kickingtone

AUDIATION: the ignored skill?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

AUDIATION

"Audiation" is "visualization, but with sound."

It is the process of imagining and feeling music only in your mind, without any external stimulus.

Some people have clear crisp imagination of music, while other people can only manage vague, fuzzy sounds.

And among those who have clear imagination, some can only imagine a single melody, while others can apprehend harmony and a mix of instruments.

Ability to AUDIATE has an enormous impact on musicality, musical creativity, and the approach to singing, learning and discussing technique.

People who AUDIATE well may take it for granted that everyone does it well, and those people for whom AUDIATION is dormant or weak may think that is the norm. The two types of people may find it difficult to agree on "best practice" in vocal training without knowing what is behind their disagreement.

Simple example:

Singer asks how he can learn to keep in step with the music. He says that he often ends up one or two beats off the beat.

In reply, my recommendation assumed that he could audiate. I told him to pick a key percussion instrument and mimic it in gaps in the music. i.e SING then do taa-taa-ta-taaa SING ta-ta SING....etc. That way he will better feel and become familiar with how the vocals fit in. Then he can pick another instrument, etc. to get as deep an understanding as he wanted. The approach requires him to hear the other instruments in his head (alongside his own vocals) to be able to anticipate all of them on the fly. He is basically singing less than the music he is imagining, which takes care of the phrasing issue.

(Conductors do this. They can pick any point, hear where any instrument is supposed to be, and correct it if it is not there. I also remember training with a Ghanaian drummer, who would shout out the part of another drum if it was off the beat, while he was drumming his own part. Such people clearly have very well-developed AUDIATION skills because they can feel and hear the music ahead of the real sound.)

The other recommendation on the thread (which surprised me) was "get out a metronome and practise against that".

Obviously, these are different approaches, and I have to confess I don't understand the metronome method. I don't know what the metronome is doing that the music is not doing in the first place. And, if the metronome does help in some way, how the method helps when you take the metronome away in a live situation.

POINT IS:

Once you are aware of the importance of AUDIATION, you can develop it by paying attention to it and practising. You can build clarity and depth into how you imagine sound, music, singing etc. This helps in all aspects of musicality, including musical composition.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it is ignored. The problem is always how to deal with that in practice.

 

Our ability to imagine sounds is subject to how accurately we represent sounds in memory. And then coordination/function is the about only way, for now, to bring that into reality (which is what actually matters). Usually the solution is to practice these 3 in parallel, but very, very often the weak link of this chain is memory acuity and vocal function.

The reason for the first is that we normally don't need lot's of accuracy for the day to day life, in fact the very way our cognition works (it's great on finding patterns and abstraction) tends to leave gaps in memory. We don't really recall what is there in the real world, instead we have a compressed/blurred profile of what we experience, with just enough information  that would allow recognition later on.

The reason for the second is that it's normally not explored to the extent it would be necessary for singing early in life. I can see this clearly in practice living on Brazil where music education in early life is still a privilege of a lucky bunch of people, and being exposed to students from countries that are more advanced in this regard. For example it's very common around here to have to walk people on how to do something like changing pitch and it often is confused with vowel and timbre changes.

 

The full path is Hearing - Aural Memory - Audiation (imagination) - Singing. Or for a more general idea perception -> memory -> imagination -> creation.

A very good practice for aural memory is to do what I see some people calling active listening sessions, listening to a high quality recording while paying attention to specific element of a song, then stopping the playback and recalling/imagining it, making an effort to retain the detail and being precise. The more detail, the better. This is where a skilled musician can be quite helpful, because they can bring attention to details by showing and highlighting them in real time along with the song playback.

And of course another essential practice is to make use of the tech  and record/listen, since it covers the full path from perception to creation.

