PianoandGuitarguy

Are most rock and pop singers basically thin, light tenors?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I'm a metal/progressive rock/classical guy taking lessons with a classical opera singer. It's always an interesting thing bringing her vocals to listen to. Some get better reviews than others, but the most common thing I hear from her is that the vast majority of vocalists are wrong for my voice, because they're just too high and light, and I have a bigger voice with a darker color. I kinda knew that was true of someone like James LaBrie, but Bruce Dickinson, Eric Adams, Dio, etc. I wouldn't have called them smaller voices, or the highest, or the thinnest, but to her they are. I one guy she thought was a bit closer match for my voice was Tim 'Ripper' Owens, or maybe that I could get get away with singing stuff from baritone-y guys like Eric Clayton of Savior Machine, who has a cool voice but it's usually a different thing.

To her, a voice like Geddy Lee is just an exceptionally odd VERY light and high male voice, almost off the spectrum, and 90% of the rock singers out there are light, thin tenors. She asks if I have some other things to bring her that aren't like that, but it seems in rock, almost everyone has that sound, and with the exception of a few baritones here and there. The implication - the world of rock and pop is just filled to the brim with light tenors wherever you look these days. Even on Broadway these days this is all the rage:

 

(Also interesting my teacher thought the composer should be shot for making the singer do that B5 at the end in that style, because it's certain to cause damage over time, and this singer did indeed have to take a break because of voice trouble I think).

I mean, if you listen to something like this:

 

...this kind of voice can't help but sound a bit old fashioned. But really, it's just a natural male voice, singing as it would naturally sound. But there's practically no place for that voice in pop or rock, it seems.

I suppose the question is, to what extent are we talking about just a lot of thin tenors, and to what extent are we talking about singers who might be baritones or low tenors, but who thinning their sound out, because that's the style?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, lets address it in parts.

First, most males, like in the world population, are on the "light" part of the spectrum. As in, my voice is a bit heavier than the usual "average" dude, and I am still tenor myself.

Even so, there are singers with heavier voices that sing/sang very high. Coverdale for example, Jorn Lande, Zack Stevens, Geoff Tate, Freddie Mercury, etc.


So its clear that voice type is not a relevant factor here, what matters is how you will sing.


And then if you compare different singers, for example Geddy Lee, Layne Staley, Dio and Coverdale, you have completely different approaches.


My opinion: with technique you can sing almost anything you want in rock and metal. If you like the stile of Geddy Lee for example, its doable, it just takes a real lot of work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When we mention Geddy Lee, I can't help but think of the fact that even Geddy Lee can't sing like Geddy Lee anymore. If you look at recent live performances, it's just impossible for him, no matter how much he strains to do it. I'd be curious if you would agree with this proposition my teacher made: If you're singing correctly, you should be able to do it and sound the close to the same when you're older. You might lose a little bit, but it shouldn't become a totally different thing. I believe she mentioned James Taylor, who isn't a flashy voice, but is a pop singer who had sounded the same for decades.

There another interesting divergence when we talk about a singer's 'voice'. I would ask my teacher what she thought about a rock singer voice, and she would remark that she can't tell what his 'real' voice sounds like, because he's singing in a straight tone, and/or it's a 'put on', almost like Seth MacFarlane singing as Peter Griffin, many rock singers are doing a character of a voice, not their natural, unencumbered sound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are variables worthy of pointing out and considering. Felipe has touched on some of them. And there are even more.

The best point being made here is, there are many different kinds of voices. Regardless of what kind of voice you have , with training, and lots of application to singing, and huge amounts of commitment, work ethic and patience ... most people can become great singers. If you do t train and work on it, it won't happen for most people.

most men tend to lean toward tenor or light baritone. But again, it is not very relevant, therefore vocal fach should not be used as an excuse for not achieving your singing goals.

Thx Felipe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Various genres have different standards as to virtuosity and proficiency.  While in Opera and some forms of technical Metal it is important for a singer to show perfect control and extended range, in some styles of music you need to be more down to earth. It's the same with the lyrical content - most Opera's were written about royalty, and with operatic metal the texts are often about fantasy, gore and sci-fi. Sometimes it's nice to hear about everyday life dilemmas and even if you talk about great events - to hear the perspective of a private in battle and not the warlord... think what type of voice fits where...  aiming for great technique is nice, the problem starts when it makes you ignore everything else related to the song.

