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What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?

MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 12:15 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 02:07 AM
glueman 21 May 11 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,mg 21 May 11 - 02:48 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 03:25 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 03:30 AM
glueman 21 May 11 - 03:41 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 04:03 AM
MGM·Lion 21 May 11 - 04:18 AM
glueman 21 May 11 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 May 11 - 04:21 AM
BobKnight 21 May 11 - 05:28 AM
GUEST,Semiotic 21 May 11 - 07:36 AM
MGM·Lion 21 May 11 - 07:57 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 21 May 11 - 08:03 AM
stallion 21 May 11 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 21 May 11 - 10:07 AM
meself 21 May 11 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 21 May 11 - 10:43 AM
meself 21 May 11 - 10:49 AM
MGM·Lion 21 May 11 - 11:18 AM
meself 21 May 11 - 11:25 AM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 11:26 AM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 21 May 11 - 11:46 AM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 12:31 PM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 12:34 PM
michaelr 21 May 11 - 01:25 PM
GUEST,lively 21 May 11 - 01:36 PM
Bert 21 May 11 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,semiotic 21 May 11 - 01:56 PM
dick greenhaus 21 May 11 - 02:01 PM
Brian Peters 21 May 11 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Desi C 21 May 11 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,leeneia 21 May 11 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,mg 21 May 11 - 04:50 PM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 04:56 PM
The Sandman 21 May 11 - 05:28 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 06:50 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 07:04 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 May 11 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 21 May 11 - 08:13 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 May 11 - 12:32 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 11 - 03:52 AM
GUEST,Shimrod 22 May 11 - 04:26 AM
stallion 22 May 11 - 04:26 AM
GUEST,lively 22 May 11 - 04:36 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 11 - 04:41 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 11 - 04:45 AM
The Sandman 22 May 11 - 05:59 AM
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Subject: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voic
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:15 AM

Can anyone tell me exactly what the instruction "Sing in your own voice" means? I think it means to not imitate someone else's singing style, but some posters seem to think it means something related to not singing in an assumed accent. Anyone want to give their opinions? Note: One of my favourite songs is "Rum and Coca-Cola", and when I sing it to myself, I use a slight accent i.e., pronouncing "Coca-Cola" as "Coco-Cola", as I believe it keeps the rhythm. But in my opinion, the Andrews Sisters were overdoing it in their performance.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voic
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:07 AM

And also, do particular races have particular kinds of voices? In some discussions of Elvis, for example, music critics say he sounded Black. Is there a definition of terms like this? How can you tell if someone "sounds Black" or "sounds White?"


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: glueman
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:48 AM

A BBC Radio 3 prog yesterday with a classically trained white middle class singer who'd decided to record black spirituals. 'And de walls came-a tumbling down' in perfect RP just sounds stupid.

I don't mind folk tunes being given a classical treatment by Ferrier or Piers or whoever but spirituals and slave songs in Oxford accents with the addition of Dis n' Dat is fundamentally misplaced.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:48 AM

I think not just accent or style but also whatever your natural speaking voice would be. mg


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 03:25 AM

Well, glueman, technically spirituals and slave songs are folk songs.
Does anyone else want to give their opinion on what "Sing in your own voice" means?


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 03:30 AM

Another point about Lord Invader's songs: it is nearly impossible for me to sing any of his songs without pronouncing the words as he does. Of course, I try not to overdo it.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: glueman
Date: 21 May 11 - 03:41 AM

If depends on your definition of folk songs of course, but if the source of the idiom is particular to a cultural group, especially a disenfranchised one, good taste dictates one should not mimic the speech patterns, or perceived speech patterns of that group.

I accept there are no easy answers but I've always struggled with The English Folk Voice as a universal aural meme and 'negro spirituals' by posh white folks is an extreme version of that dilemma. Some folk forms translate more readily than others into the lingua franca and their mutability or resistance depends on a variety of conditions.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:03 AM

glueman, in my case I am of Chinese ethnicity, and the singer/composer I mentioned was of Afro-Caribbean ethnicity. I have a good ear for accents. I think your opinion also applies if the person can reasonably sing their repertoire in their own accent without doing some kind of disservice to the song.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:18 AM

Morwen ~~ There was a lot about this, in an exchange at end of Jan 10 between Backwoodsman, Jim Carroll, some others & me, in a thread called Songs You Shouldn't Sing In A UK Folk Club, which I have refreshed as you might find some posts relevant to your question here around there.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: glueman
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:18 AM

Like I said, it's complicated. For instance the BBC is numerically over-represented with Scottish radio and TV presenters. This is largely due to the perception that the Scottish accent is 'class-less'. It isn't of course but is more acceptable to the English ear than differing regional English, hence Shaw's quote about an Englishman only needing to open his mouth to make other Englishmen despise him. Whether this is institutional racism against the Scots or positive discrimination on their behalf is difficult to say.