 

A possible step to represent imagination without the coordination properly developed is to be able to use some sort of music notation to bring that memory into existence (at least a bit of it), but I also see this as the major flaw on classical music theory education (specially when little or no attention is placed on solfege) because it can easily replace audiation with symbolic/mechanic representation, and limit the amount of detail retained in memory. Then it becomes a big problem because it creates a gap in that pathway. It's relatively common to see this problem on musicians that play tempered instruments (such as piano and guitar) when they want to have a go on singing.

In this case then I would say that yeah, the weak link in this is audiation, and a good practice would be something like what you see young children doing when they learn a nursery rhyme, very loose, no concern for acuity and as intuitive and fun as possible.

 

As for the use of the metronome, it's a reliable reference, steady and simple  beat pattern. And as any tool it is about how to use it. For very basic rhythm acquisition, learning to clap in 4/4 along a click, and other basic rhythm divisions, is a really good start even if it is quite boring, and can make the difference between struggling forever with it, and just moving on to singing.

And for the vast majority of problems the solution of having an audible reference of what is correct and working your execution closer to it will be the best way to solve them. Exactly due to the problem of acuity of memory.

Long story short: listen to high quality music, sing, record and listen to yourself without lowering your standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kickingtone said:

The other recommendation on the thread (which surprised me) was "get out a metronome and practise against that".

A lot of people have trouble with keeping time. You don't realize how far off time you can get until you check things with a metronome.

I do better when I have an actual drum beat than a metronome. I feel the rhythm better with a solid bass/snare beat than a "TICK,tick,tick,tick,TICK,tick etc..." But when you only have that sterile boring tick to keep you in line you find out just how bad your internal timing can be. I know guitar players(beginners) who try to count out the measures in their head and really mess themselves up. 

   With the internal audiation you get what I call "the theory of relativity" timing and rhythm without an external source to follow can be relative to your own state of mind and other outside sources that happen to be creating patterns that you are supposed to be ignoring. The same can be said for when you are in a band situation, the musicians feed off each other and when one gets out of time others try to "Fix" it by speeding up or slowing down to try to get the others back on track.

   When it comes to singing I listen for clues in the music. It used to be that you could count on the drums to give you a solid beat to follow but that does not seem to be the case any more. The beats are more complicated and switch through different syncopations that you cannot simply follow what the drums are doing to keep your own beat/rhythm.

   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When someone is as much as a couple of beats out, and needs a metronome to tell them, it means that they are not FEELING how their part fits into the whole. (May not always be their fault. The music could be crap.)

There is a difference between the person who does not have the motor skills to keep with the beat, and the person who wanders off beat without realizing it.

Being able to imagine syncopation, cross rhythm etc. is all part of audiation. I am not suggesting that it happens automatically, but that you should be able to study a piece of music and FEEL how it is going in such a way that BEING a couple of beats out will be obvious to you. (That does not imply that correction is easy). If the music itself is a jumble (composer just throwing complexity in without rhyme or reason) then, of course, it will become impossible. In a broad sense, a good piece of music has a groove. I recently saw a decent video on why jazz is niche. it needs its history and culture to give context to its meaning and groove.

Memory

Well that is really complex. In fact, research shows that our memory is quite phenomenal. it is our conscious recall that is selective. (Dream studies show that our subconscious recall is vast). Then we have short, medium and long term conscious recall, impacting on how we learn. That's why it is not always a good idea to try to force yourself to learn something immediately. Sometimes, simply dropping it and returning to it later magically makes it easier. What is going on in the interim is a mixture of recall and audiation. This allows for crescive subconscious learning. So all these steps cannot simply be separated.

Even technique and motor skills have a symbiotic relationship with audiation. Extending your range physically helps you to imagine (audiate) that part of the range more clearly. Someone can actually be tone deaf while audiating in a range they cannot physically sing. Conversely, audiating those notes more clearly helps with technique and production. That is another valuable aspect of audiation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

    I want to write this before I watch the video. Maybe the video will help me make  use of what already happens and sometimes gets in the way of other things.

