18 September 2012

3.5 Timeouts Tuesday

Lacking in ideas yet again, I am borrowing from Larry D- again.  I will be doing some classical singing, a historical edition.


Here is some attempt to explain what makes a tenor great.

Especially interesting is the  explanation around the 4:00 mark that the nine(!) high C's in the aria "Ah Mes Amis" were originally yodels, which today would be completely unacceptable.  Unfortunately, I can't find any recordings of a singer yodelling that passage.


More on that last point: The male voice has shifts and bends in it, and we have to work through the transitions, for most men around an F. to sing the upper part of our voice.  Modern singers often put a lot of strain on the voice, and try and sing in the same voice from the bottom to the top of the voice throughout the entire range.  For illustration, here is Placido Domingo's rendition of E Lucevan le Stelle.


It was not always so.  Singers of the past would often shift from head to chest voice for effect, would not hesitate to make sounds we consider today to be ugly, and save their full voice for the big finale.  Here is Benjamino Gigli singing the same song as above.  Notice how the first time the voice rises in pitch, on the words "O dulci baccio..." he allows his voice to slide almost into falsetto.  Today, such a thing would be unthinkable, yet Gigli was no untutored rookie, but a masterful singer regarded as one of the finest voices of his era.


Lastly, and for no other reason than because I like it, here is Franco Tenelli singing Nessun Dorma.  With a voice like his, he could get a job with a demolition company, blowing the roofs off buildings. 

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