just can't sing together. When we were kids, we used to try to work up duets. Our voices just clash. Painfully. And I've always been curious why, and if that happens to other people.
Any input?
Blues


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: C-flat
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 11:56 AM

Maybe you're one of the lucky ones who has a distinctive voice. It might not show up so well in the bass section of the choir, but in a duet is hard to blend.
Don't knock it! I've been singing like other people for years and never quite found my own true voice!
Most of the best singers of any genre have a voice that's instantly recognisable, wether you've heard the song before or not, so unless you find someone with a similar sound, you may have to find greatness as a solo act. :~)


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 12:48 PM

You don't have just one voice. You can sing from your chest or from your head. You can sing hard (like Barbra Streisand) or you can sing soft, like Johnny Mathis. Those variations are just for starters. You don't have to have blues voice everyday.

When you sing with your sister, close your eyes, listen to each other, and make your voices cuddle. That's blending.

Your voice and ears can do things that the speech mechanisms in the brain cannot define or express. That's why it's hard to explain blending to a person. So close your eyes, and let your lizard brain do one of the things it does best.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: TheBigPinkLad
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 01:42 PM

Can you say Pavrotti and Sting?


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Leo Condie
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 02:28 PM

anyone ever heard a record called Tear Down The Walls? Fred Neil and Vince Martin. Fred has one of the greatest voices i've ever heard, and Vince's is nice too but a lot softer and less powerful. Doesn't really cut it for me. But luckily through the wonders of stereo and faulty headphones, one can cut Vince out completely and enjoy the rumble.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Frankham
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 03:36 PM

Blending voices can be dangerous to your vocal health. It's preferable to "balance" your voice with others and not try to change it to sound like someone else. Most voices do not blend. But in a choir they are balanced by judicious choral directors.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 05:52 PM

Dangerous to your vocal health?

Tell that to wonderfully blended voices like The Louvin Bros., Delmore Bros., Everly Bros.

Even the Kingston Trio had a grat vocal blend, but I think you might have been distracted by their striped shirts and that they made money entertaining and putting folk music on the map for many.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: LadyJean
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 05:57 PM

My sister and I love folk music, and we both sing. But we sound TERRIBLE together. DNA doesn't help either.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Burke
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 06:08 PM

Interesting question. I'm wondering if there are good examples of bass & soprano duets that blend well? I'm thinking blending is easier on a close harmony than with the wide separation between bass & soprano voices. If you can find some examples, maybe you can listen & try to figure out what they do that works.

Speaking as an untrained soprano, though, I've heard trained basses blend really well with a choir while I've heard many trained sopranos who can't blend at all. We have a couple of trained women in my church choir. They usually sing alto and blend just fine. If they ever switch to soprano they ruin the sound of the whole section because they just can't seem to tone it down enough to blend.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: michaelr
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 07:25 PM

Beat me to it, Burke -- IMO, soprano and bass are just too far apart in pitch to blend well. But try baritone and alto -- goosepimple time!

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Blues=Life
Date: 18 Aug 03 - 10:18 PM

Doesn't seem to matter where we sing. When I HAD an upper register, and sang baritone notes, and she tried alto, it STILL didn't work. Think beer over cheesecake, think pizza with a scoop of pistachio ice cream on top, think fingernails and a chalkboard. It wasn't the notes, it was....Hell, I don't know what it was. It's like two sine waves that cannot overlap. (By the way, I liked Pavoritti and Sting, TBPL - *g*)
And leeneia, we been trying for 30 years! But we finally gave up. Some things just don't blend. (Thanks, Lady Jean... it's nice to hear someone else has the same problem.)


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:58 AM

I sing with my daughter a lot, and our tones can blend really nicely - but I have an unfortunate tendency to get too loud & overpower her. Recently she has started twiddling a virtual "volume knob" somewhere near my left ear, reminding me to pull back. It works a treat.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 11:01 AM

Actually I quite like beer and cheesecake, but only if it's proper homemade cheesecake.....

On the subject of blending - yes there are some people who should never be allowed in the same room singing together. And even in big choirs, there is nearly always one voice which stands out from the rest, not because it is truly astounding, or terribly out of tune, but because it just doesn't gel. I cannot pick myself out of a small chorus but friends can. However, whilst listening to a recording made in a large church, with about 200 people all singing, I can hear myself. It's not that I'm out of tune or loud (actually, yes, I am loud) but it's because the other 150 people who just turned up just to get on telly (and have probably not been in a church since) were not blending.

