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Sporadical badness

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Enander
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Hi, guys!

Is it just me, or is your voice hard to command some days too?

You're not really in the mood. Seems like any technique you've acquired is more or less gone, you can't hit the right notes, you sing with power suited for a little girl and combining those last two; e.g singing high notes with power, is just... it's like you never were able to do it in the first place.

Overall, it just feels like feeble attempts. The whole "session" usually ends up in tomfoolery.

An indication that I actually can't sing that well, or something every vocalist goes through at times?

As a side-track to this, do you record yourself during practice?

Would be a nice twist to the thread, and perhaps a little fun (the friendly kind of fun. Haha!), to hear others "not-so-best of" :P

Far too much "Hey! Look at me! I'm good!" (perhaps not on this forum, but generally speaking) going around.

I'd be more than happy to join in on the bandwagon if it comes rolling! Haha!

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Because of school, I tend to have terrible sleeping habits, and usually I can compensate with the many litres of water I drink everyday, but many times there's no way around it and nothing I do with my voice is even barely interesting, even while doing vocal scales or whatever. I have recorded evidence of the best and worst that ever came out of my mouth, although the best of me is still only average =O I don't mind sharing it. Internet gives me this nice feeling of invisibility that is strong enough to suppress my big shyness.

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Hi, guys!

Is it just me, or is your voice hard to command some days too?

You're not really in the mood. Seems like any technique you've acquired is more or less gone, you can't hit the right notes, you sing with power suited for a little girl and combining those last two; e.g singing high notes with power, is just... it's like you never were able to do it in the first place.

Overall, it just feels like feeble attempts. The whole "session" usually ends up in tomfoolery.

An indication that I actually can't sing that well, or something every vocalist goes through at times?

As a side-track to this, do you record yourself during practice?

Would be a nice twist to the thread, and perhaps a little fun (the friendly kind of fun. Haha!), to hear others "not-so-best of" :P

Far too much "Hey! Look at me! I'm good!" (perhaps not on this forum, but generally speaking) going around.

I'd be more than happy to join in on the bandwagon if it comes rolling! Haha!

ha ha!! i love that thread title "sporadic badness" or how 'bout "periodic suckeeness," or "occasional yeeech" ..but that's not as bad as "incessantly horrible" ...lol!!

days where your voice just is isn't cutting it?...expect that to happen....that's normal...the trick is to work through it knowing that tomorrow is another day...this sage advice coming from a 57 year old perfectionist.

even the pros have off days and youtube videos are showing us more of those off days because of all the bootleg concert footage. if you look, you will see and hear them, from mariah carey, to other top level people who are either tired, or in less than great voice on a given day.

count your acheivements to counterbalance, stay positive...bob

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Trust me, I have crappy vocal days. I am learning to not save those recordings.

And sometimes crappy leads to success. The late Kevin Dubrow of Quiet Riot mentioned how the song "Come on feel the noise" wound up on their debut album. None of the band liked the song and they weren't really fans of Slade. But the producer was. So, they conspired to play and sing "crappy." The version you hear from them is recorded live in studio, in the first and only take. And it was a monstrous hit, even though Kevin admits he sang it "crappy" on purpose, to tick off the producer.

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Jeran, I guess you've got a valid point! :)

Anonimuzz, we are in similar situations. Haha! I'm stupid, so I need to study more or less 12 hours every day... the consequences are obvious :P

Great! Haha! I guess I'll get the wheel start turning then. I've uploaded a "session" on Facebook so my friends can laugh at me and even less believe in my ability to sing: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=468739550447

In the beginning I just explain (in swedish) the state of my well-being; exam, lack of sleep, nausea, headache and so forth. It's one long "session", which I cut at times. No one's interested in hearing me texting or thinking about a song to massacre.

You'll hear some (literally) incoherent speaking, which is just me whining and displaying my wide array of profanities (hint: the same two over and over again. As I said, I'm stupid.)

Be prepared to hear songs I don't know the lyrics nor the melodies to, and try to sing with timbres I do not control what-so-ever! I believe you'll be pleasantly surprised by my "faggy voice" (as I insensitively calls it) when singing Westlife and Bon Jovi!

VIDEOHERE, I'm glad you enjoyed (even noticed) my subtle humour. Hahaha! :) Your words are a comfort (in a schadenfreude kind of way) when I'm having my occasional yeeechs :P Haha!

ronws, great story! Haha! I did not know what! Kind of tragi-comical that such things was considered a hit amongst people! :P

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Maybe I have crappy ears but only the last bit is the only one that sounded out of tune and I think it was because you couldn't hear the music and you were "flying blind," so to speak.

