View Full Version : I'm in trouble now. 'Songs', and my rather vocal hatred of most of them.

Loose rivets
12th Sep 2016, 11:08
I posted on Face thingy about a singer on one of those shows with four judges. I did not hold back.

'America's Got Talent' finalist spotlight: Brian Justin Crum (http://cartermatt.com/220876/americas-got-talent-finalist-spotlight-brian-justin-crum/)

Just another kid that thinks pulling a strained face and screeching into a mic is singing. I can't comment on the tonal quality at the moment but I can tell when a non-musician fails to sustain a note. One time, he slipped at least a quarter tone.

I implied, here today, gone tomorrow. One of my sons replied.

Er.... the song was first released in 1993. Twenty-three years and still going strong. It has been covered by multiple bands/singers since. Like Prince, Macy Gray, The Pretenders.

Me I've already forgotten it. Having listened carefully to it once, I then tried again but couldn't bear it. The fact it's gone on for ages is an indicator of why there are so many 'songs' digitally corrected and then poured into the brains of folk who don't seem to find any worth in naturally talented and skilled work.

This digitally corrected thing. Auto-tune seemingly supply their kit to hundreds of recording studios. I was astonished to find some of the names listed were well-known. This person, who should know, went on to say that a high proportion of final productions are corrected for pitch.

One thing I will say for the above singer: there clearly wasn't an Autotune working for him . . . unless it was broken.

Yes, kids like this make my blood boil. There is so much beautiful music in the world yet young people so seldom have it around them to build an awareness of its quality. Music processing in the brain, is I theorise, just like young people's vision: it has to be stimulated into functioning. There surely has to be a supply of good examples to allow the brain to model it correctly. Strangely, it used to be done on 78rpm records, so the low fi didn't matter. The structure and the intricacy of the music did. Even then, if the wind up turntable was okay, the pitch would be reasonably consistent.

We've talked of the miracle of a huge orchestra being transmitted down three little bones - the mind being able to pick out one say, violinist in the third row. A LOT of processing. But, it seems now we know that those bones are the mechanical equivalent of a matching device in electronics. What seemed a clunky, probably chance piece of evolution, now is known to be yet another miracle.

We own miraculous sensing and processing devices, so why subject them to . . . to, that? Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Isn't there anyone out there that agrees with me, or am I totally alone on this subject?

12th Sep 2016, 11:15
Not sure you're setting the right tone for the debate.....

12th Sep 2016, 11:46
Disclaimer - am a musician, but a terrible singer!

I don't watch any singer type talent shows as they are purely a money making exercise/soap opera. However they are "entertainment" shows, not musical contests and should be viewed as such. Autotune is the devils work far as I'm concerned, might as well listen to the CD if the odd error live bothers you that much. If it really is a singing contest no Autotune should be allowed at all.

There do seem to be a lot of whiny male voices about, but that's fashion and fashions change......

I compete in musical contests and the debates that go on about the judging of those are as old as the hills. When it comes down to it music is personal to each individual and you will never completely agree, consensus is as good as it gets and even panels with multiple judges can get it "wrong".

12th Sep 2016, 11:51
It's the vocal gymnastics around a note that many modern singers seem to do that I can't stand - just showing off and, to my highly attuned ear, an irritating and unattractive habit. Give me rock, blues and jazz singers from the 50s, 60s and 70s...

Can't sing a bloody note myself of course...

12th Sep 2016, 12:01
Youtube Ward Thomas............................. different

surely not
12th Sep 2016, 12:06
Can't sing a bloody note myself of course...

Perfect qualifications to win X Factor I suggest!! When you win I will accept a consideration of 10% of your winnings for pushing you to enter.

surely not
12th Sep 2016, 12:13
Racedo thanks for that suggestion, they are very talented and pleasing to the ear. Not bad on the eye either.

12th Sep 2016, 12:31
Give me rock, blues and jazz singers from the 50s, 60s and 70s... says Treadigraph.

And I totally agree. But I also remember during that era my parents hating the music I liked (ranging from Stones to Dylan to John Lee Hooker) and me hating their music. Then as I grew older my tastes expanded to include more classical stuff and vocal non-rock etc. I still prefer the stuff from the 60s/70s but I have to admit there was a hell of a lot of crud then as well.

It's just normal, young v older and tastes change as you age.

12th Sep 2016, 12:35
Racedo thanks for that suggestion, they are very talented and pleasing to the ear. Not bad on the eye either.

Now listen to Chris Country on DAB which is as the name suggests, best bit is the DJs play the music.

12th Sep 2016, 12:41
As a fill in church organist I think it might be very difficult for the average ear to identify a quarter tone, But I get your drift. Rather like two notes a semitone apart, poorly tuned or in dissonance.

12th Sep 2016, 13:10
You don't think you're making too much of a song and dance about it?