There are just some voices that do not go together - and unfortunately, soprano voices and bass voices are the worst offenders.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Pelrad
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM

The only person I ever truly couldn't sing with was my college roommate. We both had good voices, but I tend to hit the "flat" side of a note (still on it, but on the bottom of it, don't know quite how to explain), while she tended to hit the "sharp" side. We had the exact same range, but boy did we sound terrible together.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Frankham
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:09 PM

Martin,
The point is that if you attempt to blend your voice to another's you are apt to do something harmful to it. There are a lot of voices that seem to fit nicely together but this isn't a function of trying to blend. They automatically do. A lot of this has to do with many factors, genetic and cultural.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Blues=Life
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:40 PM

Guest,Pelrad:
I think you've hit the heart of the matter. The way you describe it sounds like the problem I've had. Like we both sing a C, but not the same C!
Oh well, thank heavens there are other's out there I can sing with.
Blues


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:56 PM

Frank - can you explain that a bit more - or give a link to more info or something?
Given that we are able to adjust our singing to suit a song, why could we not adjust our singing to suit another singer? aspects like volume, head or chest voice, sweetness or harshness are all adjustable. I'm intrigued as to what you mean?

Kris


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM

Frank

I never have had that problem. I can always seem to find an upper or lower harmony blend effortlessly or naturally with whomever I sing with depending on if the lead is a male or female. I think people harm their voice when they try to strain to a range they can't make. A good warm-up of my vocal chords will keep me blending and harmonizing in a good jam session all evening.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 04:22 PM

I think blues is not referring to volume but something else entirely..and yes..often voices don't blend for whatever reason..auras or something...


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 05:20 PM

Martin, I think that if a person attempts to "blend" with another by making their voice sound like theirs, they are in for vocal problems. I suspect that instead of a blend so that you sound like someone else, you are employing a "balance" between your voice and another's. Some voices do seem to go together better than others but in the case of each singer, there is no need to accomodate vocally by changing their voice. I suspect that no two voices are entirely blended but contain their own characteristic vocal sound regardless of how they are perceived by an audience. In the case of the Everly or Louvins, there may be enough similarities in the vocal mechanism so that they appear to blend. But when balanced, vocalists don't have to change anything to accomodate to the other singer. There is an important semantic distinction to be made between forcing a blend and arriving at a balance. The first way kills your voice, the second saves it.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 06:04 PM

Frank

I just sing fine harmonies with many people I am told.

I call it a blend of voices, not a balance. I do my best to blend with another singer's voice. My voice works fine into my 50's. No harm done to my voice blending with others professionally for about 40 years.

I think trying to find the distinction that you talk about is way too over analytical.

I have never been told my voice balances well with someone else. The sound of fine harmony produces a fine blend of voices.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 06:52 PM

Once when I was living in Portsmouth (Hants.England) many years ago I was at a folk club thing some friends ran and there were a few sailors - three in particular were trying to join in the singing but could not find a suitable male voice to mesh with. I saw their heads go down when I went up to sing, but suddenly they perked up and 'zamm' came in on the first chorus so I couldn't hear myself solo any more just part of the harmony. It was like suddenly finding I had a twin who had married someone with the same name had the same number of children with the same names and did the same job and lived at the same number house - apparently I sing/sang one octave higher than the fourth member of the group and also sang a lot of the same songs.

Unfortunately I couldn't find a way to kidnap them and keep them for myself, (and I think my husband might have had something to say...) and although one or two of them turned up from time to time there were never more than two - though the harmonies were still good.

some voices blend - some don't - and some are only good together when it is late at night and you all end up at somebody's flat with nothing to eat but custard and spaghetti and you begin to thing that perhaps with some coconut sprinkled on the top it just might be OK

Anne


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Blues=Life
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 07:43 PM

Frank, I understand what you are saying when you write:
"I think that if a person attempts to "blend" with another by making their voice sound like theirs, they are in for vocal problems."
However, I think this is a case where you are substituting YOUR definition of 'blend' into what everyone else is saying. I don't believe anyone is talking about "making their voice sound" like someone else's. I was refering to 2 voices that sound good together. Nothing else, just sounding good. I think that's what everyone else is saying as well.
Therefore, given that definition, there are some people with whom it just goes together, like cake and ice cream. Others seem to be lactose intolerant.
Blues


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 19 Aug 03 - 11:41 PM

Blues:

There are a number of requirements for two voices to "blend" and by that we mean the ability to sing close harmony like the Louvin Brothers or the Everly Brothers.

