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Can anybody learn how to sing? Ribbon Microphones
Old 26th July 2010
  #181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
I thought that Henry was going to say this but he didn't quite say it plainly, so I will restate it to be clear.
People like Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Birgit Nillson and to a degree artists like Michael McDonald, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and people who study or have studied voice are called VOCALISTS.
It's interesting though that even the people who agree on this distinction can't agree on the terminology. Bof upthread used the opposite labels! "To become a truly great singer (Michael McDonald, Karen Carpenter etc) as opposed to a great vocalist (Tom Waits, Bob Dylan etc)"

But again, the distinction is totally arbitrary and based on your own cultural prejudices and assumptions. And it's not at all surprising to see such arbitrary distinctions enforced within academia. In every field you'll find university programs drawing lines in the sand and protecting their little niche or point of view.
Old 26th July 2010
  #182
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No.
Old 26th July 2010
  #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post

Technique always has to follow art. You have to know what you want to say before you can learn how to say it.
Very good, I like that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
It's interesting though that even the people who agree on this distinction can't agree on the terminology.

<snipped>

But again, the distinction is totally arbitrary and based on your own cultural prejudices and assumptions. And it's not at all surprising to see such arbitrary distinctions enforced within academia. In every field you'll find university programs drawing lines in the sand and protecting their little niche or point of view.
Keep them coming! And probably those most "vocal" about the distinction are the ones that would bore me to death with their academic vocalizing.
Old 26th July 2010
  #184
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
People like Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Birgit Nillson and to a degree artists like Michael McDonald, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and people who study or have studied voice are called VOCALISTS.

SINGERS are what the lay people and artists who who are not vocalists are called.
Most, but not all, popular artists are singers.
Maybe in the USA, but not elsewhere. In my world (where I regularly work with first call session singers and 'artistes' in Europe and Japan), a vocalist is someone who performs the main vocal part of a song, irrespective of whether they can sing or not. Singers are people who can sing. And none of them are touchy about it.

And another thing. Outside of The Opera, most great singers/vocalists have not studied voice and the majority of those who have studied are not great singers or vocalists. In fact, non-operatic voice studies are a relatively recent addition to school curricula. The vast majority of the world's greatest pop/soul/rock singers/vocalists only have a lesson when they've got a problem with their voice.
Old 26th July 2010
  #185
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And what of the crossover singer/vocalist? I mean someone like George Benson, one minute he is just singing a nice song, the next he is vocalizing sounds along with his guitar.
Old 26th July 2010
  #186
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I taught myself...Never had a lesson in my life...

what.machines.were. [FREE music!] on PureVolume.com

No autotune.

IDK if its usual people teach themselves....In my eyes I'd say everyone can...but I may be ignorant because I did it.

-Ev
Old 26th July 2010
  #187
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And then you have Pat Benatar, an accomplished operatic vocalist that traded it all in to be a pop/rock singer. heh
Old 26th July 2010
  #188
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
And what of the crossover singer/vocalist? I mean someone like George Benson, one minute he is just singing a nice song, the next he is vocalizing sounds along with his guitar.
So he's a great singer (one of the best, actually). Just because he's not singing words doesn't mean he's not singing.
Old 26th July 2010
  #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
I have to agree with Henry on about everything.
Then again, I have been with my wife since '82 and she started classes at the University of North Texas in '83 graduating in '87 with BA in music with voice as her main instrument.

Henry comes from a university music department as well, so he knows what he is talking about.

Schools like UNT separate the wheat from the chaff in the first or second year.
You DO NOT receive that diploma unless you earn it and you have to be very good and have worked your ass off to receive it at all.

I thought that Henry was going to say this but he didn't quite say it plainly, so I will restate it to be clear.
People like Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Birgit Nillson and to a degree artists like Michael McDonald, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and people who study or have studied voice are called VOCALISTS.

SINGERS are what the lay people and artists who who are not vocalists are called.
Most, but not all, popular artists are singers.

