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Everything posted by kickingtone

  1. It's not all about the genre, but also the piece of music. You could probably write something too challenging for the human voice in any genre. But most genres don't go looking for technical difficulty, as such. That may happen more in opera, as there seems to be a "showing off" element of the singer, as well as a "badge of sophistication" for the composer. The original demand of being able to be heard at the back row of a huge venue did set classical singing necessarily apart, but now, with mics...?
  2. Thanks Mikeo! Much appreciated, man. Dynamic range is something I have to get better at. I went quieter than I meant to on that clip. Maybe should have played the mic and moved in for those phrases. Two singers getting vocals sorted, I totally get why that takes a lot of effort, particular getting the tones to mix or contrast the way you want, and to match phrasing. For some songs I can barely manage a singalong. When I do practice clips, I tend to just "wing it" (an mangle people's favourites! ), but I am paying more attention now to the original song, for when I am ready to do "covers" (karaoke). Takes me a few weeks to "get" a song, but then it tends to stick -- no regression. For me, popping p's and hard esses come and go, depending on day of week. (Yeah, you're right. English accent. Can't do anything like a convincing accent from anywhere in the US!)
  3. How much effort you feel you are using is not necessarily an automatic guide to the intensity of your vocals. I got so used to "maximum intensity = singing at breaking point" that it became a habit. While this is good practice for gradually pushing back the breaking point, and making your voice more resilient, I discovered that it doesn't always do a heap of a lot for intensity. On this clip I was working on, I backed quite a way off the "effort" and got pretty much the same intensity, which I thought was a cool discovery! It wouldn't have worked in the past, because my voice wasn't strong enough, which is why I got into the habit of maxing out (<---- maXing out ) in the first place. Still gonna practise maxing out, just for improving resilience.
  4. I've recently noticed that it seems to happen if I eat stuff that gives me a mildly sore throat! It's odd because it is not obvious that that would do anything to an ess sound. It doesn't affect much else. I feel as if I am lisping, and the more I think about it, the worse it seems to get. I think that my esses are slightly heavy naturally, and this just seems to tip it over the edge. A lot of it is probably all in the head, but how obvious is it here? It's just an old practice thing I use. It sounds to me like I've had a bit too much to drink, but maybe I am listening too closely! The worse are phrases with esses and th's in close proximity.
  5. You definitely have to be positive... bullish even... with these things. Go for it! You are way past any "disaster" level already. And, in any case, nothing is really a "disaster" unless you make it one (by giving up, for example). We all know that any achievement feels really good. For me, discovering consistent problems or mistakes feels even better! They are a ticket to improvement -- an exciting "aha!" moment! I can't wait to fix the problem and hear the improvement. The most challenging things are inconsistent mistakes: the things that seem to work one moment, and break the next. But finding the reason for the inconsistency is like a treasure hunt. The whole process is fun!
  6. Hi kqcl. I have listened to your clips. I think that your pitch sense is fine. Have confidence and trust it. Don't overthink your pitch. You are "aiming" naturally. Think very, very carefully before you attempt to make adjustments to something that comes naturally and doesn't need adjustment. It can be irreversible! Each and every note that we sing consists of a heap of related frequencies (the "lowest" is called the fundamental). We have to practise balancing that heap. so that it is not shifting unintentionally from one note to another (i.e all shifting is a matter of deliberate expression). So, as a singer, you have to learn to listen deep into your entire tone, so that you can hear what the low partials are doing, and what the higher partials are doing. Make sure they are working smoothly together on each note. It is very easy to tune into the sweet spot of your voice and ignore the rest. In your clips I think that the lower partials in your tone are slightly more responsive than your higher partials (I definitely wouldn't call it "scooping"). My advice would be to look for exercises to bring them up to balance. That may involve singing things that are not particularly your favourites, but which give your higher partials more of a workout.