Some people can get away with singing in different voices better than others. If your Trinidadian is impeccable you might pull it off because you're removed from problematic historical debate, being ethnically Chinese, but if you get it wrong you might be seen as an amusing novelty, like Margarita Pracatan the Cuban who featured on the Clive James show. That might be a highly employable novelty, but not in control of the way you are popularly perceived.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:21 AM

Classically trained singers sing using lots of vibrato, exaggerated diction etc. As I understand it they are seeking to produce a 'pure' musical sound - which takes a lot of arduous training to get right. In producing this particular sound these singers tend to move quite a long way from their natural speaking voices. Such singing is highly stylised and, hence, not to everyone's taste. Nevertheless, it is extremely skilful and can be very impressive in the context of a live concert (I will never forget hearing Cecelia Bartoli sing in the Albert Hall - spine-tingling stuff!).

Pop and Rock singers, on the other hand, are often concerned with producing a 'unique' sound which distinguishes them from an army of competitors. I caught a snatch of Elton John the other night on the TV - and I couldn't help noticing that he sings in a high, slightly 'strangled' way whilst adopting a peculiar mid-Atlantic accent. There are lots of other examples - but my Pop references are very out of date!

In contrast to these examples many traditional singers have singing voices which are very like their speaking voices - think of the Norfolk singers, Harry Cox and Sam Larner, for example. They were both old, East Anglian countrymen and when singing they were not trying to produce a stylised or unique sound - they sounded like themselves.

On the other hand there does appear to be a stylised, post-War Revival 'folk voice' - especially among male English singers - a rather nasal sound which is instantly recognisable.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: BobKnight
Date: 21 May 11 - 05:28 AM

For me it means singing in your, "at home" voice. The voice or accent you use with your family. Here in Scotland most of us can speak a reasonable facsimile of "Queen's English," but that may not be what we sound like when "at home."

Sometimes when writing a song the language I use is more archaic, of the type used by my father, or grandparents. Unfortunately, the Scots are rapidly losing tha ability to speak Scots. The influence of a restrictive education system that enforced, "speaking properly" for the last two hundred years, and the saturation level influence of TV, and films, has all but put paid that. However, there are some heartening sign that all may not be lost.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Semiotic
Date: 21 May 11 - 07:36 AM

As a white, middle-class, male brought up in the suburbs of SW London; singing Brigg Fair, The Four Loom Weaver of The banks of Sweet Primroses in my usual speaking voice just sounded ridiculous. However trying to imitate a regional accent was just as bad hence the 'folk revival voice'; silly but inevitable in the days of mass communication I suppose Sam Larner, Phil Tanner and the like had less of a problem with that!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 May 11 - 07:57 AM

One of things ever said about me that I most value was this from a review of a folk evening I did at the Eye Theatre in Suffolk:

"An unpretentious performer, he can talk to the audience in very middle class tones and then, without putting on the folk voice, can still go right into the spirit of a song."
                Basil Abbott - Norfolk & Suffolk Express 14 Feb 1992

This doesn't mean I never try to use an appropriate accent ~~ I happen to be quite good at accents, & regard a song as a performance [I have also done a lot of acting & won cup for best actor at Sawston, Cambs, Drama Festival 1977]. But I do try to avoid the affected nasality &/or ubiquitous Mummerset sometimes thought appropriate, & will only use accent if song seems to me to call for it. Like so much, these things are matters of individual judgment & obviously YMMV in any given instance.

See, for further development of these points, the thread I refreshed refd in my entry 5 posts back.

~M~


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 21 May 11 - 08:03 AM

NEVER EVER give it a thought. Sing it as best you can. If people can't respect that - screw 'em! They aren't deserving of respect back. They won't understand this, because they are conformists tamely doing what some berk tells them is 'in the tradition'.

