Mudcat Café message #1063892 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64600   Message #1063892
Posted By: PoppaGator
01-Dec-03 - 03:47 PM
Thread Name: Falsetto
Subject: RE: Falsetto
It's been a while since I checked back into this thread, and I'm glad to read Jerry's response.

It may be a bit of thread creep to have gotten into this, but what I tried to describe, and what Jerry recognized and also knows, is that there is some *other* vocal technique besides falsetto that enables one to reach a higher pitch than "normal." I don't know how to describe it, except insofar as it is not available unless and until one is singing **very loud**. I've heard the term "blues shouter" applied to certain performers, and I suppose that this vocal approach we're talking about must be "blues shouting." It has none of the sweetness of conventional tenor singing (neither operatic tenor nor semi-classical Irish-tenor style), even though it is a way to sing pitches of the same range and perhaps higher. In fact its rough/raspy quality is such that the casual listener doesn't generally recognize just how extraordinarily high the pitch is.

This is not the same thing as that Bluegrass ultra-high tenor mentioned earlier, either, but is probably closely related. (I've never tried to do the bluegrass thing, so I can't compare.)

I really caught onto this approach by working up a tune called "Sweet Soul Music," a pop/soul hit from about 1967 recorded by one-hit wonder Arthur Conley (and produced at Muscle Shoals by Otis Redding). If you don't recognize the title, you might remember the opening line -- "Do you like good music / yeah, yeah" -- or the song structure where each verse calls for "Spotlight on [name of soul music star]."

At normal/quiet volume, I could not reach a single note of the entire song except by resorting to falsetto -- however, rehearsing with a large band with lots of horns, shouting at the top of my voice, I was able to pull the whole thing off in a full-throated, non-falsetto fashion.

Part of the phenomenon had to have been my mental approach; I began to conceive of my chest, throat, and mouth as a horn, as though I were a fellow member of the horn section with the trumpet, saxes, and (especially) the trombones. I guess this means I was doing a "chest voice" rather than "head voice," but I have another "normal" chest voice that can't reach nearly so high.