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

GUEST,Alan Whittle 22 May 11 - 06:51 AM
Musket 22 May 11 - 07:03 AM
alanabit 22 May 11 - 07:12 AM
MGM·Lion 22 May 11 - 07:16 AM
Brian Peters 22 May 11 - 07:20 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 22 May 11 - 07:46 AM
glueman 22 May 11 - 07:56 AM
glueman 22 May 11 - 07:59 AM
The Sandman 22 May 11 - 08:42 AM
glueman 22 May 11 - 08:54 AM
The Sandman 22 May 11 - 09:10 AM
Musket 22 May 11 - 09:24 AM
MGM·Lion 22 May 11 - 09:37 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 May 11 - 05:56 PM
muppett 23 May 11 - 06:02 AM
The Sandman 23 May 11 - 06:04 AM
GUEST 23 May 11 - 06:07 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 23 May 11 - 06:07 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 23 May 11 - 06:15 AM
muppett 23 May 11 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 23 May 11 - 06:28 AM
Rob Naylor 23 May 11 - 10:05 AM
muppett 23 May 11 - 10:17 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 24 May 11 - 03:10 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 24 May 11 - 03:11 AM
Musket 24 May 11 - 03:35 AM
muppett 24 May 11 - 04:57 AM
meself 24 May 11 - 10:48 AM
GUEST,the wanderer 24 May 11 - 11:03 AM
meself 24 May 11 - 12:22 PM
GUEST,mg 24 May 11 - 03:22 PM
dick greenhaus 24 May 11 - 04:53 PM
glueman 24 May 11 - 04:59 PM
GUEST,Peggy 24 May 11 - 07:16 PM
Bonzo3legs 25 May 11 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Patsy 26 May 11 - 08:02 AM
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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 22 May 11 - 06:51 AM

We live in an inappropriate age - GSS.

'Weigh it but with the grossness of this age' as Shakespeare said. I remember telling Ian Campbell, that a reggae group full of brummie white kids was a crap idea, and his kids made a real go of UB40.

Guest lively and GSS - if I've learned anything from that, its not to stifle or naysay true creative endeavour.

Like i say Morwen - just go for it. joan baez taught and popularised Childe ballads and other folk music to more people than anyone I've heard named or testifying on this forum. We all owe her a terrific debt.

Just do it, that's what you want to do. Its a humble and decent ambition. You have right to do it. Its not like you want to be a serial killer.
furthermore, doing it will take you to another place. You will navigate for yourself from there.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Musket
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:03 AM

Yo Glueman.

With you mate.

My better half has a CD of Andreas Scholl singing English folk songs, many credited as Vaughan Williams compositions. His voice is precise, somewhere between RP and his German gutteral accent and of course pitch perfect.

Fully stripped of any soul, meaning or echo of entertainment. A pity because have him singing an aria in German or Italian and it seems so natural.

Verdict? Horse for courses.

Of course, Ewan McColl used to encourage people to sing in their own voice and then sing in a strange accent somewhere between Salford and the Highlands. Second only to Russ Abbot in false Scottish... Mind you, he was a hero of mine, even if he did once have a pop at me after listening to my set, saying a song I sung wasn't indigenous to me. Perhaps I shouldn't have sung it in my own voice after all?

Brian Peters says above that this was because McColl was in character, an actor of sorts. yes, I could go with that if he didn't preach all the time to others about singing about your own heritage.   

So, sing in your own voice? Sing in some bugger else's voice? Do what the hell you want. If they clap, you got it right. If they boo, revise your stance.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: alanabit
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:12 AM

Oddly enough, I could not stand the sound of my mother's singing. This had nothing to do with the quality of her voice, nor with her ability to sing in metre and in tune, both of which were unimpeachable. It was the fact that she always adopted a "head girl", snobby sort of accent when she sang. This made me cringe to my toenails. She was an honest and decent woman, who normally spoke a clear variant of Southern English, which was impossible to localise. Her adoption of a class accent - on the the ludicrous assumption that those people were her betters - used to simultaneously repel and embarrass me. I can take on most of what has been written on this thread, but I did want to give an example of how getting it wrong can really annoy people. (I think UB40 sound just fine, by the way...)


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:16 AM

Ewan wasn't just 'an actor of sorts', Ian: he was an experienced and distinguished actor & playwright with Red Megaphones, Theatre Workshop, &c, & married to T Workshop director Joan Littlewood. Other folksingers/professional·actors were Theo Bikel & some of the Clancys.
Bikel in particular was a master of accents. & don't knock Ewan's Scots accent; he grew up in Salford, but his father came from Stirling & his mother from Auchterarder & theirs was the accent spoken in his home. His Scottish sounded a lot more convincing than Jeannie Robertson's often did after Hamish Henderson got at her.

