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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

05/11/2012 18:03:47  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

I think many of us play and sing - so I would be interested in opening a conversation about singing.

DaddyJ

United States
Joined 3/3/2010
783 Posts

05/11/2012 19:31:50  Reply with Quote

I think of the voice like an instrument.  I like to compare it to a fiddle.  The vocal chords are the strings, the breath is the bow, and the head and chest are the sound chambers.  When you "play", you generally want to get as much volume as possible without sacrificing tone or pitch.  And just like any instrument, it takes practice to learn how to get the best sounds out of it.

Speaking of voice and fiddle...here are a couple kids that seem to be figuring it out.

Here's another one with some hot guitar playing.  That girl can really sing.


Edited by - DaddyJ on 05/11/2012 19:38:03

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Texasbanjo

United States
Joined 4/22/2009
152 Posts

05/12/2012 05:41:24  Reply with Quote

When I first started singing I was told, it's easy, if you can talk you can sing.  Well, for me, it wasn't quite that easy.  I could sing but the singing lacked something and I just didn't know what it was. 

I went to a band camp one summer and took voice lessons and found out why my singing wasn't what I wanted it to be.  I learned to breathe correctly, to project my voice. to open my throat so the sound would come through clear and clean.  Made all the difference in the world.  I found out how to sing in the head register without it sounding nasal.

I also found out through the years that my voice range changed -- got better -- and I had to change the key I sang songs in.  When first starting out, I sang most everything in G and A but now it's up to B, C, D and E.  According to the song, of course, and what the range is.

At this point, I prefer singing to picking.  We're retired and no longer have a band, but when we did, we noticed that the audience much preferred vocals to instrumentals -- they could relate more to the vocals and that got me really interested in singing and in harmony.

I also found it very easy to play backup to my singing whether I was on the banjo or guitar.  Some people have a problem with backup when they're singing and I guess it just takes practice and knowing the chords to the song well enough where you don't have to think about it.

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

05/12/2012 22:44:50  Reply with Quote

Wise words from Texasbanjo re: taking lessons and learning how to use one's voice.

I always tell people I play guitar and vocal chords. :D

Singing (well) is a LOT harder than most people think, requiring breath control as well as tone and pitch control, phrasing and inflection/interpretation added in.

I can play simple chords and rhythms, nothing elaborate, while singing.
(well, I can't play anything elaborate when NOT singing, either, so there you have it!)
Vocals are better than my guitar playing, but I do give good rhythm support to our band. :)

We just finished recording a Christmas CD (banjo, guitar, fiddle, mando, bass and a guest artist on reso guitar and octave mandola).
Lots of different chord progressions for us (we did old Christmas songs, most written in the 1840s, three from the 12th and 16th century!).
About half the pieces are vocals, the other half instrumentals.
We had a LOT of fun doing it -- put down 14 tracks in two days.
It is in the process of being mastered.

Ah, back to the subject: singing.

People do seem to respond well to the vocal pieces.
Music has such potential to move people, to touch them!

deborah, did you have a specific direction r/t singing that you wished the thread to take?



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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

05/14/2012 08:24:14  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

Actually, I just threw the subject out there but I love where it is going :~). I usually play and sing, and I think that it works together well because you are in control of the tempo of the song and you really feel the true melody. You never sing off key when you are playing so you have that advantage as well. I've had some vocal training as well and it has been incredibly helpful. But nothing is more helpful to the singing voice than a proper warm up of the vocal chords. I just go through the chords from A to G three times while doing scales through each chord and I find it warms up my fingers too (yes they are getting a bit stiff).

Does anyone have other suggestions for voice preparation other than drink lots of water?

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Jim Yates

Canada
Joined 8/26/2008
600 Posts

Online

05/14/2012 09:32:19  View Jim Yates's Photo Albums  View Jim Yates's Blog    Reply with Quote

I had always thought of myself as the guitar/banjo/mandolin player who stood to the side and let everyone focus on the singer.  I'd do a talkin' blues or novelty vocal like I'm My Own Grandpa or Life Gets Teejus once in a while, but that was it.  A few years back I started playing with Al Kirby, who had been living the same musical experience and we started performing as a duo.  This forced us into the roll of singers.  We would play about half instrumental and half vocals.We were later joined by my old friend Zeke Mazurek to form the North Shore Ramblers.  Zeke played fiddle, mandolin and guitar, but was also unaccustomed to singing, but did a bit with us. 

