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Natural Vs. Contrived

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MDEW
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Bear with me. I'm not sure how to express this.

Ex: If some one with a voice comparable to Willy Nelson wants to sing Silent Lucidity he must change his voice to give it a Darker,fuller more ominous sound. At least if he wants the song to have the same feeling as the original. That darker sound is from manipulation at least for a naturally lighter voice. At first it sounds contrived.

I was also told not to sing like Elvis because it sounded contrived, manipulated not natural.

Isn't the whole idea of training, manipulating the sound until you can sound natural?

We must learn to control the breath, Tune formants, Raise and lower the soft palet, Keep the tongue low and out of the throat, use more or less fold closure, add more or less twang......

How is any of that natural? Not manipulated?

And then we are told not to sing like another artist because it sounds contrived.

Any thoughts? Does anyone even understand the irony.

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MDEW,

I have manipulated my voice many times to suit different roles in various musicals. And I have never been told that it was contrived because it suited the character. So I guess whether someone might consider something contrived or not depends largely on what they compare it to. :)

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I think that what started me on this is that my "Natural" singing voice may be fine for some folk songs, but for others I need to add those things that others had called in my past "Contrived".

Vibrato is not natural for me at this point. Neither is compressing the sound.

Trying to sing with my natural voice is probably part of my problem.

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I like irony. Makes the shirts look flat and clean. Wait, irony, not ironing ... oops.

M, when you do funny voices, is that contrived or natural? Sure, it's something your voice can do but I think the label "funny" means you don't make those sounds all the time.

There are some natural things, structurally, though they are not always predictors of the results.

And so, if training brings about an ease or endurance of execution and sounds "natural" to others, is that then an illusion? I read an article on the main site about how the audience should not perceive so much your technique as they should enjoy the performance. That good singing leaves the audience saying "Wow, what a great song. It made me cry, laugh, remember my '68 Mustang, or whatever." Rather than, "I wonder what program he studied and how much "hold" does he use?" Of course, only us singing geeks would even think that. Maybe like a guitar player with his eyes riveted to the fretboard of an admired musician.

Pat Benetar, as a child an untrained, had a naturally beautiful voice. Beautiful, objectively enough that when she was a teenager, a local opera singing teacher sought her out and asked her parents' permission to train her. And by the time she graduated high school, she was set to go to Julliard.

Tiger Woods has a natural range of motion perfectly suited for golf. Has swung a club since he could first hold a toy club. But decades of practice and attention to detail make it look natural enough, now. But he will be the first to tell you that he practices basics.

I am not sure how well natural and contrived can be separated. Also, the use of the word contrived. People often use the word contrived to mean deceptive, disingenuous, designed to create a certain effect for some ulterior motive. And there is nothing wrong with that. The disease is in the use of the word contrived as a word meant to defame or cast doubt on the perceived validity or usefulness of whatever is "contrived."

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Your entire voice is contrived as youve been mimicng from birth. Also if you mimic certain sounds your voice will pick up qualities from those sounds. Neat huh? :)

I do think that when you make certain sounds that if they are compatable with your voice or have a quality that you now lack they will embed themselves in your natural tone.

I sometimes mimic Fat Albert (Bill Cosbys'). A husky deep sound with a lot of head overtones. I did this one voice for half a day( I know I am strange, so what?) After reverting back to my natural voice the head tone ring was still there. But the next day my voice was back to muffled and soft. I should have kept up with the Fat Albert for a few days.:P

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I do think that when you make certain sounds that if they are compatable with your voice or have a quality that you now lack they will embed themselves in your natural tone.

I sometimes mimic Fat Albert (Bill Cosbys'). A husky deep sound with a lot of head overtones. I did this one voice for half a day( I know I am strange, so what?) After reverting back to my natural voice the head tone ring was still there. But the next day my voice was back to muffled and soft. I should have kept up with the Fat Albert for a few days.:P

And don't forget the Jello ™ pudding!

