An opera singer's take on Freddie Mercury.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Blazer, Nov 27, 2018.

  1. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    She brings forth some very interesting and insightful takes on the good man's way of singing here.

    His way of breathing, the way his body composure adds to his delivery, really detailed stuff about how he uses his voice.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  2. adamsappel

    adamsappel Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I've heard that Freddie wouldn't have his overbite fixed because he worried that it would change his vocal sound. I don't see how that would happen, but I wonder if there's any truth to it.
     
  3. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    That was interesting, it is always cool to see professionals from differnt fields comparing notes. Most singers just sing the song, but there are those select few that approach singing as being an instrument...those are the great ones.
     
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  4. MatsEriksson

    MatsEriksson Tele-Holic

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    Sorry, there ain't no clip from Birgit Nilsson (Swedish late opera singer on par with Monserrat Caballe) on 'YouTube' when she totally slayed Mercurys singing. She hadn't ever heard of him at all. The talk show was held just days after his death, so the topic was brought up in a bypassing mode even, and she went "Oh, so he is dead? well, did he scream himself to death, or what...?" Later she apologized that that was rude remark, but still mantained that she didn't call that singing at all, as opposed to Mrs Caballe's singing which she loved. I remenber when they aired it, caused quite a stir ... I just giggled...

    Not that many singers from the opera world likes rock singers at all. However, they do acknowledge gospel, soul and old R&B singers.
     
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  5. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Heh, when Freddie Mercury and Caballé recorded their "Barcelona" album they actually got in touch with several big orchestras and well known conductors to make that album happening.

    But as soon as Mercury's name was dropped they'd all back away, the shame to have to work with a "ROCK" singer was too much to bear. So in the end it was using a couple of classically trained musicians and a LOT of synthesizers which accomplished the full orchestral sound on that album.

    UNTIL 2012 when Stuart Morley who is the arranger for Queen's musical "We will rock you" decided to give that album the full orchestral treatment it deserved.

    And all of a sudden this song gained so much in richness.

    Another guy who found out about the Snobbism of classical arrangers is Axl Rose, when he tried to get an orchestra playing on "November rain" everywhere he tried they told him "No way, we're not going to work with a Rock band!"

    According to both Slash and Duff McKagan, Axl apparently decided "Well, if you want something done right..." got out his synthesizers, told everybody to take a month off and did the full thing, every single track, by himself. The result is very convincing.
     
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  6. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    It would've almost certainly made some change, but how much is anyones' guess.

    Change the volume in your mouth by moving your tongue when you sing, see what happens.

    In my opinion, something like that is like a recipe - if the result is good, don't mess with the ingredients.
     
  7. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Maybe they just didn't want to work with Axl Rose. There are lot of examples of orchestras working with rock bands. However, Freddie and Axl Rose both have a lot of notoriety that would turn people away.
     
  8. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Seems to be the case, all right. Opera singers are absolutely fanatical about their instrument, a term I use without irony or sarcasm. They have so much expressive control over the different aspects of tone production, because they have to project to the house a range of emotions in a highly melodic way.

    Rock singers don't always embrace the same values, so they use their voice differently. A microphone makes all kinds of details and nuances sound right in your face. I don't know that many singers would consider that they are acting, but I think one could make a case that the greats sometimes adopt a persona that stands the test of time. Anyway, it seems as if rock singers have a more personal, stylized approach to singing, while opera singers focus on the melody.

    However, I believe I have seem some videos of a college voice teacher, teaching the Cookie Monster technique of singing (with damage, supposedly). Academics will appropriate anything that moves.
     
  9. jrblue

    jrblue Tele-Afflicted

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    Larry's comment about miking is important. We have lots of pop and rock singers who essentially can't sing without miking and whose sound absolutely requires it. That's neither better nor worse than opera (though certainly more popular) but really is a different thing. I attended lots of opera for a while there, and at major venues (like the Met). While the delivery of operatic vocals is astounding in many respects, nobody's going to give those singers a prize for intonation. It gets painful, not infrequently with even the greats. So sure, they're great by operatic standards, but those are hardly universal standards. In fact, they're a shrinking minority group. Mercury obviously wanted to create a bombastic hybrid of rock and opera. That was a good idea, and he succeeded. Hearing old divas crap on it is sad.
     
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  10. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    For some of us who are not quite so good at guitar (me included - low level cover band good at my best, no music theory beyond very basic), we sort of come up with our licks and gimmicks and don't go further than "that sounds good, I'm going to add that to the library".

    My BIL is a music teacher, but also a very good performer - but jazz. He has to bend to my library of keys because I don't know enough to do anything in his. However, what always sticks out is how he can verbalize whatever it is that I'm doing as a matter of nuance, and make it sound like it could be automated. I hate that! Here, I had something that I thought I've created, and he's boiled it down to a formula.

    The lady commenting in this video appears to be a voice instructor, and not an accomplished performer (as her other videos don't show her doing much other than accompanying small groups and doing a few small performances). I always cringe when I hear opera singers crap on popular music singers because they're on a very specific railroad track about what's acceptable vocally. When they attempt to cover something similar, they do it in opera voice. I'm sure they think they're cutting off notes compared to what they normally sing, but it all ends up sounding like a muppet skit.
     
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  11. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

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    Firstly, I've fallen in love with the woman in the video who is discussing Freddie's singing.....wow, there's something about her that gets to me....very pretty face but it's how she talks and the calm, caring energy she projects.....but that's not what we're talking about here.....right?

