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EW Voices of Opera...Opinions?

kitekrazy

Senior Member
It's not really that simple. The line between falsetto and head voice is quite blurred with male rock singers who have perfected this technique and that's why people are using terms like "super head voice" and "reinforced falsetto". Plant was the pioneer in this (well, until he ruined his voice somewhere between III and IV) and Steelheart's Miljenko Matijevic uses similar technique to hit the high notes (he goes to B5 in "Love Ain't Easy").

Quite off-topic, but definitely more interesting than EW's Voices of the Opera :P
True and that's not really knocking their product. Range is overrated. Charlie Pride is a country legend and there's nothing rangy about his performances. The lead singer for the Cult is another guy who just makes a song work.
 

ProfoundSilence

Active Member
If the untrained person can't sing along, then you're writing in a way that relies on someone else's virtuosity to bring life and intensity to your music. I hate to be THAT guy, but I feel like singers are a dime a dozen? It doesn't cost a whole lot to drive to the nearest college/conservatory and offer pizza and some starbucks gift cards to 2-3 singers to sight read your work and nail it in 2-3 takes.

hiring a choir? pssshhh not in this life time, but a single person for an hour or so that doesn't even require equipment to perform the music should be an easy task. Infact plenty of elderly in my area sing for fun, you could visit a church or two on sunday and find a few who might be pushing the life expectancy up, but have a long and rich history of singing under their belt, and are more than interested in working with someone of a different generation. Even better, you might end up getting some really wild tales out of them too for free.

again, if it's in a typically singable range for an untrained person, anyone with any experience should be able to crush it with no real hitch, with the added bonus of being more memorable.


this goes up to like an F? a whole 5th below the infamous C. Still hits like a choo choo train. Infact, I would wager a random person off of the street would only struggle to hit the E and F, and most would be able to hover around the A and D without a hitch.
 

douggibson

Active Member
It doesn't cost a whole lot to drive to the nearest college/conservatory and offer pizza and some starbucks gift cards to 2-3 singers to sight read your work and nail it in 2-3 takes.
That was my point earlier in the thread too. Depending on which conservatory you live by, some of them absolutely are amazing. Gives them both experience, and a few meals, and something they can use for their own demos. It would produce a better result.

this goes up to like an F? a whole 5th below the infamous C. Still hits like a choo choo train. Infact, I would wager a random person off of the street would only struggle to hit the E and F, and most would be able to hover around the A and D without a hitch.
G is considered the standard top of the "safe" range. Maybe not a random person off the street, but someone who has some training.....G should be fine.

Careful about "hovering around the D". That can be the Passaggio area.
It's sort of like the "break" in the clarinet. It's not something you have to be overly concerned about, but the "hovering" can be annoying as singers train to hide this spot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passaggio

The other thing about high notes is singers are not piano players. To approach it like they can just pick notes out of thin air ...... often great composers prepare the ears and singer to hit the upper notes. (ie. octave jumps etc.)
 

ProfoundSilence

Active Member
That was my point earlier in the thread too. Depending on which conservatory you live by, some of them absolutely are amazing. Gives them both experience, and a few meals, and something they can use for their own demos. It would produce a better result.



G is considered the standard top of the "safe" range. Maybe not a random person off the street, but someone who has some training.....G should be fine.

Careful about "hovering around the D". That can be the Passaggio area.
It's sort of like the "break" in the clarinet. It's not something you have to be overly concerned about, but the "hovering" can be annoying as singers train to hide this spot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passaggio

The other thing about high notes is singers are not piano players. To approach it like they can just pick notes out of thin air ...... often great composers prepare the ears and singer to hit the upper notes. (ie. octave jumps etc.)
if you're writing effective melodies, there should be no issue for a singer(even untrained). I'm simply saying that most of that melody was between two gears, one centered around that D, and the other centered around that A. You'll be mentally prepared for that A on the opening A-F-G-A, and you'll spend a lot of time in that register, but when it goes to the A-C-D you're prepared more for that D region, with the F towards the top end of that.