12th Sep 2016, 14:06
Change the tune Orac!:p

12th Sep 2016, 14:26
As a fill in church organist I think it might be very difficult for the average ear to identify a quarter tone, But I get your drift. Rather like two notes a semitone apart, poorly tuned or in dissonance.

My brother's party trick whilst playing piano was to move one hand up or down a semitone and keep going. Possibly the most excruciating thing to do to music.
Les Dawson was an extremely good musician, to pretend to play like that is very difficult.

12th Sep 2016, 15:49
A couple of things, first of all, the word 'song', at least in US English, seems to have become a synonym for 'tune'.
In my vocabulary a tune has to have words to become a song.

As for singers, the last good ones all worked with the Big Bands.

As far as I know the only one still alive is Doris Day.

And yes, I know I'm old and cranky, but I like it.

12th Sep 2016, 15:55
MadsDad, I generally don't like opera, but do like a lot of classical instrumental music and some choral works. Mostly don't know what any of it is though!

12th Sep 2016, 18:31
I've found that most of the best singers do it without any apparent effort - they just sing.

No need for contorted faces or screwed up eyes (as if that is going to make it sound better...).

Ascend Charlie
12th Sep 2016, 22:21
A lotta people screwed their faces up in the past, and some of them screeched too:
Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
Chamois Davis Junior

Loose rivets
12th Sep 2016, 22:31
I never thought I'd look at these girls again. I used to behave like a bulging-eyed, quivering drool-blob every time they appeared on me telly box.

Ooo, the one on the right! No, look at that one's lips. See the way she's looking at me? Oh, WOW, the drummer. She's hot. No, my favourite is the other one. No it's not.

I had to sell my telly.


Re the OPost. The Rivetess told me today that this sliding off the note is part of the deal. There's a name for sliding onto it, which one PPRuNer told me some years ago and I've forgotten. But sliding just flat. What's that about?

12th Sep 2016, 22:45
It used to be the 'perfect recording' required take after take (after take, etc) to get it 'right'. With autotune, singers are free to be imperfect in pitch. The pursuit of this perfection is becoming tiresome, I agree.

Give me a Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald, or an Etta James any day of the week, twice on Sunday please.

12th Sep 2016, 22:47

You banned...................... bringing aircraft onto JB

12th Sep 2016, 22:54
I thought it was just me. In the majority of cases I think I would prefer to have the tune rather than the song. There are a few songs which have clever/appropriate lyrics that I enjoy. I usually enjoy the instrumental sections of songs a lot more than the voice accompanied bits. It may be related to the dislike I have for poetry and musical theatrical productions. The only poetry I can relate to is the limerick, probably because of the usually obscene and humourous content. I might have fibbed a bit about the poetry, I am OK with The Night Mail (W H Auden) and one or two of Flanders and Swan's creativity but not much else.

Loose rivets
12th Sep 2016, 22:54
Yes, but it is a nice aircraft, and one imagines the Coors climbing aboard and singing while I climb into the clouds. (one is old and used to fly them)

My son in Texas posted a reply showing Homer Simpson's dad, having got himself in the paper. 'Old man shouts at clouds'. Can't imagine what he means.

No need for contorted faces or screwed up eyes (as if that is going to make it sound better...).

I always think they look like they're on the pot while suffering Bristol scale Type 1 constipation.

Windy Militant
12th Sep 2016, 23:49
They'd not make the first round of the Urdd Eisteddfod never mind the nationals.
There are plenty of good singers around, especially in the folk and Americana styles, some of the harmonies that they perform are exquisite. But if you will insist on joining the send a quid to the bloke with his trousers up to his armpits club you'll get all that you deserve!:p

Loose rivets
13th Sep 2016, 00:01
I know I've been down this route before, but Cecilia Bartoli's Vivaldi album to me is my Desert Island disc if I was only allowed one. From 15 - 26 is my favorite piece and I will have my copy with me forever. One would have to translate the words to understand why she puts so much into it, and indeed, I've heard her say (my words) there's a fine line between the required emotion and maintaining self-control. I think here, the audience has to be entertained but when she was making the album there was still - perhaps more back then - a burden to fight back the tears.


I love the moment she returns to the now. Suddenly, she's almost little-girl-ish and with that beautiful smile.

During the 'Making of' she was with Hugh Canning in a room full of Vivaldi's music, (quite rare since so much was performed in those days without lasting copy) she could pick up the sheet and sing, pitch perfect, bits of the most difficult vocal pieces - ever?

The VHS making of the album was breathtaking. The warm sound from what was really a good recording medium. There was a lot talked about the castrato role and other interesting information that I was totally unaware of 20 years ago.

I flew some of Swingle II to Turin for Luciano Berio's concert. In the terminal very late, a couple of them took out their music and practised. I was hooked already. Smashing bunch.

