Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Syphilis is back!

or so the ads on the CTA claim. I'm really bemused by those advertisements, clearly what they intend to impart is that "Syphilis is a viable disease that is showing up once more, get tested." but I can't help but read it in the tone that one might read "The McRib is back!"

I had a voice lesson for the first time since June on Monday, it was really nice to do again. I had even taken a pretty hefty hiatus from practicing, due to trying to find jobs and struggling to deal with change in my life. This pause in my practicing has not gone unnoticed, man does my breath support suck! It's not so bad, I just feel some lines that I would have not needed to even think about before. Not to worry however I'll just have to start practicing again.

One of the things that I have been chipping away at working at but was brought up very clearly in my lesson on Monday, is to not worry about singing beautifully. Since I entered college my private voice teachers have said things like sing louder, or fuller, but this new teacher I think put it in the best way: She asked me if I had ever heard a violin played up close. The answer is emphatically yes, her point is that up close the violin doesn't sound so nice. We like the violin for its sweet sound, but up close it's not so beautiful. You hear the attack of the bow, you hear the grittier sounds that this supposedly elegant instrument makes, the instrument is played for the room. The room takes the sound and smooths it out.

The same with the voice, it doesn't need to sound beautiful in my head, and in my mouth, but out in the room. This is why I'm (justifiably) uncomfortable with close miking, it picks up all the edginess that the room is intended to smooth out.

That's the way it feels to sing this way to me: it feels like I'm singing on the edge. Which is cool because as Duff'll tell life is to be lived on the edge, otherwise you are not living at all. However what do I really mean by saying that I'm singing on the edge (my voice teacher asked how it felt to sing that way, I told her about the edge...teachers frequently ask how singing certain ways feel, only sometimes is there something to tell them). Singing on the edge is a slightly unnerving thing, because you're singing on the edge of control. I feel like if I sing any bigger (not necessarily louder) than I will lose control. My voice will crack or something.

This is however a feeling that I need to embrace, I need to feel like I'm losing control of my voice. I think that one of the main things I need to work out in my voice is that I always need to be in control, when I let go of this I tend to have excellent results.

However this is just me and the way I sing, too "beautiful" and too in control.

Next: Da Corneto

11 comments:

Sarah L said...

I really like this particular entry, not that I don't like the others mind you but, I do wonder how one thinks about their own voice in the context of professional singing. While I don't know if I could completely understand how it feels to sing on the edge exactly, this entry has really brought me much closer. I'm glad you are starting up voice lessons again, I would bet that things are starting to fall into place.

P.S. miss you tons!

P.P.S. you are missing a really excellent thunder storm.

P.P.P.S. I'll try much harder to keep in better contact

Duff said...

Sarah: that thunderstorm was excellent. The wind was amazing, and the cloud formation awesome from CMU's campus.

I understand what Emily is saying: I live in the extreme all the time. I teach on the edge, I grade on the edge, I research on the edge. One time a student asked a question, so I blew up the classroom. And then punched a polanda in the FACE. (A polanda is a polar bear/panda bear hybrid, with all of the extreme powers of a polar bear, and the ferosity and agility of a PANDA.) (Also I use text mark up all the time.) Sometimes, I think I might be the extreme. But that is crazy talk. In fact, so crazy, so extreme, so on the edge, that it must in fact be true.

Duff said...

When I sing, women faint and grown men cry.

Ryan said...

I like mcribs. But not the ones AT mcdonalds--the ones from the grocery store, where you know it's really all rib meat, are great, though

the idiot said...

i take living life to the edge so seriously i even do it in my sleep

the idiot said...

also! why for did you mention close miking? do you have people try to do this to you? or do you just think it is silly and don't like the idea of it? or is it a phenomenon of the modern recording studio pushing its way into operatic singingering? ...ing

the idiot said...

when i sing, cats screech and dogs howl

Embly said...

Actually close miking is not at all uncommon. My chief complaint about my audition recording (the first two recordings on the podbean site that I have) is that it was miked close, and you don't get to hear my voice in the room.

Also it is not infrequent to be asked by sound technitions (omg spelling) if you want a mike when you're doing a brief stage gig type thing for say the national anthem or something, or outside.

There are alot of instances where it is necessary for there to be miking such as big outdoor venues, but I am always more comfortable when the mikes are room mikes, stereo mikes that give your voice time to "bloom" in the space. I think that a violinist would have a similar response...

Evan said...

As a violinist I will agree that listening to a violin up close may not always be the best thing. In fact there certain sounds that come out of violins that are best not heard by the audience. Their ears just might explode.

Duff said...

Evan, are you claiming the power to make people's ears explode by playing the violin? Because if you are, that is awesome. In fact, more awesome than punching a polanda in the FACE.

Evan said...

I believe I am Duff. Certain notes on the violin are deadly and awesome.