~M~


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:20 AM

"ITS NOT JUST A MATTER OF TASTE IT IS INAPPROPRIATE"

Inappropriate is a value judgement, Dick. I don't particularly like Peter Pears' renditions of folk songs either. But the versions by Sam Larner et al of songs that had been the popular music of 150 years before, represent only a snapshot of the history of the way those songs have been sung over many generations. And although I love listening to those renditions, much prefer them to certain other ways of singing the same material, and have my own ideas about how I like to perform traditional songs in 2011, if pressed on the point of principle I'd say that 'Voice of the People' style performances are no more definitive than '18th century theatrical', 'Cecil Sharpian', '1970s folkie', 'folk-rock', 'psych-folk' or whatever-the-hell-you-like alternative ways of singing old songs.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:46 AM

My better half has a CD of Andreas Scholl singing English folk songs, many credited as Vaughan Williams compositions.

Me too - Wayfaring Stranger: the one with the lovely folksy Magic Roundabout digipak cover (see HERE) - although there's a new edition with a very different cover. I love it very dearly - just as I love Davie Stewart, Cox, Larner, Tanner et al; Bellamy (of course) and The Unthanks, Jack Langstaff, John Jacob Niles, Jim Eldon - all of whom are defined by their own unique (subjective) voices in the context of a broader cultural (objective) context, as are we all, whatever our personal influences & inspirations.

Singing in your own voice? I don't think we have much of a choice really. "My tongue is my own," True Thomas said.... Voices are amazing things; like our eyes, ears, noses, genitals, lungs; but the collectivity of our humanity is defined by our individuality, without which there's nothing at all...


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:56 AM

A better guide might be, would you adopt an accent if you were singing in that region? Americans frequently have a stab at what they think is an English accent (usually cockney) and most are toe-curling Dick Van Dyke affairs. Basically, why bother? If the material is strong enough it'll carry your own voice and if it's heavily inflected, should you be attempting to sing it anywhere if you wouldn't on its home terrain?

As for the universal folk revival voice, it undoubtedly exists but I suspect singers are more aware of avoiding its perils than they once were. Peter Bellamy took the idiom to such a mannerist extreme that it became almost a trademark. Anyone who follows will have to negotiate PB's interpretation.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 07:59 AM

In another example of synchronicity I've just been listening to Wayfaring Stranger in a Sacred Harp recording.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 08:42 AM

"ITS NOT JUST A MATTER OF TASTE IT IS INAPPROPRIATE"

Inappropriate is a value judgement, Dick. I don't particularly like Peter Pears' renditions of folk songs either. But the versions by Sam Larner et al of songs that had been the popular music of 150 years before, represent only a snapshot of the history of the way those songs have been sung over many generations. And although I love listening to those renditions, much prefer them to certain other ways of singing the same material, and have my own ideas about how I like to perform traditional songs in 2011, if pressed on the point of principle I'd say that 'Voice of the People' style performances are no more definitive than '18th century theatrical', 'Cecil Sharpian', '1970s folkie', 'folk-rock', 'psych-folk' or whatever-the-hell-you-like alternative ways of singing old songs.
NO, here is the argument why that is incorrect, classical singers have defintion of how opera should be sung[ that may be their value judgement] but that is how classical singing for opera is taught, the singers are taught a technique for breathing through the mouth, and for using vibrato.
Traditional singers who learned their songs by a certain process , sang their songs in a natural way , [that is, they were not trained to breathe through their mouth whilst singing] this is not a value judgement but a fact, so to continue the style in an authentic manner, singers of traditional songs[whether they are revival or traditional have just sung the songs in a natural manner, that is breathing naturally though both nose and mouth, not consciously avoiding singing through the nose]THEY ALSO GENERALY AVOIDED VIBRATO BECAUSE IT WAS NOT NECESSARY, because they were not singing in large rooms that required the use of heavy vibrato.,
These days OF COURSE WE HAVE AMPLIFICATION TO AMPLIFY SOUND.
If Opera singers and jazz singers define how their material should be sung, and they do
OPERA SINGERS ARE TAUGHT TO SING IN A CERTAIN WAY
why cannot singers of traditional songs define that their is an appropriate way to sing traditional songs, and that is the way they have always been sung by traditional singers, the natural way [which to some extent employs a nasal voice[ nasal voice is defined by someone breathing through their nose while singing].
do you or do you not agree? that it would be inappropriate to sing opera in the style of walter pardon or louis armstrong?
please answer
LOGICALLY
if opera singers are taught to sing in a certain way[which they are,] why should they be a musical exception, there are authentic ways to sing opera, their are authentic way to sing traditional songs[ not in the operatic style of peter pears]his style is inappropriate and not authentic.
neither is it correct according to classical singers to sing opera in the style[that partly uses a nasal breathing] of Dick Miles, BrianPeters, loiusa killen, walter pardon sam larner, martin carthy, or anyone else that has been influenced by traditional singers and sings in a natural way rather than a trained way.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: glueman
Date: 22 May 11 - 08:54 AM

