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Singing Pet Peeves.... what are yours?

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  • #16
    rememberizing lyrics. even for originals.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">this is my 1 post for the month.</div>

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    • #17
      What too many guitar, keyboard and bass players don't understand or refuse to accept is the fact that their instruments are always physically capable of producing all the notes unless they are broken or faulty. But no matter how many hours they practice they will not be able to play notes that are beyond the range of the instrument.

      The range of the voice depends on the size of the vocal chords. Think of saxophones. The soprano sax (Kenny G) is is very small instrument, incapable of playing the low notes which can be played on an alto sax. But it easily produces much higher notes because of its small size. The tenor sax is bigger than the alto, and is capable of much lower notes, but has trouble going as high. And so on. The size of the instrument dictates how high and low it can play.

      Small vocal cords (sopranos) are capable of producing higher notes than the next bigger size (altos), which are capable of producing higher sounds than tenor (male) cords, and so on. Unlike saxophones, vocal chords can often be taught to extend their high ranges, but this is limited, and when the singer strains to hit the high notes they damage their instrument (and sound bad) The low range is almost impossible to extend beyond the physical limits of the cords.

      When we reach adulthood, like our noses or ears, our vocal cords settle into a specific size which dictates how high or low they can sing. This seldom changes during our lives. No matter how much the guitar player complains, a guy with bass-sized vocal cords will not be able to cover a Steve Perry song in the original key.

      The argument that practicing will change the size of the vocal instrument is like saying that practicing will change the size and range of the guitar or bass. It won't work.

      The keys of Steven Tyler's songs are carefully chosen to accommodate the size of his vocal cords. (His range) Unless your band has a singer with Steven Tyler-sized cords there are probably going to be several Aerosmith songs you will need to change the key on if you want your singer (and band) to sound good. The audience doesn't care what key you do a song in as long as it sounds good.

      Like it or not, the lead singer is usually the defining factor in the personality of the band. Care must be taken to insure that he or she sounds the best they possibly can. If this means changing keys, and often does, that's what must be done.

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      • #18
        What too many guitar, keyboard and bass players don't understand or refuse to accept is the fact that their instruments are always physically capable of producing all the notes unless they are broken or faulty. But no matter how many hours they practice they will not be able to play notes that are beyond the range of the instrument.

        The range of the voice depends on the size of the vocal chords. Think of saxophones. The soprano sax (Kenny G) is is very small instrument, incapable of playing the low notes which can be played on an alto sax. But it easily produces much higher notes because of its small size. The tenor sax is bigger than the alto, and is capable of much lower notes, but has trouble going as high. And so on. The size of the instrument dictates how high and low it can play.

        Small vocal cords (sopranos) are capable of producing higher notes than the next bigger size (altos), which are capable of producing higher sounds than tenor (male) cords, and so on. Unlike saxophones, vocal chords can often be taught to extend their high ranges, but this is limited, and when the singer strains to hit the high notes they damage their instrument (and sound bad) The low range is almost impossible to extend beyond the physical limits of the cords.

        When we reach adulthood, like our noses or ears, our vocal cords settle into a specific size which dictates how high or low they can sing. This seldom changes during our lives. No matter how much the guitar player complains, a guy with bass-sized vocal cords will not be able to cover a Steve Perry song in the original key.

        The argument that practicing will change the size of the vocal instrument is like saying that practicing will change the size and range of the guitar or bass. It won't work.

        The keys of Steven Tyler's songs are carefully chosen to accommodate the size of his vocal cords. (His range) Unless your band has a singer with Steven Tyler-sized cords there are probably going to be several Aerosmith songs you will need to change the key on if you want your singer (and band) to sound good. The audience doesn't care what key you do a song in as long as it sounds good.

        Like it or not, the lead singer is usually the defining factor in the personality of the band. Care must be taken to insure that he or she sounds the best they possibly can. If this means changing keys, and often does, that's what must be done.


        This

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        • #19
          There you go, being all kinds of common-sensical and everything...

          Don't you know where you are?


          Great post, Al.
          ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Originally Posted by MattACaster : *Runs 2 blocks down the street to Guitar Center, grabs detuned Schecter off the wall, plugs into Line6 Spider and proceeds to bring teh brootalz*

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          • #20
            Again, this is just another myth. Of course there is a limit to anything, but unless you are a man singing way in the soprano area you have a lot of potential.

            When you start off bodybuilding being skinny and 60 kg you simply can't have the attitude that you'd might gain a couple of kg. Then you'll just be the one of many who confirm the myth that it's "impossible" to make a Hulk out of a wimp.

            You need the spirit and attitude, go for it!!

            If you don't believe me, buy Jaimie Venderas "Raise your voice", read it and work for it a while. Any man, bass or baritone can sing above a high powerful tenor C using the correct technique. Straining won't get you there. Correct practice will.

            I know, cause I used to stran with a E (as in open thin e-string on guitar), now I sing AC/DC tunes. I will be 40 soon and keep singing higher and louder....

            But most people want to believe what you said, cause it's so much more comfortable to not work hard....


            I personally have no problems--I have a very large range. I trained myself in my early 20's to be able to sing high, even though I'm naturally a baritone.
            Not everyone can do it, though. There are limits.
            And it's true that a skinny guy can't become a hulk too (w/o pharmaceutical help, that is). There is no way a true ectomorph will ever reach the size required to compete in a Mr. Olympian contest.
            I think Al's post explains it pretty well.
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            • #21
              I think *usually* moving a tune up or down a half-step is very acceptable. Occasionally, it makes a tune sound a little strange, but rarely is it even noticeable. I get a little peeved when a singer has to bring a song down a whole octave. At that point, be reasonable, the song is out of your range. Let it alone. There are exceptions, of course...guys doing songs that originally had female vocals and vice versa. Still, taking a Journey song down a whole octave, for instance, completely kills the vibe of the song.

