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Can anybody learn how to sing? Ribbon Microphones
Old 17th August 2007
  #61
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davet's Avatar
 

Seth Riggs says he can teach you how. He's sells a book with CDs that describes his method. He'll also take you on as a student.

I've used his method. It works, but the training is hard to get used to.

DaveT
Old 18th August 2007
  #62
Gear Head
 

After listening to my demos and spending the entire day working on my voice, I finally know what my problem is..........

I hold each note for way too long, which gives it a sound that isnt really what I'm looking for. Also, it's fairly hard to hold notes for a long time and still be 100% on key. I just listened to a bunch of popular pop/rock songs, and the vocals are usually just the singer doing melodic "rap" on pitch. I gotta incorporate that more into my singing and arranging of the vocals. Once I've done that I think I'll be fine...
Old 18th August 2007
  #63
Gear Nut
 

Everyone can learn to sing...to a degree..can everyone learn to sing really well? NO...Just like everything else in life..can you learn to play tennis?..yes..can you win Wimbledon? no...Of course for rock you don't need to sing well..or on key..see Dylan, Waits and a bunch of others..sold a ton of cd's, wrote awesome songs..couldn't carry a tune if it was in a bucket. Put it out there..if everyone says you suck (except your Mom and your girlfriend) then you do...There are lots of ways to be involved in music and bands and never sing a note..find a niche and work it

Ray
Old 18th August 2007
  #64
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u b k's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
She aint a natural, she just has good tone. Big difference. But she has messed up technique. Listen to her voice (in the bridge and chorus), she strains and pushes. It hurts even watching her sing.

technique is the farthest thing from 'natural' i can imagine. it's a great artifice, a very useful tool, but natural it certainly is not.

for the record, some other singers that have strained and pushed:

janice joplin

seal

james brown

louis armstong

robert plant

tom jones

aretha franklin

david gilmore

louis prima


there's a lack of consensus here on what we're even talking about. to me being a "good singer" does not hinge on technique, or lack thereof. what it means for me is that, after i hear them sing something, i think, "hey, that was good." there's a million ways to skin that cat; sometimes it involves technique, sometimes it doesn't.

frank sinatra clearly studied his instrument, and often stepped outside of proper technique to find the moment. bing crosby was amazing, but just once i'd have to loved to hear him break a sweat.

james brown... dear god, you gonna argue he wasn't a natural either?


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 18th August 2007
  #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
bing crosby was amazing, but just once i'd have to loved to hear him break a sweat.

gregoire
del
ubk
.
Ain't it the truth. Something about Bing's appeal was that he could put so much into a song in such a relaxed manner. It was almost tantilizing. I did always want him to break a sweat. He was too cool, calm, and collected for my taste.
Old 17th August 2008
  #66
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E-Irizarry's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfreq33 View Post
Well, if you can hear pitch differences you can learn to control them, and proper breathing is a must, but no, you can never change the physical mechanisms of the vocal cord/throat/chest/head you are born with. That being said, you may have a great sounding voice that just doesn't sound like what you wish it did.
Like Cassie's non-singing-ass "sang", "Ditto/Ditto/Ditto". thumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by swisha31 View Post
I agree with you mate. There is absolutely no way someone can learn to sing. If you have a beautiful voice that needs to be tamed, thats different. But somebody completely learning to sing, absolutely not. People that can just flat out sing like Stevie Wonder, donny hathaway, marvin gaye, aretha franklin, beyonce(even though she works peoples nerves), Gavin degraw, John legend, shaka kahn, luther vandross, aguilera, mariah in her early days, amy winehouse, those are people that are born with the gift. a lot of others are just average or even below average
I never got into Aretha Franklin. She's a screamer with a certain pitch i.e. "loud singing" in some's eyes. The only song I ever liked from her was "Freeway of Love" and "A Rose Is Still A Rose" (prod. by Lauryn Hill) was tolerable.

