May 04, 2007

Horse 755 - La La La... Well Just LA!

Ok, I admit it... I can sing. The question then is, if I can sing, then how come I don't do it in front of a group of people?

As an untrained singer, my technical ability to sing up and down the scale is astounding. I can almost pass through two octaves. The average untrained singer may have an octave or less, perhaps an octave and a half (strained). Professional singers (with extensive training) have a practice singing range of about 3 octaves (unstrained), and a performance range of 1.5-2 octaves.
It is EXTREMELY rare, but there are singers with 4 octave practice ranges, these tend to be female singers as their vocal cords are lighter than males. The most extreme case was Roy Orbison, who actually had a shade over 4, possibly a 4.5 octave range.
Ok, so the technical answer means that in theory I should be pretty good, the question remains, how come I don't do it in front of a group of people?

Every musical instrument is shaped by two broad characteristics - Pitch and Timbre. If you think of pitch as being the outlines, the timbre is the colour that fills in the gaps; this is where I fail miserably. People's voices who are usually considered "nice" have a quality of timbre that is warm, whereas I on the other hand have a voice that sounds really quite dull. It would be comparing an oil painting to a child's colouring book (that's been coloured by a 4 year old). Try rendering The Hay Wain in EGA and you'll begin to get an idea.

The best example I can think of to illustrate this is the case of Shirley Bassey and Charlotte Church. The pair of them were both at the BRITs performing together once and although they shared exactly the same register, it was like pairing a saxophone and a viola together.

What it does mean is that I should be able to consistently beat people like Jimmy in a contest like Singstar which measures pitch but not timbre and why I'm unsuited to being a performer - in other words, he does have a better singing voice because of timbre but not pitch.
BJD noticed this as well when he remarked that some people sounded better but were still being marked less by the machine, that's the reason.

In general, ladies should also be able to out-perform gents in a contest like this because their lighter vocal chords means that they naturally have a wider range.

Actually I just wanted to use this post to mention that at the moment, I still hold top score on Singstar... tee hee hee!

No comments: