Archive for June, 2010

How new generations’ music rebel

June 25, 2010

Current young kids rebel against their rock-generation parents by doing several things:

1. Instead of going heavier–they go with music their parents detested — crooners and big band.
2. My generation, as a stereotype, hated other generations’ of music– this generation accepts all (and they are musically correct on this, which would have irritated their parents’ generation.)
3. Instead of heavier, they go with cruder and more provocative– rap.
4. Instead of melodic, they go with wordy– hip hop.
5. Instead of being hippies, they go with being gangsters (which really scare their parents, just as hippies scared their parents).

Guaranteed–they will find a way to bug their parents.   This is how kids grow up and establish their independence in the West. 

Dead doesn’t mean no one is doing the music; some big band singers still made it into the rock generation–but most found another occupation.  Some punk bands still exist.

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The right vocal trainer?

June 23, 2010

A question is asked whether training the voice can be compared to having training in boxing or Tae Kwon Do….

Scientific boxing, traditional Eastern martial arts, and “scientific” martial arts can be vastly different in their training methods.   A great short book on this is “Zen in the Art of Archery”, written by a German professor visiting Japan after WW2.   He learned with Zen archery priests for nearly a year, couldn’t understand why they were teaching him things having little to do with shooting arrows accurately, implemented accuracy methods, and promptly got kicked out of the temple.   Begged his way back in, studied another two years not focusing on accuracy, had to leave Japan, and asked the Zen master what his goal was.   The Zen master took him to a pitch black room, took two shots, hit the bulleye and split the arrow.  Zen is concerned with the power of the subconscious, and is not a “scientific” boxing method training.

Sumo wrestling– there’s method of course, but its essence has to do with releasing the kundalini energy power in a short burst to knock one’s opponent out of the ring.  

Great singing, in my opinion, has a lot to do with releasing one’s own natural voice (kundalini energy, Zen spiritual force, etc.), and the problem with “training” is that there are entire civilizations’ ideologies that basically say that scientific Western bodywork training is not optimal for the talented.  Furthermore, in the restorative-health arts (how is one to sing great without first restoring?), e.g. yoga, Tai Chi, accupressure, it is obvious that there are entirely different therapeutic modalities than scientific ones.

So, the questions in training should be, in my opinion:

1. Is the focus restoration of the voice?
2. Is it disciplined scientific exercising of the voice?
3. Is it subconscious power of the voice?

Training methods here are completely different, and my opinion is that different individuals need entirely different training methods.

Getting rid of tension before accurate singing

June 22, 2010

Alan Greene is mostly accurate in that one’s vocal practice does little good until the tension is gone.   He’s saying that the practice can develop bad habits.

This is somewhat accurate–that tension causes other types of sounds to emerge.  And because hearing remains inaccurate with bad posture; such that, due to Maya and even accompanying music, one continues to believe that one is singing accurately.

However, this Vocalposture’s detensing involves the entire body and can take a very long time.   Also, the optimal goal is flexibility to tonal and body changes, such that the practices can easily change to a new style, due to detensed tissues.

Hence, Vocalposture’s methods differ from Greene in that vocal exercises start early, before all tension disappears.   Vocalposture is concerned about excessive tensions that may injure voice, so harmful singing should not be part of its initial exercises.

Bass or tenor voices for rock bands

June 15, 2010

A question is asked by Snejk at www.themodernvocalist.com ‘s forum   “As a bariton, I have noticed that it’s WAY harder to find a band to sing for. I know this because I am a FAIRLY good singer, but I can not sing the high notes the bands want in their songs.

Now this has exclusively been the case. Since I love rock and metal and want to front such a band, there is no way I’ll turn to country just because my voice isn’t high.

I can start with answering why I prefer high pitched singing over middle/low; ENERGY!!! EMOTION!!! SMOOTHNESS!!!”
….

>>>

These are my thoughts, obviously these are generalizations:

I question whether it’s true that tenors have the advantage while IN a LIVE band; I believe they have a stage presence disadvantage; but tenors do have an advantage in recordings and song selection. 

Prior to Rock and Roll, we had crooners, frequently baritones.   Rock and Roll can be understood as a youth rebellion to big band music.   (When R&R’s era expires, it’ll be baritones again).