Two years ago, at the urging of my wife, who has her degree in vocal music and sings in the soprano section of the Northumberland Orchestra & Choir, I reluctantly auditioned and am now in their bass section.  I'm enjoying it and it's really helping my vocal chops as well as exposing me to a new genre of music.

Both of my sons are fine musicians, but neither of them sang all through school.  They played in punk, blues and rock bands and the school jazz band, but always left the singing up to others.  Once, while they were backing up their friend Aengus Finnan at the Freetimes Cafe in Toronto, Fred Eaglesmith, who had just lost his bass player, saw them and invited Darcy to join his band on bass with the condition that he learn to sing harmony parts.  Darcy agreed and soon after, Clayton also started singing harmonies and playing mandolin with the Ottonabee River Boys and in Washboard Hank's band.

I guess the Yates Boys are all late starters when it comes to singing.

 


Edited by - Jim Yates on 05/14/2012 09:36:31

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

05/16/2012 19:34:20  Reply with Quote

(as an aside to deborah, I have heard some who do sing off key, even while playing.)

To be able to carry a tune and stay on key/pitch, I believe, is partly an ear development thing (one can develop his/her "ear" for hearing tone and pitch and can practice reproducing the tone and pitch), partly something some ppl are born with.

Not that, to a certain extent, it can't be developed.

But it's more work for some, and (as with many skills and talents) comes quite easily to others.

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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

05/19/2012 11:19:11  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

quote: How do you warm up your voice? Do you have a routine before singing?
Originally posted by dianah

(as an aside to deborah, I have heard some who do sing off key, even while playing.)

To be able to carry a tune and stay on key/pitch, I believe, is partly an ear development thing (one can develop his/her "ear" for hearing tone and pitch and can practice reproducing the tone and pitch), partly something some ppl are born with.

Not that, to a certain extent, it can't be developed.

But it's more work for some, and (as with many skills and talents) comes quite easily to others.

 


 

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

05/26/2012 20:03:48  Reply with Quote

Sorry about the delay in responding, I was out of the state for a few days.

Vocal warmup?

I will usually just sing in the car on the way to the gig/program.

Maybe do some scales, to get the low and high end of my range.

It helps me, timing- and dynamics-wise, to warm up with the band, so when we arrive at the venue we will warm up with a few songs/pieces.

Anyone else care to share warmup tips? :)

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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

05/27/2012 11:36:28  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

quote: I find something as simple as a good walk while humming to be very helpful. So if I'm going to perform I try and wander around looking busy and humming to myself - it seems to clear the throat too.  I think the exercise helps to gear up the lungs and the humming warms up the vocal chords. I sing in the car a lot, but sometimes the air in the car is so dry it can be detrimental (we have a dry climate).  What do you drink? I've been drinking alkaline water find plain water okay but I'd like to find something that helped me last longer. 
Originally posted by dianah

Sorry about the delay in responding, I was out of the state for a few days.

Vocal warmup?

I will usually just sing in the car on the way to the gig/program.

Maybe do some scales, to get the low and high end of my range.

It helps me, timing- and dynamics-wise, to warm up with the band, so when we arrive at the venue we will warm up with a few songs/pieces.

Anyone else care to share warmup tips? :)


 


Edited by - deborah on 05/27/2012 11:43:37

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coelhoe

United States
Joined 11/30/2011
134 Posts

05/27/2012 17:41:07  Reply with Quote

I sing in a group twice a week and practice on new material a couple of times in between. But if I've been away for more than a week, I will sit and the piano a couple of times a day and just run through some scales and then sing a few favorites for a day or two before getting back with the group. My biggest singing problem this time of year is sinus drainage affecting my vocal chords.

