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Paul Rogers on his range

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I'd appreciate hearing some of youz guys's perspectives on Paul Rogers comments in this interview.

I'm sure everyone would agree with his comments about "warming up" however, he makes an interesting comment about "his range," and then still manages to really avoid answering the question. Personally, I'm convinced he simply doesn't know the answer yet, he does offer the good warm up advice. 

The actual question is:  "why do some singers lose their upper range as they age, and some don't?"  -That's point #1, point #2 is, what about the interesting answer he gives regarding "feeling the song" in order to confidently sing the high notes in it.

There are a few singers who don't seem in possession of the range they commanded in the prime of their career: i.e. Perry, Plant, Elton   vs.  other singers who are still going strong past their career peak: i.e. Rogers, Tyler, Elefante, Mickey Thomas, Tony Bennett, etc.

the question is asked around   22:30

 

 

 

 

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I just hit my early 40's and finally learned how to properly open up my upper range, almost an octave over what I was singing before (about D2 up to A#5 in a full voice now). All that thanks to the coordination and isolation of muscle groups that I learned from TFPOS. I suppose you could call that "feeling the song", if you didn't want to go into specifics or really answer the question.

Honestly, I thought most of Paul's advice was vague at best, from singing and warming up, to music business/career. He offered a bit more than the crappy advice usually offered in interviews, but he still oversimplified and washed over it quickly. Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, and surprisingly, Courtney Love, are among the very few that I've ever heard give good advice concerning the music business. Most attribute it all to pure dumb luck. Sadly, most singers talk about singing in the same way - usually giving short motivational anecdotes rather than any real advice.

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39 minutes ago, Draven Grey said:

All that thanks to the coordination and isolation of muscle groups that I learned from TFPOS. I suppose you could call that "feeling the song", if you didn't want to go into specifics or really answer the question.

Honestly, I thought most of Paul's advice was vague at best, from singing and warming up, . . . .. .

I agree Draven.  It's tough to make sense of the comment.

I can "feel" (as I would describe it) the song as in a "good fit" for my particular vocal strengths or characteristics yet, that doesn't mean that the original vocal line as composed by the artist won't contain notes that are beyond my current M2 limit. Like you pointed out, those are identifiable notes, I don't know how you "feel" that in a song when you know the melody ( perfect pitch?). 

Draven, what are the causes of the vocal cords actually changing physically over time that would result in "loss of range." Long time smokers seem to incur a lowering of their speaking voice pitch and yet, I believe David Coverdale (a chain smoker) could still (as of a few years ago) sing his set list without dropping the key of the songs. 

Is it more than just people who age well vs. those who age rapidly. "Good Genes" as they say?

Are there any inevitable causes of loss of range (aside from injury, disease, or muscular atrophy) ?

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Paul Rogers is old school...probably untrained, and he never did much in the way of vocal acrobatics anyway did he? What type of advice would he give?? pretty sure people of his generation didnt have the massive information overload we all take for granted. A lot of them did what they did but werent too good at explaining, or even deeply understanding it

 

As far as the aging thing...its interesting for me because im turning 49 in 2 days and I JUST started studying singing and learning the different resonances etc etc. So I am at the age where I am supposed to be losing it....yet im just finding it. I dont drink and I dont smoke and AFAIK I dont strain my voice when training.

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13 minutes ago, Kevin Ashe said:

 I believe David Coverdale (a chain smoker) could still (as of a few years ago) sing his set list without dropping the key of the songs. 

from what I have seen and heard, Coverdale has pretty much largely lost his voice. Ive never smoked so its sad to me to see these guys who had great voices and great musical gifts etc, lose them just for cigarettes. Pretty sure Robert Plant chain smoked 4ever, maybe even still does

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16 minutes ago, Kevin Ashe said:

Draven, what are the causes of the vocal cords actually changing physically over time that would result in "loss of range." Long time smokers seem to incur a lowering of their speaking voice pitch and yet, I believe David Coverdale (a chain smoker) could still (as of a few years ago) sing his set list without dropping the key of the songs. 

I think D. Coverdale has lowered the key of several of his songs in live concerts.

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Yngwie Malmsteen is an interesting example of someone who is a "genius" and who exploded the technical level of guitar lead playing in the mid 80s. YET, he was pretty much an instinctive player. His "instructional" video tape has been largely derided as not having much instruction on it lol.

Of all the 80s shredders (Paul Gilbert, Yngwie, Greg Howe, Vinnie Moore, Michael Angelo)....they ALL made instructional vids yet NONE of them actually told EXACTLY how they picked. Why? im convinced that they just never fully realized all of the subtle motions involved. It took a Troy Grady to come along and finally unlock things about pick angles etc so that the mystery of high speed playing is pretty much gone now.