They would never have the spontanaeity or originality of thought to be inspired by someone as marginalised as Lord Invader.

Go for it! And in a few years - months even, maybe you will be blowing their balls off, headlining everywhere. I hope so. Good luck and Godspeed MW!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: stallion
Date: 21 May 11 - 08:47 AM

ooo Alan that is a bit venomous. About finding your own voice is about putting yoorself into the song, I a agree with big Al on somethings but I do have pet hates, like people singing in a different accent other than the one they converse in, unless that is, the point is to preserve something of the place and spirit where the piece was written and the lifestyle depicted therein and deliver that in a performance. I suppose it's the plethora of people getting up to sing pop sings in some pseudo american accent, what is the point. Having said all that we sing "shanties" at a pace that people would find difficult to work at, we are not singing them to be worked to, it is to enjoy and people to join in with. People do preserve them and use them for what they are intended for and I applaud them for it and also enjoy it as for most of the traditional, revival and contemporary stuff about.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 21 May 11 - 10:07 AM

Look! the guys trying to do something different. As Adrian Henri said about human ears fried in batter - there is room for innovation in the trade. Leave him alone, encourage him - he could come up with something none of us have ever thought of.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: meself
Date: 21 May 11 - 10:34 AM

This topic comes up for discussion periodically, and I can sum up the responses for you:

1) Never sing in anything but the voice and accent that are natural and native to you;

2) Always affect whatever voice and accent you think fit a song;

3) (to be read in the voice and accent of a certain previous poster:) Do whatever it takes to be successful in the music racket.

No end of reasonable and not-so-reasonable arguments have been presented in support of these views, so if you're like most people, you'll choose the arguments in favour of what you're inclined to do anyway ....

FWIW, in my opinion, this world could use a few more Chinese-Australian Calypsonians!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 21 May 11 - 10:43 AM

Music is not a racket. success is very subjective. It is good to be able to say - in the final reckoning, i gave it my best shot. It feels like a sort of success. hard to imagine a better kind


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: meself
Date: 21 May 11 - 10:49 AM

Quite so, and well said.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:18 AM

Which "guy", Al? If you mean Morwen, she's a girl.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: meself
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:25 AM

Btw, Al - Sorry for misrepresenting your point-of-view; I was being flippant, of course, but no offence intended.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:26 AM

On the other hand there does appear to be a stylised, post-War Revival 'folk voice' - especially among male English singers - a rather nasal sound which is instantly recognisable."
but even if a singer breathes through his nose, it may be by accident.
Secondly the nasal singers being referred to all differ from one another, outside of the common factor that they are breathing in through their nose, they are individually recognisable.
Shimrod you are breathing hot air, your statement is as ridiculous as saying that peter pears and count mcormick sound the same because they are not breathing through their nose, they do not sound the same and both are instantly recognisable.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:31 AM

in other words, just because someone has a nasal voice as a result of breathing in through their nose, rather than their mouth, it does not mean they are not singing in their own voice ,they are, but they are obtaining a nasal sound, a result of their breathing, but .....they are still using their own voice.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 21 May 11 - 11:46 AM

In spite of your comments, GSS, I still believe that there is a, largely male, post-War Revival folk voice which tends to have a nasal quality to it. I've not hit some sort of nerve here have I, GSS? You don't sing like that, do you? I don't think I've heard you ... or any of your alter-egos (!)


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:31 PM

Shimrod,if you make ridiculous statements you must expect to be ridiculed.
Mike Waterson does not sound like peter bellamy or louis killen. all of them fine singers, but who periodically breathe through their nose producing an occasinal nasal sound, in my opinion they are far superior to peter pears when it comes to folk songs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 12:34 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_PoPY-mDpA that is me, Shimrod.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: michaelr
Date: 21 May 11 - 01:25 PM

"Sing in your own voice" is essentially meaningless (unless you're subject to that whole class/accent nonsense in England).

When I sing trad folk, my voice sounds in a way that's (I hope) appropriate to that style of music. When I sing rock&roll, it sounds different; bluegrass or old-time, different again. But in each case it is my own voice. You sing to suit the material.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 21 May 11 - 01:36 PM

Morwen, I suspect that you are going to have to discover your own idiom for singing Calypso, for yourself. Just take your time, listen to your sources a lot, and sing the songs that you love a lot.