One is that both voices must have the same accent or speech pattern. Imagine a singer from Brooklyn, NY trying to "blend" with a singer from, say, Mississippi with a southern drawl.

Another is that you have to practice a lot (and we mean a lot) to get your phrasing precisely the same. This, of course, comes easier to siblings who have sung together all of their lives.

Another is that you have to sing in approximately the same range because close harmony means that the harmony notes are very close to the melody notes. Last night while we were reading this thread we were listening to the closing act of La Boheme where there is a duet between Rudolfo and what's her name. The sound was beautiful beyond belief but no one would say that their voices "blended".

In your opening post you said that your sister's voice was that of a well trained, schooled soprano. Her voice training probably makes it impossible for your voice to blend with hers because she no doubt uses a lot of vibrato and pear-shaped tones with an emphasis on vowel sounds and practically no consonant sounds. You, on the other hand, probably don't do these things especially if you have a "good blues voice". Also, your range is undoubtedly much lower than hers and octave differences can sound nice but they don't blend.

Although we did not sing when we got married, we were brougt up in the same place and have the same accent. Also our voices have nearly the same range. Couple that with 43 years of singing together and, voile, a blend.

It sounds like you need a different singing partner!

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 12:58 AM

Coconut on the top is never a good idea - it's dry and scratchy and will irritate your throat - use those chocolate bits that look like mouse droppings instead - they dissolve and are much less harmful.

Unless of course, they really are mouse droppings.

Balance is just not drowning the other person out. Blending is where you either sound like one voice or like one voice singing two parts.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 01:07 AM

been told that I have a "good blues voice

Sorry to disappoint you regarding your (self-percieved) "{talent)">

Your teacher was using a "polite" euphemism for you don't have any any control for the UPs or DOWNs of your voice...you is a SEARCH-ing...for the right note.)

Not that ANY or this is "bad" or "good" " but....your teacher....(and I) are suggesting that you try the accordian.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 01:11 AM

Oh...Ohhh.. OHHH! Gawd!!!!!

I just heard a SssWweeaakkk!

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Howww....Hhhhooow....Hooooooww....voluptuously orgasmic!!! ....did I...id i "I" beat the other self-adulatiing critters of the cat?


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 03:21 AM

Well Gargoyle I think you're a little harsh there. There are good blues voices - and to fly with the blues you need to have a precision of placement & tone control + an instinct for where to go next. "Good blues voice" doesn't just mean a basic belter.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: Blues=Life
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 07:39 AM

Gargoyle, at least you're consistent. No shit, the phrase "a good blues voice" is insulting. If you read my opening post, you might notice that I did get the point.
Kinda like saying that YOUR intelligence is adequate... for a troll.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 11:31 AM

I have seen people try to blend their voices with others and do damage to them. The notion of "blend" in itself is not instructive.
The great choruses such as fine gospel singers or Robert Shaw chorale balance the voices. There are ways in which distinct voices can learn to sing together and retain their own structural integrity and not degenerate into a "mushy" or affected sound.

As to what people will tell you, you can't always gauge what's going on by that. People can be often as wrong as they appear to be right. I would trust a good vocal teacher more than any offhand comment well-meaning friends might make. Anyway, I've made my point and that's it for me.

Frank Hamilton.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 04:40 PM

Does anyone care about the Robert Shaw Chorale? I'm sure those fine gospel singers wouldn't have a clue as to what you are talking about, Frank.


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: MAG
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 07:12 PM

Do you ever    have anything nice to say, "Martin Gibson"?


acc-cen-tu-ate the positive, e-lin-i-nate the negative ...


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Subject: RE: Voices that don't blend
From: GUEST,Anne Croucher
Date: 20 Aug 03 - 08:26 PM

Nah - it is one of those universal laws that even if you buy the chocolate scatters by midnight they have matamorphorphoised into mouse droppings.

It happens when any group af singers/musicians arrives at a probably unsuitable house/flat after the pub shuts, at the invitation of someone who left earlier after a row or before the other occupant could remind them of the really hot date they had planned, or that Mother will be here for her annual two day sneer.

Oh - and the dog has done awful things on the carpet.

The fridge holds only a small piece of dried up cheese, a shrivelled something and half a tomato with mould - despite having been filled up from the supermarket only hours earlier. The pantry is similarly alnost bare, except for the catering packs of instant custard and spaghetti, so that is what gets cooked - with the option of coconut on top for those requiring roughage.

Every time - the triumph of hope over experience.

Those were the days - they don't make Saturday nights like that any more.

good job really

Anne


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