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The People's Thread (Anything about Jackie and music of any kind)

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Showing 2226-2250 of 1000 posts in this discussion
Posted on Jun 7, 2012 6:14:33 PM PDT
Diora says:
Frisco - you talk about "trained" countertenors essentially using the same "register" for high notes as sopranos (or maybe castrati) yet if you remember in the documentary "Castrato" they clearly explained that it's not the same - they clearly distinguished in the first part the falsetto most countertenors used (except for someone like Maniaci) from the high notes of Maniaci and sopranos, and they talked about limitations of countertenors i.e. difficulty or even impossibility of singing high notes pianissimo. Just watch the documentary again.

Ehkzu - interesting, thank you for the Alfred Deller's video I'd not heard of him. The simulation of castrato's voice in movie Farinelli was discussed in detail in complete BBC documentary "Castrato" which we were discussing here some time ago. In case you missed it then, I'll repost it here:

But the documentary felt that the movie simulation was all wrong in that they used a countertenor's voice for higher notes and female voice for the lower notes and historically they felt the other way around would've been more realistic. I actually agree with Frisco in that Maniaci's voice i.e. a voice of a male singer whose voice failed to completely break at puberty is probably closest to what castrati sounded like.

A couple of lesser known countertenors I like are Nicholas Spanos
and Jose Lemos:

Also Mathew White and a couple of others.

Of course there are also world famous ones like Andreas Scholl whose video HC posted earlier, Max Emanuel Cencic, David Daniels.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 6:42:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 6:44:17 PM PDT
Frisco says:

Counter-tenors have been exposed to testosterone. so their larynges & vocal cords have enlarged, which would be different from women, children & Maniaci. It's not surprising that pianissimo would be difficult; they're starting with a wide cord & making it narrower, but not as narrow as females or Maniaci.

All i'm saying is that if you did flexible laryngoscopy on them, you'd see the vocal ligaments at the bases of the folds be motionless while the mucosae are vibrating - on the countertenors as well as Maniaci & females above F#5.

I'm still amazed that different human beings with different sized lungs, etc, almost always change registers (vocal cord vibration patterns) at virtually the same place. Every tenor i listen to changes at F#4 (remember "above the passaggio" in the Audition? it was at F#4 - Pavarotti's covering vid? F#4) - which could be similar training, of course. But i still think something about the physics, human anatomy & our atmosphere must make it remarkably consistent. It's still astonishing (JMHO).

Edit: I hadn't heard Jose Lemos before. His voice is amazing. Thanks for the link.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 7:02:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 7:11:10 PM PDT
I'm finally remembering hearing the Deller Consort from about thirty years ago. I was fascinated at their sound in singing music from before 1800.

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 7:07:09 PM PDT
Diora says:
Frisco - you should really watch the first part of the castrato documentary again. They do mention falsetto use in male countertenors but not females and they also talk about vocal cords being apart in male countertenors not "brought together by training" as you claim. I know you watched it, and you even told me how "they speak about loft", but you seem to have missed the moment when they discuss this difference specifically.

I was also very impressed by Jose Lemos. It's sad he isn't wider known, I think he is superior to many more well known countertenors. I also like it when he sings Sephardic songs:

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 8:09:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2012 8:09:38 PM PDT
H-Camp says:
Thanks for all the counter-tenor information, Diora, Frisco and Ehkzu. I wish I really liked the sound.... but I do appreciate some of the music.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012 9:03:49 PM PDT
Frisco says:

Yes, they say (or imply) that counter-tenors are falsettists. Later they say people call it a "little false voice", but that "there's nothing false about the falsetto". Then they say castrati's voices functioned the same way other people's voices do. They also give an interesting explanation of the vocal cord (fold) function in falsetto register (as per the Wiki article).

He then says that castrati, children & women don't use falsetto for high notes, but of course we know they DO use falsetto register. It's just an octave higher for castrati & women because their cords are narrower & shorter to start with. I know i showed you that article where they said that as late as the mid 1990s the vocal people didn't understand the science.

I honestly think some of the problem is we're talking about falsetto "voice" or sound - rather than "register" or pattern of vocal cord vibration. Women (& castrati in the past) don't/didn't have a falsetto voice or sound necessarily. But we all know they have passaggi & where they occur, so we know they of necessity use falsetto register (by the definition of some, e.g. those who wrote the Wiki article). Singers & teachers use different terminlogy but it doesn't change laryngeal function.

Some vocalists insist women don't use "falsetto" ever; we all know how different people use it to mean totally different things. I don't care about the terminology, only the vibration pattern of the cords & the places where that pattern changes. Women clearly use "light mechanism", or what Wiki calls "falsetto register", for notes above F#5.

Like i say, i'm still astounded that the register transition (passaggio) occurs in roughly the same place for so many different people with different voices & different body sizes. The singing people definitely understand "above the passaggio" (even if nobody agrees about the term "falsetto"), & definitely know it occurs in almost the same place for many different singers. It's just the TERM "falsetto" is confusing (which is why i always liked the oldest term of all for the register, Señor García's, "loft").