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I like irony. Makes the shirts look flat and clean. Wait, irony, not ironing ... oops.

M, when you do funny voices, is that contrived or natural? Sure, it's something your voice can do but I think the label "funny" means you don't make those sounds all the time.

There are some natural things, structurally, though they are not always predictors of the results.

And so, if training brings about an ease or endurance of execution and sounds "natural" to others, is that then an illusion? I read an article on the main site about how the audience should not perceive so much your technique as they should enjoy the performance. That good singing leaves the audience saying "Wow, what a great song. It made me cry, laugh, remember my '68 Mustang, or whatever." Rather than, "I wonder what program he studied and how much "hold" does he use?" Of course, only us singing geeks would even think that. Maybe like a guitar player with his eyes riveted to the fretboard of an admired musician.

Pat Benetar, as a child an untrained, had a naturally beautiful voice. Beautiful, objectively enough that when she was a teenager, a local opera singing teacher sought her out and asked her parents' permission to train her. And by the time she graduated high school, she was set to go to Julliard.

Tiger Woods has a natural range of motion perfectly suited for golf. Has swung a club since he could first hold a toy club. But decades of practice and attention to detail make it look natural enough, now. But he will be the first to tell you that he practices basics.

I am not sure how well natural and contrived can be separated. Also, the use of the word contrived. People often use the word contrived to mean deceptive, disingenuous, designed to create a certain effect for some ulterior motive. And there is nothing wrong with that. The disease is in the use of the word contrived as a word meant to defame or cast doubt on the perceived validity or usefulness of whatever is "contrived."

I agree that the word contrived is not the best for my meaning. I tried to think of another word. Could not think of a better one.

Support can be Holding back the breath, or compressing the tone. That is not natural to me, therefore it is manipulated. Twang, although I am somewhat southern and have a natural twang to my voice, it is not a singers twang. To add twang I must manipulate.

Others on hearing me add these things would say that it sounds contrived( the bad meaning). But to eventually have them be natural to my voice I must manipulate them for the time being. Same with vibrato. In the beginning it will sound contrived until it is incorperated.

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Do you mean singing with the same color as you speak? :)

For lack of better words, Yes. I know we are not supposed to sing like we speak. Others have also implied that singing is an extension of speech.

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I agree that the word contrived is not the best for my meaning. I tried to think of another word. Could not think of a better one.

Support can be Holding back the breath, or compressing the tone. That is not natural to me, therefore it is manipulated. Twang, although I am somewhat southern and have a natural twang to my voice, it is not a singers twang. To add twang I must manipulate.

Others on hearing me add these things would say that it sounds contrived( the bad meaning). But to eventually have them be natural to my voice I must manipulate them for the time being. Same with vibrato. In the beginning it will sound contrived until it is incorperated.

Then the choice of the word contrived was not yours but that of others. And using it for the purpose I mentioned, which is that somehow, contriving is somehow bad or not desired. And if "contrived" results in greater results, then contrive away. Or contrive until it seems natural. In which case, I am contriving, as well.

But I kind of get Jens' point, too. It's all contrived once you get past whatever primal sound or tone generation from the folds themselves.

Now, if the people who said you sound "contrived" when you do these other things were family, as you have mentioned before, oh lordy, don't let me get started on that ....

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For lack of better words, Yes. I know we are not supposed to sing like we speak. Others have also implied that singing is an extension of speech.

Yes, many people get into trouble because they expect their singing to sound like they speak. :)

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But about something sounding contrived? Sometimes, an actor, playing a character from Texas will have this "exaggerated" accent that is not what I hear from the locals that I live around. Whatever it is, I can tell they are not speaking with "legitimate" texan accent. Then, again, maybe they did not use a vocal coach to help learn the accent. Simply took the role and used what they hear in a southern accent and put that in.