I think, sometimes, (I am totally guilty of this) we all try songs that weren't really meant for our voice. And it's not a matter of range. For example, that high pure note you hit is perfect in a Queen song because of timbre of it. By the way, the stratospheric notes in Queen songs were done by Roger Taylor, the drummer, not Freddie Mercury. And Freddie couldn't hit some of the baritone lows that Brian May can sing. What was important was that he used the range and timbre he had most effectively for the songs. And of course, his style of grandeur subtley mixed with humility. He might come out dressed as a king, but a king who owes his all to the audience.

In my case, I really like doing "Highway to Hell" and even Mike says I get pretty close. But I can't quite get the tone of Bon Scott. Which doesn't mean I am bad. I can sing any note he sang, it's just not going to sound like the original. As much as I like doing "Sweet Child of Mine," I'm not going to get the same tone as Axl Rose. And it's just genetics. Axl Rose is actually a bass doing countertenor by means of extreme effect. Well, the way a bass sounds hitting D5 is tonally different than how a tenor hits that note. Steven can explain more technically than I can. But essentially, a bass hitting that note will sound more thin or even boxed in than a tenor, for whom that note may be more open-throated. And conversely, Bon Scott couldn't hit a low baritone note if his life depended on it. In the song, "Jailbreak," he begins with a growly recitative. "I had a friend, up on murder ..." That was as low as he could possibly sing, where as I can do that same phrase an octave lower with no strain for me. And, you might never hear him do a song like "Silent Lucidity." Not just because of the low range, but he would never be able to get his voice sounding that clean and "operatic."

Another albatross for me was "I Remember You" by Skid Row. That song is not even in my regular rotation of stuff that I do. Never had a desire to sound like Sebastian Bach, never wanted to learn the whole Skid Row catalog. I just decided, for fun, to do that song. And got my butt kicked. Especially with the little mic I was using. It didn't matter what I did, it sounded wrong. So, if you want to hear my version of crappy vocals, go back and look for that thread in the critique section. Live, I can get through it just fine, but recording it was a brick wall for me. So, some songs I can't do properly and it's not because I am a bad singer or that the other singer is so much better than I am. Just that song. I can do "Gethsemane" cleaner with more dynamics than Sebastian Bach can, which doesn't make me better. Just that the song is more suited to my voice than to his.

So, anonimuzz, I didn't hear so much crap in your vocals. From what I could hear, you had good vibrato. A big problem is the mic you were using. Please believe me, I know all about that problem.

But everyone has an off day. Even live. The FOH engineer for Toto had to drop the singer's mic on high parts in one show because he just didn't have the clarity that night, but the show goes on.

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Oh, well, maybe you're half right. I am now aware that half of the songs I picked don't fit me, and simply because of my voice, not necessarily my technique. I think I did it to have an excuse to say that I sucked. Meanwhile, I've had a mental breakthrough, and now I accept my voice and, especially, my current vocal abilities, a lot better. I never noticed my mind had such an effect on my vocal development until very recently, and suddenly, every day I feel I've learned a new thing, instead of feeling endlessly stuck on the same level. I hate my brain. Also, I do need a new mic. The clips with the worst quality were recorded in my cell phone, not on my computer, but still, I should upgrade my $5 equipment one day.

Anyway, I was indeed yelling in some of the clips, and the cracks were really cracks. I always laugh at them. The distortion attempt was also a failure. I did it correctly (hmm...read it as: it didn't hurt my throat at all), but it's just noise, it doesn't sound "cool". In the last clip, I was listening to a Muse song and singing "Everybody Hurts" on top of it in a random moment, so it's normal that I'm off pitch and that my voice and what you hear in the background totally clash :P

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Congratulations, Animo. You may be on to something, choosing songs that were wrong for your voice so that you could quantify that your voice "sounded like crap." I think your voice is fine. And it is well that you should think so, too, and now choose songs that fit your voice. High range, low range, doesn't matter as long as what you want to get across in the performance comes across. We are your fans. you must also be one of your fans, at least as far as the music you sing. When I did "Rainbow in the Dark," I didn't give two shits about technique, though I am using good technique, from practice. I sang it as a fan of Dio, totally awestruck by his performance of that song and what it meant to him, and his fans. Mike mixed it for me and he creates magic. He says the magic was already there, he just polished it. Well, that is only because 1) the song suits my voice, 2) I sang it from the heart. And you could and should do the same. And, write your own stuff. It is nigh unto a proven fact that a singer sounds best in songs he or she wrote or that were wrote specifically with him or her in mind.

I know you have cleared a major hurdle and now, I can't wait to hear what you can do, crappy mic or not.

The kit given to me wasn't all that expensive. In fact, the USB interface costs more than the mic. Try the "Music Store" on line.

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I'm not yet ready to be my own fan, lol, but one day, maybe, I'll get there. I also have a hard time putting emotion in a song. I always have to sing them as if I were playing a character, because I myself don't feel intimately related to any song. I miss the much needed life experience. I do like writing, though, but without being able to play an instrument, it's complicated. I hear everything in my head, but then I can only sing it acapella, and it's hardly close to the real deal.

