Sunday, July 11, 2010

Voice Diary

I record most of the performances of the Kenwood Players and then make a CD for each player. That means listening closely all the way through twice, always noticing things that weren't as evident to me in the real time of the performance. The recording of the last week's performance is the first time I didn't physically cringe at least once listening to my voice. One of the most amazing things to me about the Kenwood Players is that I've ended up being a vocalist they feel is good enough to perform with in public.

I never sang as a child through high school, and when taking up the guitar in college it was transferring my piano finger skills to finger picking that occupied me the most. Any singing was just humming the melody enough to hear where the chord changes were. 

A couple of years after college I spent some months backpacking, traveling with guitar, through southern South America with a friend fluent in Spanish, sticking to the back roads. Chile was where we started out, and the first time I ever sang in public was around a small bonfire outside a small village on the coast. I remember doing Dylan's "Hard Rain". Jim asked one of the villagers what he thought and the reply was "se pasa" (it passes). 

What has always made my singing cringe worthy to me (and family and friends who have known me mostly as a non-singer) has been the weirdly inauthentic moments when the emoting overpowers the technique and the psychodrama implodes the music.

In this latest recording there are lots of errors of intonation and rhythm, but none made me cringe. I hope that's because I'm finally able, after nearly 40 years of trying, to have the singing be inflected by the emotions rather than visa versa. But then again, it could just be my ear has become numb to my neuroses.

Then there's the whole issue of two very close friends I got to know after I began to sing, both of whom much prefer what they call my "old voice" of before my working on it so much here the past ten years or so. 

photo - bull frog with the old hay barn in the background

No comments:

Post a Comment