With R&R, came the electric guitar, bass, and drums and major influencers such as the tenor Beatles.   The tenor fits in better with these instruments.  The drum and bass provide the low undertones-–the tenor voice generally has to break through the bass and drum to create the “voice” of the band.  The baritone competes against the drums and bass.  Telephony can further explain this.   Telephones cut the bass notes and carry the treble, so as to reduce bandwidth requirements, and because the treble is what articulates the vocal understanding.  The tenor voice can “articulate” better against the electric bass and drums.

(Weak sound cards also don’t carry bass well.  And unfortunately, to capture bass well usually requires condensor mics.)

Furthermore, R&R and younger people’s music frequently are rebellious– a yell, a scream–the expression of the youthful rebellion.   Tenors again fits in well with younger pop music style.

Then, there’s the impact of recordings.   Back when R&R started, audio speakers were small, and most still are (excluding the high-end audio equipment, e.g. your clock radio, mall music speakers, which are much more common).  Bass doesn’t carry as well in these small speakers.   So, historically, get air play to sound good, tenors worked a lot better.  So, much more songs were written for and promoted for tenors.

Live music works differently.  A deeper voice expresses more power, more leadership, more variety of moods, and can create stature, fear, and respect.  Unless a tenor voice is really loud (very rare), a baritone has stronger stage presence and audio effects.

Audio tastes continue to evolve.  The R&R era is ending (it took 30 years for the crooners to go too).   This means that emotions of rebellion (screaming, yelling) are becoming less popular. 

And more importantly, women’s taste have changed.   Starting in the 60s, young women expressed their rebellion in part through their music selection.  Whereas women traditionally loved the male baritone, starting in the R&R era, many women preferred also tenors.   The aging of the women also affect strongly.  Younger women prefer higher pitch male singers (in part because they’re babyish cute); older women prefer more standard male baritones (in part because this is a gender differentiation).   As the population gets older, bassier male voices are more preferred.

So, the era for the high-pitch tenor Beatles has already ended, and it’s also time for you, as a musician, to move on.  Audiences come to be entertained (not to hear tenors or baritones).   What has not ended in audio-appreciation are novelty, breaking taboos, creating emotional impact (even if it’s done by shock).   Though music has often become more complex, these are also evolved to be cruder.   

So, your job as a musician, is to convince auditioning bands that they need to go toward a newer sound–one that’s beyond the high tenors they’re familiar with.  One that creates different types of emotions.  One that works for live music instead of recordings aimed at small audio speakers.  Because society is getting more vulgar, I suggest the emotion to utilize for baritones is fear or power.  Shock too—big speakers.  Of course, a smooth male bass always goes over well anytime.

Bottom line.   Jim Morrison (Doors), John Caye (Steppenwolf) were rock stars with bassy voices.   Better still–full voices:   Gary Puckett (and the Union Gap), Eric Burdon (and the Animals), Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdink.  (Is it just a coincidence that Morrison’s and Caye’s bands had keyboards?  I think the other male singers also relied more than guitar-bass-drum)   In short, male bassy voices have lesser song selections, but are bigger, more powerful vocal stars, particularly live.

Where are conferences on singing instructions?

June 2, 2010

Where are there tradeshows, conferences, etc. on music instructions?

I’m developing an unusual method to learn how to sing, called VocalPosture.com, presently in random blog notes.   VocalPosture says that the alignment of the skeletal system affects the vocal apparatus and hearing pathways, and a realignment process can restore accurate hearing and innate vocal singing, for the vast majority of people.   Analogy and supporting evidence is provided by references to Zen Buddhism, which likewise is a restoration of one’s own innate “subconscious” capabilities.  VocalPosture is unlike Alexander Methods or Feldenkrais.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to develop these methods independently and have no idea what vocal pedagogy already knows, but the literature I’ve researched—on the web and in older library books don’t show anything like this.   Other than its methods working very well for me, supporting evidence from Eastern religions and Western psychology and physiology, I have no evidence how accurate my ideas are.  And singing is strictly a hobby.

So, I’m curious as to where I can go to have my ideas tested out and examined by professionals and amateurs.   Something alike bar camp in the IT discussions side, where lots of pros attend and anyone can propose and lead a topic of discussion.

I’m in Houston, TX and visit Silicon Valley once every six months.