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Natural voice vs Trained voice

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Hokay I'm new here. Don't know anything about the care and feeding of the voice box. I just have an opinion I'd like to express. If this has been brought up before or many times then I apologize for boring anyone.

IMHO there's two kinds of singers, those who seem to have a natural voice that sounds good, and the others who start out with a crappy, unmusical tone you wouldn't find entertaining to listen to, but who can eventually hit a lot of high and low notes if they practice enough.

I don't want to name any names because it's a subjective thing, ie both types sell a lot of records, but the first type sing like birds, and the second type sound trained and phony to me, too much training and not enough looseness and natural, in-born finesse.

Not that it matters, I've bought and enjoyed both types of records, it's just an observation I think I've made. But when I compare the two types, yeah I like the natural birds better.


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This is very subjective because we have no idea what you would consider "natural" and what you would consider "trained" and it is very likely that what you think is "trained" is actually natural and they never had any training and what you think is natural, actually has had training. Seriously, you can't know if someone, that is singing well.... has had training or not by just listening to them sing anymore then you can take two good actors and determine if one has had acting lessons and the other hasn't. 

Regardless, you don't have to make a choice. The fact is, anyone that is born with an intuition for singing and sounds great from the "go", can always benefit from training. It will refine what they already do and just make it better.

There is a reason why there are voice technique teachers, workouts, practicing, schools, programs and 400 years of history involved in voice training. Because it is real and it makes a difference regardless of who you are or how good you are, or think you are.

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Even Iggy Pop got lessons at some point. He admits that when he was young and ignorant he felt he could create a kind of danger and menace with his singing that he can't reproduce now.


Honestly I agree with him. I am not knocking what he does now, but I don't find him nearly as menacing as in the early days. But in other cases we may never be able to tell when a 'natural' got lessons. 

So why would someone like Iggy Pop get lessons? He probably found he couldn't sustain things in the long term as he aged and continued to do what he did. And that is fine. People can sing risky if they want. That's freedom, maybe it will work out, maybe it won't. Maybe it will work for a time, but not forever. But there's no shame if it isn't working. It may or may not take away the element of danger in the art itself when elements of danger are removed from the act of singing itself. People may or may not be able to even tell at what point someone got lessons. Regardless, it's good when people can still sing and that is something lessons can help a lot with.

And it's not like Iggy Pop conveys nothing now when he sings. He's still expressive. He doesn't sound like a robot running through 'singing technique.' By what most would likely measure here he still sucks at 'traditional vocal technique.' It just feels a bit less feral and dangerous as he became less feral.

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On 11/8/2016 at 11:28 AM, woogie said:

. . . But when I compare the two types, yeah I like the natural birds better.


what's goin' on Woogie! I read some great comments made here. I agree that the bottom line with training and having a gifted vocal coach, is always about improving, which never ends regardless of one's talent level.

I think I can feel where your coming from. I'll add that I have met and known some "Natural Birds" in my experience, and discovered that their "natural" ability is most commonly three elements (beyond the God given great and unique "sound" of their voice), they  a) have a good ear (relative pitch), b ) they have above average vocal coordination c) they have an above average sense of rhythm. 

a,b & c can be developed with that gifted vocal coache's help. 

c however, goes deeper than most people realize.

Many neglect to involve the whole body. I once heard of a pro soccer coach that always wanted to see how well a potential hire could dance. Good rhythm (agility, coordination) is an athletic endeavor (for most people). That "coordination" is relevant because: to sing a vocal line that conveys soul in melody - it must be rhythmically true. We've all heard someone sing something out of rhythm, it's painful. At that moment it matters not how cool their voice is, or how developed their relative pitch is.  A good rhythm mentorship from a rhythm master (drummer/percussionist) can provide improvement, otherwise, good rhythm skills are honed by much practice with challenging material! 

my 2 c's

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Some people have more flexibility in their voices from the get go, others have more stiff and rigid voices that need to be worked out and coordinated to sound good.  But those stiffer voices that take longer to break down and build up usually sound more dramatic and have a meatier sound than those lighter lyric type singers.  It's like the difference of Bruno mars vs Brendon Urie.  Also it seems that the lighter more flexible voices might often sell themselves short by not practicing any coordinations that seem unnatural at first but become natural with time.  Personally I prefer dramatic sounding voices that have possibility of mistakes because it's impressive and dramatic when they nail their stuff although it's kind of cringey when they don't haha, love this topic though.

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1 hour ago, VideoHere said:


You train your voice to BE natural and free.  When a contemporary singer sounds trained, (and I know that sound all too well, very polished sounding with a lot of overdone vibratto, right?), it's more times than not, a personal choice.





Like Josh Groban, he puts so much vibrato in his singing.  He also sounds really breathy but at the same time loud and compressed.

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   I used to agree with a lot of people who believe that training the voice will somehow add a quality of falseness to the voice or lead to the singer taking on the "Vocal" personality of the teacher/Method. But that is how the student uses the training not a fault of the teacher/coach. Sometimes it is even the Producer, record company or manager who directs how a song will be presented on a recording.

    Sometimes you have to train to gain your natural singing voice. Singers need to train their delivery also. The phrasing, tempo and dynamics. Where it starts to sound false is when a singer tries to use Classic style Phrasing or sound  in a Contemporary song or some other type of mixing genres.

    What a lot of what people perceive as a natural sounding voice is actually a crafted voice for a particular style. Think of singers who sound natural......... Janis Joplin, Ann Wilson, Linda Ronstadt, Pat Benatar, All had training. They crafted the style for their particular sound.

    There may be different types of training also. Programs like "The Four Pillars", SLS or Singing success, Tamplin and CVT usually work with developing the voice and coordinating it. Other aspects of singing like how long to hold the notes, whether or not to use Vibrato,  when and where, or How to incorporate phrasing to convey emotion, whether or not to use Fry, Distortion, Falsetto ..... on and on...... all the little things that make you sound natural are not even addressed. It is up to you to develop your style.  Whether or not you even decide to focus on any of that along with the voice development is up to you the singer.

     On the other hand Coaches for Classical and Theater singing do address these things. There is an expectation for the singing to be as intended step by step throughout the performance and you will be under "Direction" by the teacher/coach/producer and demands of the song........ The singing MUST match the requirements of the production. You are one part in a group that must fit with the rest.



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