As far as discovering or indeed cultivating your own voice is concerned, my personal feeling is that the key may lie in not attempting to consciously 'imitate' your sources, but to simply immerse yourself in them.

If I sing a song with a great deal of Scots dialect, I do not attempt a Scottish accent, but I will 'trim' the dialect to a degree so as to make it fit my diction without making the song sounding silly. I don't recommend that you do this necessarily, as I think you're going to have to learn your own way of navigating the meeting point between these songs (including how they are traditionally sung) and your own accent and singing voice.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: Bert
Date: 21 May 11 - 01:49 PM

When I have used the term, it is to avoid that awful falsetto Dylanesque whine that so many performers put on.

As for not putting on an accent it is virtually impossible when you sing some songs. What would everyone sing on New Years Eve if it weren't for Auld Lang Syne?

And people from some remote parts of England wouldn't be able to sing anything that didn't originate within a few miles from where they grew up.

Now, let's all sing Manurah Manyah!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: GUEST,semiotic
Date: 21 May 11 - 01:56 PM

Or of course one could follow the tradition and alter the words to fit your own accent. The tradition, if it is to live, is surely a living, changing, and evolving thing.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:01 PM

or, one can follow in the footsteps of Guthrie and Eliot and Dylan, and just invent a voice to sing in. The important thing i sincerity...once you learn to fake that, you've got it made.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice'
From: Brian Peters
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:22 PM

A few observations...

Shimrod wrote:
"...there does appear to be a stylised, post-War Revival 'folk voice' - especially among male English singers - a rather nasal sound which is instantly recognisable."

A year or so ago I interviewed Will Noble for 'The Living Tradition' mag. In response to what I admit was a slightly leading question about the way someone like Will - who learned songs at local hunt suppers, and always sings in his natural Yorkshire accent - thought about the singing style he heard when he got involved with folk festivals and so forth, he replied: "It didn't bother me but, well, I did feel that a lot of the singers I heard at the festivals and clubs sang in a 'different' way, shall we say! It's hard to define it exactly, maybe a more nasal way of singing? Where did that style come from? Had people heard recordings of older singers and taken it from there? I suppose people were trying to get back to a way of life that they thought was around when this singing was going on."

There was a very definite 'folkie' style of singing around in the 1970s that had nothing much to do with the way most of the old traditional singers had sung. In those interviews with Martin Carthy that are everywhere at the moment, he more or less disowns what he admits was a very mannered singing style in the 70s. Nic Jones had a very nasal style for his first two records, before becoming much more natural for 'The Noah's Ark Trap'. Peteer Bellamy was a role model for the 'folkie voice' as well. It was certainly the standard way of performing traditional songs at folk club level, when I first started getting interested.

My old mentor Harry Boardman's motto was "Sing in your own voice". By that he meant something approaching the singer's speaking voice - although funnily enough when he sang Irish songs, Harry would adopt a fake accent, which led to some spirited discussions. I seem to remember that Ewan MacColl (who's own dictum about 'singing songs from your own place' has been much discussed here) sang in an exaggerated Scots accent for material from North of the border, adopted more of a Mancunian accent for 'The Manchester Rambler' and leaned towards a yokel accent for 'The Foggy Dew'. But of course, this was an actor playing a part.

Semiotic said:
"...singing Brigg Fair, The Four Loom Weaver of The banks of Sweet Primroses in my usual speaking voice just sounded ridiculous"

But those three songs are very different beasts. 'Four Loom Weaver' is in Lancashire dialect, which can cause problems even for modern-day Lancastrians. You could translate it into standard English, but then the poetry gets mucked up. 'Brigg Fair' contains nothing apart from the name of the town (and possibly a memory of Joseph Taylor's highly stylised rendition) to demand performance in a Lincolnshire accent, and 'Sweet Primroses' is an English broadside ballad with no specific location.

I once got hired to coach young actor / singers to perform broadside ballads in an authentically Victorian style, for a stage play. All of them, on breaking into song, immediately dropped their Mancunian accents in favour of the kind of American accent that is the norm for most popular music these days. It was quite a job to get them to speak the lines first, then sing them in the same voice.