"their are authentic way to sing traditional songs"

Not sure about that. An elegant tenor would adopt a different approach to the material than a bass surely?

Thomas Hardy talks about a character singing like 'a bee in a flue' (in Return of the Native IIRC) so it's safe to assume certain modes of presentation were cliched 150 years ago. One of the more resistant factors about folk music becoming more widespread could be the mannered approach in which it is sung. I'd have thought any voice that can hold a room unaccompanied and without amplification is a potential folk voice, not the accent or mannerisms.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 May 11 - 09:10 AM

glueman the authentic way[ that is the way all traditional singers that i have heard[ sam larner harry cox sara makem,fred jordan,ron copper] is to sing them in a natural manner, a natural way to sing is to use both mouth and nose for breathing., it has nothing to do with mannerisms.
trained singers are trained to breathe through their mouth only. by the way those people that would have heard me sing would generally agree that i can hold a room unaccompanied, i have a fairly powerful voice because i sing using my diaphragm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUoZkOw02uE


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Musket
Date: 22 May 11 - 09:24 AM

MtheGM - I know he was a playwright and actor, and of course his first life with Joan Littlewood. I put on a production of Landscape with Chimneys many years ago...

My comments were purely about singing with your own voice and his stance of authenticity bound to heritage. If I had to be nasty, and I am not starting a Ewan McColl slagging contest here... it is as if he has the right to pretend on stage but others don't. That certainly is the view of the many who were put down by him. And all we ever did was try to entertain?

In our own voice, of course!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 May 11 - 09:37 AM

Well, Ian; we all had our Ewan recollections. He was always quite civil to me, but treated a friend of mine very ill. The story is somewhere on one of the Ewan threads, and not really relevant here so I just mention it in passing.

I would still defend his Scottish singing, which I think has often been unfairly animadverted against ~~ see my last post. But I certainly have no brief for his gross over-prescriptiveness re authenticity, which has been disputed on other threads as attributable to him, but which I recollect perfectly from Ballads & Blues days.

~M~


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 May 11 - 05:56 PM

I would certainly sing Jamaican songs in Jamaica, with the appropriate dialect :).


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: muppett
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:02 AM

Once a song is performed in public, Surely it becomes public property, open to anyone to sing it regardless of their accent or dialect. Just because someone like Bob Dylan sings his songs in a distinct accent doesn't mean every bu*er else has to, what's happend to individuality.

Through my day job as a community worker, I've been working with a group of Male Pensioners who are from Pakistan, but have lived in Bradford for over 40 years. In one of the sessions I recently had with them, we got talking about singing and I got one of them to sing one of his favorite songs, it was the John Denver song, 'Country Road' and he sang it in his own accent which was a mixture of Bradfordian and Pakistani, it certainly added character t' song.

What realy gets on my t*ts though is when folk do an introduction to a song in their own accent or dialect, then go off in a phoney Irish, American or other accent that isn't there own. Yep OK some songs do sound better if done in a particular accent, but lets not get uptight about it and say that it shouldn't be allowed, songs are to be sung by all, so let's embrace this and sing them naturally.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:04 AM

YES, AND NOT WITH A CARROT UP THE ARESE,like peter pears.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:07 AM

'What realy gets on my t*ts though is when folk do an introduction to a song in their own accent or dialect, then go off in a phoney Irish, American or other accent that isn't there own.'

Find it in your heart to be tolerant. Its easier on the nipples.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:07 AM

Sorry that was me


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:15 AM

Muppett, what would you think of someone singing "Day-O" using the traditional Jamaican dialect and lyrics. "Mi come ya fi wuk, mi no come ya fi igle". I think the traditional version is best done in dialect, while the popular Belafonte/Burgie version can be done in any accent possible.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: muppett
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:28 AM

Aye maybe, and Traditional American Folk songs can be said to sound better sung with American accents where as Geordy songs sound strange sung in American accents.

