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Author Topic: Learning to Sing  (Read 4861 times)

Offline prjacobs

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2008, 12:29:35 PM »
Greg, what songs can you sing along with comfortably?  If you're singing along with Warren Zevon, you're probably a baritone, which is what most male singer are.  The baritone range is listed in Wikipedia as from  F2 - F4, C4 being middle C on the piano.  I think you'll find that your lowest note is actually an octave lower that what you've written.  Werewolves Of London, in the key  of G, goes down to a D below middle C and Warren's "ah-ooh" goes from the G below middle C to the G above it.  G3 - G4. Of course, Warren and most baritones would use falsetto to hit the high G and not try to belt it.  So, including the falsetto G over middle C, Werewolves has a range of an octave and a 4th., pretty typical for a pop song.  Let us know a few songs that you sing, and we can give you your range.
 

Learning to Sing

Offline Steel Pelican

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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2008, 01:06:16 PM »
At this point, the list of songs I'm comfortable singing is very short: None.  There's likely a confidence issue here, as well.  

At lunch, I tested my upper range, and found it to be a little higher than G5 (I believe it's G5, but to be absolutely clear, it's the 9th fret on the a guitar's B string). And to be doubly clear, the G I was referring to earlier (my low one) would be 3rd fret on a low E.  I can likely go lower, and I'll explore that this evening.

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Learning to Sing

Offline Lwinn171

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2008, 01:09:14 PM »
I am actually a fairly well trained vocalist, although I rarely sing in the bands I've been in, preferring to focus on the guitar. I'm starting to add it in, though. My training was in high school and I was actually on scholarship at college, until I changed majors after a year.

Breathing properly is important. Most people assume (having been told so) that you pull in the gut and expand the chest to get 2 lungs-full. Not so. If you expand the belly first, you fill the lungs from the bottom up, get more air, and have your diaphragm positioned to push it out in a controlled manner. Practice this by breathing in, in a seated position (as one teacher told me "like you're sitting on the toilet") leaning forward just a bit. Not breathing properly can lead to bad technique and be harmful to your vocal chords. It takes a while to do damage, usually, in this manner, but it's best to avoid it. Learning to do this standing (or while playing guitar) is the next step.

Find your range, and don't try to hard to expand it. Over time you may find it expands on it's own, as your technique improves. But it is important to be realistic about what's comfortable, and useful.

Finally, by all means check your intonation against a reliable source, as much as you can. You have to teach your voice to hone in on notes quickly, trying to avoid scooping up to the note. This takes time, so be patient. Practicing scales with ALL the vowel sounds is helpful. If you can record your practice, it will reveal every weakness, and that can help. Don't let it be discouraging though. Let it help you to focus on trouble spots.

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Learning to Sing

Offline Paul Marossy

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2008, 02:14:32 PM »
quote:
Breathing properly is important. Most people assume (having been told so) that you pull in the gut and expand the chest to get 2 lungs-full. Not so. If you expand the belly first, you fill the lungs from the bottom up, get more air, and have your diaphragm positioned to push it out in a controlled manner.


+1, from personal experience. I rarely sing anything these days, but at one time, I had a fairly decent voice. Some years ago now, I used to try to sing along with that Steelheart tune called "Angel Eyes". The singer had a pretty awesome high range, which I could not reach. [:I]

Anyhow, I think I'm a baritone, so I'm just an average white boy I guess. [:D]

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Learning to Sing

Offline mountaindewaddict

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2008, 04:04:47 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by Lwinn171
Breathing properly is important. Most people assume (having been told so) that you pull in the gut and expand the chest to get 2 lungs-full. Not so. If you expand the belly first, you fill the lungs from the bottom up, get more air, and have your diaphragm positioned to push it out in a controlled manner.

Finally, by all means check your intonation against a reliable source, as much as you can. You have to teach your voice to hone in on notes quickly, trying to avoid scooping up to the note.


Greg, Lawrence is dead on here.  I totally agree.  If you have a guitar tuner that acts as a pitch pipe (MF sells a Qwick Tune one that does this with all the notes in standard tuning for $10.00), that can be a good place to get started.

Casey

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Learning to Sing

Offline Steel Pelican

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« Reply #20 on: July 21, 2008, 10:50:39 AM »
I've returned from a weekend of some vocal experimentation, and I've found some guidance.  My roommate (a talented musician in his own right) and I spent a few hours last night doing some singalongs to help establish my comfort zone.  We worked on some Bowie ("Space Oddity"), Beatles ("Hey Jude"), Radiohead ("Let Down," "Creep," and "Fake Plastic Trees") Pearl Jam ("Alive," "Black"), and Rolling Stones ("Sway," "Wild Horses) songs before finding this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBkTUzKAiXQ as an excellent fit for me.  I'll be working on this one for the next week or so, recording and analyzing periodically.