    I have always heard music in my thoughts. Not just the singing or one instrument out of a dozen but the full recording. It is not a total recall unless I am real familiar with a song or certain recording of it. Sometimes one song will lead into another because of similarities in the chord progression or words. This happens only when I am not purposely using it.

   I play the guitar and bass, do not read music other than basic skills. I can read the notes but I can not hear the music by looking at the page. Some people can. On the other hand If I hear a new song I want to learn, once I find out what key the song was recorded in I can usually figure out the basic progression in a few minutes by recognizing patterns and chord progressions. I hear the song as a complete work, and do not concentrate on individual instruments. Not at first.

   I learn the song from the chord progression. At that point I am not yet listening for individual instruments. Because I will just be playing guitar I work on the rhythm and chords first. Nothing fancy, I break it down into the basic Groove,vibe or rhythm and then work on the melody and the words. After rhythm and melody then I work on adding embellishments to the guitar part and emulating some of the other instruments in the original recording.

    And yes when I play the song it comes out sounding quite different than the song on the recording. I have one guitar and am doing the work of Drums, piano, horns and guitar of course. It cannot come out the same as the recording. This approach may not work with someone in an orchestra or quartet or jazz group. But it works fine for learning songs to play and sing on your own.

    Audiation is used throughout the process. But at some point while learning to play and sing the song, in my mind the song changes from what is on the recording to what it will sound like when playing and singing myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

       It always amazed me that generally the people who can play from sheet music cannot play by ear. Some that I have come across do not even understand the concept of a  chord progression or that the same musical phrase in one song can be used in another. They do understand a key center but not how chords work together. Then again I learned how to figure out songs on the guitar by listening to the song and paying attention to the patterns and recurring themes.

     I thought they would automatically go hand in hand.   One phrase within a chord leads to a another chord and another phrase. Sort of like a sentence structure. You have subjects, verbs, adverbs,adjectives and  conjunctions.  Certain chord progressions or phrases act as similar elements in the structure of music. You can almost hear what is coming next because of the phrases or chords already used.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MDEW said:

       It always amazed me that generally the people who can play from sheet music cannot play by ear.

Sheet music becomes their "mother tongue" so to speak. That can detract from the motivation to learn a "second language". As a result, audiation can become compromised.

Have you ever taken for granted other people being able to audiate as well as you can?

Aphantasia is the condition where a person cannot form mental images. So, a man with aphantasia would not be able to picture his wife in his mind.

I wonder if there is the aural equivalent? Inability to audiate?

There have been early learning studies done regarding the competence of children in mathematics. Mental imagery is very important in mathematics, but some teaching methods may take that ability for granted in the child. A small child may not even know that mental imagery is involved in understanding or learning maths (we British put an 's' at the end). That child could be totally flummoxed. For other children, the imagery is simply weak. For example, some children can add and subtract without using their fingers, and it is not just memory work -- they have a mental image of what it entails. For other children, the arithmetic is a mechanical process, using the fingers.

Does a parallel situation occur in teaching music?

Making sense of music is surely more involved than just playing it. Feel is involved. It's a bit like asking that child 27 minus 6. Some children understand that they can reserve the 20 and simply do 7 minus 6, and add that to the reserved 20. And if you ask them 27 minus 5 straight afterwards they understand that the answer has gone up one because you've taken away one less, etc. The child who only knows by rote doesn't have that feel for the maths. They just repeat a long routine each time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

     Any subject can be more complicated than it seems and at the same time it can also be broken down to smaller chunks of information that makes more sense of the complete subject. Like timing and syncopation and checking yourself with a metronome.  If you watch some musicians you can almost see them counting off beats in their head. 1 and a 2 and a 3 and a 4 and a 1..... They usually get themselves off time because they are trying to keep track of what number they are on instead of listening to the rest of the band and how it fits together.or as you suggest Feeling the groove.

   The phrasing I mentioned earlier ties in with the groove and the context of whether you are on the subject(root chord or tonal center in this example) and leading to a Verb(next chord or tonal center) or leading to an adjective(perhaps series of chords) that leads to the next chord or tonal center. The meter or feel of the music would give clues to how much time you have for the phrase or the structure of the syncopation.

