25 Feb 2018

My Vocal Range IV

After the production of ‘Why’ and my realization that I employ different voice types, I decided to study it further. I started off by trying to separate them – to locate and distinguish them within my voice. And I tagged them: bass, alto and soft.

Distinguishing the bass voice occurred first with the help of the piano app on my phone which has a synth voice. The synth voice from the app sounds like my bass voice to my hearing and thus was easy to ‘hear’ and follow; which had actually been difficult with the piano voice. Afterwards, separating the other two seemed impossible. But I found the piano voice (on the app) to be good on the alto voice, while the inability to separate it from the soft voice made its usefulness less effective.

During November (and into December) 2017, I happen to be rehearsing ‘Oh Holy Night' using Serena Onasis' version when I noticed my rendition of it was poor – not in relation to the whistle notes, which I wasn’t pushing for as such, as I regard my highest note to be D6. Anyways, I reasoned it’s best to reconstruct the arrangement to suit my voice and ignore hers. Thus, I began work on that.

Till I went on the end of the year (celebration) break, I hadn’t finished the vocal reconstruction of the song. And the major problem lied in the clash between my alto and soft voices, as they kept ruining the flow at the top. However, I did succeed in having an arrangement I liked – hitting D6 as my highest note! And when I resumed rehearsal in 2018, I didn’t immediately pick up the song; and I had a new earphone – TaoTronics Bluetooth earphone, which suddenly made studying and separating the clashing voices possible. My last two earphones weren’t reproducing my voice well. I’d noticed from singing along to ‘Really’, that what I was hearing wasn’t the right sound frequency. So, with this new earphone, when I sang along to my songs, I could separate them by voice. Then I re-tagged them as: Contralto/Alto, Mezzo and Soprano! I renamed the bass to contralto because my general texture sounds soft though dramatic; and I'm not left to wonder what (standard name) to call the last. Then I also spent extra time singing my mixed-voice songs: ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Moving’. And within that excitement thought it great to compose another mixed-voice song, which swaps in between the voices. I tried for days, nothing. But my attempts seemed to have been working around Hard-Rock/Metal, while ‘Secret Lover' also seemed to have been playing more frequently in my head too. When I couldn’t create anything, I decided to see if ‘Secret Lover' was a pointer; and it was. I also remembered ‘Oh Holy Night'. And began working with both.

The separation of my Mezzo from Soprano helped me found out that my (screech) Metals were done on the Soprano! Now, with the separation singing my high notes became easier and better.

With my new found knowledge, I decided to apply same pattern to other artistes on my rehearsal list and hear the outcome. My first few attempts using what I thought was their voice from my voice came out woefully and got me tired enough to strike them out, including my major influences. But I didn't, I wasn’t done, because the issue was for me to operate a better functionality with my voice. “My voice not their voices”, I told myself, “should set the yardstick” – I should be me, while they are who they are too; sound me and not them – thus, I employed off-pitch on songs that weren’t sounding nice on normal range. Afterwards, I began to have better results.

Interestingly, I found diversity from different Owl City's songs, which happened not to be on my rehearsing list but playlist – I’ve always resonated with Owl City on construction level but not singing level, as my rendition had been poor. But the separation seemed to help. His songs didn’t all fall on just one of my voice type! So, I added him to my rehearsal list. Also, I added Cy Nothing’s ‘Seriously I Love You' because its arrangement is great – three-in-one, which really got me excited!!