I heard some of your (great) recordings before, but I missed Rainbow In The Dark. I'll check it, and comment in the appropriate place. Mike is also not just a good mixer.

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In playing a character, we here call that "acting" and it is perfectly legitimate in the process of performing. Even though recording can be awfully technical, from the actual equipment response capabilities, to the understanding of how to mix effects on a track, it is still a peformance. That is why I think sub-text is important to a peformance. You don't have to like serial killers to effectively performance "Riders on the Storm." But, if you could act as if you were describing a thriller movie, such as the "Hitcher" series with C. Thomas Howell, then that acting will help inform what you do.

I think you can put emotion into a song. You just have to find the right song to match a mood that you might have. In fact, "Riders on the Storm" is sung in a detached, observational manner, without much if any emotion, at all. So, there are songs that have low key or almost non-existent "emotion." And that lack of emotion, is an emotion, itself. It's kind of like being a non-conformist. That just puts one in the group called "non-conformists." Which, of course, ticks off non-conformists. Or political attitudes within a subset. Green Day lost some fans when they managed to sell more than one copy of an album. All of a sudden, they "sold out" because they could now afford a commode to pee in and someone other than the original fan base had finally heard of them. Sorry, I'm side-tracking a little bit. Just saying, don't consider your "lack of emotion" a hindrance. Work with it and see where that takes you. Just as Green Day's melodic punk, which sounds oxymoronic to some, led them to success. Or a band of remnants from the Yardbirds and Small Faces got together to mix heavy blues, folk, and some country and celtic and came up with a recording that one record company guy crapped on. He said, and I quote, "that music will fly like a lead zeppelin." The band didn't have a name yet so they took that one and changed the spelling of the word lead to led. At first, it was thought that the music would have no market. A wailing, piercing singer who styled himself as a jazz singer and a guitar player that couldn't be bothered to play a song the same way twice. Who'd of thought they would have any success?

How about an insurance underwriter who writes a song about travelling murderers? Delivered mostly in a staccato almost recitative? And dressed in shirt and tie and looking every bit the insurance underwriter? Well, that's the Talking Heads and, of course, the song, "Psycho Killer."

How about collecting all the corny sayings and maxims of our parents and making a song that shows no vocal emotion? Would that be up your alley? Devo and their song "Whip it!"

How about standing in one spot instead of careening around the stage and maintaining an even tone throughout, where all the concentration is on the lyrics and storytelling? And not even singing really high all the time? Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

How about having a gravelly voice, writing great songs, and over-the-top emotion in almost every song? Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

There is a wide array of examples and you will find what fits you.

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Nothing wrong with it, goldenvoice! But in that practice clip, I was going for something else, an angry booming sound. Loud it was, but not angry, nor exactly "booming". Eventually, I learned that you just can't sound like Jay Hawkins on a B5 with that much twang, lol, and I also learned that a baby girl can sound much meaner than I do (my niece makes some cool distortions, or rattle, or something alike). I have recordings where I sound more feminine than that and I don't consider them a mistake, because in those occasions, I did it on purpose, trying to know all the "colors" of my voice. The whistle part of this same video, for example. So, it all depends on what you're looking for. The sound itself is irrelevant.

ronws, it's between 3:04-3:14.

Lol, Mr Bounce. "Mommy says: BE A MAN! - Son screams a B5. - Mommy cries." Those stereotypes are crazy.

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Nothing wrong with it, goldenvoice! But in that practice clip, I was going for something else, an angry booming sound. Loud it was, but not angry, nor exactly "booming". Eventually, I learned that you just can't sound like Jay Hawkins on a B5 with that much twang, lol, and I also learned that a baby girl can sound much meaner than I do (my niece makes some cool distortions, or rattle, or something alike). I have recordings where I sound more feminine than that and I don't consider them a mistake, because in those occasions, I did it on purpose, trying to know all the "colors" of my voice. The whistle part of this same video, for example. So, it all depends on what you're looking for. The sound itself is irrelevant.

ronws, it's between 3:04-3:14.

Lol, Mr Bounce. "Mommy says: BE A MAN! - Son screams a B5. - Mommy cries." Those stereotypes are crazy.

Did you mean to say Justin Hawkins (of the Darkness)?

Anyway, I invite you and goldenvoice to listen to my latest version (recorded and uploaded tonight) in my thread for "With or Without You." Not plugging my thread, but I did some falsetto in there that ought to qualify as "girly." Or, does it? Just something for comparison.

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No, I was talking about Screamin' Jay Hawkins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNjD9DYp33g

I had already heard your cover, actually =D I listen to everything, even though I rarely comment. It doesn't qualify exactly as girly, to me, just cool, lol. As you say, more baritonal songs do sound good on you.

