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West Midlands Barbershop Harmony Club

Submitted by John Eardley on Tue, 29/03/2016 - 11:00

Originally submitted by George Badland on Thu, 12/03/2015

What makes for good music can obviously be quite subjective, but I think most of us know when we hear something that is really very good, even if we don't always know why.


But how do we achieve musical excellence.? What do we have to do that is so different from simply singing the right notes and words?


Well, it is debatable I suppose, but one thing you absolutely cannot say is “I am singing the correct notes and words therefore I must be making good music”.


Why? Because making music by singing is really more to do with 'feeling' as opposed to 'thinking'.. By utilizing your feelings, you automatically shift your focus from 'mind' to 'body'. Getting 'nto' the song will allow you to quieten the 'inane chatter' going on in your mind, and enable you to direct your feelings and emotions into your performance.


Once we have sung something, however accurately, you will often hear Rod say, “now let's turn it into music” So let us consider some of the things he may be looking for.


First of all, the system of dots that are used to notate the music we sing, is a wonderful invention, but it does have serious limitations when it comes to the performance. Especially if you try to follow them too slavishly. The value of each note will be based on fractions of whole numbers and therefore cannot reflect exactly how the composer or arranger would like the music to be performed in every minute detail.


If, for example, you put all the notes into a music software programme. the playback will be 100% accurate with both pitch and note duration, but the resulting sound would not be at all attractive musically, because it will be completely devoid of artistry. It will sound mechanical because that is exactly what it will be.


In the case of the lyric, each word will not only have its own individual meaning, but that meaning will be coloured by the tone you use, your voice quality, your volume, the lyricism you impart to the word and notes when you articulate it.


Getting inside the lyric is critical, and allowing your resulting emotions some free range to make their contribution, will add believable artistic 'feeling' to the 'story' you are telling.


My only word of warning would be to ensure you keep control of your emotions at all times, because they can all to easily create problems for you, like causing you to choke or over sing.


One final point. Remember that the guy out front will be busting a gut to give you indications of what you have rehearsed. All you have to do is to look for the signs and act on them as you have been told.


It's simple really. I just wish I could do it to a higher standard.;0)