              Other pet peeves: no one gets my on-stage jokes.

              Darn guitarists need to change guitars faster so I'm not having to do extended dance remix small talk.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">Looking to buy a tube preamp - maybe a Marshall JMP-1, maybe a Triaxis, etc. PMs me.</div>

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              • #22
                7-strings, FTW.

                Seriously, I'm mainly a singer, but as you can tell by my moniker, I'm also a guitar player, and if I'm accompanying someone else while they sing? I do everything to accomodate that singer, and I'll go as far as transposing on the fly if I have to.

                So what if I make a couple of clams on the guitar? That's MUCH less of a distraction to the audience than if the singer sounds like crap through the entire song, in a key that's out of his or her range.

                Just my opinion. Flame on...
                I guess my take on it is that if transposition makes the song sound exceedingly awkward on any instrument including voice that it should be dumped.

                This is not always possible on casuals or pickup gigs, but is how I prefer it in general.
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                • #23
                  Great post Al!

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                  • #24
                    1) Glissando: Sliding up & down to the next note rather than hitting each note. Rookie, rookie, rookie.

                    2) Singing through your teeth/nose. Open your freakin' mouth.

                    3) Cupping/eating the mic. Learn how to work a mic properly.
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                    • #25
                      Back to the OP:

                      Pet-peeves AS a singer?

                      1) Working with bands who SURPRISE! have a ****************ty PA, yet won't ratchet back on the instrumental volume to accommodate the vocals.

                      2) The times I have worked with a second singer in a cover band, even though we agree to split the songs evenly, it ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS turns into a power-grab on the other singer's part, and I have to fight to keep the distribution "even". I shouldn't have to do that.

                      3) Fascist guitarists. Enough said.


                      Pet-peeves re. OTHER singers?

                      1) This R&B style of working all your vocal exercises into a song. Try to sing the damned melody, just a little. PLEASE.

                      2) Machine-gun vibrato. No matter how good a singer sounds otherwise, if I hear the machine-gun vibrato, I'm out. There are some really well known singers out there, who get a lot of praise from other singers, yet have this deal-killer affliction.

                      3) LSD. Get over yourself and act like a human being. So you can carry a tune in a bucket. Hooray! Maybe you sound really good while doing it. Hooray! But it's a talent, not a super-power. The sooner you figure that out, the better for you and everyone who has to work with you.
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                      • #26
                        Sorry if this sounds jerkish, but as a guitarist I have a pet peeve about singers wanting to sing songs outside the original key, and just expecting the players to follow along no matter what. For guitar-centric tunes, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't.

                        Sure, a guitar player can capo a tune in C up to C# with no problems, but if the singer wants to take it down to Bb and there are a lot of embellishments involving open C and G chords, it's a completely different story.


                        I'm the lead singer. We routinely move songs to accomodate my range. If moving it ruins the sound of the song or makes it too difficult for us to play, and I just can't do it in the original key, we scrap the tune. There are a few that I am singing maybe a whole step higher or lower than I might like, just to make it easy on the guys who may have already known the tune in the original key. I don't like doing that because the vocals aren't as good as they could be, but if the vocals are still good, I'll do it.

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                        • #27
                          And I hate that acrobatic, R and B, Mariah Carey, show off every note that you have got style! Not that I could pull it off if I tried, but I still think it's way too much. Over the years I have had a few (admittedly completely naive) people ask me why I don't try out for American Idol or some such thing. I'm like, first of all, I'm way too old (44), and secondly, I'd be laughed out of the audition room! That doesn't mean I can't sing. I have been gigging for 20+ years. But I have a normal voice. A good one - people tend to think it is strong and with a good range to it, though they would probably be surprised at how narrow my actual range is. Again, it's all about singing the song in the right key for your instrument ...

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                          • #28
                            I'm the lead singer. We routinely move songs to accomodate my range. If moving it ruins the sound of the song or makes it too difficult for us to play, and I just can't do it in the original key, we scrap the tune.


                            Common sense emerges.


                            Oh, my peeve would be vocalists who start yakking before the song is over.

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                            • #29
                              Many years ago, through vocal exercises, I got to the point that I could do Queensr├┐che and Judas Priest as well as go very low.
                              But guess what? I'm just not into singing that high anymore, and there's a "sweet spot" to my voice on any given song where it just sounds right. I think that can be said of any singer. Working with a band that is willing to make the song sound its best and isn't just worried about "how can I look better than everybody else around me" like a lot of guitar players is worth gold and can truly make a difference.

                              I was in a band once where they had a female singer before me and the guitar player refused to change the keys of the songs for me. Well, that didn't work out, and that band now doesn't even exist anymore - after I left they averaged a different singer every year for like 5 years and then just gave up. That guitar player will spend the rest of his life giving lessons and bitching about how unfair it is that a guitar player like him never made it.

                              Guitar players need this reality check: if your singer isn't sounding good either because he/she is not good, or because he/she is not singing where he/she is comfortable, you're not gonna make it as a band.

                              So I guess my biggest singing pet peeve is guitar players who don't play well with other musicians

                              Second biggest pet peeve as a singer is drummers - 99% of them don't know the meaning of the word "precision". I'm using a drum machine on my recordings now for a reason...
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                              • #30
                                Like it or not, the lead singer is usually the defining factor in the personality of the band. Care must be taken to insure that he or she sounds the best they possibly can. If this means changing keys, and often does, that's what must be done.
                                The vocalist is another band member, not a god. I think he should practice too.

                                We have now established our disagreement on this issue. In stead of going on back and forth I challenge you to answer this:

                                How could I go from having a short range into being able to go deeper than Johhny Cash and higher than AC/DC?

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