“I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”
-The New Seekers
Finding your voice
What part of the music are you most drawn to?
For many, it is the voice. People seem to respond best to singers and the sound of voices in harmony. Perhaps it is some ancient connection to harmonic frequencies. Music is a part of our humanity, historically outlasting languages, cultures, and governments. The minstrel trudges on through the ages putting melodies in our hearts.
Often times, the most important part of the recording process is capturing the vocals. It is because there is such an emphasis on the message that the song contains. Each style of music requires a different vocal sound (timbre) or combination of sounds. Since music is subjective to the listener, we want to hear a sound that is fits our feelings.
A great vocalist uses their voice as an instrument, not just a tool or an added bonus to fill in the blanks. Classically trained singers are aware of pure vowel shapes that create the ‘right sound’ (pretty and in-tune). One of Cleveland County’s finest choral directors, Anne Goss, references these shapes in the names: “Beth, Bob, Sue, Lee, Joe.” Try saying these words and focusing on the vowel sound and how your mouth is shaped when you say them.
Beyond the world of proper vowel sounds resides the music with which we are familiar in pop culture. John Mayer’s breathy sound seems to start in the throat, allowing him to get that unique, scratchy tone over which people swoon. Beyoncé often uses a technique called belting. Belting is when a singer makes a louder tone that has a strong, powerful sound (apparently powerful enough to knock off the lights at the Superbowl!)
No matter your taste, you have a voice. Experiment with your own, personal instrument and try combining these techniques to satisfy your own musical dreams.
Calling all students songwriters, musicians and singers! We are looking for submissions to be showcased in our Cleveland County Artists feature: