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Melismatic Singing

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I've been singing for a few years now. Always looking to improve, but I'm almost content with my voice now. I'm a high baritone. I've got texture, a good falsetto, agility and a good grasp on technique. I studied classical and gospel music under an instructor for some time, so I often like to incorporate techniques from both singing styles in my singing (and I mean the way certain things are done, I'm aware everything comes from Classical, so that statement is easy to sound silly). The few other things I'm interested in right now are things I already know how to go about doing.

What I'm trying to get really good at now is melismatic singing and riffing. And I'm not talking about that basic stuff used in today's Pop and R&B. I can do all of those. I'm talking about gospel caliber stuff.

For example, stuff like Tonèx does. For example, these vids:

In this last video, watch what one of the guys does from :37 to :39.

Mind you, after I see a lot of this stuff done, i can imitate it. My issue is there's no texture when I do it though. They sound "lacking". There's no bang to it.

So, surely, I know there is something I can practicing to take care of that. Don't just say "scales". I've been doing scales for years. I've gotten agility from it. Now I'm looking for the next step.

I've researched a bit, and found that this was a big thing during the Baroque singing period. However, I'm not sure about which singers to look at. And surely there are some key exercises here that I can do to get this down.

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Wow, man. Beautiful post! Thank you. Yes, Durand is indeed amazing. You also named several other people who I've been trying to figure out. I think you just opened my eyes about some things. Until now, I'd just be going off of my own gut. When I do relatively short runs, 95% of the time I can end them without being out of key. I got into doing the longer runs by listening to songs, hearing runs and then trying to extend them on my own. That side loads for my improvisation skills, because I had none before I started doing that. One of the issues I'm having with the long runs now, it's like I don't put thought into it. I start running and then I can easily run out of key, because when I think about it now, I don't even know where I'm running to. I don't think about it. It's like I've been lost with this stuff. I knew about the pentatonic scale, but didn't see how I could do much with it.

This must be my lucky day. Not only do I have a keyboard, but I've been taking lessons ever since I started singing some years back. Sometimes I'll play while I sing. So, for Middle Eastern riffs, just study diminished chords? I want to learn about as many riff styles I can.

I have a question about your Delvin Choice example. You said the guy jumps up to the 7th and goes down to the 9th? I'm not sure I understand that.

I have another example to ask you about. I've heard this style done before. It's sounds all jazzy. How is it done?

From 3:17 to 3:25. Look at how she progresses through that run.

and in this one:

from that one she starts at :19 and on.

I can hear her doing the same kind of thing over again throughout the song. What is she doing to accomplish that?

I really appreciate this. I've been interested in this stuff since I started singing. It's been a big inspiration to me. I've looked all over, and never have I had it explained in such an easily understandable way.

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WOW! I feel like you've just given me the keys to the kingdom here. Thank you so much! I really have a logical way to go about getting all of this stuff down now. I'm getting to work on this immediately. And I love Fine China! Chris Brown is great. I feel I have one more question right now, and it's not related to riffs, but I feel you'll know how to do this, because I've seen what you had to say in the Maxwell thread.

This is about another falsetto configuration. To give you an idea of what I can do, after a couple of years, I've finally gotten Eric Benèt's falsetto down pat. If you're not familiar with him, here's a link:

One thing I haven't been able to figure out yet is Musiq Soulchild's falsetto configuration. I learned my vibrato from him, but the falsetto is just tricky.

Check here from 3:00 to 3:25

1:15 in this next one


In this next one, 1:29 and 1:38 to the end.

And in this last one, 3:36 onward

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  • 4 weeks later...

man, i'd like to tell those guys singing at the food court to be a little more respectful of the people that are there trying to eat.


I know, man. Those runs are just disgusting :D

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