Thanks again for all the tips!

-Greg
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Learning to Sing

Offline mountaindewaddict

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2008, 02:55:49 PM »
Greg, good luck as you go forward!

Casey

Gear:
Parker P-44, Digitech GNX4, other stuff...
"Remember, if at first you don't succeed, you're doing it wrong."
God Bless!
Casey

Gear: Parker Fly Deluxe, Parker PDF60, Way Huge, Digitech / Hardwire, Line 6, Source Audio,T-Rex, and TC Electronic Pedals, Egnater amps, other stuff... God Bless!

Learning to Sing

Offline BrainWorm

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #22 on: July 22, 2008, 01:13:33 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2fgTky_L_0&feature=related

I'm working on this G.G. Allin song. It's a simple song, 1-4-5 chord structure, D-G-A. But played D-A-G usually, with a G note added on the high E string on the A chord sometimes. It turned out to be a challenge to get the proper emotional impact. I tried sweeting it up and using the chords in different order. I went back to doing it more in the way G.G. Allin recorded it. I want to have the proper respect for his song and the price he paid to write it. Only change I  made was to add the E note on the A chord while singing the words instead of the E note on the turmaround I guess it's called.

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Offline davecan

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2008, 04:04:52 PM »
I couldn't sing at all, then I bought Set Your Voice Free by Roger Love and started doing the exercises on the CD (don't think I read the book at all).  Some may still think I can't sing, but I am 1000% better than I was (and continue to improve).




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Learning to Sing

Offline David Tomkins

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« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2008, 04:24:37 AM »
is it possible to extend one's vocal range?  i always find i can't can't sing a lot of songs because they are just too high

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Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #25 on: August 25, 2008, 07:11:19 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by David Tomkins

is it possible to extend one's vocal range?  i always find i can't can't sing a lot of songs because they are just too high




I'm not a vocal coach, but it's been my experience that you can only extend your range a small amount with better technique. I had a friend with a great voice, who was always complaining that he couldn't sing high enough and he never really appreciated how beautiful and musical his voice was. I think that the real work is taking what range you do have and finding your own voice.
 

Learning to Sing

Offline mountaindewaddict

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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2008, 10:40:15 AM »
Paul J, would you say that range is really more of a mechanical function of the vocal chords?  That is to say, exercises and technique will only push it maybe two or three whole steps in either direction; other than that you're pretty much stuck with what God gave you?  So we should strive to sing our range better, and not worry so much about increasing it.

Something else to consider is that our range changes over time.  I have a much higher range now than I did in college (or maybe I'm comfortable in the fullness of my range?).  I think age and how you treat your vocal chords has a lot to do with your range.

Casey

Gear:
Parker P-44, Digitech GNX4, other stuff...
"Remember, if at first you don't succeed, you're doing it wrong."
God Bless!
Casey

Gear: Parker Fly Deluxe, Parker PDF60, Way Huge, Digitech / Hardwire, Line 6, Source Audio,T-Rex, and TC Electronic Pedals, Egnater amps, other stuff... God Bless!

Learning to Sing

Offline prjacobs

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Learning to Sing
« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2008, 11:23:31 AM »
Casey, I would agree that size, shape, thickness, etc. of the vocal chords, chest cavity,throat, and who knows what else, determine our basic range.  If you can extend your range 3 whole steps with exercises and technique, that would be an incredible accomplishment.  That's 1/2 an octave in each direction.... One octave in total.  With proper use, our voices open up and as you say, we become more comfortable using it, and what we perceive as an increase in range, perhaps is just discovering our own range.  To divert a bit, singing can be a big psychological step and opening up as a singer can, hopefully, coincide with opening up as a person.  My comment to David, really is to say that trying to sing higher and higher can become a needless distraction.
 

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Offline Lwinn171

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« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2008, 12:34:19 PM »
When I was in the voice dept at App. State, they tried to turn me into a tenor (natural baritone). I could, with lots of practice and technique, get more out of the top of my range. But it didn't really work out. The problem isn't simply one's range. It's a matter of useful, toneful range. Just hitting the notes might work in a choir of 50. In a Madrigal setting (12-15 or so), the individual voices stand out, and how musically you can use your range becomes more important. In a smaller group, even more so.

It's all about what is musically useful. Forced notes in the top of the range, can be powerful. But only if it's under control. The more you are stretching, the more unstable and unpredictable the results will be.



Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic,1998 Classic
various amps, various toys

Lawrence Winn
2001 Classic, 98 Deluxe
various amps, various toys