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natural singing style

GUEST 11 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM
Irene M 11 Sep 07 - 02:59 PM
Phil Cooper 11 Sep 07 - 03:06 PM
Genie 11 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM
Willa 11 Sep 07 - 05:07 PM
GUEST,Claire 11 Sep 07 - 06:38 PM
Bert 11 Sep 07 - 06:51 PM
GUEST,Claire 12 Sep 07 - 02:05 AM
Hamish 12 Sep 07 - 03:06 AM
GUEST,Jim Carroll 12 Sep 07 - 03:39 AM
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Subject: natural singing style
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:10 PM

Hi everyone,   

Yippee! Finally got a mention in Dirty Linen (October/November issue). My band, Round the House was one of the highlighted bands in Tom Nelligan's The Reel World column and we even got a picture, which made my mom, the photographer, very happy.   Not a huge review, but for an Irish band out of Tucson, 4 fairly long sentences feels pretty darned good.

The fun thing about the review, which I thought I would share, is that they described my voice as a natural unforced soprano. I have to say that this gave me a chuckle - cause I have been working for 10 years or more to be natural and unforced (no irony missed here) -not to mention struggling on my own to learn Irish ornamentation and to incorporate it in a natural way. I guess, I finally got an inkling of it onto this album - though I personally can still hear so many places that I still have tension or too much art-sound in my singing. I also thought it was really cool that the reviewer noticed the style of singing and mentioned it in the review (good news for all us trad singers). Sometimes, I feel like only in-your-face styles of singing get recongnized and it is really difficult to sing with ease as well.

Does anyone else work and train to sound natural? It would be great to hear what you do, or think about, to achieve that sound. For example, I try to feel the pulse of the song, underneath the melody, plus lots of technical stuff to keep as open and relaxed a as possible, but still a fairly closed mouth. And lots of work sustaining breath. Also, have others had reviews where this has been noticed?

Best,
Claire from Tucson


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Irene M
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 02:59 PM

You want to check out Frankie Armstrong's work. I remember her teaching an Edinburgh Folk Festival audience to make cow-hearding sounds, and I know she used to do workshops on the natural voice.
I should add that I saw her in the late 70s and early 80s, but there may be archive tapes, videos etc.

Regards,
Irene in Derby (UK)


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 03:06 PM

Claire, congrats on the review. I recall a recent Living Tradition interview with Brian Peters where he pretty much says it took awhile for him to "sing in his own voice." It sounds like you are achieving that. I've always liked my singing partner, Margaret's natural approach to singing, rather than the "in your face" style. There's much to be said for not getting in the way of the song.


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Genie
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 03:09 PM

I think when some say a trained voice sounds "natural" they mean it doesn't have that classically-trained, operatic style.   That probably has more to do with the pronunciation of various vowels and with the position of the mouth, etc., than with things like relaxation of the throat, breath support, projection, etc.

Don't most professional singers these days work with vocal coaches, whether they're singing pop, rock, jazz, folk, or opera? At least those who perform a lot and plan to keep their vocal instrument healthy over the long haul?

Other than that, I'm curious as to just what distinguishes "the natural voice" from other voices.


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Willa
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 05:07 PM

Irene and Claire
Frankie's website http://www.frankiearmstrong.com/vtraining.html


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 06:38 PM

Hi again,
Frankie's workshop sounds great - wish I had the money or were anywhere near there. I have taught workshops on vocal techniques for traditional singers at various festivals, and what a great opportunity that would be to learn more about how to get those ideas across to people as well as learning more myself. Have any of you catters out there participated in it?

As for the sound and singing quality. To my ear, there are lots of traditional singer and other types of singers that certainly do not sound operatic, but also do not sound natural and unforced. I think breath support and relaxation are key and then there is this intangible easy sound. That personal and easy sound is what I am after, both to listen to and to sing. And yes, to me it is getting out of the way of the song, so that it sings itself.

Claire


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Bert
Date: 11 Sep 07 - 06:51 PM

Well done Claire!

It is not easy to sound natural. Us humans are natural mimics and it is difficult not to copy the first version that you heard.

Try singing a Bob Dylan song and not sound like Bob Dylan.

When I learn a new song I have to sing it to myself many times before I lose the influence of the original artist.

They played my CD at Benningtons and Oliver McElhone said "Hey that sounds like Bert!" I took it as a great compliment.


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 02:05 AM

Thanks Bert,
I know just what you mean. When I am first learning a difficult piece that is really ornamented or really modal then I often will absolutely copy the singers inflection and everything. I consider this training and in fact they are my voice teachers. Delores Keane has no idea she teaches me voice - and for almost free too!

I probably sing a song 50 or more times before it gets in the band repertoire or into my solo repertoire and once I learn it, I keep working it into my own thing. I change where the ornaments go, or how it is phrased, or how I think about which words carry the heart of the song. However, I try to stay true to the traditional elements of the piece as much as is possible depending on the band setting of the song. If I learn a song from a cd then I will stear clear of that recording until the song is my own. Sometimes I will go back to the original piece and copy the inflections again just to work out any americanizing that I have unintentionally done.. and then I go off on my own again. It is an interesting process - endlessly entertaining.

Ok, I better get off this computer - I am off to the Walnut Valley Festival tomorrow morning. Time to hang out at Carp Camp and just be goofy.

Cheers,
Claire


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: Hamish
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 03:06 AM

Claire said "If I learn a song from a cd then I will stear clear of that recording until the song is my own"

...I have any number of CDs I can no longer risk playing just in case the version I learned from inf(l)ects the version it has become...

...or do I mean just in case I realise how much I've mangled it?

But there are couple of words or phrases in acouple of songs I learnt off Bob Fox where I can still detect what I think is a trace of Geordie accent. To /most/ listeners it still sounds like my natural Scottish accent, but /I/ know...

--
Hamish


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Subject: RE: natural singing style
From: GUEST,Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Sep 07 - 03:39 AM

Frankie Armstrong was a long time member of MacColl's Critics Group and the work she did later in voice workshops was based largely on the Group's work.
The idea basically was that the voice is affected by exterior circumstances, eg. people working in an office environment tend to pitch the volume of their voices down, while, say, others working in constant noise will raise the level of their voices to carry over the noise - etc. This affects not only the volume, but the tone, and weight of the voice, and it is those circumstances that determines everyday use of the voice.
The idea was that, through a series of exercises a persons 'natural' voice was found; once that was done that person could then develop their control over their voice to take it in any direction they needed to, as singers, actors, whatever. The aim was for singers to sound like themselves and not another singer. Should they then wish to sound like Dolores Keane, Christy Moore or whoever (for some strange reason) they had the technique to do so.
Bit more complicated than I have explained, but once the voice was mastered a singer could sing all the different types of song in the repertoire, ballads, lyrical love songs, shanties etc. without all the songs sounding the same
Jim Carroll


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