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Singers who don't understand how music works


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2 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Hang out outside for a few minutes and listen to see if they are playing wonderwall!

I doubt very much that I'd recognise it - I haven't listened to any pop music for about 50 years.

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On 08/07/2021 at 16:40, ubit said:

I used to do this to lots of songs I was bored with. We used to do Message In a Bottle and I used to sing message in a sausage.

Massage in a Brothel...

Not just covers though, I was in an originals band and we always rehearsed one song as "You Always Squirt the One You  Love".

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Posted (edited)

That's the badger of course, lots of annoying hoorays with silly hats on...

Honestly, they should just spin off the Last Night as its own separate brand. It’s got next to nothing to do with any of the other nights. 

Edited by nekomatic
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18 minutes ago, nekomatic said:

Honestly, they should just spin off the Last Night as its own separate brand. It’s got next to nothing to do with any of the other nights. 

Not 100% sure about that - I've been to two Last Nights. The first half has a few popular classics and usually a new work. The silliness is confined to the second half.

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17 hours ago, Woodinblack said:

Hang out outside for a few minutes and listen to see if they are playing wonderwall!

My point proven!

 

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15 hours ago, lozkerr said:

Not 100% sure about that - I've been to two Last Nights. The first half has a few popular classics and usually a new work. The silliness is confined to the second half.

A few popular classics? How very common. I hope everyone sings (or hums) in tune, at least... 🙂

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 08/07/2021 at 21:51, tauzero said:

I played in a club band with a Black Country vocalist. She used to introduce it as "Youm sex am on foyir".

Being from literally next door to the black country this does not surprise me.

Blk cuntray ay we

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2 hours ago, LostAmpKnob said:

Running joke in music school, "How do you get a singer to shutup?  Give'em a written part. lolol

Standard joke in any choir is: how to silence the sopranos? Ask them to sing the harmony line....

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Well if you call a singer who would stop the band mid groove and start berating some punter then yes. Trouble was we were a damn good groove outfit and he was a brilliant singer/ huge range, great pitch, I just had to get used to looking the other way and sucking it up...haha, ah the good ole days.

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Had a lady singist like that once, many years ago; she would harangue punters who she didn't like the look of, whether they were talking, sniggering, or, Buddha help everyone, heckling...we used to keep playing, so a lot of songs would go Intro, Verse 1, First Half Of Verse 2 Combined With Some Finger Pointing And Shouting, Second Half Of Verse 2, Chorus, etc... Great voice, I just don't think she was really cut out for live performance... 😕

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15 minutes ago, Muzz said:

Had a lady singist like that once, many years ago; she would harangue punters who she didn't like the look of, whether they were talking, sniggering, or, Buddha help everyone, heckling...we used to keep playing, so a lot of songs would go Intro, Verse 1, First Half Of Verse 2 Combined With Some Finger Pointing And Shouting, Second Half Of Verse 2, Chorus, etc... Great voice, I just don't think she was really cut out for live performance... 😕

I saw a band do this once. It was two girls playing acoustic guitars and this girl started going off at one of the punters because he talked through their song. I couldn't believe it and thought you aint cut out for playing in bars Mrs.

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  • 1 month later...
On 28/06/2021 at 12:14, bass_dinger said:

But the question was "vocalists", so, I have worked in a church group that expected to start singing acapella, with no reference pitch, and then have the musicians join in.

"You might not be starting on the right note - we won't know what key you are in!" I said.
"But it is written there  . . . " and she pointed to the chord chart.  

The music was in G, they rehearsed the week before in G.  On the morning, they struggled with that key, but then spontaneously sung in C.  At other times, they have sung songs in C sharp - pretty difficult for most musicians.

It took me a week to think of a response that was polite and helpful. I explained different keys, and how everyone needed a reference pitch.  "I don't understand about that.  I just sing."

 

 

 

   

 

An update.

 

I played for the same vocal group, at a memorial service.

 

They wanted to sign acapella.  They sung in G flat.  The pianist suggested that G would be easier for the band, (keys, bass, drums), and gave them a G chord, and starting note.  Yes, they were happy to rehearse like that.  

 

They sung a chorus, then a verse, acapella - band came in, all was well.

 

The actual service?  Started in G, sung a chorus, then a verse, acapella - but the band already realised that the vocalists were no longer in G.  Closer to G three-quarters flat.  So, almost G flat. 

 

It took me a while to work out which key we were in, and how to signal to the keys player where we were - I wanted to signal the number of flats, but could not remember how many flats G flat had!!  And when I worked it out that it was six, I did not have enough fingers on one hand! 

 

Later, the vocalists did the same thing again - this time, the key of D drifted to D flat.  

 

After the service, which was broadcast, I felt compelled to let some of them know why we did not start to play where we had agreed.  "We need to find the new key - you had drifted!".

 

"I don't know about keys.  I just sing.  We expected you to come in when you said you would."   

 

I will laugh about this, one day.  But not today! 

 

 

 

 

    

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On 20/09/2021 at 17:40, bass_dinger said:

the vocalists were no longer in G.  Closer to G three-quarters flat.  So, almost G flat.

 

I am not a very good singer, but when I had lessons I was praised for my ability not to drift in pitch. I haven't got perfect pitch though.

 

Would a solution be giving them a quiet but audible pedal note?

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On 20/09/2021 at 17:40, bass_dinger said:

 

An update.