I missed this forum... great discussions.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 21/07/2017 at 5:06 PM, PianoandGuitarguy said:

When we mention Geddy Lee, I can't help but think of the fact that even Geddy Lee can't sing like Geddy Lee anymore. If you look at recent live performances, it's just impossible for him, no matter how much he strains to do it. I'd be curious if you would agree with this proposition my teacher made: If you're singing correctly, you should be able to do it and sound the close to the same when you're older. You might lose a little bit, but it shouldn't become a totally different thing. I believe she mentioned James Taylor, who isn't a flashy voice, but is a pop singer who had sounded the same for decades.

There another interesting divergence when we talk about a singer's 'voice'. I would ask my teacher what she thought about a rock singer voice, and she would remark that she can't tell what his 'real' voice sounds like, because he's singing in a straight tone, and/or it's a 'put on', almost like Seth MacFarlane singing as Peter Griffin, many rock singers are doing a character of a voice, not their natural, unencumbered sound.

Well recent performances from Geddy Lee are from a 60+ yo singer. Even Pavarotti and Kraus showed changes with age.

But Rush and Geddy Lee are in my opinion a reference for excelence in stage. Some live recordings from the band are actually better than the original studio version.

Even so, you do not need to copy Geddy Lee 1:1 to sing in the same style. Focus on music, not on issues. You can use a light registration/vowels and sing in the same area of pitch, using similar phrasing, etc.

What your teacher MUST indeed warn you and keep it real, is that going against your natural strenghts will take lots of work, and probably should not be your focus right away.

Getting to sing well in the style you want (rock it seems) is more important than trying to emulate a singer you like.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2017-07-21 at 10:06 PM, PianoandGuitarguy said:

When we mention Geddy Lee, I can't help but think of the fact that even Geddy Lee can't sing like Geddy Lee anymore. If you look at recent live performances, it's just impossible for him, no matter how much he strains to do it. I'd be curious if you would agree with this proposition my teacher made: If you're singing correctly, you should be able to do it and sound the close to the same when you're older. You might lose a little bit, but it shouldn't become a totally different thing. I believe she mentioned James Taylor, who isn't a flashy voice, but is a pop singer who had sounded the same for decades.

There another interesting divergence when we talk about a singer's 'voice'. I would ask my teacher what she thought about a rock singer voice, and she would remark that she can't tell what his 'real' voice sounds like, because he's singing in a straight tone, and/or it's a 'put on', almost like Seth MacFarlane singing as Peter Griffin, many rock singers are doing a character of a voice, not their natural, unencumbered sound.

Cmon man classical singers and musicalsingers are the same... Its not a natural sound by any means. If it was natural it wouldnt take 10-15 years of singing and singingtechnique to become a great classical/musical singer. 

Sounds are sounds, there are natural sounds the sound babies make. They are in manyways closer to deathmetal vocals then what you hear in pop/rock/musical/classical.

 

Share this post


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

Cmon man classical singers and musicalsingers are the same... Its not a natural sound by any means. If it was natural it wouldnt take 10-15 years of singing and singingtechnique to become a great classical/musical singer. 

Sounds are sounds, there are natural sounds the sound babies make. They are in manyways closer to deathmetal vocals then what you hear in pop/rock/musical/classical.

 

Swedish smack down!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metal babies! Science the crap out of it! We do naturally phonate heavy/death metal screaming, but eventually forget how (thanks a lot language! You took away our awesome screaming abilities!). It's doctors like this that make me feel like I know nothing about the science of the voice. I only knew half of the terminology he used. But I did understand half of it!  Also cool proof that proper screaming/distortion can be completely safe.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A new breed of vocal coach: We buy you candy and refuse to let you eat it until you get home. You are heard screaming throughout the Wall-mart.........Give me My Candy!... I want my Candy Now!!!!   AAAAA..... I HATE YOU!!!!!!!   GIVE ME MY CANDY!!!!!!!!! Another satisfied vocal student......

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