James Brown was a screamer, but his tonality was sick. Even Bobby Byrd (his right hand man) bellowed out hits and riffs, but it's some of the most sampled **** in Hip-Hop and Rap ever.

Marvin Gaye had a soft voice and a limited range, but he made it work with his music. However, just because one has a soft voice and limited range DOESN'T mean that he/she cannot sing. LIsten to his early 80s rendition at a Lakers game of "The Star Spangled Banner". That 808 **** he did with his smoothe ass singing was crazy. I love it. I watch it on YouTube often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by quietdrive View Post
Oh well, Mariah Carey for instance has ZERO technique. She has a GREAT head voice. But no chest voice. When she sings low notes it's all breathy, nothing else. That's btw what a lot of people consider "soul" or a "soulful voice". You can hear it everywhere in pop music, too much air in the voice, which kinda tries to hide the fact that the singer cant really sing. Faith Hill is a prime example, along with Alicia Keys.

A few words on Kelly Clarkson (you didnt mention her, but she's always praised as one of THE best modern pop singers). The girl has also NO technique. Watch live performances of her, all she does is strain and push. That "forced power" in her voice is what makes people think that she can sing, "cause she has so much drive and power in her voice", but... pffft... she just sounds absolutely horrible most of the time. Just screaming out the notes.

So.... most people dont even know what a good singer is, or how one sounds like. You can learn the most important the things (technique & pitch), and if you got that, your good to go. Just gotta be confident and embrace your voice, and what makes it unique. Dont try to sound like somebody else. Everybody can learn how to sing, just gotta put in enough hard work and get a great coach!
Less is more as they say. Sing in a whisper, graduate on pushing the diaphragm slightly. That's how I taught myself how to sing. Whenever I taught R&B cats how to sing, I said, "Watch a video of somebody singing R&B live. They hardly open their mouth. Why? They use their diaphragm to push the air out of the pharnyx and the mouth just shapes the notes (i.e. pitch.". Hence, I think that's one of the reasons why people call it "soul" music: because you singing from your diaphragm that is where the "inner soul" of a human is.

A lot of people say Mariah cannot sing. That's a bold statement, but at least they eloquently back up why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swisha31 View Post
that has more to do with technique if anything. you shouldnt be singing from your nose. it should be diaphragm so the voice can project BUT if you dont have the voice, learn the piano and play for someone that does have a voice.
A B S O L U T E LY! Somebody finally got it on this thread. Additional footnote: Brandy, although is one of the best nasal singers I've ever heard, was singing on stage one day, and Whitney Houston, who infamously sings from her diaphragm, was pointing out to Brandy in sign language to sing from her diaphragm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
technique is the farthest thing from 'natural' i can imagine. it's a great artifice, a very useful tool, but natural it certainly is not.

for the record, some other singers that have strained and pushed:

janice joplin

seal

james brown

louis armstong

robert plant

tom jones

aretha franklin

david gilmore

louis prima


there's a lack of consensus here on what we're even talking about. to me being a "good singer" does not hinge on technique, or lack thereof. what it means for me is that, after i hear them sing something, i think, "hey, that was good." there's a million ways to skin that cat; sometimes it involves technique, sometimes it doesn't.

frank sinatra clearly studied his instrument, and often stepped outside of proper technique to find the moment. bing crosby was amazing, but just once i'd have to loved to hear him break a sweat.

james brown... dear god, you gonna argue he wasn't a natural either?


gregoire
del
ubk
.

Frank Sinatra and Luther Vandross have the most perfect pitch I ever heard ever. Those are naturals.
Old 17th August 2008
  #67
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Character is king.

While I'm sure this sentiment has been posted above (sorry, wanted to add my bit, but didn't read through the thread)...

So: Can anybody learn how to sing?


IMO, a majority of people can "learn" how to sing (with the few exceptions of truly tone deaf)...

BUT, man o man, this topic is always in my heart and top of mind.

I've heard plenty of technically "great" singers, but were bored to death. American Idol has contributed to this because...