If you want to not sound like an idiot when you deal with a vocalist don't call them a singer.
It is a BIG deal to them.

Also, artists like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan who write their own material and might have questionable vocal abilities could be somewhat categorized as SONG STYLISTS.
Traditionally that term refers to artist who use their unique talents and vocal STYLING to sing popular songs.
It is possible to be both a vocalist and a song stylist as is Celine Dion's case.

These distinctions are not well-known, evidently...can't seem to find anything to back it up. Most of the pros I know still call 'em all singers. Must be the old guard?

Then again, I also lived in San Francisco and never saw anyone fly into a rage over the nickname "Frisco" either.
Old 26th July 2010
  #190
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etcd32 View Post
I taught myself...Never had a lesson in my life...
We know
Old 26th July 2010
  #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
And then you have Pat Benatar, a very accomplished operatic vocalist that traded it all in to be a pop/rock singer. heh
I remember all of that stuff being said when she came out.
"Accomplished?"
In what way?

She is pretty good as a singer, but that "accomplished opera singer" stuff was all hype.

It was said that her parents wanted her to go to Julliard, but she didn't.
She never studied music at a university.
She worked a lot, sang a lot and was/is a good rock vocalist.
She would have to work REALLY hard to sing opera.
Old 26th July 2010
  #192
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I think the idea of singing is way too subjective to peg an answer this question definitively.

And then there's the idea that the intention or content of one's music makes up for any pitfalls there may be in physical execution, like less-than-stellar singing.

For example:

YouTube - Joanna Newsom - Peach Plum Pear (11.16.06)
YouTube - [Joanna Newsom] Peach, Plum, Pear (live at ICA, 2004)

On any given day, Newsom's voice can go from soothing to painful, but her compositions are absolutely beautiful to me.
Old 26th July 2010
  #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
I remember all of that stuff being said when she came out.
"Accomplished?"
In what way?

She is pretty good as a singer, but that "accomplished opera singer" stuff was all hype.

It was said that her parents wanted her to go to Julliard, but she didn't.
She never studied music at a university.
She worked a lot, sang a lot and was/is a good rock vocalist.
She would have to work REALLY hard to sing opera.
Too bad, and she could have really been somebody.


Quote:
She would have to work REALLY hard to sing opera.
Right, as apposed to some lazy ass singer like say, Steven Tyler. Ever seen him work?

At least he doesn't need to be hauled in on a crane. heh
Old 26th July 2010
  #194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
WeKaren Carpenter never did anything for me personally but I think she was a very good singer.
She never did anything for me, either, until I found out what she was singing about. Now I can barely listen to 'Goodbye To Love' without weeping aloud. Such understated emotion. No vocal circus tricks needed to translate her torment into song. Just a pure voice and a sincere delivery.

Or maybe I'm just projecting...
Old 26th July 2010
  #195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
So he's a great singer (one of the best, actually). Just because he's not singing words doesn't mean he's not singing.
No, I like him! Just trying to decide if he wants to be called a singer or a vocalist.
Old 26th July 2010
  #196
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I didn't put down Pat Benetar in a any way.
I just corrected your incorrect statement.

Saying that she never attended a university and never sang opera professionally when you claimed she was an "accomplished" opera singer who left her career for rock-n-roll is not putting down her abilities or accomplishments in any way at all.

How did Steven Tyler get in the discussion?
That guy has been a human joke for over thirty years.
He is a just a human clown that a promoter can sell.
Yeah, yeah... he did do some interesting rock things A LONG TIME AGO.

You see?
One big problem is that many people can't even discuss vocals without bringing up only the names of popular rock singers.
Old 26th July 2010
  #197
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
She would have to work REALLY hard to sing opera.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
Right, as apposed to some lazy ass singer like say, Steven Tyler. Ever seen him work?
I think dbbubba's point is that Opera is such a stylised and un-natural way of singing that it requires years and years of dedicated practice to learn how to do it properly. Steven Tyler works very hard as a performer, but it's unlikely that he had to perform scales and vocal exercises all day, every day for 10 years before he'd even be considered for a back row place in the chorus of a local opera company. If Pat Benetar only had formal vocal training up to the age of 18 (she didn't go to Juliard) then she's still got a hell of a lot of work to do before she can sing in an opera.

