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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Stanron Working on singing (59* d) RE: Working on singing 24 Jan 19

Three iceberg tips are pitch, clarity and voice timbre. Below these tips are large submerged areas that will reward further investigation.

Underlying all three is breath control. Poor breath control will make pitch difficult. Long sung notes are all vowels, and you can't produce them properly if you haven't enough air. When you breath can change the meaning of the lyric narrative.

Of the three the one that makes the most difference to me is clarity. If I can't make out the lyrics I fall asleep. Lack of lyric clarity usually comes from poor consonant delivery. The long notes are all vowels. What defines these are the consonants that precede and follow them. Long vowels followed by poor consonant delivery result in meaningless sounds. This can be OK if a listener already knows the lyrics but if not the result may as well be in a foreign language. Not only must end consonants be clear, they must be separate from following start consonants. Take the phrase "your eyes". Nearly every time you hear this in a pop song it sounds like "your rise". It drives me bonkers! All it needs is a little bit of breath reversal, or just stoppage, between the two syllables and the meaning is clear.

A good example, and a fond memory, was Paul Connor, the Manchester, or was it Salford?, poet. He couldn't hold a tune but it didn't matter. His poems and songs were good enough to make melody secondary. His diction was always crystal clear. He used to take the mickey out of himself. I can see him now, a dramatic pose, arm outstretched, palm upwards as if holding a skull, saying " I Am An Ack Tor!" in exaggerated thespian manner. I think he did work as an extra on Coronation Street. He made sure his excellent material never suffered from poor delivery.

For male voices there is the chest voice and the head voice. In an untrained voice they tend to be separated by a 'break'. Either you learn how to bridge between that break or you stay in just one voice or the other. Either way you will have a top comfortable note and all songs will be sung in a key that accommodates that top note.

Voice timbre is something that can be worked on. Think of Nat King Cole. He had a throaty delivery that came across as warm and intimate. Compare that with Ethel Merman. There will be other, different, kinds of voice delivery. You might like to employ different ones for dramatic effect. They certainly are worth investigation.

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