as far as octave leaps, or really any leaps - none of those are particularly hard, as long as the note they are leaping to was atleast in the key(although the chord built around it can be whatever you want, as long as the leaping interval isn't something completely out of left field) And this ofcourse assumes you're giving them time to leap, and not trying to make them sing an arpeggio(this isn't yodeling)

some very famous melodies that people sing/hum all the time contain leaps like major 6th(NBC jingle) octave (some where over the rainbow).

people absolutely have no problem with the star wars main title, which has the following heaps in it:

4th, 5th, and a minor 7th. But it has a very structured and predictable melody, hence effective melody writing is more effective than trying to write for "safe leaps". The most akward part I can remember singing was the F in battle of Jericho by moses Hogan. It's just not easy to prepare yourself, weird spot in the register, loud, and fast. Trying to keep multiple vowel shapes in tune at machine gun speed with power, while still being ready to hit that Ab was rough even if an Ab isn't particularly rough, and an F isn't particularly rough.
 

NYC Composer

Senior Member
That was falsetto, not true voice. And that goes for a lot of those supersonic rock singers (Plant, Gillan, King Diamond, etc.)...besides guys like Ronnie Dio and Graham Bonnet, who were more chest-pull oriented in technique and rarely took the easy fake-out.

Actually, Dio and Bonnet were supernaturally high for male singers of any stripe (pretty sure Dio hit Eb over C a number of times full voice, while Bonnet hit a few yoweling As)...so they're the exception to the falsettic rule lol.
My brother worked for a record company that had King Diamond signed years ago. The singer often sang in falsetto. Plant sang in full voice (though he lost his range VERY quickly) as did Brad Delp of Boston, Geddy Lee of Rush and other unusually high rock tenors.

A better example of that super head voice/falsetto would be Steve Tyler of Aerosmith singing the high section of “Dream On.”
 

Morodiene

Senior Moment
If the untrained person can't sing along, then you're writing in a way that relies on someone else's virtuosity to bring life and intensity to your music. I hate to be THAT guy, but I feel like singers are a dime a dozen? It doesn't cost a whole lot to drive to the nearest college/conservatory and offer pizza and some starbucks gift cards to 2-3 singers to sight read your work and nail it in 2-3 takes.

hiring a choir? pssshhh not in this life time, but a single person for an hour or so that doesn't even require equipment to perform the music should be an easy task. Infact plenty of elderly in my area sing for fun, you could visit a church or two on sunday and find a few who might be pushing the life expectancy up, but have a long and rich history of singing under their belt, and are more than interested in working with someone of a different generation. Even better, you might end up getting some really wild tales out of them too for free.

again, if it's in a typically singable range for an untrained person, anyone with any experience should be able to crush it with no real hitch, with the added bonus of being more memorable.


this goes up to like an F? a whole 5th below the infamous C. Still hits like a choo choo train. Infact, I would wager a random person off of the street would only struggle to hit the E and F, and most would be able to hover around the A and D without a hitch.
Are you kidding? Singing is not all about range. Brahms requiem is hard to sing - tessitura and long lines. Not just anyone can do it, or do it well.

And yes, trained singers are a dime a dozen, and many a voice major would be happy to work on a project for little more than just being a part of something - assuming you don't approach someone going to the top conservatories. And certainly you can find trained older singers that don't sound old, but will have a wealth of musical experience.
 
8dio Jenifer is another great option for "classical" solo soprano with good legato. It's also more versatile, IMO, than the souped-up hardcore opera style. https://8dio.com/instrument/8dio-studio-vocal-series-jenifer-kontakt-vstauaxx/

Voices of Rapture is another decent option, especially if you want the quartet of voices, but the Tenor/Alto voices are much, much better than the Soprano/Bass (I've found it hard to get the bass voice to sound anything more than just goofy)
 

Ashermusic

Senior Member
So let me sum it up... a company releases a library of staples for an opera singer and some of you are discussing male rock singers?

