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Why star singers damage their voice ?

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punkfolkrocker 16 Jul 19 - 11:06 AM
keberoxu 16 Jul 19 - 11:18 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Jul 19 - 11:34 AM
rich-joy 17 Jul 19 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Jul 19 - 03:07 AM
JHW 17 Jul 19 - 05:59 AM
GUEST,Nick Dow 17 Jul 19 - 10:29 AM
GUEST,henryp 17 Jul 19 - 10:58 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Jul 19 - 01:38 PM
Stringsinger 17 Jul 19 - 01:42 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Jul 19 - 01:47 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 17 Jul 19 - 02:12 PM
leeneia 18 Jul 19 - 10:44 AM
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Subject: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 11:06 AM

This article randomly popped up in my browser late last night.

I'm not a singer, but found it an informative read...

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/aug/10/adele-vocal-cord-surgery-why-stars-keep-losing-their-voices

"Why do stars like Adele keep losing their voice?
More and more singers are cancelling big shows and turning to surgery to fix their damaged vocal cords.
But is the problem actually down to the way they sing?...


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 11:18 AM

Maria Carbone, the legendary opera singer and singing teacher
referenced in the Guardian article,
was profiled in a well-received book titled
The Last Prima Donnas by Lanfranco Rasponi, years ago.

I recommend Carbone's interview in that book;
she was teaching at that time, having stopped singing,
and she spoke incisively about all the students
who came to her with technical problems with singing.

In the Rasponi book,
the singers who remark on the disappearance of
healthful, long-lived professional singing techniques
just as often
pointed fingers at the music conductors,
like Dmitri Mitropoulos,
for letting the orchestra drown out the singers onstage.

Yes, pfr, there is much to chew on in this subject.

Remember Frank Sinatra?
He had nodules on his vocal cords at one point.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Jul 19 - 11:34 AM

I've always envied singers, but shied away from becoming one
after painful experiences making a fool of myself in our long ago teenage band rehearsals..

In infant school I was told I had a 'good' voice and sang solo on stage at a town children's festival.
But for reasons I can't remember, ended it there.

Now I'm a more confident self assured old bloke,
I blame my terrible memory for lyrics and melodies for not bothering to try...

But.. who knows.. someone will need to test out my mics
when my home studio is up and running...


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: rich-joy
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 02:51 AM

Speaking as one who has been devastated by no longer being able to sing (vocal cord cyst that appeared almost overnight, some years back), some of it can be caused by medication side effects and "modern living" pollutants, and foods - that whilst not "junk" - can still cause conditions like LPRD (laryngopharyngeal reflux, sometimes called 'silent reflux').

The difference these tiny lesions can make to the quality and performance of a voice is extraordinary - and extremely depressing.

(a not so) Rich-Joy
Down Under


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 03:07 AM

Do not touch Alchahol, or any other intoxicant, don't smoke and please watch out for some blood pressure tablets that cause a cough.
Do not shout your head off like some rock singers, or artificially stretch your range like art singers are taught to do and you will be fine into older age as McColl, Tawney, Burland, Wyndham Read, Steve Turner Pete Coe (forgive the smoking) and yours truly have proved.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: JHW
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 05:59 AM

Stardom aside I had a different problem. Pain in my neck (affecting me) stopped me singing. ENT dept had a list of singing teachers. Describing 'singing lessons' would take too long but she cured it. Said she couldn't promise it wouldn't return but ok so far.
Only have mentioned in case anyone else is ever affected.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 10:29 AM

JHW pain in the neck and I suspect shoulders as well, is not in the least funny for sufferers like you and me. I used a good bone cracker to sort me out. Not too expensive, about £40. Best watch the angle of your pillows at night, that will help. Glad you are singing again.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 10:58 AM

Dawn Upshaw's advice is, "Don't talk in the car."


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 01:38 PM

And very good advice it is too, especially when travelling at a steady speed on motorways and the like, where there's a constant whine of background motion-noise and you have to raise your speaking volume to be heard above it. This is insidious because after awhile your ears become accustomed to the increase and "tune it out" so it falls below conscious awareness, and you don't realise the strain it's putting on your vocal cords. I remember being warned about this years ago by my voice teachers. The same can apply to phones, especially if you're outside or in an environment where there are competing sounds.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 01:42 PM

This is an important article. Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie as well as Ronnie Gilbert and the Weavers all raised their chins while they were singing. This is a no no. Pete paid dearly for this by putting a strain on his cords.

The important part of good singing is to find the balance in your voice between the diaphragmatic breathing and the approximation of the vocal cords.

You don't need a lot of air, just the right amount of breath support.

This is why the bel canto people suggest pure vowels. It triggers the correct balance and response. This has to be monitored by a good vocal coach.

