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MDEW

Elton John Practice, Blues for Baby and Me

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I thought I would have a go at another Elton John song. Let me know what you think.

 

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Hey Joe, been swamped...

I'm not familiar with this song, which is surprising.

You have a real Robert Zimmerman vibe going on here.

 

My advice:

- Slow down the guitar / accompaniment, its rushing a bit on any potential groove here.

- Pay more attention to the intonation, its a bit pitchy.

 

Toss up a v2.

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Thanks for listening. You are spot on with the groove thing. Elton plays this a tad slower..

   I have not been able to lose this accent, It pulls me sharp on the Ah's and Flat on the Uh's.  I have been thinking of vacationing in Minnesota for a while, maybe that will subdue this accent. :39: Maybe that is a bad idea..

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Before I jump in, I do want to say that I like your storyteller style.

I suspect the biggest culprit in your accent for causing problems is your hard "R" at the end of words, whihc is a consonant that is almost crossed with a vowel. It sounds like you pull the tongue up on that consonant. Most people pull the hard "R" to their throat, so you at least are headed in the right direction!

I have a specific exercise to correct this type of issue, but it would be difficult to explain here. I can at least get the most important part here though. It's what I call "relaxed speech." I've used not just to help correct placement and throatiness, but also to change accents. One of my students was from France, where everything is spoken near the back of the tongue. This helped her a LOT. I've also seen it get many people out of their throat when in a tough spot in the recording studio.

First, make a soft "g" into /eh/ (geh), and pay attention to where the tongue hits the roof of the mouth. I call that the "resonant spot". I use it as an anchor or default point for vowels. That anchor can be moved a bit further forward or back for sound color, but in general, the vowels will stay anchored to, pointed at, or move around that one point. It should feel like your vowels are being generated in that point and then only outward from there. Try to stay relaxed and speak a whole line of the song from that point, then sing that line into the exact same spot. At first, your speech might remind you of the priest from The Princess Bride. It sounds ridiculous when speaking, but it makes for a solid singing accent. Now try to say problem words, like ones with hard "R" sounds, into that point. Your "aR" should sound more like /ah/oo/. For "eR", it might ssound more like /uh/ou/. The "R", if sung at all, would be at the very very end, closing the word, and not really sung.

For the pitchiness on high note, it sounds like you might be moving into a grunt mode, where your neck and glottis tense up to try and "hit" the note. I see this a lot. Try humming into a cocktail straw for those lines, relaxing the throat and neck as much as possible so that the only tension you feel is the solar plexus, then the resonant spot (above), and maybe, just maybe a little bit in the TA muscles. There should be very little air coming out of the straw, even if you hold your nose. You might have to start that at lower volumes at first, just to get used to it. Grunting on high notes is difficult to overcome. I've yet to find an onset that immediately releases that particular type of compression. Isolating the note with Pulse & Release, Wind & Release, Contract & Release, Head to Chest only, Relaxed Speech, The Straw, and more, seem to work sometimes and not others. 

 

 

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Thanks Draven, You are spot on with my R sounds. My Tongue flips up and my bottom lip curls in with the top teeth resting on bottom lip. I have been aware of the problems for a while but knowing the problems doesn't always lead to a direction to fix them. 

In those times when I think that I am adding flare or excitement more of the accent kicks in and everything starts heading towards an "Ih" center.

I like the Idea of using movie and cartoon characters as a reference to sounds.( I had to look up the priest from Princess Bride)

 When I was told too many times that I sang through my nose with a raised larynx (After getting the advice that there should be nothing in the throat, resonance in the head and movement in the abs) Everything should be free and easy......I decided to be an ass and present the same song with the most constricted and manipulated low larynx sound I could think of.....A combination of Bullwinkle and Grandpa Simpson......The responce from the forum was "Whatever you are doing right or wrong keep doing it.".  My conclusion was that the definition of Free and Easy is something different from "Free and Easy". I do not try to use that sound all the time. Maybe a little of it at times.

The result may need to sound free and easy but there is manipulation involved, even if the manipulation is suppressing movements rather than initiating them.

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I recorded this again, keeping in mind some of the suggestions. I changed the chord progression. It is not as easy as it seems to transpose a piano arrangement to guitar and had a few chords wrong. I left a little more room between lines in the second half of the song. It may match a little better than the beginning. Let me know which gives a better feel. if any........ Thanks.

 

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