  7. Hi, and welcome to the forum. I've heard of two concepts related to your question. 1. Muscle memory. This is the idea that repetitive actions get seared into the neural pathways, until they become subconscious. I personally believe this idea to be overrated. 2. Audiation. This is the hearing equivalent of imagination. Just as an artist painting a picture may have an image he wants to paint in his head, so a singer can have a melody in his head. Singing then involves singing along to what you are audiating. The more you practice audiating, and (strangely enough) the better your physical technique, range etc. is, the clearer your audiation becomes -- making it easier to sing along. I think there is a reason for this. When we hear sounds, we may have a subconscious tendency to mimic them internally (i.e not actually aloud) -- causing muscles to actually engage, twitch or prime in sympathy. The more our muscles are in tune with the sound (or the more we feel that they are), the more strongly we can "hear the sound in our imagination" or audiate it. Conversely, having no sense of being able to reproduce a sound, can make it more difficult to hear it in your head. Even imagining that we are capable, when we are not, helps. (People can subconsciously engage all the wrong muscles, when listening to a rock star, for example -- but it still helps audiation. Having no physical engagement would have a blocking effect.) Quite by accident of practice, my audiation has improved substantially. It used to be the case that, if I was singing a song in my head and walked into a place where some other tune was playing, it would block my song out completely. I don't know when it started happening, but now I can sing a song in my head while another song is playing in the background. And when I get ideas for a new song, I can now remember the tune much more easily. It used to be the case that if I didn't get somewhere quickly where I could record the idea, I would lose it. (All that is probably not a problem for people who can write music). So, I would recommend audiation as a great help in remembering and recalling songs. It is a lot more natural and flexible, too, than muscle memory, allowing you improvise, or be as close as you like to the original song. (Songs that are not for a cappella can sound strange if sung a cappella solo -- unless you adapt them.)
  8. Oops! Missed this. Thanks for the feedback, CB! Yes, I was exercising keeping a blend. I'm really glad that it is noticeable to other people besides myself. Thanks for mentioning, man.
  9. Yes! That would work, I think! It's so difficult to say. A good example is 0:23 to 0:30 where your words are very percussive. I can see why you have done that. It does fit AND produce emphasis! On the other hand 1:26 (for example) I think that it is your tone with the slight distortion effect that is doing the legwork on the emphasis at that point. A vocal technique is to use cry, call or distortion for emphasis. Now what I am thinking is more of that 1:26 stuff at vocal emphasis points, and moving the percussive emphasis (in the 0:23 vocal) to a percussion instrument. For me, what would work well is an actual gentle, low throbbing heartbeat sound -- with the same basic rhythm as the guitar, but able to bring out a touch of syncopation and that characteristic heartbeat bounce -- all in the background. (I dunno, maybe you'd need a synth), but not too forward or obvious -- just at the level that you'd have to kinda look for it to really pick it out. Yeah, a carefully recorded slapbox could do the trick, actually, with maybe a little distortion added to it to get that throb sound. I dunno how you could manage it though, without taking away from what you already have. I think that the production doesn't need much added. It is so nearly all there, and your voice does fit very well. You definitely don't want to crowd the production, having got that amount of synergy out of a minimalist arrangement.
  10. Hi Leon, I had a listen. I'd definitely put it in the "has something special" category. You've chosen your chords for the song really well. You've used repetition and simplicity to great effect, and that is not easy at all. But I would say it needs arranging and polishing. That's just my preference. I am hearing a good and interesting balance between optimism and a sombre undertone in the chords, which is perfect for the lyrics. The rhythm is doing the same thing, too -- the repetition acting as positive forward march, but also as a relentless background warning. Very good. You can really play with that. The subtlest change can shift the emphasis between the two (Paul Simon was great a producing that sort of effect). It's one of those situations that has a great dynamic that seems to come almost from nowhere -- on one level the thing is repeating, but on another it is switching. I think that the base needs a touch more depth and "throb" to it, but it has to be subtle -- just to bring out that sombre/heartbeat effect a bit more. Dunno how to describe it or how you can produce it, but I don't think a guitar is going to carry that bit. So some other instrument/production technique needs to be in the mix? Vocals are ok. It's gonna take practice! One thing -- I think you have tried to take on too much of the role of the rhythmic emphasis. I think that that is better left to the instrument(s), in this song. Your vocals would even be better off acting as a counter, imo, easing off the emphasis and bring out the freer side of the mix. That differentiation would make both the rhythm and the vocals stand out more. Perhaps you were instinctively adding in that final umph to the rhythm, which I think is best achieved with a subtle base enhancement. Your vocal tone fits the song. Diction and clarity need some work, I think, without destroying the nature and spontaneity of your voice. Good stuff!
