Jump to content

Sacrificing technique to create more "original" tone?

Rate this topic


Mr Bounce
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have noticed a trend amongst some pop singers where often they have a really pleasing tone, something really interesting about their voice... But as an aspiring singer my first thought is always to go to hear a live recording to see how their voice sounds unaltered -- and many pop singers just cannot do it. We all know of currently popular singers who've had difficulties. Are these individuals choosing to sing with strain so that they sound different and "unique," or is it a consequence of simply a lack of technique?

Take your pick amongst the Billboard charts of pop singers and check out some live recordings, and more often than not they have crutches like backing tracks, singers, or just don't sing the high parts...

I saw Kelly Clarkson the other night, and I have to say she was absolutely incredible vocally. For a long time I've been saying that pop singers can be forgiven for those crutches because they are running about, dancing, singing varied material... But I no longer think there is an excuse. Those moments where you're involuntarily taken aback by what a singer just did? That happened a lot and she made it look easy.

Maybe a good example of tone over technique was the opening group: The Fray. They're a successful band who write great songs and put on a good show but, at least from what I was hearing, Issac was often flat.

So I suppose the question is; what do you guys think about commercially successful singers who seem to trade consistency and stamina for a "current" vocal tone that is getting them noticed?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This really doesn't have much to do with anything but since Kelly Clarkson was mentioned...

I think she has a great voice and I actually like most of her songs even though it isn't my genre.

But something I have noticed about her singing is the deep audible in breath she takes. Man, you can hear it on all her recorded songs and I have even watched (and heard) her doing this in live performances. Well, on T.V. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First off, I am happy to find the theatrical video.

But here's a guy with great tone and technique. I emphatically demand, slamming my palm down on the desk, that you listen to what he does with vowels.

"Everybody Talks" by the Neon Trees

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me just say, most of the pop/r&b singers of our time are horrible role models. They don't know how to bridge, they have just managed to drag M1 up so high that there is no need for this. I fell for this gimmick until I started learning more about the voice. Whenever I hear a good pop/r&b song I go straight to the live version, do not be fooled by the autotuned/robotic versions of your favorite song!

The solution? Learn to bridge/connect... only then can you be free and destroy all the songs on the radio :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They dont "trade" anything. You can only do a trade when you have a choice. While it is not there, not trainned, it does not exist.

Still. I invite you to look for the qualities, which exist in the musical context, instead of looking for technique where it does not exist, or even when its not the proposal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My feeling on this subjecct is that with good technique you can create a wide variety of tones - without damaging your voice. (CVT has done the research on that) In other words, if you developed a set of tones that are part of your style before training, you can keep those tones after training.

The one thing that may change is the awkward pinched tones of the untrained voice in certain parts of the range may be left behind (a choice by the singer). Those pinched tones are usually undesireable anyway - even for pop. A good example is Modana - when she first became popular there were certain notes that sounded awful (in the passagio) - she didn't know how to sing them any other way. I don't know how much training she ever got, but she has overcome that issue now. She still sounds like Madona, but without some of those pinched tones.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Geno's right, Madonna got voice training after she became known. Before then, she was a dancer. In her own words, she is not the best singer, certainly not the most technically astounding singer. She doesn't even consider herself the best dancer. But, that she is an entertainer.

I would say that she is right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion is there are a really wide variety of things the voice can do without damage, but without a lot of knowledge it's hard to predict where the damage could occur. There really isn't such a thing as 'the' proper technique that you have to use, as there are all sorts of singers with numerous styles who do fine health wise. There are vocal impersonators who do fine as well.

My voice is likely permanently damaged, I have spastic muscles which I still don't know it happened:

Via a tongue stretching exercise and tearing a muscle spindle/nerve beyond repair

Repetitive vocal exercises in ignorance (gug, fry,)

Voice overuse/misuse?

Laryngitis?

Or simply bad luck and damage to my nervous system

I sang fine for like 3 years at least, but I never saw it coming and still don't know exactly why. Point being I was singing blind/naturally/intuitive and as soon as I tried to ignorantly include vocal exercises my throat went spastic.

I personally think the most dangerous thing is basically to try a crap load of vocal exercises and try to 'reinvent the wheel' so to speak without a teacher and without an education. Simply singing naturally, and exploring what is comfortable with your voice has it's place.

I'd think the next most dangerous thing would be take hits at your 'technique' like you're describing, you could be in trouble as most likely there is a technique to get you where you want to go and if there isn't, you're probably going to hurt yourself trying to find one. Everything is technique, whether we are conscious of it all of the vocal components will function in a certain unison to reach an end goal. Every time you're throwing weird stuff at the voice and not doing what you can currently do that's kind of danger zone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hmm. Here he's flat on a lot of the F4's, and there's a lot more, um, grit? I don't know what to call it.

This guy benefitted from some studio help for sure. But there's still talent there. Not every pro singer will be as good as Kelly Clarkson, it just doesn't happen that way. Give them a break.

I thought he did a very good job actually. Not technically perfect, but the feeling is there for sure and he didn't "back down". The grit were too much at some points, but very good addition at others.

Cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which illusrates the point. This is a live performance and everyone makes little mistakes.

And I have said this before and it sometimes meets resistance, as if ignoring it makes it go away. Of course the song on the album and in the theatrical release video is auto-tuned. I have read some books on recording from recording engineers. Everything, and I do mean everything gets autotuned. That's going to burst some bubbles and I can't help that. But recording engineers who are getting 10 percent of your 12.5 percent of album sales are going to autotune. They cannot afford not to. They will politely tell you that they did not tune your vocal track. And you go off to dinner, happy and oblivious. And they autotune it anyway. That's just the way it is. Life is harsh.

And in a live performance, there are no do-overs, no second takes. Do it now. And if you flub a bit, you keep right on rolling and float it into something that works. He still has great technique, in my opinion, and an awesome tone. And he's human.

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...