Two of the most distinctive vocal stylists around the folk music scene right now are Tim Eriksen and Sam Lee. You couldn't hear Tim and mistake him for anyone else. But he only sings like he does because he's listened a lot to Roscoe Holcombe and Lee Monroe Presnell alongside plenty of confrontational rock music. Likewise Sam Lee with his enthusiasm for English gypsy style. All of us are influenced by the music that's been around us all our lives, but we can also choose to modify those influences by choosing to listen to non-mainstream singing styles, and push ourselves in a less 'vanilla' direction.

On the other hand, if you accept Steve Gardham and Steve Roud's ideas about the commercial origins of much traditional repertoire, e.g. in ballad operas and for the pleasure gardens, you have to accept that many of the songs were most probably sung originally in voices that were more formally-trained than those of the Sam Larners and Phil Tanners that carried them into the twentieth century. There's no high principle to decree that singing traditional songs in a 'pop' or any other kind of voice, is actually wrong. It's just a matter of taste.

All of which goes to show whatever you choose to make of it.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 21 May 11 - 02:23 PM

It's very hard to li9terally sing in your own voice i.e traditional Irish lyrics by the way they're written just tend to make a non Iris voice sound Irish, similarily Country lyrics and many pop lyrics tend to sound American, trad English more an English accent. The only literally 'own voice' singers I hear are those to sing in dialect such as Black Country, Liverpool, Geordie and the like. But I've always taken the term to mean do it your own way, not just copy the sound as is done in Karaoke. Use the lyrics as a frame work and put yourself into your interpretation


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 May 11 - 03:33 PM

There isn't actually such a thing as a voice.

Singing is done by moving muscles and other tissues of the body. We can sing different ways at different times. If we had been born to different cultures, our habits might be different, and our singing would be different. At the same time, we could learn to throw off the habits of our culture and sing differently if we wanted to.

Remember the Yeats poem that ended

   How can we tell the dancer from the dance?

Just as there is no such thing as 'a dance' (there is only a dancer moving) there is no such thing as 'a voice.' (There is only a person singing.)


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:50 PM

There are people who m;ake a living doing Elvis and John Denver impersonations. There you have to imitate precisely, and you will be a very good impersonator. You can give a nod to the original accent and keep the words but still sing them in your own accent. I have no problem singing Auld Lang Syne and I do sing dis and dat in some songs, but that also how much of America (oh do I have to do this again explain what America is..OK..All of North America, South America, Central America, Greenland, protectorates, islands, anyone who feels American in their heart and believes in its ideals, however poorly executed, and then excluding anyone who hates being called American because they don't like George Bush or think we are imperialistic or use too much of the world's resources or would prefer really to be called Guatamalan or Chilean) talked and still talks. mg


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 04:56 PM

Shimrod, where art thou, there is no such thing as a voice, there is also such as a thing as breathing and if you breathe through the mouth it sounds different from breathing through your nose.
I condemn you to hell,Shimrod, hell is the musical equivalent of listening to peter pears muredring waly waly.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gHTw9XjKMc


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 May 11 - 05:28 PM

dear, shimrod,
the crux of the matter is this, traditional singers such as Harry Cox, sang naturally, singing naturally,involves singing while breathing through both mouth and nose., because they are unaware that they are not singing in a particular way, they are just singing
trained singers are taught to breathe through the mouth whilst singing.
revival singers that you are so keen to criticise are following in the tradition of singers such as harry cox, and singing naturally, in other words they are singing without thinking whether they are breathing through one specific orifice, be it mouth or nose or any other hole.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 06:50 PM

Lively- it is as simple as this. I said above "I have a very good ear for accents". Perhaps I gave the wrong impression. What I am actually doing is pronouncing the words with Trinidadian inflections. "We don't speak like that." Lord Invader, himself, is said to have said these words after listening to the Andrews Sisters' version of R&CC. They put on "Trinidadian" accents. But didn't really. More like "generic West Indian/Caribbean accent".