Above all, don't shout. This is what many pop artists do. Shouting over an orchestra is an unnatural habit.

"Don't talk in the car" is a warning not to shout over engine noise. Good advice.

A proper vocal setup can restore hoarseness. Above all, don't push! That's the real killer.

The Alexander Technique of relaxation is an important adjunct to singing or any musical instrument performance.

Alcohol and cigarettes dry out the cords. So do cough drops. Hot water with honey or tea seems to help facilitate smoothness.

Like any athlete, you have to warm up before performing. This is why there are vocal exercises. Don't go for high decibels when warming up. Coax the voice.


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 01:47 PM

Excellent thread on voice damage from wear and strain here.* The other discussions cross-linked in blue at the top of the page are also interesting and helpful. Well worth a read:

My voice is heavily damaged! HELP!

* https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=114088


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 17 Jul 19 - 02:12 PM

I normally never do this, but I am going to quote one of my own posts from that thread I just linked to, because it goes right to the heart of what Paglin and Brilla (in the Guardian article cited above) are talking about:

- - -

It is certainly possible to belt safely [in reply to another poster's comment] - but how many of them do? You can avoid harm - if you're sensible about it and don't overdo things. But how many roles even allow that these days? I've worried for a long time that musicals themselves are becoming unrealistically demanding vocally, with huge ranges to be traversed, at full volume. Two excellent shows come to mind (both mega-hits), Les Misrables and Miss Saigon. How long can anyone sing those parts before wearing out? One line alone (Ellen's "Chris, what's haunting youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" in Miss S, sung in the chest register) performed daily and twice on Wednesdays & Saturdays would do enough damage on its own, and the show is full of them.

I used to fight regular battles with my girls, trying to get them to sing it in head-register (no, I wanna be dramatic) until - where I could - I finally refused to play that duet. I also spent more hours of my life than I can remember transposing scores down and re-modulating key changes. But that was a theatre academy. The big bad Real World doesn't work like that. And when you're playing rehearsal piano or harp in the orch pit in the professional shows, you have no power over what happens onstage. All you can do is play, sigh, and collect your paycheque.

Just catch a listen to Good Morning Baltimore from the musical Hairspray. And don't get me wrong: I'm not being snobby. I think this is a great show number. It's upbeat, catchy, and carries you along on a tide of enthusiastic good-time spirit that is huge fun to listen to. But I wouldn't give you tuppence for what her voice is going to sound like in a year's time, especially if she (or someone) has to perform this 8 times a week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TodPbIXnKw [video now removed]

When I hear that abrasive opening uh-uh-OH it just makes my throat ache; ditto the lyric "start" which begins high, is held for several bars and then modulates UP. No voice can go there too often and survive unscathed. Even operatically-trained performers with strong technique can come a cropper if they take on roles which demand this sort of singing. Listen to Joan Diener at the beginning of Man Of La Mancha. Then listen to her at the end of it - and I'm only talking about the cast recording. I heard on the grapevine (or read somewhere?) that she ruined her voice playing Dulcinea, and she seems never to have done anything with great success after that show (though I only have the fallible Wiki word on that).

Interesting take in one of the obits: On the popular original cast album, Ms. Diener sings in chest and head voices, and the two qualities suggested an inner struggle — a fight for the soul of the woman. She was of both heaven and earth.
The song "Aldonza" remains a frank, blistering tirade of self-recognition and self-abnegation in which angry, broken Aldonza refutes any elevated labels other than "kitchen slut" and "whore." Ms. Diener spat out that she was "spawned in a ditch" and "born on a dung heap — to die on a dung heap."


Those lines were not written to be sung moderately, and she was riveting - but at what cost?


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Subject: RE: Why star singers damage their voice ?
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Jul 19 - 10:44 AM

Years ago People Magazine used to contain one article per issue that was not about a Hollywood celebrity. One time the article was about The Voice (or Throat) Doctor to the Country Stars.

The good doctor said right upfront that country stars get throat problems because they don't know how to sing right. I can't recall his exact words, but mostly they push their poor voices too hard, doing too many concerts too close together using bad techniques and no training.

Adele is another example of trying to push an amateur's voice to a professional's pace. This could have been avoided; we know it happens.
==============
I remember another thing the doctor said. When your voice is sore, avoid drying the throat. No alcohol, caffeine or chocolate.

My SIL's advice has proven good over the years - drink lukewarm water.

Not talking in a loud car is a good bit of advice. Presumably by the time one is singing to 98,000 people one can afford a quiet car.

Adele mentioned clearing her throat in the article. I hope she knew this - a singer never clears the throat. If there's sludge, cough it away.
===============
Thanks for your insights, Bonnie. They are well worth a read.


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