While "technically" good is all well and good, "character" is king.


All my favorite vocalist each had their own "sound" and expressive voice that worked in their music's context and BLOWS away "technical perfection!"


I mean, was John Lennon or Jim Morrison "technically" great or just simply "great?"

It's the feel. The imperfections. The expression. All that DOES it for me.


IMHO, if a song comes on and that song has its own signature, "THAT" is a great singer.


-andrews
Old 17th August 2008
  #68
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Who cares about singers? We need *gear* that can emulate singers!

Melodyne is step 1. Elastic Pitch could be step 2. Can't wait for step 3.
Old 17th August 2008
  #69
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Ken Walker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisha31 View Post

and that "everybody can learn to sing" is completely untrue. if you cant sing, you cant sing. nobody can teach you to sing and having a vocal coach is a waste of money if you dont have a great voice to begin with.
Anyone who can speak can learn to sing. Whether or not the sound that emits from their mouth is considered good or not is another matter.
Old 17th August 2008
  #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E-Irizarry View Post
Frank Sinatra and Luther Vandross have the most perfect pitch I ever heard ever.
Frank would be delighted to hear you say it. Especially since you're probably the first.
Old 17th August 2008
  #71
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Voices are like fingerprints, no 2 are exactly the same. Finding "your" voice is definitely the hardest part. But that can be equated to "finding your soul". None of the singers I admire sound like anybody else, because they took the plunge into finding their own personality, and one of the MANY outcomes of that process was finding their own voice.

Taking the plunge means breaking through the walls and psychological barriers that society and the educational system have so painstakingly built up within each of us. When you have been processed from birth to be a mere cog in the wheel of The Grand Machine of Civi-LIES-ation, then you will be a clone who can merely imitate (99.99% of the entire human race).

I am one of the few who found my own unique voice, and it only happened after breaking down all those barriers and walls. Now how exactly does one do that ? Well, that's another topic entirely that i do not have the tiempo here to discuss fully.
Old 17th August 2008
  #72
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alyricalmind's Avatar
 

Anyone can learn to sing... it is a simple matter of pitch control and rhythm. But not everyone can have a voice that would make people want to hear them sing.
Old 18th August 2008
  #73
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E-Irizarry's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Frank would be delighted to hear you say it. Especially since you're probably the first.
Is somebody trying to be facetious to me? Bwahahaa!
Old 18th August 2008
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post

All my favorite vocalist each had their own "sound" and expressive voice that worked in their music's context and BLOWS away "technical perfection!"

I mean, was John Lennon or Jim Morrison "technically" great or just simply "great?"

It's the feel. The imperfections. The expression. All that DOES it for me.

IMHO, if a song comes on and that song has its own signature, "THAT" is a great singer.


-andrews
I get slightly irked by voice threads on gearslutz as it's quite clear that the vast majority on here know next to nothing about singing and those that do know something have only a tiny amount of knowledge. (Not aimed at you DirtyHalo just a general observation)

Anyway Morrison had great tone and delivery. Never thinned out his vocal chords or let his soft palate go as he went up in register. Instead he dragged his chest voice up as high as he could and forced the air. Technically completely wrong but as exciting as all get out when done by somebody with that kind of raw talent.

But in talking about Lennon you'd be amazed at how many things he did technically correctly as a singer. His face posture was simply exquisite and belied an innate knowledge of the Italian "inner mask" used by opera singers. His mouth posture was even better in perfectly shaping his vowels and annunciation in general. Physically you'll notice he stood back extremely straight with a pelvic tilt, legs apart and knees in a slight crouch. All of this stuff is absolutely spot on EXACTLY how you should be when singing if you want to reach your peak. And he did it all intuitively. Amazing stuff. The fact that he got so many fundamentals right allowed him to bend/break other rules and get away with it. (On top of having a great voice that is) It's interesting to note that Bono does all the exact same things.

