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 Post subject: vocal phrasing
PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:21 am 
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Tenderfoot
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If you are an amateur vocalist like myself, you may understand the difficulty we amateurs have with effective phrasing. In fact, after singing in tune, it is probably the most important aspect.

What do professional vocalists do better - phrasing.
If you listen to Frank Sinatra or Nat King Cole, you will find that they sing so far behind the beat as to almost miss fitting the words in, but to wonderful effect.

Singing directly on each beat can sound static - like the difference between a drum machine and a real drummer (no drummer jokes please).

In the past, didn't really attack this problem until the vocal recording was in process where I could try different deliveries. I have now found that temporarily recording the vocal line with an expressive instrument (like a guitar) let's me get the phrasing as effective as I can before I start the vocals. Only a small thing but it works very well for me.

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 Post subject: Re: vocal phrasing
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:08 am 
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Yeah. I have done that a few times on the advice of a friend many years ago. It does help a lot to come up with phrasing. And, on more complex melody helps to nail pitch. Not really being a singer, even with this trick, finding pitch is hit or miss. [-o< Or a memory problem. :lol:
One take off from that, that's worked for me, is when I'm starting to get serious with a lyric idea I'll be playing guitar chords and hammering and pulling and trying to find some chordal melody, leading tones, and so on, and putting my lyric ideas to that. Found some hooks, new lyrics, arrangements, and groovy riffs that way. In the end the lyric seems to meld with the tonal structure of the song. Both music and words flow better. I listen for the rythym, or my strum pattern and the phrasing seems to flow off that specific timing. This is all just my own subjective experience and it's always fun trying.
Sometimes though you just can't fit that word in and have to work on syllabic content. Or worse. The dreaded shelf.
Have fun with it Guitarman
Bruce

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 Post subject: Re: vocal phrasing
PostPosted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 10:40 am 
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Tenderfoot
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Yeah Bruce. Phrasing is one of those things that separates the good from the bad and the ugly and one of the reasons the good sound so good and can deliver the emotional content they do in the lyrics. K D Lang also springs to mind as masterful.

As for pitch, I really dread connecting up that mic when vocal track time comes around. I need to use pitch correction going in and, sad to say, my raw pitch seems to be getting worse not better, particularly on passing notes. It would normally take me a whole day to record the vocal for one song, one line at a time.

Leading tones, I only really embraced recently and this has also made a huge difference to my choice of chords, once again to good effect on slower songs where they can help smooth out chord and bass progressions.

So much to learn but then, that is why recording is so great as it allows me to present the best possible take on my efforts.

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 Post subject: Re: vocal phrasing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:57 am 
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Footswitch Genius
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Quote:
you will find that they sing so far behind the beat as to almost miss fitting the words in, but to wonderful effect.

that's syncopation, i was reading about using that for vocals only a short while ago - it's basically moving a note that would normally be on a strong beat, onto a weak beat instead - and as you say, what might have sounded regimented, stiff or dull on the strong beat now sounds lively and interesting.

it's a very handy trick. i just wish i used it more myself, heh

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