  11. It's going to take someone who is into the genre to comment properly. That person isn't me. Pitch seemed fine.
  12. I'll have a listen if you post it on a streaming service like vocaroo or soundcloud. I personally don't like to download files because of possible malware.
  13. I guess that there are so many different approaches that work differently for different people. All I can suggest is to dig around, research, experiment and practice. I really don't think that there is any way round that. Even if you find a voice teacher, you still have to figure out if the teacher is right for you. Bear in mind that different techniques may lead to different timbres, and some are physically safer than others, and many are psychological instructions rather than precise ones. For example, "focus the breath on the spot below my nose", is definitely worth a try. It may work for one person, but not another. However, it is psychological --- the breath isn't actually focusing there. It's just a way some people find handy in thinking about what they do, and it gets them to do something else that does really happen. If that works, does it produce the timbre you want? Does if feel comfortable and safe? Are there other techniques that would work better for what you want? Only the singer can ultimately answer these questions, by experimenting and practising. Then again, there are people who are happy leaving all those question to a teacher....which they may find they have to change...again...and again...and again..
  14. "Absolute pitch" is not a single well-defined ability. It involves pitch retention and recall -- allowing you to compare or repeat tones even if they were from the past. There may also be the ability to break down combinations of notes -- allowing you to identify all the separate tones in a chord, for example. But someone with relative pitch may be able to do that, as well, if a reference tone is fresh in their mind. Having one ability does not necessarily imply having the other. It is also not clear how much of the ability relies on familiarity with man made standards (e.g tuning A4 to 440 Hz). Using man-made standards is definitely something that would have to be learned. Would someone who could identify separate notes in a chord still be able to do so if A4 were tuned to 420 Hz instead? Or would they get "lost"? i.e have they only learned "familiarity" with certain tones and chords, or are they truly isolating the tones? If you throw in a couple of unusual or "out of tune" notes into your chord, would they be able to read back the standard notes and tell you if the rest were "flat/sharp"? Or would the entire thing sound unfamiliar or messed up to them? Producing a reference note is easy as pie, so having absolute pitch for that is not a big deal. Then there are people who claim that each absolute note has a character of its own, and the slightest shift of key changes the whole feeling of the music (poor things, lol). There is a story of someone who couldn't listen to a piano 2Hz out of tune without his teeth being set on edge. Whether or not this is a good thing, I cannot tell! It would be interesting to see so-called "absolute pitch" researched more generically (i.e independently of standards, like A4 = 440 Hz). Standards do not reflect musicality. They are restrictions introduced for practical reasons.
  15. *belch* puts beer down Dutch courage FTW! Decent pitch perception. More head tones needed for this song. More dynamic. (Would also help sort out the occasional mis-pitch) Ay...and welcome to forum.
  16. Thanks, Davie. Concern for relatives, friends, children/cancelled school and cancelled exams, health, job, money, food...so many angles anxiety can come from. it will hit people differently depending on circumstance. I aim to stay positive as well as respect the people around me. We are all in the same boat and different boats at the same time. We are in lock down here in the England (even had drones following people around on one occasion that was widely criticized!) I always find myself singing in tough situations. I don't know if that is a "coping mechanism" or from having to reflect so much. Good weather makes me sing too. At least we are having the odd spell of that in England right now. I just hope everything settles down as best it can, and anxiety levels drop for everyone.
  17. Still training folks. COVID-19 has led to internet video and sound quality being lowered! Stay safe!
  18. Would you say that you played it more by ear than musical theory, or vice versa, Davie? Was there a lot of theory involved? I'm just asking from the standpoint of someone who doesn't know any.
  19. Impressive stuff. Composition sounds smooth and the vibe is very relevant. Must have been quite a journey (as well as a baptism of fire). Lyrics first, or music? Or a lot of back and forth?