    Some of the phrases are universal. Meaning that the same musical phrase is used in many songs and can be used for improvisation. In contemporary music, musicians use what we call a number system. It is based on  diatonic scales. A Major chord scale would be (using C as the root)  Cmaj, dm, em, Fmaj, Gmaj, am, Bdim and Back to Cmaj. We number the chord scale. 1, 2m, 3m, 4, 5, 6m, 7dim, 1.

    Common cord progressions are 1st chord to 4th  chord to 5th chord in the scale.  For the Key of C, that would be a C chord, F chord and G chord. For the Key of G it would be G,C, and D.    What ever key you are in, the pattern sounds the same and can be learned and recognized.

    I also need to mention that the number of bars are noted. Like 8 bars of the 1 chord 4 bars of the 4th and 4 bars of the 5th. things like that.

   There are certain musical phrases that work for leading from the 1st chord to the 4th chord and phrases that lead from the 1st chord to the 5 chord and so on.  You really do not need to know entire songs but different small phrases that work going from one chord to another. Not only can you piece these phrases together but you can recognize the phrases when they are in songs you want to learn.

   That is how musicians who have never played together can play songs they have never even heard before. Someone will know a song and call out "Ok boys. this is a 1,6,2,5 in the key of C with  a 2,5 turn around and a swing beat. Along with a tag of Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, outro and you have an entire song.

    You may wonder what does this have to do with audiation? simple, You can hear the patterns. Learn to recognize the patterns and the other things become more clear.

    The same thing goes to drum patterns and other musical clues to changing tonal centers. The drummer will change the beat maybe add a few rolls and cymbal crashes to signal chord changes or changes in the overall rhythm patterns. The horns may start soft and then built to crescendo to help signal a change in tonal centers or chord changes or volume changes and such. There are clues all over the place to when and where a musical phrase or theme will start and finish if you listen closely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that I audiate cords clearly, if at all. I will give it a try eventually, and my approach would be very biased towards "figuring stuff out" as you did. I think you end up with a deeper feel for the music than if you go directly for being handed all the rules on a plate. I believe that I should always defer direct rule learning until I have developed a feel for what underlies them. There are people who say, "no no no, you'll pick up bad habits...", but I think that that can be corrected if it happens, and is a small issue compared to developing a mechanical and unfeeling approach.

That Ghanaian drummer I mentioned earlier, who could beat box any of the  other drum parts while playing his own part, he didn't know what a quarter beat was. He would teach by playing, and when anybody asked, "is that a quarter beat?" he could only answer, "it's like this", and play it. Yet the guy could obviously play and audiate cross rhythms and all kinds of crazy syncopation. But then, he was brought up listening to African drum "ensembles" with dancers and meaning behind everything. The rhythms have names (often named after a dance) and traditionally the phrases could actually be used to communicate news. So, that is another example of how the whole breaks down into meaningful parts that can be conceptualized.

I guess that being surrounded by meaningful sounds makes audiation easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kickingtone said:

I believe that I should always defer direct rule learning until I have developed a feel for what underlies them.

   Getting a feel for what underlies the rules is or should be part of learning them. Chord learning and their use is more effective for instruments that use them, Like guitars and pianos.

   With other instruments that play one note at a time it still seems better to me to first learn chord structure so you would know where you fit in the whole ensemble.

   Do you play any instruments?

   I am also not sure how you came about with the idea that some kind of structure should be deemed mechanical and unfeeling. Even in drumming there is structure and fundamentals that need to be in place so your hands can express the groove, beat, or feel in a song.

   Especially if you are good enough to know that 2nd drummer to the right hit a triplet when he should have hit a double. Pretty much saying that other drummer messed up the structure of the song in question.