13th Sep 2016, 07:00
LR. The word you were looking for is Glissando. From italian to slide. A note which is sung up or down the scale to reach the required level. Unfortunately today, many would be artists who appear on that dreadful saturday evening programme, only know that way to reach a defined note, as they`ve never had any professional training.

Sue VÍtements
13th Sep 2016, 14:51
Talking about the Swingle Singers: As a youngster I used to find them really annoying, but then they were the soundtrack of a film and it all worked just perfectly.

I have no idea what the film was, but it was just one big chase. Somebody nicked something important from the Vatican and the entire Catholic church got mobilised to get it back. Anyone got any idea what it was?

Apart from that though I'd probably still find them annoying :O

Sue VÍtements
13th Sep 2016, 14:52
The Swingles are a vocal group, originally formed in 1962 in Paris, FranceWell there you go then ... a reason for being annoying :E

13th Sep 2016, 15:01
Struck a chord with me...

13th Sep 2016, 15:48

I'll call your Corrs and raise you The Bangles. Another band with talent and drop-dead gorgeous.

With regard to classical music, anyone who had seen any of my previous music-related posts will know I'm a died-in-the wool rock fan but there is (IMO) no more beautiful and emotional piece than Elgar's "Nimrod".

13th Sep 2016, 16:51
GE Listen to Nimrod on liverpool cathedral organ on Youtube. Beautiful

Loose rivets
13th Sep 2016, 18:03
Thanks for the laugh, Sue

gemma, thanks for that. It's a funny thing about voice training, I just assumed, like everything else I do, that I could manage without formal training. The piano was a case in point. I spent years learning about pianos and concurrent time copying parrot-like some of the world's greats. Finally, I went to my daughter's teacher and started again. Oh, back to voice . . . (I do wonder these days)

I used to sing in the shower, and on long drives late at night where I could really let rip. However, I concluded that I simply had a faulty voice because there was a gap that was hard to manage from a richer (I flatter myself) tone to a higher register. It was only when I was watching Gareth Malone that I learned about the bridge. Again, I'll need reminding of the full term. Anyway, it seems that's something routinely taught to even the finest singers. Shame really, though I had to have a bottle of wine outside me before I'd play the piano to a very small public. Needless to say, while I now had the courage, the playing was [email protected] :p Now I don't drink, I can't even speak to a group of people without feeling self-conscious.

Windy Militant
13th Sep 2016, 18:57
I'll call your Corrs and raise you The Bangles. Another band with talent and drop-dead gorgeous.
Your not a member of the Saw Doctors by any chance Mr Expat :hmm:
Kiss the Bangles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWE0xkCKmSc)

27th Sep 2016, 05:15
My wife and I have been listening to some old Heart songs on LP.

No auto tune.

We went to youtube to get some of their 70's era live perfromances.
Magic Man. Crazy on You. Barracuda.

No auto tune. Man, Annie Wilson had some pipes! Power and pitch, at the same time. (What pilot would not love that, eh?)

I miss the days when women could appear on stage and sing, fully clothed, due to their talent. Sigh. I guess I'm an old fart. The current method of lapdancers with auto tune just doesn't cut it.

Martin the Martian
27th Sep 2016, 13:57
What I don't understand is why most of these -ahem- singers feel the need to swallow the microphone while they are -ahem- singing. I'm fairly sure that the state of modern audio recording equipment is such that you can stand back from them a little and still make yourself heard.

Oh, and Gabriel Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine, particularly when set for SATB voices; the musical equivalent of a wet dream. And his Requiem is pretty damn good as well.

27th Sep 2016, 15:01
May I commend to you...
"A Man of Constant Sorrow."

This was most recently re-produced for the Coen Brothers' film, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
It received the Country Music Association's award for 'Single of the Year' in 2001.
The movie clip is easily accessible on the 'tube of you' and Wiki has a page on the history of the song itself.
Enjoy... I did/do.

27th Sep 2016, 15:18
Man, Annie Wilson had some pipes!

Still has !

27th Sep 2016, 17:36
Still has !
Is she still releasing new material? For some reason, I thought I had heard she'd suffered an injury to her throat/voice that curtailed her performances. I'll need to do some looking up.
EDIT: Hmm, musta been someone else. Still singin', go get 'em Annie!

27th Sep 2016, 19:41
Here's (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pok6WDCRaWI) someone who's got no need of autotune.

28th Sep 2016, 00:09
And then there was Joyce Hatto (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Hatto), a pianist whose husband took musical cheating (I was going to say "fiddling" but decided against it) to a whole new level

Loose rivets
28th Sep 2016, 01:40
I was unaware of that. What an incredible story! No wonder at least two books were based on it.

It must have been a mountainous task just to alter and copy them, let alone perform them. I just can't get my head around the fraud going on so long especially in the cases where such famous conductors were involved.