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What makes better singing?


Ross Brown

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Overall, my singing is getting better and I am trying more different songs. Some are good, some not so much.

 

Advice from my wife about my singing is below: What would you add, or disagree with (in general not specifically about me just about singing)

 

1. Dont try so hard to make sure the timing is perfect and just sing and tell a story ie sing less and tell the story more.

 

2. Pronounce the words clearly

 

3. Approach the microphone like you own it (and the room)

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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Smart lady. I think she's spot on. Especially #2 and #3. I think intonation is an important one; so listen back to the tapes to see which notes you tend to be flat on. Always flat; never sharp. Why is that?

 

I read a post either here or at Harmonycentral's forum. The fella decided that he would sing each song even more like what the original singer would do. He'd try to sound more like Sinatra than Sinatra, More like Bono than Bono, etc. After the gig he was expecting comments of "Why the schmaltz?" But instead each comment was, "Holy crap, you've never sounded so good". So own it, baby.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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#1 and #3, yes. Not so sure about #2, only because I can think of plenty great singers who were often unintelligible on stage. Joe Strummer comes to mind. So does Mick Jagger. In those cases, it seems that the passion and energy of the song overcomes the need for enunciation.

 

Corollary to #3, I would say: be yourself as a singer. Don't try to sing "like" anyone else. You won't ever sound like the other person you are trying to sing like, and everyone will unfavorably compare you to the original anyway.

"Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks of changing themselves." Leo Tolstoy
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I disagree with all of them -- not that they're necessarily wrong, just that it isn't a "one way" approach.

 

#1: Vocal timing is incredibly important to the phrasing and feel of the song. Record yourself and you'll see what I mean.

 

#2: That can be overdone. I feel Billy Joel OH-VERR- PRO-NOUN-SEZZZZ his words.

 

#3: Mic control is an art in itself.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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I disagree with all of them -- not that they're necessarily wrong, just that it isn't a "one way" approach.

 

#1: Vocal timing is incredibly important to the phrasing and feel of the song. Record yourself and you'll see what I mean.

 

 

This was an approach she suggested for me. She was not suggesting that timing is not important, she is suggesting that I should get my mind to a place where I don't worry about it... it will occur naturally as i tell the story... If I think too hard about it, I become mechanical.... I agree that the end product must include appropriate timing and phrasing.

 

What do you do to get you "head" in the game when it comes to singing?

 

 

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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What do you do to get you "head" in the game when it comes to singing?

 

When I sing, I can hear the original vocalist in my head, and I do my level best to deliver what I'm hearing.

 

Sometimes, this bites me in the ass, though, as trying to add a bit of grit to a vocal passage that's at the upper end of my range can result in a blown through or rapid vocal fatigue, neither of which are conducive to a successful live performance.

 

One thing I'd emphasize above all else, though, is whatever it takes to hear yourself. I use earplugs so I can hear myself sing regardless of good/bad monitoring systems, and in the case of bad, I'm not trying to overpower the instruments around me.

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What do you do to get you "head" in the game when it comes to singing?

 

 

Nothing. Just sing. You have to like it, want to do it, and do it a lot. What comes out will come out. If you sing on key you're fine. After that it's all subjective.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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#1 and #3, yes. Not so sure about #2, only because I can think of plenty great singers who were often unintelligible on stage.

 

Well, certainly there are exceptions like "Louie Louie" and "Inagadadivida"....

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Make sure the song is done in a key that is good for your vocal range.

 

Wally

This, this a thousand times this.

 

Don't swallow the mic. For God's sake don't pull the mic away too early "emoting" with your arms.

 

Practice and record yourself practicing, find your voice and be comfortable with it. It doesn't have to be beautiful (ask guys like Tom Petty or Bruce Springsteen) but it does have to be in tune.

 

Own it.

Push the button Frank.
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God given talent couldn't hurt.

 

- If it's an original song, don't try to sound like anyone else but yourself.

- Mic control is important to learn.

- Make sure you know what you actually sound like, not what you think you sound like.

- Being in good physical shape helps. Smoking, drinking blah blah blah.

- Have confidence, maybe a bit more than you deserve.

If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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Make sure the song is done in a key that is good for your vocal range.

 

Wally

 

+1. It's got to be in your wheelhouse. Bonus points if it then also falls well on guitar. I spend a good deal of time picking the right key for the tunes in my solo book. In the band situation, for tunes with more than four chords, do what you can to determine the best key before the other members learn the tune.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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There is also the often over-looked aspect of BREATH CONTROL : is there TOO much air in your lungs ? Are you exhaling air too rapidly, or are you controlling how fast you expel it ? Have you practised different breath-control exercises, using the diaphragm to SUPPORT your tone, particularly in the high & held notes in the upper register ? When you inhale, do you suck the air in with your mouth as if you are sucking a straw, or are you so out of breath from the preceding phrase, that you are loudly sucking in the air so that the inhalation is audible on the mike ? When mixing a loud band that is CRANKING IT OUT, one may have to SHOUT rather than sing, but at a quiet moment,like a soft ballad, the tone has to have a certain amount of control.
robert w nuckels
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If your wife's advice about timing means not to be mechanical in following the beat, she's right. If you listen to good singers, they play with time to place emphasis on passages. That's a good thing.

 

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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If your wife's advice about timing means not to be mechanical in following the beat, she's right. If you listen to good singers, they play with time to place emphasis on passages. That's a good thing.

 

Yes... this is what she is getting at...

"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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If your wife's advice about timing means not to be mechanical in following the beat, she's right. If you listen to good singers, they play with time to place emphasis on passages. That's a good thing.