I think a truly great singer can break every rule there is and it doesn't matter. Dylan comes to mind.
Old 18th August 2008
  #75
Gear Guru
Can anybody learn how to sing? No. Just as there are people you can watch walk and know they're not athletic, there are people you can hear sing three notes and know they can't sing. We have all met people (hopefully not in sessions) who are just tone deaf. If you really don't hear the difference between a rising and descending line, or a small or large jump you can't learn how to sing. Short of that, people can learn to make the best use of the gifts they have.
Old 19th August 2008
  #76
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Can anybody learn how to sing?

No.

Of course it depends on how you define singing. If you count what goes for singing these days, maybe.
Old 19th August 2008
  #77
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I think anyone who can speak, who is prepared to practice and who is taught right, can learn how to sing. That doesn't mean they will be able to sing like Aretha Franklin, (range is partly innate depending on length of vocal chords etc) but you shouldn't be trying to imitate other people anyway, in fact that's where most of the problems come from.
Apart from learning a few basic techniques, I believe the real key is recognising/accepting what is your own tone and then working with that. That's what Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Hendrix, Mick Jagger and all the other 'non-singers' did.
Old 19th August 2008
  #78
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
I think anyone who can speak, who is prepared to practice and who is taught right, can learn how to sing.
What if you're tone deaf? Or even just tone challenged?
Old 19th August 2008
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
What if you're tone deaf? Or even just tone challenged?
To be honest I'm not really sure what the definition of tone deaf is. When I first started singing I couldn't even tell you if one note was higher or lower than another one, let alone sing in tune. I may be wrong, but I think a lot of people who are called tone-deaf simply don't understand what it is they're meant to be listening for.
Old 19th August 2008
  #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincentvangogo View Post
To be honest I'm not really sure what the definition of tone deaf is. When I first started singing I couldn't even tell you if one note was higher or lower than another one, let alone sing in tune. I may be wrong, but I think a lot of people who are called tone-deaf simply don't understand what it is they're meant to be listening for.
I am convinced anyone can learn to do anything. It takes knowing the technology and practicing it.
Old 19th August 2008
  #81
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
I am convinced anyone can learn to do anything. It takes knowing the technology and practicing it.
I'm not buying it. A 5' 3" 125 lb. man will never "learn" to be a linebacker in the NFL. A blind man will never learn be a professional photographer. A deaf man will never be a pro mastering engineer.

And there are people who do not have the ears to be as good a jazz guitar player as you, even if they spend their whole life trying.

It takes knowing the technology, practicing it, AND having the talent for it. Something you are born with, or not.
Old 19th August 2008
  #82
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henryrobinett's Avatar
I didn't say one could be GREAT. I said one could learn to do it.

A 5' 3" 125 lb. man may never be in the NFL but he can learn to play football, and learn to play it well.

Obviously physical limitations like being blind aside, I really believe this.

I think a lot of people get confused by what talent is. Passion, desire and having the technology of the art/craft and the know-how of how to master it, called practice, -- anyone can be accomplished. Being talented or great is another matter.

Anyone can learn to sing. Anyone can learn to hear pitches and copy them vocally. Anyone, with effort can learn to hear rhythms and play or sing in time. Whether one has a timbre or quality of voice that sounds pleasing is another matter. Whether one will ever be able to sing great is certainly also another matter.
Old 19th August 2008
  #83
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John J.'s Avatar
 

Most people can sing.

Most people are not singers.

- John
Old 19th August 2008
  #84
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Igotsoul4u's Avatar
I believe musicality can make a strange or weak tone acceptable. My tone is total **** and I hate hearing myself but everybody alway tells me that they like the way I sing. I am very musical and thats what people latch on to. It sounds like I really mean what I'm singing and it keeps their attention. I put dylan, geddy lee, and lennon in this catagory of odd voices that get soooooo much across. A lot of times those idiosycracies and become your calling card!!!! The do not pass go for me is pitch. If you can't sing in tune you aren't a singer, you're a noise maker. I worked with this girl the other day and she was out of tune the entire time. After a half hour I cancelled the session and gave her the bad news that she had no hope unless she was comfortable being a total computer product and lip syncing every performance.
Old 19th August 2008
  #85
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Having to learn and unlearn... or just "get it."

Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
I get slightly irked by voice threads on gearslutz as it's quite clear that the vast majority on here know next to nothing about singing and those that do know something have only a tiny amount of knowledge. (Not aimed at you DirtyHalo just a general observation)

Anyway Morrison had great tone and delivery. Never thinned out his vocal chords or let his soft palate go as he went up in register. Instead he dragged his chest voice up as high as he could and forced the air. Technically completely wrong but as exciting as all get out when done by somebody with that kind of raw talent.

But in talking about Lennon you'd be amazed at how many things he did technically correctly as a singer. His face posture was simply exquisite and belied an innate knowledge of the Italian "inner mask" used by opera singers. His mouth posture was even better in perfectly shaping his vowels and annunciation in general. Physically you'll notice he stood back extremely straight with a pelvic tilt, legs apart and knees in a slight crouch. All of this stuff is absolutely spot on EXACTLY how you should be when singing if you want to reach your peak. And he did it all intuitively. Amazing stuff. The fact that he got so many fundamentals right allowed him to bend/break other rules and get away with it. (On top of having a great voice that is) It's interesting to note that Bono does all the exact same things.

I think a truly great singer can break every rule there is and it doesn't matter. Dylan comes to mind.
Agreed... but (or and) in your first example you affirm exactly what I'm saying, Morrison greatly admired Sinatra and incorporated some great technique (and threw it all out), but emotion WON out above all.

In Lennon's case, even though he instinctually adapted great technique, I've studied enough of his work, biographical life and documentation around him to know that he didn't know he was employing great technique, he was singing the best he could and did so as such.

The point REALLY being, they didn't "learn" to sing as the the original thread asked.

They just sang! And sang! And became great by whatever means they had to get across what they needed to communicate.

I agree, most people here don't know jack about vocal technique and I'll openly admit, my formal vocal training almost did more harm than good. It wasn't until Gospel choir at the music school, that I got it... and that wasn't from any kudos of a professor saying "Nice technique."

It took time to to learn and then unlearn before I think I've even begun to get somewhere... and now I'm constantly learning (and it isn't neccisarily "technique.")

I hope that makes sense.


-andrews
Old 19th August 2008
  #86
Gear Addict
 

Listen to any song you like and ask yourself if that song would be better if the singer had a better vocal technique.
Old 19th August 2008
  #87
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vernier's Avatar
Either you have it, or you don't . . .

The few good singers in the world were born that way.

Listen to their first recordings, the sound is there from the beginning.
'
Old 19th August 2008
  #88
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The fact - only 2% of the population is tone deaf. That's caused by damage to the ear - these people simply can not hear the pitch.

Of course, how good or bad you sing - that's another question. As mentioned in previous posts - pitch, or tecnique does not guarantee a career on stage .
Old 19th August 2008
  #89
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Sounds Great's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stafs View Post
The fact - only 2% of the population is tone deaf.e .
Ever been to a Karaoke bar?
Old 20th August 2008
  #90
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E-Irizarry's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mappee View Post
Some singers(?) can have amazing technique and ability and just record awful. Some singers have perfect pitch. Some singers sing flat and record well. Every singer is as unique as a musicians style.

You can be taught all the techniques of singing but that does'nt make you a singer, although you may be able to teach singing at that point.

True singing is the ability to touch or communicate emotions to a listener.
In singing you must be true to yourself.

Holding notes for a long time is a musical style. Staying on pitch for the duration of the note is as questionable as a violinist who approximates pitch but rarely maintains it. It's art and it all ain't made to be pretty.
Listen close to Coldplay vocals, not perfect but #1.
What he said! +1 thumbsup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Ever been to a Karaoke bar?
Really though! LOL!!!!
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