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 5:53:58 AM PDT
St. M.Sims says:
If I had to guess, I think he will mysteriously disappear before Vegas."

Yes, I agree.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 6:42:01 AM PDT
Diora says:
Frisco - "He then says that castrati, children & women don't use falsetto for high notes, but of course we know they DO use falsetto register. "

Actually, we do not know anything of the sort - you think you know it, we've argued about it over and over. The articles you sent me are controversial in that they start by saying there is difference in terminology; some of them clearly distinguish "upper register" from "falsetto". Also, people who did the experiment in this documentary were scientists too. A lot of what you are saying - specifically how training teaches singers to bring vocal cords together in falsetto - is your interpretation of the articles and suppositions. Passaggi happen according to may of these articles between what they call "middle" and "upper" register, but many of them list falsetto separately.

Look, I don't really want to argue about it as we go in circles. Let's just agree to disagree, and you can discuss it over with maybe scientists who actually studied this subject e.g. you can find professors in your local university or something.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 7:03:00 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 8, 2012 7:05:44 AM PDT
Frisco says:

Do you deny there is a passaggio? We've seen multiple articles about it, about how singers must go thru it. That's ALL i'm saying, OK? Many articles say the highest place it can happen in women is between D5 (or Db5) & F#5. The lowest place it can occur (in adult women) is between D4 & F#4. The notes in between have been called the "middle register", which i don't like personally, but whatever. Men are about an octave lower, but the "middle register" is narrower. Do you deny that it's remarkable that the passaggio is in almost the same place for so many different singers?

Please let's drop "falsetto register" - it doesn't matter. In fact, let's drop "falsetto" completely, because there are so many different meanings to it. There IS a passaggio between registers, or vocal cord vibration patterns. That's why i always liked Sr García's term "loft". But "light mechanism", or "head register", or "upper register" or "narrow cord", or anything else you want to call it is OK with me.

I just think it's remarkable that it's in such a similar place for so many different human singers with different voices, body sizes, etc, etc. Even when Jackie was 9, with her tiny lungs & small larynx, you can hear her change registers on PTAD (River of Dreams) at the SAME place. Isn't that amazing?

Edit: Notice when i said "falsetto register" in my previous post, i included "AS DEFINED BY SOME, E.G. THOSE WHO WROTE THE WIKI ARTICLE").

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 7:26:03 AM PDT
Diora says:
Frisco - I don't deny there is a passaggio, I just don't think the presence of passaggio means that women sing in falsetto; according to most voice teachers passaggio occurs between chest/head voice. Your articles, including the latest one clearly distinguish what they call "upper register" from "falsetto" and they also say there is passaggio between middle and upper register. At any rate, let's just give up. I don't want to use any terminology other than the one used by most voice teachers today which clearly distinguish head voice from falsetto; but they also say that passaggio is between head and chest voice (or if you wish resonance areas). Most countertenors do use what most people call falsetto and many of them actually do have a natural voice that sounds very different e.g. one of them (I forgot who) sounds like a baritone. Wiki article only uses 'falsetto" to refer to countertenors, wiki has NEVER claimed that falsetto was a head voice.

But let's just drop it. We've been through it zillion times before, and we'll never convince each other. We read the same articles and we interpret them differently. It is not my field and it is not your field either. So I suggest, you discuss it with some professors who study this.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012 9:21:06 AM PDT
Frisco says:
I agree with almost all of that. I swear it's just the word "falsetto" that's had us going in circles. I REALLY don't care about just that word. Andreas Scholl has a baritone sounding speaking voice but sings counter-tenor. I'd just say it's "above the passaggio". Still say it's remarkable that the passaggio is in such a narrow range.

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 9:22:12 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 8, 2012 9:23:13 AM PDT]

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 5:02:18 PM PDT
Ehkzu says:
re: countertenors in pop music

Were the black pop singers singing waaay high back in the day singing as countertenros?

As an NPR article observes,

"..Smokey Robinson, Prince or any number of soul groups (Stylistics, Four Tops, Temptations) whose lead vocalists often sing in falsetto."

Such as "Ooh baby baby" by Smokey Robinson

But wait there's more: the why of it.

A man singing waaay up there is an aspect of a Plan B reproductive scenario.

Many/most vertebrates have two major reproductive scenarios:
1. Plan A. This is the macho male CEO, the elephant seal beachmaster, the alpha wolf. The one who wins the fights with the Alpha male wannabes--and the females who aim to get the alphas because they can provide dominant genes and protection for the offspring. Not that these motives are conscious in most vertbrates, but it's the why of the wherefore.

3. Plan B: This is the sensitive, poetic, androgenous Back Door Johnny, the smaller male sea elephants who wait in the surf zone until the beachmaster's in the middle of an all-out battle with an ambitious rival, then dashes in and gives the female sea elephant the kind of good time the beachmaster knows nothing get the picture.