"I need a pickup truck, which one is best?"
"Kawasaki makes a great motorcycle. "
 

lumcas

Active Member
So let me sum it up... a company releases a library of staples for an opera singer and some of you are discussing male rock singers?

"I need a pickup truck, which one is best?"
"Kawasaki makes a great motorcycle. "
Let me guess... it’s probably much more interesting to talk live singers than an average library (judging from the walkthrough)...they’re simply trying to forget what they just heard:)
 

NYC Composer

Senior Member
There’s no squirrel. Dashed expectations.


Actually, a chipmunk could be good ....”AAAAAAALLLVIIIINNNN!”
 
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ProfoundSilence

Active Member
Are you kidding? Singing is not all about range. Brahms requiem is hard to sing - tessitura and long lines. Not just anyone can do it, or do it well.
I fear you may have missed the word "along".

I'd like to like this post, as it seems you'd agree on the availability of young and elder vocalists that tend to be interested in being a part of things - and for now I'll assume you simply misunderstood me when speaking about untrained singers.

Just for clarification, since I know first hand sometimes simply skimming a post without context of what is being replied to can change the meaning of a statement directly.

first statement that might have caused the issue:

"If the untrained person can't sing along"

the untrained person can sing along to herr lehre doch mich - they'll take breaths when they shouldn't, have poor quality in every area - but they'll be able to hum it on the way home. If the range of the melody you're writing is reasonable in the first place, and is effective melodically - it basically means any serious vocalist you find should have absolutely no problems with tone quality or intonation. This means they can simply focus on recording it well, wont suffer from fatigue as quickly, and generally be well over-prepared to nail the performance. Again though, it's crucial that you read the phrase "can't sing along" rather than imagined "can't sing it".

the second statement that might have derailed you a little:

"f you're writing effective melodies, there should be no issue for a singer(even untrained). I'm simply saying that most of that melody was between two gears, one centered around that D, and the other centered around that A. You'll be mentally prepared for that A on the opening A-F-G-A, and you'll spend a lot of time in that register, but when it goes to the A-C-D you're prepared more for that D region, with the F towards the top end of that."

This was in response to doug talking about passaggio, because I'd said hovered around that D and A - and maybe he's not familiar with the piece, so he might have taken it literally. So when I say it should be no issue, it's simply in reference to note groupings in phrases, making preparation for them reasonably easy as well as most leaps are easy(again, the minor 7th leap in the star wars main title is a perfect example)

Probably would have been safer to just say hovering around that D minor in first inversion, but I try not make things any more complicated than they need to be, so that I don't leave out composers on this forum with less text book knowledge. D and A everyone on this forum can find on a piano... D minor? that's most people - but might lose people at the word inversion. Honestly I feel bad even using intervals, but there's no easier way(im not saying 10 half steps)
 

douggibson

Active Member
This was in response to doug talking about passaggio, because I'd said hovered around that D and A - and maybe he's not familiar with the piece, so he might have taken it literally.
''
I know the piece very well....thank you.
Other than the video linked, and the one sentence about going to F, I did not see anything specifically mentioning that work.

I took your statement
Infact, I would wager a random person off of the street would only struggle to hit the E and F, and most would be able to hover around the A and D without a hitch.
as a general statement and not a comment on Brahms. Thus I replied as I did.

Additionally this is not a work I would consider "Opera". It would fall under Orchestra and Choir like Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, Faure, Verdi etc.


I was under the impression the library has nothing to do with a "chorus"
(aka a big group singing a long together) and tries to solve the "soloist" problem.

Things like this




We are both saying that using a real person would produce the best result. On that we agree.
 

ProfoundSilence

Active Member
I see where the confusion was, I just gave an example of effective writing in a reasonable range opens up your options for finding a live performer(and as a plus can lead to much catchier melodies as a result)

And yes, I didn't really feel the needs to address the misunderstanding because we both came to the same solution.