 

 

Mmm, not really. Do you sing? if so, you know that in the case of singing swing and ballad standards you can mess with the phrasing, but it's still "in time." With pop rock and R&B singing the phrasing is very definite. NOT singing in a strong rhythmic style will make it sound like a second rate wedding singer.

 

 

.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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If your wife's advice about timing means not to be mechanical in following the beat, she's right. If you listen to good singers, they play with time to place emphasis on passages. That's a good thing.

 

 

Mmm, not really. Do you sing?

 

Yes, and quite well, or so I'm told.

 

if so, you know that in the case of singing swing and ballad standards you can mess with the phrasing, but it's still "in time." With pop rock and R&B singing the phrasing is very definite. NOT singing in a strong rhythmic style will make it sound like a second rate wedding singer.

 

There's rhythm, and then there's rhythm. To say that a singer must always meter their melody in equally divided whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth or any other note rhythms to sing correctly is just silly. I don't know what R&B you've been listening to, but I frankly defy you to point out a decent R&B singer who doesn't stretch & contract notes, subdivide and/or even sing on the back side of the beat, like a good R&B drummer plays. That's what makes R&B so expressive.

 

Good singers, and all good musicians make time work for them rather than enslave themselves to it.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Picker I can't even read your posts. Your avatar gives me a headache. Seriously. I have to scroll to get it off the screen. :freak::sick: Well I can read the bottom half of your longer posts.

 

At least it doesn't give me the Japanese Pokemon seizures!

Push the button Frank.
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There's rhythm, and then there's rhythm. To say that a singer must always meter their melody in equally divided whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth or any other note rhythms to sing correctly is just silly.

 

.........................

 

Yes, that is silly. But it's not what I said.

 

...................................

 

I don't know what R&B you've been listening to, but I frankly defy you to point out a decent R&B singer who doesn't stretch & contract notes, subdivide and/or even sing on the back side of the beat, like a good R&B drummer plays. That's what makes R&B so expressive.

 

............................

 

But it's IN TIME That's the part you're not getting.

 

....................................

 

 

 

 

....

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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But it's IN TIME That's the part you're not getting.

 

All I said was that one shouldn't be mechanical in following the beat, that's the part you aren't getting.

 

Ha! Okay Well, nobody was suggesting being mechanical. I guess what I was tying to convey is that people shouldn't get into bad habits from the start. It makes it harder to break them later on.

 

If someone barely understands the rudiments of something and you suggest that keeping time isn't important, they're not going to take it a manner of expressing themselves in absrtact ways. They're going to take it a singing off time. That's all I'M saying.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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Maybe I should have explained myself better. That's not what I suggested, and that's not how he took my suggestion. To me, that was never an issue, even when I was too young to know what timing was. I could always tell when I or someone else was off pitch or out of time, even if I didn't know what to call it. Perhaps it was a presumption on my part to think somebody who plays an instrument would be able to do the same.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Maybe I should have explained myself better. That's not what I suggested, and that's not how he took my suggestion. To me, that was never an issue, even when I was too young to know what timing was. I could always tell when I or someone else was off pitch or out of time, even if I didn't know what to call it. Perhaps it was a presumption on my part to think somebody who plays an instrument would be able to do the same.

 

True. But hearing something out of tune and singing IN tune are two different things.

JAZZ UN-STANDARDS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vE4FoJ4Cr4&feature=related

 

DON'T FEAR...THE REVERB! 60's Instrumentals with MORE BASS!

 

 

 

 

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Ok, I'll be repeating a few comments with which I agree (sorry for not quoting where credit is due) and emphasizing what I feel are important points.

 

A lot of discussion here about timing which, while I'm not surprised - being that it's a bass forum- I thing is being over analyzed. Timing on bass is way more important - focus on that. That being said, the style of music and the specific song will dictate the timing. Just use your judgement.

 

There are 2 things: pitch and voice. You can sing perfectly on key all the time but not be good at leads. Conversely, you can be pitchy, but still have a voice and range that just wows people. Here's how to have both:

 

1) make sure you can hear yourself and learn to listen you yourself and the rest of the mix at the same time....i.e. compare your pitch to everything else and know if you are off a little. If you know you can work on correcting, if you don't know, you're doomed to suck.

2) breath control, breath control, breath control. Aerobic exercise doesn't hurt. Breathing is a huge part of singing. Part of it is timing - getting enough air at the right time to nail the next phrase. Part of it is just strength and stamina.

3) confidence - own it. Attitude. Conviction. Be a lead singer. Deliver.

4) (related to 3) this only applies to covers: over do it. If I want to sound like the person I'm overing, I almost do a caricature. Whatever makes that voice distinctive to your ears - over accentuate that property. It will sound ridiculous to you, but to everybody else, it will sound more like the original artist.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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4) (related to 3) this only applies to covers: over do it. If I want to sound like the person I'm overing, I almost do a caricature. Whatever makes that voice distinctive to your ears - over accentuate that property. It will sound ridiculous to you, but to everybody else, it will sound more like the original artist.

 

So was that your post that I read this in originally? It's made a real impression on me and my singing.

 

Others have said don't try to sound like anyone but yourself. Sure, OK. That's good. But I think whether you're trying to sound like the record or nothing like the record, the take home point is that more emotion than you think it needs is likely to be better.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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When I first started singing Sympathy for the Devil I tried to sound like Mick J. It worked for me as a tool to get into the song. Now I don't try to sound like him... It works. I wonder if I should also try this with other songs.... maybe I should.... along with the ideas in the OP and some of those presented in this thread
"When I take a stroll down Jackass Lane it is usually to see someone that is already there" Mrs. Brown
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