On the other hand. Domingo has a hell of a lot of work to do before he can sing Love In An Elevator... without embarrassing himself.
Old 26th July 2010
  #198
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
No, I like him! Just trying to decide if he wants to be called a singer or a vocalist.
Is your name bof?
yes
do you like his singing?
yes -> he's a singer
no -> he's a vocalist
no
Is your name dbubba?
yes
does he have a degree in vocal music?
yes -> he's a vocalist
no.

do you like his singing?
yes -> he's a vocalist
no -> he's a singer
Old 26th July 2010
  #199
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
No, I like him! Just trying to decide if he wants to be called a singer or a vocalist.
You can't decide that. It's up to him. You can decide what you want to call him though.

I want to call him a Great Singer because he sings with all of my criteria for great singers: great technique, great musicality and great instrument (the parts of his body that produce his voice).

Whether vocalising with his guitar, humming in the bath or picking his nose, he's still a great singer. Just as Emerson Fittipaldi was a great racing driver, whether he was racing, walking to the shops or mowing the lawn.
Old 26th July 2010
  #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
On the other hand. Domingo has a hell of a lot of work to do before he can sing Love In An Elevator... without embarrassing himself.
Placido Domingo could sing "Love in an Elevator" with ease.
Point out one line in the vocal delivery of that song that Placido Domingo couldn't sing.
It would sound different.
He wouldn't dream of singing using his voice like Stephen Tyler because it destroys your vocal chords.
That is one reason why rock singers burn out quicker.
This is not stuff I am making up.
It is a physical fact.
Ask Steven Tyler if it is true.
He'd tell you.

It is like telling an olympic sprinter that there is a guy who is getting paid HUGE sums of money to run headlong into brick walls.
Is the sprinter going to start running into walls for money because he can run faster?
Probably not.

Besides... who would YOU rather be today?
Placido Domingo or Steven Tyler?

Again... why does everyone have to measure vocal ability against rock singers?
Old 27th July 2010
  #201
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post

How did Steven Tyler get in the discussion?
That guy has been a human joke for over thirty years.
He is a just a human clown that a promoter can sell.
Yeah, yeah... he did do some interesting rock things A LONG TIME AGO.
Human joke, not sure what that means?

Interesting rock things? I've heard his work over 4 decades, and seen him live. The man can sing and perform like nobody's business. Not your style apparently.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post

You see?
One big problem is that many people can't even discuss vocals without bringing up only the names of popular rock singers.
Some of us like that kind of singing, and are bored to death by opera. I guess I'll let you decide who is the better singer/vocalist for yourself. I know what moves me.
Old 27th July 2010
  #202
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Again... why does everyone have to measure vocal ability against rock singers?
Probably because most people here are making some form of rock or pop music. Why do you try to measure vocal ability against opera singers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Point out one line in the vocal delivery of that song that Placido Domingo couldn't sing.
It would sound different.
Indeed. It would sound different. That's kind of an important consideration in an art form that's entirely about sound, is it not? I would argue, the only relevant consideration.

If our measurement of quality involves measuring somebody's vocal range, then you can say many rock singers fail. But equally, if our measurement of quality is how the final product sounds, then Domingo would completely fail at "correctly" interpreting Love in an Elevator. There isn't a single line in the song that he could deliver successfully. But thankfully in art there is no right and wrong, no "correct" interpretation or "proper" technique a singer needs to practice to be considered great.
Old 27th July 2010
  #203
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
I have to agree with Henry on about everything.
Then again, I have been with my wife since '82 and she started classes at the University of North Texas in '83 graduating in '87 with BA in music with voice as her main instrument.

Henry comes from a university music department as well, so he knows what he is talking about.