But for the sake of brevity, to clarify my intent in the first place in a less round-about way:
employing reasonable ranges and effective melody writing should make the piece significantly easier to perform, opening up a much larger demographic to find locally, as well as relying on your strength as a composer more than the virtuosity of a vocal performer. The easier and well constructed the melody - the less demanding and easier to coax good intonation and tone quality, and generally a good performance out of a singer.

And one trick I had seen with multiple voice coaches was to trick people into a sound by showing them(or referencing a performer) and telling them to mock it. Sounds silly, but I've literally seen someone who could not seem to sound like a soloist for auditions literally get asked "You know pavarotti?" "yeah..." "okay, pretend you're making fun of him and sing the line" ***over dramatically sings***

"okay now take that down like 2 notches and sing the line. "

It's a quick and dirty method, but if you've got someone who can read music, can sing it - but has no soloist quality, you have a chance of coaxing a passable performance out of someone. It's not going to get them a part in an opera, but you'd be surprised how many tiny things they'll subconsciously do mocking that can translate to actual technique. Won't magically make them have amazing breath support, or anything - but hey, if you're comparing trying to hack a singer into pretending they are an opera singer - it's less un-authentic than a sample library anyways XD
 

Morodiene

Senior Moment
I fear you may have missed the word "along".

I'd like to like this post, as it seems you'd agree on the availability of young and elder vocalists that tend to be interested in being a part of things - and for now I'll assume you simply misunderstood me when speaking about untrained singers.

Just for clarification, since I know first hand sometimes simply skimming a post without context of what is being replied to can change the meaning of a statement directly.

first statement that might have caused the issue:

"If the untrained person can't sing along"

the untrained person can sing along to herr lehre doch mich - they'll take breaths when they shouldn't, have poor quality in every area - but they'll be able to hum it on the way home. If the range of the melody you're writing is reasonable in the first place, and is effective melodically - it basically means any serious vocalist you find should have absolutely no problems with tone quality or intonation. This means they can simply focus on recording it well, wont suffer from fatigue as quickly, and generally be well over-prepared to nail the performance. Again though, it's crucial that you read the phrase "can't sing along" rather than imagined "can't sing it".

the second statement that might have derailed you a little:

"f you're writing effective melodies, there should be no issue for a singer(even untrained). I'm simply saying that most of that melody was between two gears, one centered around that D, and the other centered around that A. You'll be mentally prepared for that A on the opening A-F-G-A, and you'll spend a lot of time in that register, but when it goes to the A-C-D you're prepared more for that D region, with the F towards the top end of that."

This was in response to doug talking about passaggio, because I'd said hovered around that D and A - and maybe he's not familiar with the piece, so he might have taken it literally. So when I say it should be no issue, it's simply in reference to note groupings in phrases, making preparation for them reasonably easy as well as most leaps are easy(again, the minor 7th leap in the star wars main title is a perfect example)

Probably would have been safer to just say hovering around that D minor in first inversion, but I try not make things any more complicated than they need to be, so that I don't leave out composers on this forum with less text book knowledge. D and A everyone on this forum can find on a piano... D minor? that's most people - but might lose people at the word inversion. Honestly I feel bad even using intervals, but there's no easier way(im not saying 10 half steps)
I did read your post correctly, and I do disagree that an untrained singer should be able to even "sing along". Perhaps what you're talking about is writing idiomatically for the voice, the way Chopin wrote idiomatically for the piano. To play his stuff is very difficult, but it sits well in the hands nonetheless because he understood how to play.

The same can be said for writing for the voice, as you describe here by talking about setting up certain parts like the passaggio. But I would not think an untrained singer could sing along with most arias because I hear untrained singers all the time, and their vocal development is often so far from what's needed to even be able to make a sound on higher pitches that I find your statement a bit unbelievable. Most female voices today have no idea what head voice is and only sing in chest and collapsed unsupported higher notes they call "head voice", and most male voices don't know what chest voice is, singing mostly in head voice. This is all probably due to the fact that most people grow up not hearing good singing, so an untrained voice today is not like untrained voices of previous generations where they at least knew what it should sound like.

At any rate, thank you for your clarification. :)
 
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