    I'd love to hear her comment on Bowie, who in my opinion, to my ear, had probably the greatest voice in pop in terms of vocal ability as well as individual uniqueness to his voice....I'd love to hear her dissect a Bowie performance. That duet that Bowie and Freddie did, to my ear at least, showcases just how great Bowie's voice was.....to my ear, Freddie's voice couldn't keep up.
     
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  12. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    My understanding was that basically orchestras just read the paycheque. The LSO didn’t work with Frank Zappa so they could be hip and edgy: they just wanted the money.
    So IMHO it’s more likely that bands who “can’t get an orchestra to play with them” just aren’t willing to pay what it costs to hire 20 or so professional musicians and (in pre-computer days) to pay for the transcribers to write out all the parts.
     
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  13. stxrus

    stxrus Friend of Leo's

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    Reminds of when I worked for PBS in Dallas. We had a classical quintette in studio for a music special being taped for a pledge drive. They were absolutely fabulous. When the taping wrapped the audio guy asked the lead violin if he could do minute or two of Wabash Cannonball. His reply was, “Sir, I’m a violinist. I do not fiddle”. The second violinist played about 10 seconds of it and apologized because he really didn’t know it. Sounded damn good to me
     
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  14. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There have been more rock and pop singers who dabbled in opera.

    When Kiss lead singer Paul Stanley was asked to do THIS...

    He jumped at the opportunity, since it would teach him a very different way of singing and as you can tell, he did a very good job of it.

    Frida of Abba was classically trained, although she rarely showed off her chops, she still could bring it whenever she felt like it.


    Same thing with Sheryl Crow but I guess she must have been bricking herself when singing with THIS guy...
     
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  15. Blazer

    Blazer Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I almost forgot...


    No matter how many times I see this, it never fails to have me go "Oh my GOD!" when she starts hitting those notes.
     
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  16. greenhornet

    greenhornet TDPRI Member

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    This reminds me of Anna Netrebko's debut at the Met (I'm pretty sure, though may be wrong) years ago in War and Peace when some fool extra deliberately dove off the stage into the audience, effectively ending his career. When asked about it by the press, everyone tip toed around it (maybe he "fell off"), but coming to Netrebko she sneered and replied that only an idiot would fall off the stage...
     
  17. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

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    I kind of agree with Freddie's attitude about the dental work.

    I had some throat surgery a while back and had my tonsils out, my little flappy thing removed and part of the backside of my pallet cut out.

    I lost a whole octave and since I was only working with 1.5 octaves in the first place, it effectively ended my already limited career as a singer.

    His overbite might not have affected his singing, but there was no putting it back once it was fixed!
     
  18. Larry F

    Larry F Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I was sort of ragging on classical singers a bit, but to their defense, there is nothing like hearing a mezzo or tenor in good form from 80 feet away. No amplification (originally; I'll bet there is all kinds of support for singers now). That's the thing. The point of the classical voice is that it is geared toward the audience members throughout the hall. They have a ton of conventions concerning pronunciation of consonants, so that everything is audible. Audibility and clarity are highly desired.

    On the downside, they are singing from their diaphragm, which gives a different kind of support to the voice than the chest. I am winging it here, as I am a very bad singer, who has been the beneficiary of endless advice on my diaphragm. And I really don't get what it is supposed to feel like.

    But I can easily mimic the cliched, cartoonish opera baritone with the blaring voice. We were doing that as kids. I was once in a college choir, and the conductor was after a certain sound in the baritones, telling us to use a kid's imitation of opera singers.

    Standing next to a singer who is at full voice, is a frightening experience. Louder than hell. And if they are any good, everything about their sound is loud in the same proportions as at more reasonable levels. It is really a weird experience if you haven't heard a lot of classical singers in person.

    In a different way, acoustic instruments of the orchestra have a different sound onstage than out in the hall. Orchestra players are trained to project into the hall, which often entails some degree of training and experience. Sitting 30 feet from the stage, a flute is a very pretty instrument. Not. Stand 5 feet in front of one is a small room, and be prepared to be spit at, while the player snorts, sucks air, and makes quiet strangling sounds.

    While I have been around classical musicians most of my life, it wasn't until I taught at a school of music or conservatory-based institution. Here, we have a flute professor, oboe professor, clarinet, bassoon, etc. By the time a student shows up here as an 18-year old freshman, they already have unbelievable chops and nearly flawless control. Not to over-generalize, but I don't think that they work on exercises, per se. Rather, the teacher finds examples in the literature that illustrates a particular technique. My ex-wife is a piano professor here, and I was not really surprised that she doesn't use the metronome, except for finding the correct tempo.

    While I am praising classical musicians a little bit, I don't carry around a big attitude about how great they are compared to those piddly little rocker boys. The big issue is performance. Classical musicians sound great onstage with no amplification. Rock musicians usually prefer using a mic, to amplify different kinds of nuances. Classical musicians don't usually have much microphone technique or even awareness.
     
  19. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    Reguarding the musicians backin out thats usually a union decision, ( can you met their demands ) and is why Zappas greatest work was never finished- an oprea.
     
  20. D_W_PGH

    D_W_PGH Friend of Leo's

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    Ditto on the paycheck thing. We have a quality symphony in Pittsburgh, but it often seems like it's one part high priced tickets and two parts begging for money because the economics are difficult. Plus, the orchestra musicians are paid a pretty fast base salary.
     
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