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Lyric vs. Singing Interpretation

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THis is a little bit of an informal drop in the lyrics writing thread.


THe point i wanted to make was i think lyrics are kind of secondary to singing. What i m ean by that is how something is sung is more important (to me at least) than what is actually being said lyrically.


I think of music and singing as being a more eloquent means of communication... it's communication like speaking english is communication. And when someone communicates to me in english i tend to not focus directly on what is being said but HOW something is being said. THe same goes for singing. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I tend to believe that the majority of communication is non verbal and I think if you put the words before emotion you're gonna end up with a hollow poetic-exercise as a result.


Here's an exercise, take a mundane phrase "i love you" and say it in as many different contextual ways you can possibly think of, not focusing not on the words so much as the feeling behind it.


Listen to Frank Sinatra.


Frank Sinatra knows exactly what I'm talking about. THere has never been a greater interpreter of songs (IMHO) than old blue eyes. Take anything off of his 1950's period IN the wee small hours..., no one cares, only the lonely and listen to how he takes songs that have been sung many times before by many singers with pretty banal lyrics and brings them to life in ways never done before or since by any singer I've heard of.


What'd you think? Discuss.

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The crux of your love for Frank is his phrasing. That is part of his and any vocalist technique. Yet, any vocal technique has the purpose of communicating and interpreting the message in the lyrics. Tony Bennett is another master at phrasing. He came up with "I left my heart" beat "in San Francisco". The listener wants to know where he left his heart, and that pause creates the interest.


Sinatra's "I've Got You Under My Skin" is another great example of incredible phrasing.


Yet, there is something also in the misinterpretation of lyrics. Seal has repeatedly said that whatever you think his lyrics are, are what they are. How you interpret his singing.


For example, who knew the real lyrics to Walk Away Rene but the Left Banke themselves prior to having everything posted on the web? I don't want to know the real lyrics. I have my own for that tune. For the longest time I thought Herman's Hermits song was, "There's a can of mush, on my windowsill", not, "There's a kind of hush, all over the world". Again, my interpretation. And perhaps the problem wasn't so much vocal technique, but the recording techniques used and the shoddy stereo and mono equipment we had to listen to them.


I've studied vocal technique for years, (a great book by the way is "On Studying Singing" by Sergius Kagan), and always, the first step is to break down the lyrics and insert your breath marks. Here's where you can figure your phrasing, using both interpretation of the lyrics combined with breathing technique. The best, I would say, is a combination of the two.


sic eas ad astra



Confucious say, "Man who lay girl on hill, not on level"

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