And just as Alpha males often have mistreeses, their mates often have misters.

So when a guy sings high he's advertising the proposal that women who choose him may not get any of the perks the Alpha male will give them--but they'll provide something else. It advertises the "I'm a lover, not a fighter" vibe.

Note that in pop music the vast majority of male singers are tenors, the vast majority of female singers altos. Plus all the baritones singing in falsetto.

Isn't that interesting?

Posted on Jun 8, 2012 6:11:28 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 8, 2012 6:38:51 PM PDT]

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 3:24:28 PM PDT
Diora says:
Frisco "Andreas Scholl has a baritone sounding speaking voice but sings counter-tenor. " - this is exactly why I'd say most countertenors use falsetto (what everyone calls falsetto). Women spoken voice is often similar to their singing voice. One wouldn't talk about trying to reduce the passaggio between say Scholl speaking voice and Scholl's singing voice because the break would be so obvious. Yet when we look at say tenors or baritones or sopranos their speaking voice may be in the lower or higher range of their singing voice, but it's still within the range, and passaggio is within that same range.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 2:49:41 PM PDT
pa1189 says:
Here's my video of Renee Fleming singing at the Jubilee Concert. I've adjusted the sound quite a bit.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 4:40:17 PM PDT
Ehkzu says:
And here's my favorite countertenor solo piece ever:

Both virile and perverse. And, I should think, on every classical countertenor's bucket list.

And just to pile it on--Jackie could do it. That would reeeely be something...

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 3:25:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 3:27:39 AM PDT
H-Camp says:
Two lyric soprano opera singers / now musical theater performers won Tonys last night.

Judy Kaye -

Audra McDonald - her 5th Tony

Both simply refer to themselves as singers.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 6:17:33 PM PDT
Ehkzu says:
Audra McDonald's sound is at the operatic end of the musical theater spectrum to my ears.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 6:24:18 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 6:24:28 PM PDT
H-Camp says:
Yes, she's very classically trained, and can easily sing unamplified, but feels most at home in the classic musical theater.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 6:44:29 PM PDT
Ehkzu says:
In interviews of her I've been struck by what a nice person she seems to be. Wish I enjoyed her singing more. Imagine Lou Rawls singing, say, Leporello in Don Giovanni. I wouldn't be happy about that, even though I enjoy hearing Rawls at work in his own pond. With McDonald, it's not that I don't enjoy a good operatic voice, but hers seems to not fit the musical theater material she sings--again, to my ears. If someone else enjoys her that's great.

Likewise I loved hearing Kiri te Kanawa singing Songs of the Cantaloupe (classical humor) but found her Maria in West Side Story painful.
And conversely I love Aretha Franklin's hits but her Nessun Dorma made me want to stab my ears with ice picks...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 6:57:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012 6:58:23 PM PDT
H-Camp says:

I agree that she seems extremely nice.

I understand what you mean, but think her voice actually fits perfectly. Remember, Leontyne Price premiered Porgy & Bess - it is at its core an opera. Audra does classic musical theater. In recent years, the value of operatic training in musical theater has plummeted. But, look at the older musicals and stars - they were very operatic. Barbara Cook, for example. Audra played an opera singer in Masterclass and Julie in Carousel, played previously by Jan Clayton and Cooke - both trained for opera. In Carousel, she was much younger so Audra's voice was actually significantly lighter.

I agree completely about Dame Kiri and Aretha, although I love both normally.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 10:52:04 PM PDT
H-Camp says:
In honor of the many dances going on in the General thread, plus Audra's win last night:

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 12:36:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 12:39:46 AM PDT
Ehkzu says:
I have a really warped perspective on Porgy & Bess, because my first experience of it was a recording of it by Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong-- Porgy & Bess. I realize it was written as an opera, which was driven home to me when I heard "Summertime" as a soprano aria in the original key etc. recently (as per the recent discussion here).

It's not that I think of Ella & Louis's concert version as canonical. I realize it was a concept album and not "the opera." But the P&G in my head is great musical theater--I'd say like the musical theater revisionist version now on Broadway, but that stars Audra...and I haven't heard any of it either.

I'm left with feeling I'd like to hear it done about as operatically/classically as Jackie would do it.

Or maybe it's that I long to hear Jackie sing minor key songs, like Summertime. But maybe that has to wait until she gets her heart broken. I don't wish that on it, but it seems like a prerequisite for artistic growth.

Life only becomes truly meaningful when you learn something about death. No light without shadow, as the Mormons say.

Posted on Jun 18, 2012 6:12:55 PM PDT
Got a chance to watch AGT tonight. I was surprised by 23-year-old comic. Opposite in personality from Jackie, but had great material. But Al Joyner's daughter -- is my hearing gone (possible) or was she flat? The judges loved her.
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