But my point is Songs are to sung by all in what ever accent / dialect.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 23 May 11 - 06:28 AM

Morwen - can't say this often enough. What we think doesn't matter. Some people will like your singing, some won't. That's what this business is like. there really is no right and wrong - no absolutes.

Do what YOU feel good with. If someone suggests a change listen - but not too soon. Make sure you have fulfilled YOUR vision, and you won't find that til you've done it more than a few times.

When you have done what YOU want. then the critics get second dibs at helping you. Don't let them piss on your chips before you start eating.

Whatever anybody else says - they won't care as much as you obviously do. Steer by your own lights initially.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 23 May 11 - 10:05 AM

When I sing, eg, "Banks of the Sweet Primroses" I do it in my "normal speaking accent" which, over the years, has become quite neutral (though some people can hear a northern twang in it still) as a result of living in the South of England, Norway and France and working a lot in Africa, the Middle East and Far East.

However, when I sing "Ilkla Moor Baht 'At" I revert to the West Riding accent I was brought up speaking, and lay it on even more thickly than I would have done at the time.

And I'm afraid I just *cringe* when I hear "The Dalesman's Litany/ Lament" sung here in the south east with the Hs pronounced in "Hull and Halifax and Hell". It just HAS to be " 'Ull and 'Alifax and 'Ell", for me:-)


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: muppett
Date: 23 May 11 - 10:17 AM

Re. Dalesman Litany Rob I do too, but I remember singing 'I'll tell me mar' in a pub in Clifden, Ireland and an old Irishman coming up to me and saying It's good t' hear you singing it in your own accent and not trying to put a fake Irish one on.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:10 AM

efresh.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:11 AM

Sorry, "Refresh"


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Musket
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:35 AM

If you have the Mike Harding album "Rooted" have a listen to The Wath on Dearne Blues.

It makes the point of this thread in a rather excellent way.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: muppett
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:57 AM

Aye it certainly does Ian


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: meself
Date: 24 May 11 - 10:48 AM

For those of us who do NOT have said album, would anyone care to explain?


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,the wanderer
Date: 24 May 11 - 11:03 AM

It's basically a Blues song, using Yorkshire place names and done in A Yorkshire / Lancashire Accent, tha knows cocka


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: meself
Date: 24 May 11 - 12:22 PM

Ah! Thankee.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 24 May 11 - 03:22 PM

One of my favorite you tubes is a group of Russian women singing the Butcher Boy and a song in Russian with an almost identical tune. If they had been perfectly able to imitate a London or Dublin accent (it is said to be originally an English song) it would not be half as lovely. There are also tubes of Thai children singing Irish songs, probably because they had Irish teachers who went to Irish bars..so they are singing the Town I loved so well, Molly Malone etc. quite charmingly. If they had sung with a perfect Irish accent it would have lost something, which is themselves singing Irish songs in a Thai accent. mg


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:53 PM

ot that Ewan MacColl's singing needs any defending, bur re. his accent:
You might give a listen to a CD "A Garland of Scots Folksong (CAMSCO 703) which consists of Ewan singing with Btsy Miller, his mother.
She was a fine singer, too.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: glueman
Date: 24 May 11 - 04:59 PM

Check this out at 5:46...
Oh Suzannah


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Peggy
Date: 24 May 11 - 07:16 PM

Such interesting postings re this subject. I venture that it all depends on who the singer is and why they sing as they do. I was just trying to imagine 'Wigan Pier' being sung by Jessie Matthews in her 'own voice' as she eventually produced it.    Somehow for me that does not work. I need the accent, or the song doesn't work.
I also can't imagine a trained tenor singing 'Wur can that blackbird be, wur can that blackbird be??' etc etc etc.

At present I almost exclusively listen to Asian singers and music and watch Asian film etc. Must say I am not sure where the Peking opera would fit in this discussion. It all depends what sounds you like to hear.   Same with Korean Pansoori singing.

And then there is always a good Welsh Male voice Choir.


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 25 May 11 - 07:35 AM

Opera singers do their hideous singing out of tune you know - just listen to BBC Radio 3 - even on the HD Stream!!


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Subject: RE: What exactly does 'Sing in your own voice' mean?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 26 May 11 - 08:02 AM

To 'Sing in your own voice' makes me think of school. In music class we were often individually asked to sing through just the plain and basic song before making any changes to the arrangement or sound.


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