If you listen to a recording on YouTube of Joan Baez singing "Man Smart, Woman Smarter"- I highly doubt anyone else in this forum would criticise her- she sings in her own voice, but adopts slight accent. "Smarter than de man, in every way". How does everyone else feel this fits into "Sing in your own voice"? BTW thanks to meself for suggesting that the world needs more Chinese-Australian calypsonians! Part of my motivation for asking this question was related to a comment on the "A very uncomfortable question- performing other trads" thread and to mention of this threads about accent and dialect.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 07:04 PM

Here is the Joan Baez recording I meant.
Joan Baez- Man Smart, Woman Smarter (Norman Span)


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 May 11 - 08:00 PM

And what about "Day Dah Light (the Banana Boat Song) which uses a lot of dialect? I think I'd keep the dialect, for example, "Come Missa Tallyman, tally mi banana", but pronounce it so that I sounded Australian with a distinct Jamaican inflection. It is very hard to sing a song written in Jamaican patois without adopting the inflections.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 21 May 11 - 08:13 PM

Just do it. Breathe through any orifice which suits you. have fun. You cannot afford to worry about what other people think. There will always be people who put you down. That's what you get for sticking your head above the parapet - you get shot at. It goes with the territory. Some of the criticism will be unfair; some will be thoughtful, kindly and constructive - but basically its all a pain in the bum - and should not stop you from singing and taking a good swing at what you fancy.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 May 11 - 12:32 AM

Right! And the more you do it, the better you get.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 11 - 03:52 AM

Anyone have comments on the Joan Baez recording?


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:26 AM

GSS, I think that you are being a bit too prickly about my comments - it is, after all, merely a matter of taste.

There is much food for thought in Brian Peters's response - it is, in my opinion, almost the definitive answer to the question.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: stallion
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:26 AM

just tried singing mountain dew concentrating on the yorkshire accent and it does work, even with the phrasing which is rooted in Irish/english. hold my hands up, it does sound different than I would normaly, without thinking, sing it. Having said that I only get to sing it when i give the audience a choice to choose English, Scottish or Irish, they invariably choose Irish, then I give 'em a choice of happy or miserable - they choose happy, I then tell them i only know one happy Irish song, take the laugh and sing mountain dew, but that rarely happens these days cos I am rarely on my own, don't do it with 2BS&S. Oh I forgot, for it to work you have to set the audience up by letting them know you know a lot of Irish songs.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,lively
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:36 AM

Hi Morwen, like I said before, I wouldn't recommend that you do what you're trying to do in any way - other than the way that you find it works for you.
When I said immerse yourself in the music rather than consciously mimicking performers, I was aiming at avoiding making your singing sound like a tacky racial pastiche. And in fact I believe, from the what you say, that this is what you would wish to avoid.

"And what about "Day Dah Light (the Banana Boat Song) which uses a lot of dialect? I think I'd keep the dialect, for example, "Come Missa Tallyman, tally mi banana", but pronounce it so that I sounded Australian with a distinct Jamaican inflection. It is very hard to sing a song written in Jamaican patois without adopting the inflections."

Sounds to me like you have worked out how to make it work for you..
I like your argument for the Baez performance btw.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:41 AM

Thanks for clarifying, lively.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 11 - 04:45 AM

And yes, that is what I want to avoid.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:59 AM

"in ballad operas and for the pleasure gardens, you have to accept that many of the songs were most probably sung originally in voices that were more formally-trained than those of the Sam Larners and Phil Tanners that carried them into the twentieth century. There's no high principle to decree that singing traditional songs in a 'pop' or any other kind of voice, is actually wrong. It's just a matter of taste".
no no no,it is more than that it is inappropriate, for example jazz singers sing in certain styles, if peter pears sang in his classical style, a jazz song it is inappropriate, his singing of waly waly is inappropriate.   Sam Larner singing[ IN A NATURAL STYLE THAT INVOLVES BREATHING THROUGH THE MOUTH AND THE NOSE]is appropriate.
likewise HARRY COX singing opera in his natural style is inappropriate.
if classical style singers can have defined styles for singing opera,then folk /traditional music singers, and jazz singers have defined styles too.
to sing like peter pears as he murders waly waly, is not just a matter of taste it is inappropriate, in the same way if walter pardon had sung opera, in his natural partly nasal style it would be inappropriate., or if lous armstrong had sung opera in his style it would be inappropriate.
within all genres of music there are accepted styles, the boundaries of these styles can be and sometimes are explored and increased.
but no non no, peter pears singing waly waly is INAPPROPRIATE IN THE SAME WAY WALTER PARDONS STYLE IS INAPPROPRIATE for opera. ITS NOT JUST A MATTER OF TASTE IT IS INAPPROPRIATE


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