  I am just curious. I am not trying to say your approach is wrong, just trying to understand it. Differing opinions are good for growth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, MDEW said:

   Getting a feel for what underlies the rules is or should be part of learning them. Chord learning and their use is more effective for instruments that use them, Like guitars and pianos.

But discovery is a powerful learning tool. You know, when a teacher tells the student the answer and explains it, and the student "sees it all", understands it and feels confident? Then when the student is left on his own, all the confidence drains away, and he can't figure it out? That is why some teaching methods are geared towards getting the student to figure as much out as possible to begin before formalizing it. That way, all the prompts needed for applying the information have been learned, not borrowed.

8 hours ago, MDEW said:

Do you play any instruments?

   I am also not sure how you came about with the idea that some kind of structure should be deemed mechanical and unfeeling. Even in drumming there is structure and fundamentals that need to be in place so your hands can express the groove, beat, or feel in a song.

Apart from the voice being an instrument, no, I don't claim to play any instrument. Drumming lessons have proven to be very handy for singing though! And I do intend to learn to play a couple of instruments and write some music, too, down the line. I have my eye more on the composing, but I know that playing instruments (including voice) helps you get your thoughts down on paper...probably because of improved AUDIATION.

I am not suggesting that structure is mechanical and unfeeling. It is there whether or not you conceptualize or formalize it. All I am saying is that I prefer to do the formalizing after the vibe and groove has bedded down. There is a danger that formalization can take the place of such feeling, otherwise. A related point was made in the video.

It's like what you said about a drummer counting beats. Usually, that is way too mechanical and inefficient. The teacher I mentioned couldn't count like that -- he didn't even know what a quarter beat was. He could have learned, but he was already in the strongest position for it not to become an alternative to his natural feel for rhythm

I think that when you sing (or play an instrument) your mind has to be ahead of the game -- you use anticipation,, not just memory. And the most natural way of doing that is through AUDIATION.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How much can you hear before someone tells you what to listen for?

If you find that out, you can ask yourself a very important question:

Why didn't I hear that before?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, kickingtone said:

How much can you hear before someone tells you what to listen for?

If you find that out, you can ask yourself a very important question:

Why didn't I hear that before?

Because there is more going on inside and outside of your head that seems more important, and some things that are. There are a lot of things going on that go unnoticed until they are pointed out.

Some people cannot see the forest for the trees and others who focus on the forest and cannot see the trees.

If you are listening and paying attention to the orchestra you may not here the guy with the triangle. If you are listening for the triangle that may be all you hear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MDEW said:

Because there is more going on inside and outside of your head that seems more important, and some things that are. There are a lot of things going on that go unnoticed until they are pointed out.

Some people cannot see the forest for the trees and others who focus on the forest and cannot see the trees.

If you are listening and paying attention to the orchestra you may not here the guy with the triangle. If you are listening for the triangle that may be all you hear.

"Importance", "enjoyment", "annoyance", "elegance", "complexity".... I think that there are many factors.

Doing a before and after you are told comparison of what you "hear" can teach you about the nature of your conscious attention.

I think that it is particularly pertinent when you try to reproduce or create something. Chances are, you will try to use only what you have paid conscious attention to, even when subconscious elements of your appreciation of the sound are critical.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, kickingtone said:

I think that when you sing (or play an instrument) your mind has to be ahead of the game -- you use anticipation,, not just memory. And the most natural way of doing that is through AUDIATION.

    I am not saying anything against audiation. I tried to use that idea when trying to help  another member on the forum, Trying to get him to actually listen to an artist so he could hear the difference in delivery and emotion between his singing and someone elses(he was the one who wanted to know why others did not like his singing) Trying to guide him to FEEL what he was singing. The different rhythms in the voice that are produced by emotion. His pitch was good, his range better than most and quality of the voice was not too bad. But the delivery had no sense of emotion to it and no energy it made him sound rather boring. I kind of picked up on the boring part because that was what I always picked up on my own singing before I started improving through training.