 

I played for the same vocal group, at a memorial service.

 

They wanted to sign acapella.  They sung in G flat.  The pianist suggested that G would be easier for the band, (keys, bass, drums), and gave them a G chord, and starting note.  Yes, they were happy to rehearse like that.  

 

They sung a chorus, then a verse, acapella - band came in, all was well.

 

The actual service?  Started in G, sung a chorus, then a verse, acapella - but the band already realised that the vocalists were no longer in G.  Closer to G three-quarters flat.  So, almost G flat. 

 

It took me a while to work out which key we were in, and how to signal to the keys player where we were - I wanted to signal the number of flats, but could not remember how many flats G flat had!!  And when I worked it out that it was six, I did not have enough fingers on one hand! 

 

Later, the vocalists did the same thing again - this time, the key of D drifted to D flat.  

 

After the service, which was broadcast, I felt compelled to let some of them know why we did not start to play where we had agreed.  "We need to find the new key - you had drifted!".

 

"I don't know about keys.  I just sing.  We expected you to come in when you said you would."   

 

I will laugh about this, one day.  But not today! 

 

 

 

 

    

I'm a very experienced choral singer, both accompanied and a cappella. A lot depends on the arrangement... but singing a cappella has a very high risk of going flat - end of story. Any singer who doesn't understand that, shouldn't be allowed to even think of singing unaccompanied IF accompaniment then has to join in, as it will be doomed.

 

It is extremely difficult for an unaccompanied choir to maintain pitch. It can be done, I've sung in choirs that can do it. But, you need a well-trained choir that has worked on doing it - it doesn't 'just happen'. 

 

Even very good choirs with certain works will need some assistance to avoid drifting. John Taverner's works are a good example of this. Something like the Song for Athene requires a sort of bass drone which runs all the way through the piece. You need to be superhuman to not drift in pitch. Every performance I've done of it with various very good choirs, the organist has always put his left foot on a soft pedal so that there is a reference pitch to keep the basses in tune. It's usually the sopranos that go flat and then the rest fo the choir ends up adjusting to fit, but you can't do that with the Taverner. Interestingly, an interview with the MD of one of the country's best cathedral choirs said he always did the same thing - QED.

 

The solution if they don't understand this is easy: piece in in G... you play it in G. If they've wandered south to Gb or further, then tough, maybe they'll learn a lesson when they come in out of tune.   

 

   

Edited by zbd1960
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I once played a show. An anniversary concert for a big musical at a fairly big and famous venue. We had a problem with a singer. Not tuning......timing.

 

She kept running off in front of us, a beat, 2 beats, a bar. Just totally random. We had to go with her. MD's decision. In was a fairly basic tune in 4 but we ended up sounding like Dream Theater.

 

 

Edited by Lord Sausage
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This is the fault of the music staff who prepared her the first time around - if the accompanist just followed the rhythms she was making instinctively, then those rhythms become ingrained. And then further down the line, everyone else has to do the same, except they're a band, not a single pianist, unless someone is prepared to put the time and effort into reprogramming the singer. 

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2 hours ago, Nail Soup said:

I think the problem is that people may find that they have good voice and good pitching, and think "I'm a singer".

They don't find out if they have timing until they join a band.

I think timing is under appreciated by a lot of musicians. I don't think it gets practiced enough once you get decent. Kind of gets taken for granted. Obviously I can't speak for everyone. I've fell into the trap before. Heard back a recording of a show and my timing wasn't perfect on some bits. So this led to months of playing along with a metronome. Stripped my playing back to basics. Scales, arpeggios etc. Did the trick, now it's a regular warm up.

 

 

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25 minutes ago, Lord Sausage said:

I think timing is under appreciated by a lot of musicians. I don't think it gets practiced enough once you get decent. Kind of gets taken for granted. Obviously I can't speak for everyone. I've fell into the trap before. Heard back a recording of a show and my timing wasn't perfect on some bits. So this led to months of playing along with a metronome. Stripped my playing back to basics. Scales, arpeggios etc. Did the trick, now it's a regular warm up.

 

 

 

 

Thats such a coincidence. I was only just watching a video on Youtube. It was Nikki Sixx interviewing Slash and they were talking about how John 5 ALWAYS rehearses with a metronome and if you listen to that guy he is so technically gifted. A while back I was trying to learn banjo ( I took a notion) and any videos I saw stressed that metronomes are such an important part of learning to play not just literally in time but smoothly as well.

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I saw a video with Paul Gilbert who said when he was learning and younger he spent a year playing everything to a metronome. My first piano teacher would make me play quite a few things to a metronome. I think that is why I get so disproportionaly angry about how bad peoples timing is!

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Not so much a thing nowadays but guitarists tuning by harmonics used to grind my gears, thing is youre just on to a looser trying to educate someone on the spot about intricacies of natural harmonics vs the even tempered scale.

Edited by bassman7755
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1 hour ago, bassman7755 said:

Not so much a thing nowadays but guitarists tuning by harmonics used to grind my gears, thing is youre just on to a looser trying to educate someone on the spot about intricacies of natural harmonics vs the even tempered scale.

 

I wouldn't get too flustered, for perfect fourths the error between just and equal temperaments is only two cents for each instance, so if your A is tuned to a tuning fork, both E strings and the D are two cents out, the G and B are four cents out, which is probably better than most guitarists can achieve by ear or fretting notes on adjacent strings.

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