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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

05/28/2012 08:06:24  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

quote: When I get that problem I take a regular, one a day antihistamine and it helps a lot. I get hay fever and it causes post nasal drip at night - leaving me kind of hoarse in the day time and sometimes leading to a sore throat. LOL
Originally posted by coelhoe

I sing in a group twice a week and practice on new material a couple of times in between. But if I've been away for more than a week, I will sit and the piano a couple of times a day and just run through some scales and then sing a few favorites for a day or two before getting back with the group. My biggest singing problem this time of year is sinus drainage affecting my vocal chords.


 

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Robes

United States
Joined 8/26/2008
18 Posts

05/28/2012 16:50:12  View Robes's MP3 Archive  View Robes's Photo Albums  Reply with Quote

I'm a better singer if I don't try to project...... The softer I keep it,,.... the better is sounds.


Edited by - Robes on 05/28/2012 16:50:35

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

05/29/2012 20:03:27  Reply with Quote

Agree, I feel my "real" voice comes out more if I don't push for volume or edge.

Some songs, however, require some push and edge.

Singing with an edge, though, is not the same a bellowing (for me).

I don't like to bellow to be heard during a jam, as it hurts my throat and my voice to do so.

Yeah, I can sing without vibrato; depends on what fits the song as to how I sing it. :)

 

 

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Humbled

United States
Joined 8/22/2008
33 Posts

05/29/2012 20:13:39  Reply with Quote

I'm taking a harmony vocal class at the Father's Day Festival (Grass Valley, CA) in a few weeks.  Should be interesting.

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

05/30/2012 07:23:01  Reply with Quote

Let us know how it goes, Humbled.
There are always new things to be learned.

We'll be at it's counterpart, the Huck Finn Jubilee in Victorville in Southern CA. :)
I hear some bands travel back and forth between the two festivals that Father's Day weekend. :)

We'll be doing a gospel set Sunday morning on the SWBA (South West Bluegrass Ass'n) stage (not The Main Stage).
Sure enjoy camping and jamming and visiting at the festivals.
We'll stay Wed thru Mon.

OK, back to our regularly scheduled program!!

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ThePicker

United States
Joined 12/15/2010
38 Posts

06/04/2012 17:32:23  View ThePicker's MP3 Archive  View ThePicker's Photo Albums    Reply with Quote

I sing bass and baritone.

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

06/09/2012 22:22:29  Reply with Quote

Nice.  :)

A low voice really rounds out the group sound.

 

An extension of the original topic:

Do you sing melody or can you also pick out a harmony (alto, tenor, bass) and sing it?

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Jim Yates

Canada
Joined 8/26/2008
600 Posts

Online

06/10/2012 11:21:53  View Jim Yates's Photo Albums  View Jim Yates's Blog    Reply with Quote

I seem to be able to pick out the third (tenor?) harmony, but have difficulty with the fifth (baritone?).

I put a "?" because I'm not sure how universal those terms are.  I've heard people refer to the harmony line a fifth above the lead as "high baritone" and an octave below that as "low baritone".  I think the Osborne Brothers used a lot of "high baritone" harmony.

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deborah

Canada
Joined 4/28/2012
44 Posts

06/14/2012 20:14:50  View deborah's MP3 Archive  View deborah's Photo Albums  View deborah's Blog  Reply with Quote

People, especially men and women sometimes will sing in a different octave, but this is not to be confused with harmony, because an octave is actually 8 notes apart. To sing harmony, is to sing just two notes or four notes above or below the line of the melody. To sing in a different octave is to sing the melody line, an entire octave apart. We don't always analyse this but to find the harmony easily - if the song is in C go up to E on the piano (3rd), or down to A for the low harmony. Then for the fifth it is up to G or down to F. Once you find where you can hear it easily, you've found where it is most natural for you to harmonize which is a true pleasure and kind of a knack. One of the best and easiest songs to harmonize to is "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" by Willie Nelson. Fun and beautiful.