    I learned a long time ago that sometimes teachers have no idea about what they are teaching. Case in point, I taught myself.....But I also used books, other peoples videos, watched other musicians and guitar players playing, asked questions, listened to different styles of guitar playing and such....It all goes together. each aspect is just as important.

   

5 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

"Importance", "enjoyment", "annoyance", "elegance", "complexity".... I think that there are many factors.

Doing a before and after you are told comparison of what you "hear" can teach you about the nature of your conscious attention.

I think that it is particularly pertinent when you try to reproduce or create something. Chances are, you will try to use what you have paid conscious attention to, even when subconscious elements of your appreciation of the sound are critical.

    And when you are missing something...I find it valuable for someone "In the know" to point it out.  We do go around with "Blinders" on or view the world from our own perspective. Having someone else to point  something out can give a different view. Sometimes in can open up a whole new world and yes sometimes it can destroy pre conceived notions. 

    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, MDEW said:

But the delivery had no sense of emotion to it and no energy it made him sound rather boring. I kind of picked up on the boring part because that was what I always picked up on my own singing before I started improving through training.

I never call anyone's voice boring. It's too subjective, unless you are sensitive to every type of emotion, style and genre (which nobody is).

All I can really tell is that I'm not feeling it.

Even if I knew enough to accurately guess that 95 per cent of people would also not be feeling it, what about the remaining 5 per cent? That's a lot of people whose taste I should respect.

12 minutes ago, MDEW said:

And when you are missing something...I find it valuable for someone "In the know" to point it out.  We do go around with "Blinders" on or view the world from our own perspective. Having someone else to point  something out can give a different view. Sometimes in can open up a whole new world and yes sometimes it can destroy pre conceived notions. 

I don't really care if somebody is or claims to be "in the know". Everyone has taste and ideas worth listening to.

The point I was making is not about whether you listen, but whether you have something to compare it with after you listen, That's where the initial investigation by yourself can come in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
41 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

I never call anyone's voice boring. It's too subjective, unless you are sensitive to every type of emotion, style and genre (which nobody is).

All I can really tell is that I'm not feeling it.

Of course it is subjective and an opinion. I gave my opinion and an idea of how he could how compare it. The beauty of opera and the beauty of Blue grass are subjective as is all of music. But they still have qualities in common that can be picked up on and expressed. Almost all musical genres have things in common. A rhythmic structure, a tonal center and group of pitches that express the tonal center, phrasing, and quality to the instruments that are used within the genre.

 

1 hour ago, kickingtone said:

All I can really tell is that I'm not feeling it.

That is type of answer I would get when asking about my own voice in the beginning. "I'm just not feeling it." gives no clue into what to work on or why someone would not be feeling it.

When you get several people who give the same answer as "I'm just not feeling." you get the idea that there is a common reason for it not to be "Felt"..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, MDEW said:

Of course it is subjective and an opinion. I gave my opinion and an idea of how he could how compare it.

 

1 hour ago, MDEW said:

But the delivery had no sense of emotion to it and no energy it made him sound rather boring. I kind of picked up on the boring part...

Well, you see, that sure doesn't sound like you are presenting an opinion, to me (more like presenting a matter of fact)...

Sure, he may have been the one who wanted to know why other people didn't like his singing. The simple answer is that it's the same for all singers. There are always "other people who don't like your singing." If he is sure he has got the right target audience, the question makes more sense.

23 minutes ago, MDEW said:

When you get several people who give the same answer as "I'm just not feeling." you get the idea that there is a common reason for it not to be "Felt"..

Sure. It's a judgment call, depending on the type of singing and the forum in which you place the question. It's relative.

I just ask them what emotion they mean to communicate, and even give different examples (as you mentioned). Then I tell them that I can't figure out which emotion they are expressing. Some singers don't even understand the relevance of emotion or vibe. If they don't put two and two together, the common response, "i'm not feeling it" may persist. I don't want to force feed people what is or isn't relevant. It's subjective. They are supposed to develop an artistic sense. I only let them know what is relevant to me, and they can take it or leave it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

     I guess that I am going on the presupposition that any statement out of anyone is a matter of opinion. I do not mean to sound as if I believe I have all the answers. I do not.