Point being, a lot of people can sing or play or do this and that yet they arent always consciously aware of exactly what they are doing. So any advice they may give would be vague and sort of anecdotal.

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18 minutes ago, Kevin Ashe said:

II can "feel" (as I would describe it) the song as in a "good fit" for my particular vocal strengths or characteristics yet, that doesn't mean that the original vocal line as composed by the artist won't contain notes that are beyond my current M2 limit. Like you pointed out, those are identifiable notes, I don't know how you "feel" that in a song when you know the melody ( perfect pitch?). 

Hi Kevin, I think that when Paul said "feeling" the song to be able to sing the high notes, he was referring to something that Videohere also says a lot around here, which is committing 100% to the high note, or else you flip or strain. So, you go for it. Of course it won't work for a note that is not available to you in your range yet. Cheers

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31 minutes ago, JonJon said:

from what I have seen and heard, Coverdale has pretty much largely lost his voice. Ive never smoked so its sad to me to see these guys who had great voices and great musical gifts etc, lose them just for cigarettes. Pretty sure Robert Plant chain smoked 4ever, maybe even still does

I think you're right, Rogers however, regardless of dropping key, still sings strong in M2 like the others i've listed. As far as vocal "acrobatics," I consider his improv chops quite atheletic! Try singing them!

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8 minutes ago, Gneetapp said:

Hi Kevin, I think that when Paul said "feeling" the song to be able to sing the high notes, he was referring to something that Videohere also says a lot around here, which is committing 100% to the high note, or else you flip or strain. So, you go for it. Of course it won't work for a note that is not available to you in your range yet. Cheers

        I didn't watch all of the video, my internet keeps dropping. But I think you guys are missing the reference of "Feeling" it. More like feeling the energy of the song. Kind of like when you are at a sports event and your team is behind and they make a goal that puts them ahead at the last minute. You suddenly jump up and out comes a scream or woo hoo that you did not know you had in you.

        Someone like Paul has that energy to begin with, others like myself have to break free of the repressions in my life to really let loose. His example at the beginning with Little Richard in his first band experience showed this. Along with the examples of the singers that motivated him.

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Folks,

What no one ever seems to tell anyone, for whatever reason, is there are some notes or some sections in your songs (and they may not be as high as you may think) that sheer mental will, seriously good support, a deadly accurate vowel, and an open throat ALL have to be dead on plus requisite energy or you will simply not get the note.

When Paul says "feeling the song" he talking about wanting with your whole body and being to go there. It's sounds simple, I know, "wanting to go there."  You could say to me Bob (Videohere), of course I want to get the note or the section, but some of these are very, very, difficult, (even for the original singers) and I think it's important to understand that.

And on top of all this the voice is never the same each day, and add to that some have more "balls" than others, more guts, confidence, and determination.

Once again it depends on the songs and how you wish to sound singing them.  As a singer it's your responsibility to know why sections like these can be so difficult so you can figure a way to perform them.

Now guys like Paul Rodgers is the 10,000 hours thing.  That guy is always touring or guest starring all over the place.

Singing is just plain challenging and for all kinds of reasons...Why deny it?

As to why some guys lose their range while other don't?  I really think that has to do with every individual being different.  

Here's an interview with Lou where the guy slanted the interview more towards his singing than anything else. Some good stuff in here in the first 4 minutes or so.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul is a really great singer, according to himself he never had training. He does seem to take measures to preserve his voice, for example, he mentions warming up, not abusing on drugs and resting well. These things are very effective if you are disciplined, and MAY forgive a more abusive singing, which he did at a lot of times.


Maybe he doesnt even remember how he learned, maybe he learned too early in life to even give it a second thought. I am quite sure he was being honest thought, he just feel and go for it. And this is the goal when training technique on pretty much any instrument.

 

Although the technique to sing that exists has a structure to it, and its the most effective way to go about learning it, not necessarily everyone that sings will have learned by it, and not necessarily high level results will be a reflection of the same structure. He does seem to have figured out the same kind of "head voice" in one way or another, but I think its crazy to try to guess how that happened for him.

Its one of the best ones on rock to start working on head voice in my opinion, his songs work very well with the technique.

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I think guys like Rodgers, Lou, JLT, Plant, and so many others, Eddie Money, John Fogerty, and definitely Elvis wanted their voices and that tone quality (even if they weren't consciously aware of it). They all were influenced by the early black singers.

There was an innate desire to sound sexy, masculine, virile, whatever the hell you want to call it..

Let's go guys...fess up to it..you don't like to sound sexy when you sing?...LOL!!!!  Playing in Bands, you didn't have a side goal of scoring with a bunch of chicks?