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Sometimes the things that work with my voice surprise me. Prior to working on my singing the idea that I could cover Paul McCartney would be laughable. It turns out that McCartney or his protoge Pete Hamm from Badfinger are perfect and natural for my voice. What helps is that Paul (and probably Pete...at least it seemed like it in one interview I saw) are natural baritones (or at least they sound like that to me). These are really the easiest songs for me to sing consistently and I find all the little turns and cool things both singers do up higher to be really easy.

Where I struggle sometimes is with songs by blues singers like Kim Wilson ( a great singer) or others like him when they have a big, full, clear tone in a lower register going up to or just slightly above what would typically be passagio for me. It seems to take more effort and some days I get close...but other days I just hate the sound of my voice. Blues is great because there is typically not a need to nail the song as a cover, so I shift things and often will tend to sing a lot of lower register blues songs in a timbre and register of say Paul Rodgers. Even though this sometimes takes things up an octave, it is easier for me to do and feels more comfortable and less forced.

Part of the issue is that I have spent a lot of time over the last year or so working on the area of my voice from my passagio upwards. I need to work on my lower register probably. I can sing lower (typically have been classified as a baritone), it just isn't always comfortable or a first choice. The tone is getting better I have to say...it just isn't what I want much of the time.

Mark

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Sometimes the things that work with my voice surprise me. Prior to working on my singing the idea that I could cover Paul McCartney would be laughable. It turns out that McCartney or his protoge Pete Hamm from Badfinger are perfect and natural for my voice. What helps is that Paul (and probably Pete...at least it seemed like it in one interview I saw) are natural baritones (or at least they sound like that to me). These are really the easiest songs for me to sing consistently and I find all the little turns and cool things both singers do up higher to be really easy.

Where I struggle sometimes is with songs by blues singers like Kim Wilson ( a great singer) or others like him when they have a big, full, clear tone in a lower register going up to or just slightly above what would typically be passagio for me. It seems to take more effort and some days I get close...but other days I just hate the sound of my voice. Blues is great because there is typically not a need to nail the song as a cover, so I shift things and often will tend to sing a lot of lower register blues songs in a timbre and register of say Paul Rodgers. Even though this sometimes takes things up an octave, it is easier for me to do and feels more comfortable and less forced.

Part of the issue is that I have spent a lot of time over the last year or so working on the area of my voice from my passagio upwards. I need to work on my lower register probably. I can sing lower (typically have been classified as a baritone), it just isn't always comfortable or a first choice. The tone is getting better I have to say...it just isn't what I want much of the time.

Mark

i would have thought mccartney was a tenor.

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I say McCartney is a baritone or even low baritone based on the quality of his speaking voice. He could also get down pretty low. I'm not sure how much vocal training he had. It always sounded like even right from the start, he was the least forced and had the best, clearest range of the group (maybe George was close). I had heard that he had spent some time with Little Richard in the early days and that's where he learned to do some of the things he did. In the beginning John used to lose his voice a lot (another baritone trying to stretch for high notes with crappy technique...you can hear it in some early recordings). John really changed how he sang later on--more high mix and head voice. He most certainly had to have learned some things from Paul.

Just for clarification...Paul could sing high. No doubt about that. It doesn't mean he was a tenor. He just had decent technique.

Mark

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I say McCartney is a baritone or even low baritone based on the quality of his speaking voice. He could also get down pretty low. I'm not sure how much vocal training he had. It always sounded like even right from the start, he was the least forced and had the best, clearest range of the group (maybe George was close). I had heard that he had spent some time with Little Richard in the early days and that's where he learned to do some of the things he did. In the beginning John used to lose his voice a lot (another baritone trying to stretch for high notes with crappy technique...you can hear it in some early recordings). John really changed how he sang later on--more high mix and head voice. He most certainly had to have learned some things from Paul.

Just for clarification...Paul could sing high. No doubt about that. It doesn't mean he was a tenor. He just had decent technique.

Mark

check out his vocal range

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-Te3UTOwPw

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Oh I know McCartney has range. That isn't a determining factor though for whether he is a baritone or tenor. It has to do with natural speaking voice timbre and how low someone can sing. Axl Rose, as an example, is a natural bass from what I have heard. He just adds a ton of distorted head voice into a mix of sorts that has become signature for him.

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Oh I know McCartney has range. That isn't a determining factor though for whether he is a baritone or tenor. It has to do with natural speaking voice timbre and how low someone can sing. Axl Rose, as an example, is a natural bass from what I have heard. He just adds a ton of distorted head voice into a mix of sorts that has become signature for him.

it's also characterized by tessitura and timbre ....i'd be surprised if he wasn't a low tenor.

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