     I can only speak for myself, that is why I keep using "I". Because it is only My own opinion, and I know it is only one opinion out of thousands. Yes, an opinion, which is subjective. When I follow my opinion by an explanation of it I am only clarifying why I have that opinion. I do not mean to imply that it is the correct answer or the correct evaluation.

    If I ask someones opinion, I would like an honest opinion from them. If you like something or do not "Why" do you like it or not. Finally I started getting honest answers(opinions) from here. "You're too nasal" "You're singing in your throat"(those two seemed like contradictions but they were not.) "You need more support" "your hillbilly accent is getting in the way" " your higher overtones are annoying". All of these are opinions but gave me an idea of what to listen for.

   Up till then I would get answers like "I just don't feel it" or "Everyone has a unique voice" or "You just haven't found your audience yet".

    I had already found information on Support, cord closure and "Singing in the Mask" and stabilizing the larynx. I believed I was doing all of that and that these things would "Set" the voice. What you ended up sounding like was all you had to work with. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, MDEW said:

    If I ask someones opinion, I would like an honest opinion from them. If you like something or do not "Why" do you like it or not. Finally I started getting honest answers(opinions) from here. "You're too nasal" "You're singing in your throat"(those two seemed like contradictions but they were not.) "You need more support" "your hillbilly accent is getting in the way" " your higher overtones are annoying". All of these are opinions but gave me an idea of what to listen for.

Do you have a sound for yourself in your mind (back to audiation again)?

If so, how does it measure up to all these comments?

As my singing has improved, my mind's voice has become closer and closer to my vocalized voice. (And my recordings more like my direct hearing). What I have found is that some criticism boils down to not properly rendering what is in your mind. I've had people say do this, fix it by doing that, etc. But I stuck largely with what I wanted, and eventually the same people have said actually, not so bad.

So, yes, it is opinion to be weighed up. How much you incorporate is up to you. The people assessing your sound do not necessarily know the end product in your head, and if you are not able to render it well, they may not appreciate how it is going to work.

There are some nasal accents that work well, imo. But if the singer is a beginner or lacks general precision, a lot of people will automatically go for the nasality as the issue. If the singer simply improves their precision, the same people may suddenly start liking the character of the sound. If a singer knows how to use the character in their voice well, they can often turn it to their advantage, and because it comes naturally, it can take on that inimitable x factor. Sometimes it is worth sticking with and  polishing what you have, especially if it sounds good in your own head, and you have reasonably good audiation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, kickingtone said:

Do you have a sound for yourself in your mind (back to audiation again)?

If so, how does it measure up to all these comments?

Those were the opinions that were correct, at least they pointed to improvement.

The voice in my head is a combination of my voice and the artist.(maybe too much audiation)

I tell a tale of "Vocal Freedom" which I experienced once. I tell it for a reason. It had nothing to do with any of the programs I used. Nothing to do with support. I do not know how loud it was or how it sounded on a recording. But the notes were easy free, felt like my natural speaking voice and I sang up to F5 without problems. The last song I sang was Aretha Franklin and I cannot remember which song. She sang a note that was somewhere around a C6. I did not sing the C6 but I did sing the harmony of  A5. Free easy and clear. Yes there was a "shift" around F4 F#4. I will get to that in a few minutes.

When I sing, To my ears, I end up with the timbre of the original artist. For one, it is not what comes out on tape, for another it is not a coordination that allows for range, you get either flipping, stalling or cracking at G4, or you sing the pitches and the voice just sounds odd even to my own ears while singing.

On this day I was playing with the concept of hearing the "Tone" in the head and feeling the vibrations in the head and chest at the same time. Being sure to "Feel" both not just "Hear" what I believed to be the auditory clues. The first song was "You ain't seen Nothin Yet" by BTO. Not too high, the main chorus levels off at F#4 before my breaking point. But I would always stain to get it.

