Jump to content

Rock tenor improv

Rate this topic


jonpall
 Share

Recommended Posts

Since I've been writing a bit about my opinions on rock tenor singing techniques (high, powerful notes, usually with distortion), I thought it might be fun to let you hear me do a simple exercise that I've been doing a lot recently to help me get better at this sound. I don't claim to have really mastered it yet, since I'm relatively new at this but I feel that I'm improving and I couldn't even go near this style of singing a while ago.

This exercise is very simple. Using this "rock tenor sound" and really focusing on twang (but with resonant vowels whenever I can), simply improvise random melodies with random words and have fun. It's just gibberish but I feel that it's good training after you've gotten slightly good at just getting that sound going on in the high part of the voice. So this would be a good next step in going from scales to something that resembles a song:

http://www.box.net/shared/716r0cu0v4

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since I've been writing a bit about my opinions on rock tenor singing techniques (high, powerful notes, usually with distortion), I thought it might be fun to let you hear me do a simple exercise that I've been doing a lot recently to help me get better at this sound. I don't claim to have really mastered it yet, since I'm relatively new at this but I feel that I'm improving and I couldn't even go near this style of singing a while ago.

This exercise is very simple. Using this "rock tenor sound" and really focusing on twang (but with resonant vowels whenever I can), simply improvise random melodies with random words and have fun. It's just gibberish but I feel that it's good training after you've gotten slightly good at just getting that sound going on in the high part of the voice. So this would be a good next step in going from scales to something that resembles a song:

http://www.box.net/shared/716r0cu0v4

Jonpall: Oooooo. I can hear that being used in the middle of a song, totally a cappella or with a very subtle, soft accompanyment, as a sort of extemporaneous, ecstatic moment. Kinda like the solo in the middle of 'Whole Lotta Love'.

Alternatively, as a stunning intro to a piece.

Or (this is way wild) using key words or ideas provided by the audience, like audience-participation improv....

I liked it. Way to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That was so fun to listen to I played it a couple of times! Nice job Jonpall. I love the improv and it was nicely produced.. I like that slight delay or reverb you're using.

As far as the distortion - it sounds great. Where do you feel it? How high in the throat do you feel it? Above the larynx? Back of the tongue?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the kind words, guys. I really appreciate them. Steven, those were some cool ideas. Also, considering your expertise, your comments make me glad. Ron, you're always so kind. Thanks for the Axl comment. It was cool coming from one GNR fan to another. guitartrek, thanks buddy. Yeah, I was meddling around with a very slight delay for the very first time and I think that in certain songs it can be very effective. I do dislike it, however, when vocals are overly produced, so one has to be careful and tasteful with effects like these. I was also using reverb. My distortion feels different from where I used to feel it. I now feel it more above my vocal folds. I'm pretty sure it's false fold distortion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's how you exercise ? I know a few professional singers who can't do half of that in the studio....

It sounds really awesome, your sense of pitch is just brilliant and the distortion too.. it's a true powerful tenor voice man !

I loved the fact that everything stays connected throughout your range can only imagine how well this type of voice would fit a song.

Great job Jon and it's not gibberish , "oh my baby talking trash to my believe that ever shore"... it makes perfect sense lol

Thanos

PS. Hope you can do a Dio or Ripper cover or sth like that at some point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol, yeah, thanks Thanos. A while ago I just sang some lines from well known songs but later I decided to just make something up. I do, however, make sure that my high notes are not all on the Uh vowel, i.e. that I put in some I and O vowels as well. The Uh vowel has a tendency for many people to slip into a more shouty Oh (as in so) and if you can do the I and O vowels fairly easily you know you're not shouting. I'm also in the process of writing lots of original material these days. That's really where the fun is at, but I for a while I've really wanted to be able to write, sing and record very edgy hard rock music with screaming, intense vocals and not just accoustic ballads in the baritone range, although they can be great fun, too. So I'm building up to something hopefully good that I have more chance to be able to pull off now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

jonpall: you might use these improvisations to build some songs, too, as a compositional technique. Melodies and vowel patterns which work in improvisiation only need sensible words.... lyrics, to become very effective songs. The only difference is that most songs will take really simple material and build on it for the main melodies and the hook.

Consider Eleanor Rigby, for example. It starts with the hook... 'Ah, look at all the lonely people', which has a very plaintive, emotionally catchy line and harmony, and then goes into a melodically simple pattern for the verses, which focuses attention to the lyrics, the story, told with that easy syncopation.

WHat makes the song work is that the storytelling verses are tied together with that emotional expression... the contrast freshens the listener's mind so that the verses can be attended to.

My advice: always record your improvisation sessions, and 'harvest' them for melodic material.. especially melody/vowel combinations that work well for you.

BTW, though I am not a rock singer... I have practiced this way occasionally, off and on, for 30 years. For me, its a more personal expression of my desire to sing... to express my inner situation with my voice. The more you do this, the more value I think you will find in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Making random noise is great to make you relax, besides letting you apply the techniques you're learning without feeling restrained by a specific vocal melody or scale. You just do what you want, according to what you need. I liked your gibberish! Great voice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonpall...sounds f'n brilliant man! I've been a "songwriter" for 20+ years and I always do this(improv gibberish melodies over chords.) I have hundreds of hours of this stuff recorded all over the place. I'm HEAVILY influenced by stream of consciousness writing so this has the added benefit of occasionally being GOOD(lyrically speaking.)

You are turning into a feckin' rock beast!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alanys Morrisette composes melodies by vocal noodling, just like you are doing, jonpall. She does it until something sticks. Then expands on it. For example, "Thank You" came right of riffing some something akin to yodeling.

Songwriter James Blume, who actually doesn't play any musical instrument fantastically (he can plunk a few chords on a guitar,) hums and la-la's into a portable digital recorder. Later, he will pick bits and pieces out that seem to fit.

Eddie Van Halen has tons of "noodling" tapes and files. Bits and pieces that just fly around until they hit something and stick. "Sweet Child of Mine" was goofy riff that Slash came up with for giggles. He never expected it to be an up-tempo ballad.

"Stairway to Heaven" came from one of Jimmy Page's warm-up exercises. So, all of your free-style is going to net something spectacular, I bet.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...