Schools like UNT separate the wheat from the chaff in the first or second year.
You DO NOT receive that diploma unless you earn it and you have to be very good and have worked your ass off to receive it at all.

I thought that Henry was going to say this but he didn't quite say it plainly, so I will restate it to be clear.
People like Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Maria Callas, Birgit Nillson and to a degree artists like Michael McDonald, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand and people who study or have studied voice are called VOCALISTS.

SINGERS are what the lay people and artists who who are not vocalists are called.
Most, but not all, popular artists are singers.

If you want to not sound like an idiot when you deal with a vocalist don't call them a singer.
It is a BIG deal to them.

Also, artists like Tom Waits and Bob Dylan who write their own material and might have questionable vocal abilities could be somewhat categorized as SONG STYLISTS.
Traditionally that term refers to artist who use their unique talents and vocal STYLING to sing popular songs.
It is possible to be both a vocalist and a song stylist as is Celine Dion's case.
I guess I almost totally agree with BB on this one. The distinctions between singers, vocalists, and song stylists don't mean anything to me. I just don't care about them. I also don't care that Boby Dylan would have flunked out of North Texas after his first year. I'd much rather listen to him sing than probably 99.99% of the singers or vocalists or whatever they want to be called that have graduated from North Texas. (By the way, this is not meant to in anyway denigrate your wife or any other student of that school.) Bob Dylan is a GREAT singer. Why? Because he coveys the emotion of the song with his voice. At the end of the day, that is ALL I care about. For me, its the same with guitar playing, piano playing, or whatever. I don't care if Ornette Coleman can't play Giant Steps or if Hubert Sumlin doesn't properly address the V. All I want is the little hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. YMMV.
Old 27th July 2010
  #204
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This thread has become idiotic.

No, not anyone can be taught to sing.
Some people are too lazy to work at it.
Some people are too narrow minded to do what is required.
Some people are too easily pleased and stop short of being any good.
Some people give up when things get harder than they thought they would be.

There are a lot of reasons that some people CANNOT be taught to sing.
They are all mental unless the person has a physical or mental deficiency.
Old 27th July 2010
  #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by initialsBB View Post
Is your name bof?
yes
do you like his singing?
yes -> he's a singer
no -> he's a vocalist
no
Funny! But far from true.

I think I might have thrown you off with the Karen Carpenter thing. She doesn't actually fit my criteria of a great singer because she doesn't have great technique, it's good at best. I was trying to avoid listing the usual suspects. Anyway. In light of this (because i still consider her a great singer, even though I only like 2 things she's ever recorded) I've reconsidered my criteria and I believe that a great singer needs only to have good technique as technique is probably the least important criteria.

But all this is only relevant because the OP wanted to know if anyone can learn to sing. My point is that anyone can learn to sing but only those born with a great instrument will become great singers (or vocalists by dbubba's definition). If you don't have a great instrument, you can still learn technique and musicality and compensate for a poor instrument with performance skills. Then you can become a great vocalist (or singer by dbubba's definition).
Old 27th July 2010
  #206
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lol
Old 27th July 2010
  #207
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My idea a great singer, vocalist, crooner, whatever. heh

Old 27th July 2010
  #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlin View Post
I also don't care that Boby Dylan would have flunked out of North Texas after his first year. I'd much rather listen to him sing than probably 99.99% of the singers or vocalists or whatever they want to be called that have graduated from North Texas.
Would you feel the same way if he sang banal and insipid pop?
Old 27th July 2010
  #209
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted User View Post
Would you feel the same way if he sang banal and insipid pop?
Didn't he?
Old 27th July 2010
  #210
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
My idea a great singer, vocalist, crooner, whatever. heh

My old intern and a good friend has been Don's engineer for years.
He did the last Eagles record... Out of Eden.
He tracked almost all of it, but didn't mix it.

He said that when he was recording the band it was not too different from recording many bands he had recorded over the years, but when they all took the mic (especially when doing BG vocals) you KNEW you were recording THE EAGLES.
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