I thought about 3 things. 1. I should be able to sing an F#4 without straining. 2. I read a book that suggested a "palate Attack" for singing high notes that involve muscles that connect the tongue and Soft palate. 3. the soft palate and the larynx work with apposing muscles. When the larynx goes down the soft palate goes up. and when the soft palate goes up the larynx goes down. That is why people suggest a half "Yawn" for an onset. It raises the soft palate and lowers the larynx.

when I started singing the song like I normally do I was straining right from the beginning (this is when I started thinking about those other things) I started using the "Palate" attack letting the larynx do what it was going to do without giving it "Help". and relaxing into the note(still keeping the vibration in the chest AND the head. The SOUND was nothing like BTO and nothing like my own voice. The pitch was the same as BTO but it felt and sounded as if I was singing a lower pitch than BTO. That F# was almost too easy. I wondered if I could sing higher so I started singing the higher harmony instead of the lead.

The weird thing about the sound within and above the passaggio is that it got thicker  and deeper sounding instead of thinner and brighter or sounding like a cartoon character. I did feel a difference in the larynx and in the throat that I could map and use like an accent or characterization as I do when recreating any other voice. While singing it seemed just as easy as talking and singing in the lower register. I did not have to push or squeeze or add any undo pressure. 

I was driving home at the time and listening to the radio, once I found this I drove around the block a few times rather than heading home. This went on for a half hour or more. Each song I could attain this voice again. Singing the higher harmonies and the high leads without problem. Until the phone rang and I had to concentrate on something else. I have not been able to find the same configuration again, I have gotten close but have not had the chance,opportunity and time to explore it again. But it does seem as if it is a coordination.

Another thing to take away from this is that it was not from "Sounding" like the singer. His timbre was too bright for my voice to do what it needed to do. And it was not from Me "sounding" a certain way. The coordination set the sound. I had to find out what the coordination sounded like with my voice before I could recreate it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, MDEW said:

when I started singing the song like I normally do I was straining right from the beginning (this is when I started thinking about those other things) I started using the "Palate" attack letting the larynx do what it was going to do without giving it "Help". and relaxing into the note(still keeping the vibration in the chest AND the head. The SOUND was nothing like BTO and nothing like my own voice. The pitch was the same as BTO but it felt and sounded as if I was singing a lower pitch than BTO. That F# was almost too easy. I wondered if I could sing higher so I started singing the higher harmony instead of the lead.

If I understand your post, you were singing along to songs that were playing on the radio?

I'm sure that my reaction would have been "how do I record this before it goes away". Hearing a coordination played in my own voice really helps me to replicate it, later. It's the audiation thing again. The closer what I can audiating is to my own voice, the better I am able to render it physically. Recording a cappella is just ideal for this. But a recorded singalong is also helpful. Sometimes, there can be things about the precise situation, maybe the room feedback, the vibe of the song,  the key I choose, etc. that encourage me to go into a new coordination. That gets the foot in the door. Once I am able to repeat the coordination regularly, I can the remove the crutches and start using it in other environments, songs and keys. Problem is usually with getting in those early repetition before the feeling fades.

But thinking of the mechanics rarely works directly for me. It does help with exercise and familiarity, which means that I am less likely to fight any coordination that I do find through audiation.

I like American comedy... This is Niles Crane of Frasier knowing what he had to do, and feeling his way to a coordination that would work for him. That's how I see it happening...you audiate a sound and your muscles kind of feel around on the fly until they sense that they are close to what's needed. The more "weird" vocal exercises you have put yourself through before, the more instantaneous feeling around the muscles can do, and the more options you have. Over to "Half-court Niles"...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

Problem is usually with getting in those early repetition before the feeling fades.

That is why I drove around for half an hour. Trying get this into muscle memory. I could not record it at the time. It was reproducible as a muscle movement during that half hour. I was not following the sound. I was letting the sound come out as a product of the coordination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now