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kevin Ashe said:

Draven, what are the causes of the vocal cords actually changing physically over time that would result in "loss of range." Long time smokers seem to incur a lowering of their speaking voice pitch and yet, I believe David Coverdale (a chain smoker) could still (as of a few years ago) sing his set list without dropping the key of the songs. 

Is it more than just people who age well vs. those who age rapidly. "Good Genes" as they say?

Are there any inevitable causes of loss of range (aside from injury, disease, or muscular atrophy) ?

Vocal strength, agility, and endurance can all be maintained with age, as long as you maintain a healthy vocal exercise program for that. The cords will thin a bit with age, resulting in a higher speaking voice for men,but a bit weaker singing voice. With age, you lose muscle mass and coordination, mucus membranes dry up a bit, and hormonal changes cause the larynx to reshape (much like in puberty). Singing requires training (vocal therapy) to maintain as age slowly tears away at it. I had one student in his 70's, who helped develop a head voice where one didn't exist before. He also ran 30 miles a week regularly until his knees couldn't take it anymore around 70 (a credit to his determination when it came to fitness). His voice constantly improved, because he was doing the exercises I gave him. Age didn't stop him from developing his voice.

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2 hours ago, JonJon said:

Yngwie Malmsteen is an interesting example of someone who is a "genius" and who exploded the technical level of guitar lead playing in the mid 80s. YET, he was pretty much an instinctive player. His "instructional" video tape has been largely derided as not having much instruction on it lol.

Of all the 80s shredders (Paul Gilbert, Yngwie, Greg Howe, Vinnie Moore, Michael Angelo)....they ALL made instructional vids yet NONE of them actually told EXACTLY how they picked. Why? im convinced that they just never fully realized all of the subtle motions involved. It took a Troy Grady to come along and finally unlock things about pick angles etc so that the mystery of high speed playing is pretty much gone now.

Point being, a lot of people can sing or play or do this and that yet they arent always consciously aware of exactly what they are doing. So any advice they may give would be vague and sort of anecdotal.

Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that Batio does teach picking techniques in his Speed Kills instructional vids(ie Alternate Picking,etc)!

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I always thought he was a natural. I do believe they exist. This was a really long time ago guys. The internet didn't even exist, the classical music was frowning upon popular music at the time and modern vocal technique was basically unheard of by the general population. Well, in a lot of ways it still is.

So it was a trial by fire, and most singes either got it intuitively through practice and intuition or didn't. 

Now that the industry is mature, has had a lot of money put into it and 'genre appropriate vocals' have been around for decades. The music industry is more comfortable with the kind of template training to follow. When singing styles were new, fresh, innovative, there wasn't known techniques on how to get a raspy blues rock voice like Rogers. It was a combination of luck and intuition and was a vocal style he developed rather than a genre appropriate technique.

This kind of voice is basically traditional and status quo now. Pioneers like him are still alive, but are aging and the newer generation is more like opera singers as informed imitation of traditions. Classical appropriate traditional technique. Rock appropriate traditional technique, etc. RnB traditional technique.

These were rebellious, dangerous sounds. There wasn't a tradition to follow. Singing lost most of its bite to my ears when once tradition and informed conformity set in across the musical spectrum. But there was a time in history where someone who sounded like Paul Rogers had more in common with Joe Strummer as to how they approached singing. Intuition, feeling, individuality, etc. I really doubt he was thinking, "I want a traditional blues rock voice" and was taught the mechanics. It's more likely he wanted to sing and did the best he could to express himself. Same with Strummer. Different people following intuition: different results.

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1 hour ago, KillerKu said:

I always thought he was a natural. I do believe they exist. This was a really long time ago guys. The internet didn't even exist, the classical music was frowning upon popular music at the time and modern vocal technique was basically unheard of by the general population. Well, in a lot of ways it still is.

So it was a trial by fire, and most singes either got it intuitively through practice and intuition or didn't. 

Now that the industry is mature, has had a lot of money put into it and 'genre appropriate vocals' have been around for decades. The music industry is more comfortable with the kind of template training to follow. When singing styles were new, fresh, innovative, there wasn't known techniques on how to get a raspy blues rock voice like Rogers. It was a combination of luck and intuition and was a vocal style he developed rather than a genre appropriate technique.

This kind of voice is basically traditional and status quo now. Pioneers like him are still alive, but are aging and the newer generation is more like opera singers as informed imitation of traditions. Classical appropriate traditional technique. Rock appropriate traditional technique, etc. RnB traditional technique.