  20. Nice! Did you create all of the backing track, as well?
  21. ^ Can't comment much on that edgy stuff, as I mentioned. But I noticed a break between oh and oo when you are doing those scales in the first clip. It sounds to me as if you are trying to onset the oo too soon before you have shaped your mouth. Then you try to force the onset without having created that resonant space. Try shaping the lips for the oo a tad earlier (just as the oh is ending), and see if that helps eliminate the break.
  22. I have a very UNedgy tone, myself, so I can't say too much about this technique, except to say that techniques don't always mix and match. Advice for one technique may not apply, or even be detrimental, to another technique. You have to organize and remember what belongs to which technique. I've been listening to your clips, as I have been curious about how you are getting on with the exercises davie gave you. Whatever method/exercise you use, you have to give it time (months! lol!) Short term goal = months! Although I don't use much edge and don't have much experience to share on it, I would have thought that picking a song with plenty of edge in it would help, because you must have the sound you are aiming for in your head in order to succeed.
  23. I think that a muffled sound would usually be more of a placement issue. Singers can sound twice as breathy as you are, while sounding clear as a bell. They are still able to access the higher harmonics that lead to a more defined tone, while sounding as breathy as they want. But everything is interconnected, and it is possible that placement problems can result from airflow problems. Some techniques do not allow you to access higher harmonics with a breathy tone. For such techniques, the route you would take is to reduce the breathiness, using more vocal fold compression. But then you may have to start imagining a different tone from the a cappella singers in the Amazing Grace video. They are not using an edgy tone. Psychologically it is a problem if you have a target tone and a technique that doesn't match. Some tutors suggest that you can start with the vocal fold compression technique, and add breathiness in as some kind of advanced feature. I am very suspicious of this advice, myself. I have not heard any of those tutors themselves demonstrate a breathy tone competently. The genres they tend to sing in are incompatible with breathy tones. I think that the "advanced feature" is control at the diaphragm, which is what should be taught from the start. Not that I recall. If you want more rattle/edge to your tone, then increased vocal fold compression is essential.
  24. Some techniques rely more heavily than others on vocal fold closure. You can hear quite a lot of "breathiness" from the a cappella group in the 'Amazing Grace' video, you posted earlier (I've included a link at the bottom of this post). They sound good. Breathy singing is not a problem at all. In fact it can give a sense of relaxation/peace/emphasis(secrecy) etc. When combined with good projection, it creates a great dynamic, especially relative to the call register. "Breathiness" doesn't cause any technical problems when the airflow is controlled adequately at the diaphragm. Also, with this technique, normal or light vocal fold closure is fine/desirable, but it must come with good "placement" -- a way to get the sound to resonate well in the vocal tract. For techniques that rely more on vocal fold closure to control airflow, breathiness WILL cause technical problems. These techniques need your vocal folds not only to come fully together as they vibrate, but to stay together closed for longer on each cycle, to slow the airflow. You cannot do that and allow breathiness at the same time. Longer fold closure also creates more rattle (edge/metal) to the tone. To my ears, "rattle" has a markedly different quality to the resonant "ring"" created by placement. Breathiness is not a technical or style issue, unless you are using a technique that does not allow it, or a genre that does not want it -- like heavy rock, metal etc. So, in choosing between such techniques, you are actually choosing style and tone, not universal singing basics. Confusion can often be caused when people tell you that your vocal folds are not fully closing. Your vocal folds can be fully closing, while not staying closed for as long as THEIR chosen technique requires. So, it is wise to understand the implications, and to avoid having a genre imposed on you. Unfortunately, that is how some people push their own preferences. https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/topic/1943938-would-greatly-appreciate-advice-on-my-tone/?do=findComment&comment=31080242
  25. Vibrato is a long running controversial topic. For a start, there are so many different ways people produce "vibrato", and argument over whether they are all vibrato, and which is natural "vibrato", etc. etc. blah blah blah Then there is this myth that vibrato defines good technique. Vibrato belongs to a relatively tiny subset of genres across the world. It is more a style that has its roots in Western classical singing. There was a period in classical singing called the "vibrato wars" where some commentators hated the trend so much, especially wide vibrato, that they referred to it as "bleating". Now, with the ability to autotune vibrato, it may be becoming more popular again.
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