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  • Writer's pictureKaren Pauley

Week 2: Sing Space 16 Bar Challenge 2022

It's Legit Musical Theatre week with a focus on Rogers & Hammerstein classics. We have a choice of cuts from the following two songs:

State Fair - That's For Me

Pipe Dream - Everybody's Got A Home But Me

There are a lot a very famous Rogers & Hammerstein musicals, Carousel, Oklahoma, King & I, Sound of Music & Show Boat, so it's great to get to work on some of their lesser known material. I had planned to work on That's For Me as it's a love song and I rarely get to sing that type of romantic piece. But somehow I ended up working on the other piece instead. Everybody's Got A Home But Me is beautiful and melancholy and proved to be a challenge for me to sing in either the original key or the modified one.

The master class this week was taught by Rosie Williams, and I do love watching her teach. She reminded me about the importance of scanning your body and releasing your tension. My abdominal muscles tend to grip, when they shouldn't, and it can be hard to get them to relax through the long phrases. And even though I did work on this through the week I am still having issues with over breathing as I worry about singing through the long lyrical lines.

I spent quite a bit of time using S.O.V.T. exercises to help with my air flow and also to see if I could get myself to relax. I could feel signs of my body starting to panic as it was unsure about producing the correct sounds. I have spent a few years now working on a more contemporary MT sound so was not overly happy with my legit sound. The exercises also helped with my legato line and I did spend some time just sliding around the vowel shapes for the words and also singing the whole thing to "ya" to help with the onsets.

I had some issues with my "ee" shape as I felt it was not vertical enough. I did use a primal "sigh" to get me into the song and to help with releasing tension and the tendency to hold my breath at the start. I also used a sob / cry to help with the sweetness of the sound and to help with the roundness of sound and to move away from some of the MT speech quality that ends up sounding more contemporary.

I ran into a technical issue with the sound when I sang in my head voice. I was disappointed with the phone recordings as my voice sounded thinner that it should and it does seem that my set-up is more suitable to sounds in a speaking range and not a soprano singing range. There were also issues with clipping. If I had noticed sooner I would have set-up a different microphone, but I only have so much time to spend on recording. This did mean that I submitted the lower version of the song, which is the original key. It's quite near the bottom of my range and doesn't sounds a legit or classical as the higher version.

I also managed to record one version without connecting the microphone. I will have to be more careful in checking my equipment going forward.

There is no doubt that taste is changing regarding legit MT. I find myself wanting to be more speech like and less classical. I feel that the classical sound can be a bit distant and remote and not have the same connection you can get with a more speech-like quality. I also found that my offsets where nowhere near as clean as they should have been as the emotion was pushing my voice to make different sounds, that aren't totally appropriate for legit signing. I still prefer the sound not to be too twangy or belty, and really do want to hear a smooth legato line without pop sounding scoops or slides into the notes.

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