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Humbled

United States
Joined 8/22/2008
33 Posts

06/19/2012 06:30:01  Reply with Quote

​Just returned from Father's Day Festival Music Camp at which I took the vocal harmony class--great.  We did a number of things, and I especially enjoyed breaking into twos or threes or fours and singing harmony intervals.  Our instructors pointed out that many songs contain similar patterns, so once you get good at singing one harmony, you can easily hear the harmonies in tons of other songs.  
Curtquote:
Originally posted by dianah

Let us know how it goes, Humbled.
There are always new things to be learned.

We'll be at it's counterpart, the Huck Finn Jubilee in Victorville in Southern CA. :)
I hear some bands travel back and forth between the two festivals that Father's Day weekend. :)

We'll be doing a gospel set Sunday morning on the SWBA (South West Bluegrass Ass'n) stage (not The Main Stage).
Sure enjoy camping and jamming and visiting at the festivals.
We'll stay Wed thru Mon.

OK, back to our regularly scheduled program!!


 

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

06/19/2012 18:42:17  Reply with Quote

Singing harmony is more fun than singing melody, I think.

Using harmony (even off the cuff, say, at a jam) requires one to be more creative and one has the potential to change the entire feel of the piece or sections of it. :)

Sounds like a fruitful workshop!

Are you in a band in which you will be able to harmonize?

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Humbled

United States
Joined 8/22/2008
33 Posts

06/19/2012 21:14:14  Reply with Quote

​Yeah it was fun. 
​I'm in the Moonshine Mules:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qxH_ynkO4Y
I play fiddle in this band.
 quote:
Originally posted by dianah

Singing harmony is more fun than singing melody, I think.

Using harmony (even off the cuff, say, at a jam) requires one to be more creative and one has the potential to change the entire feel of the piece or sections of it. :)

Sounds like a fruitful workshop!

Are you in a band in which you will be able to harmonize?


 

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dianah

United States
Joined 4/14/2010
82 Posts

06/24/2012 09:20:56  Reply with Quote

Enjoyed the link, Humbled!

Also clicked on the Shady Grove one, nicely done!

 

I'm in a gospel band, same amt of members, same types of instruments as yours. :)

Our two female voices (fiddler and me) are the only main singers.   We are encouraging our bass player to sing on a few and our mando player sings on a few (Jesus Is the Rock, Life's Railway to Heaven, Take Me In Your Lifeboat).

We play other than gospel songs, yes, but our gigs are gospel.

We even did a 3-hr wedding reception a month ago, all gospel (but no vocals).

Mixed in L*O*V*E, Ashokan Farewell, Bye Bye Blues, etc between the gospel pieces (rearranged  hymns and traditional gospel tunes: I'll Fly Away, Wayfaring Stranger, etc).

Got some VERY nice comments!

 

Back to your gig: y'all looked COLD!!  (do you have/can you play with half-gloves?)

Was it at a Farmer's Market?

Was it done after or before your workshop?

We've done similar gigs (i.e., in the cold).  Three of our five members have serious medical issues (dialysis, neuropathies) so are adversely affected by cold weather.  We bring a portable propane heater out for them in those instances (and we all wear long johns and layer the clothes, lol!).

 

 

 


Edited by - dianah on 06/24/2012 09:24:17

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Humbled

United States
Joined 8/22/2008
33 Posts

06/24/2012 20:54:44  Reply with Quote

Thanks, Dianah.  We played at the Davis Farmer's Market in January.  It was about 55 or 60.  All this was well before the vocal workshop just last week (June).  But I wanted to get better at "hearing" the various vocal parts, so I took the class.  

Sounds like you have a good time in your gospel band, very cool.  

All the best,

Curt

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ThePicker

United States
Joined 12/15/2010
38 Posts

02/21/2013 09:13:15  View ThePicker's MP3 Archive  View ThePicker's Photo Albums    Reply with Quote

quote:
Originally posted by dianah

Nice.  :)

A low voice really rounds out the group sound.

 

An extension of the original topic:

Do you sing melody or can you also pick out a harmony (alto, tenor, bass) and sing it?


 Both. I can sing the harmony or if the song requires a bass lead I can also do it.

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