These were rebellious, dangerous sounds. There wasn't a tradition to follow. Singing lost most of its bite to my ears when once tradition and informed conformity set in across the musical spectrum. But there was a time in history where someone who sounded like Paul Rogers had more in common with Joe Strummer as to how they approached singing. Intuition, feeling, individuality, etc. I really doubt he was thinking, "I want a traditional blues rock voice" and was taught the mechanics. It's more likely he wanted to sing and did the best he could to express himself. Same with Strummer. Different people following intuition: different results.

     He pretty much tells you himself he was listening to the Blues guys and that is what influenced him. First Rattle out the box and He Belts Little Richard. Not a Falsetto imitation of Little Richard but a full on belt.  If that kind of sound came out of my mouth the first time that I sang for a band there would have been a very different sounding MDEW on this forum. Instead it was a song I had never heard before and had Cuss words which I would have been beaten for if I let my parents hear that coming out of my mouth and yes I choked big time.

      I was singing fine before that and not afraid to have people hear me. After that I became more than a bit quiet when singing around others.

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I am 52 and can still sing just about everything I sang decades ago but with better control. 

I agree with Jon. Paul Rogers has never sang very high. So, he is not going to lose much or any range. In fact, I had a wth moment when he was singing with Queen because he is a totally different voice and range for their music. And applauded loudly when they convinced Adam Lambert to join. He has the right voice, swagger, and range to make it work,

I wouldn't worry too much about Paul Rogers' opinions, other than what he can share from being in the music biz. It would be like asking Pat Boone what he does to keep range. He might say, "I sing whenever I can and keep doing it."

And yes, I have Pat Boone's "In a Metal Mood," the album that got him banned from TBN.

 

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3 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

Vocal strength, agility, and endurance can all be maintained with age, as long as you maintain a healthy vocal exercise program for that. The cords will thin a bit with age, resulting in a higher speaking voice for men,but a bit weaker singing voice. With age, you lose muscle mass and coordination, mucus membranes dry up a bit, and hormonal changes cause the larynx to reshape (much like in puberty). Singing requires training (vocal therapy) to maintain as age slowly tears away at it. I had one student in his 70's, who helped develop a head voice where one didn't exist before. He also ran 30 miles a week regularly until his knees couldn't take it anymore around 70 (a credit to his determination when it came to fitness). His voice constantly improved, because he was doing the exercises I gave him. Age didn't stop him from developing his voice.

Hmm the voice gets alot deeper with age specially at old age atleast here in the Nordic countries. But perhaps guys in the south gets girls girls at old age hehe

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10 minutes ago, Jens said:

Hmm the voice gets alot deeper with age specially at old age atleast here in the Nordic countries. But perhaps guys in the south gets girls girls at old age hehe

Medically speaking, the changes in the cords and supporting muscles cause the voice to raise in pitch in men, and lower in women. However, I can understand how the weaker mechanisms would cause slower vibrations, or "scratchy" voice, which could be perceived as a lower pitch. 

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56 minutes ago, Draven Grey said:

Medically speaking, the changes in the cords and supporting muscles cause the voice to raise in pitch in men, and lower in women. However, I can understand how the weaker mechanisms would cause slower vibrations, or "scratchy" voice, which could be perceived as a lower pitch. 

I agree Mr. Grey. if I were asked to imitate an old man speaking (as in older than me like, 80, O.K.! you young bastards :) ) , I would naturally try a scratchier, twangish, "lifted" pitch sound.  

So, what you say feels correct to me, and sounds factually cogent. I would be surprised to read any responses that refute your conclusions. I of course, am convinced of your expertise!

It is interesting that some singers are able to hold on to those youthful cords (and formants?) considerably longer than others, despite both aging and vocal abuse!

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1 hour ago, Kevin Ashe said:

I agree Mr. Grey. if I were asked to imitate an old man speaking (as in older than me like, 80, O.K.! you young bastards :) ) , I would naturally try a scratchier, twangish, "lifted" pitch sound.  

 

So, what you say feels correct to me, and sounds factually cogent. I would be surprised to read any responses that refute your conclusions. I of course, am convinced of your expertise!

It is interesting that some singers are able to hold on to those youthful cords (and formants?) considerably longer than others, despite both aging and vocal abuse!

 

It's easy to look up what happens to the voice with age. No need to take my word for it.

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5 hours ago, Draven Grey said:

Medically speaking, the changes in the cords and supporting muscles cause the voice to raise in pitch in men, and lower in women. However, I can understand how the weaker mechanisms would cause slower vibrations, or "scratchy" voice, which could be perceived as a lower pitch. 

I had to look that up and you are correct at this, the voice tends to gradually lower until you hit around 50 then the male body produces less testosterone aswell as various other factors that raises the pitch of the voice. I stand corrected :)

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