Actor John Hillerman played the character Higgins from the tv show "Magnum, P.I." In that show, Higgins has a bit of a bostonian accent, mixed with upper crust british. John Hillerman is originally from Hondo, Texas. He had gone to acting and voice coaches to learn to do these other accents and you would never know he is from Hondo until he speaks in his normal voice.

Bruce Springsteen is from New Jersey and sounds like a redneck when he sings. Elton John is from Great Britain and sounds like a hick when he sings. I sound mexican when I speak Spanish. Mainly because I learned Spanish from mexicans, not gringos putting their own spin on it. Yo mexicano in my Corazon. :) But I sound german when I speak German. My ears pick up the sounds of the native speakers. So, I am probably contriving, there.

What if John Hillerman had someone close to him or important to him telling him that is bostonian accent was contrived, with the intention of having him stop that "contrivance"? He would have missed out on being on a hugely popular show.

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To also go along with what Jens mentioned, mimicry and environment pretty much being incorporated into our "Natural" sound. There are times that we must OVER USE an element to break the bad habits that our environment instilled in our "Natural" voice.

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Yes and yes. We learned our speach patterns and accents from mimicking our surroundings. And we can change that, sometimes by exaggerating or taking it to "extremes." I say, contrive away.

Join me on the highay to . ....... contrived sounds.

I bet you thought I was going to say something else.

(sorry to disappoint, Jonpall :P )

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mdew,

as a singer gains more and more experience and develops more strength and finesse, he is going to discover that not only can his singing (at times) sound "unnatural" (or better yet, let's call it un-themselves) it can also feel and be sensed to be unnatural.

you might even find that the tuning you might need to do to get at a certain sound/tone or note is way off of what you thought would work.

example: i would always dread the "i've been waiting" part in "waiting for a girl like you." i'd experiment and experiment with all these ways to stay strong and resonant up there..tweaking vowels, watching i kept the support, didn't break, or overblow....

then one day i watched lou doing it on a video and i saw how he didn't open up the mouth much when he sang it. so i just tried to sing a little more closed down and all of a sudden i sensed a place of depth and release (best i can describe) right behind the nose going what feels like straight up.

once i ran into this place, i just knew from what my mind was telling me that it needed a certain level of breath tension to light this place up (to resonate really well).

so kept at it and now i just feel for that place keep getting more and more familiar with, and when i hit it feels like my jaw has jutted out, but in the mirror it doesn't look like that at all.

maybe i need to compensate a little for a slightly receding jawline i was cursed with...who knows but man when i configure to get whole thing it sounds so rich and thick yet feels a bit "unnatural."

bob

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MDEW,

I simply don't work with the "natural" concept. I see the voice as an instrument capable of so many different sounds. And by knowing how to "play" it you can utilize it optimally to suit your artistic choices. :)

yes... Just yes :)

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Thanks for the input guys.

Just hoping that if someone else is having difficulties because some of the things needed in singing make them sound different, They will realise that you really do not know how you sound until you get the proper training down.

And do not let it discourage you if you do not have the sound that you want now.

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Thanks for the input guys.

Just hoping that if someone else is having difficulties because some of the things needed in singing make them sound different, They will realise that you really do not know how you sound until you get the proper training down.

And do not let it discourage you if you do not have the sound that you want now.

Anthony Frisell has said things similar to this. In training the voice, you will make sounds that seem odd or unnatural to you. They are for training. Too often, the student, and the teacher, go to fast for the finished product sound.

Contrivin' on a Saturday ....

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Contrive is a bad word for this. Maybe I should have used GOOSENFRABE? :o:P:lol::rolleyes: :cool:

Yes, always, yes. The next time a family member says you sound contrived, reply with that word. In for a penny, in for a pound ....

And enjoy the mystified look on their face at hearing that word? Expect more rebuffing and what-not, after that, as well.

And, it could be a good song title, though I would need to figure out what it means. :lol:

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