Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vocal Range and Profile: Britney Spears

Range: B2 - G5(?)- Eb6 (F#6)
Vocal Type: Soubrette (3 octaves, 2 notes)
Vocal Rating: D
Recommended Listenings: Everytime

Instantly recognizable voice. Britney can manipulate her voice to give it different styles while maintaining its signature sound. Her pronunciation of words also gives her a very unique vocal styling. Very dark low notes combined with a light and airy head voice, that is sweet and pleasant. Mid-register belts can carry some weight.

Incredibly nasally voice, that gets thinner as it gets higher. Smoking has damaged her voice over the years, which is shown by her heavy reliance of auto-tune and lip-synching. She also hasn't used much of the range seen in her earlier recordings. The voice overall can be very unpleasant to the ear with its "croaky" characteristics.

Vocal Range and Profile: Florence Welch (Florence + The Machine)

Range: D3 - F#5 - E6 (C7)
Longest Note: 29 seconds
Vocal Type: Lyric Mezzo-Soprano (3 Octaves, 1 note)
Vocal Rating: C+
Recommended Listenings: Cosmic Love, No Light, No Light

Positives: An instantly recognizable voice that possesses an ethereal quality. Incredible stamina in recorded and live settings. Even her longest notes, topping out above 15 seconds, never waver in pitch in live and recorded situations. 

Her lower register is the weakest part of her voice, but strength and warmth are gained as she ascends. Welch sounds comfortable in this range though she sounds far more comfortable in her lower belting range (G4 - C5) (or at least uses this register more than her other ones).

Her head voice is full and semi-operatic, maintaining an ethereal quality.

Negatives: Her pitch in live settings, especially on television, is hit or miss. The vibrato is also far too fast, and is rooted in her jaw (tremolo). Her voice often shows strain in belts and in vibrato.

There are two A6's in here, but they are being counted as exclamations. D3-A6


Friday, November 23, 2012

Vocal Range and Profile: Demi Lovato

Range: C3 - Bb5 - Eb7 (E7)
Longest Note: 16 Seconds
Vocal Type: Light-Lyric Soprano (4 Octaves, 1 note and a semi tone.)
Vocal Rating: B-
Recommended Listenings: Heart Attack, Skyscraper, Wildfire

Wide chest register, topping out at Bb5. The belting register has been developing a healthier mix, and generally sounds easy in the studio. Her melismatic control has grown stronger through practice, and can now stay in key. Her raspy mid-register and voice in general, accompanied by solid understanding of phrasing, conveys emotions very well.

Though her lower register is hit or miss due to placement, it has shown the ability to resonate fairly well down to C#3.

The whistle register is piercing with a rolling vibrato.

Demi's voice is able to transcend through genres, including Pop, Rock, Ballads, Jazz and Musical Theatre. Her stamina live is notably strong, keeping up with the demanding nature of her works. Capable of singing arpeggios that travel through different ranges of the voice.

Her cracky rasp is not to everyone's taste. Her upper belts can sound shrill at points, sound unstable without mixing, and can be interpreted as shouting.  She employs the use of melisma very often in live performances and often takes deep and heavy breaths, which can become irritating to some, as well as creating a tremolo (uneven and unnatural oscillations of vibrato). The falsetto and head voice are underutilized and sound weak.

Support is also an issue, only being present from around A3 - C5. While Lovato has recently developed her technique, she is still wildly inconsistent, often due to fatigue. 



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Track By Track Review: Rihanna - Unapologetic


Rihanna has been an unstoppable force since the release of Good Girl Gone Bad, and has busted out a new album in November for the past 3 years. Unapologetic is her 7th studio album in 7 years.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Review: Rita Ora and Tinie Tempah- RIP

I have been aware of Rita Ora's existence for the past few months, but I've never given her music a listen until now, and I'm glad I did.

Vocal Range and Profile: Rihanna

Range: B2 - G5 - E6 (G7)
Longest Note: 11 seconds
Vocal Type: Light Lyric Soprano / Mezzo - Soprano (3 Octaves, 2 notes and a semitone)
Vocal Rating: C-
Recommended Listenings: Stay, Where Have You Been, What Now

Her lower notes are where the voice finds it home, being dark, and velvety (See Love the Way You Lie Part 2 and Take Care). Her chest voice has over the years, has moved from a nasal tone to one that is brighter (but is placed in the throat). Her belts have also improved massively since Music of the Sun (See the last chorus of Diamonds). They are now more resonant and less shrill. Her head voice is full and sharp (See Fool in Love).

She can now hold notes for extended periods of time without wavering in pitch (See Where Have You Been). Her vibrato has become very well developed and rolling.

Her voice, especially live, becomes nasal. She also can miss notes pitch-wise, and in earlier recordings be off key. Her live vocal performances are always hit or miss. Her voice has also become incredibly raspy and suggests poor mixing. Overall, her voice has been a constant work in progress, but she has moved miles vocally from 2005 to present.

C#3 - C#6

B2 - Eb5 - E6

Vocal Range and Profile: Whitney Houston

Range: A2 - G#5 - C#6 (A6)
Longest Note: 16 Seconds
Vocal Type: Spinto-Soprano (3 Octaves, 2 notes)
Vocal Rating: Star
Recommended Listenings: I Will Always Love You, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Star Spangled Banner

A defining, trademarked voice. Incredible breath support, showing no signs of fatigue and carrying extensive legato passages with ease. Incredible utilization of dynamics, using all volumes from fortissimo to pianissimo and everything in between to craft incredible phrases. Though she didn't lean heavily on her melismatic prowess, she was more than capable of using the technique and use it carefully, as well as playing with rhythmic figures to create cadences and other musical effects. Great control of her passagio; and incredibly balanced instrument. 

Powerful, resonant belts that are mixed with head voice, that are well-supported and healthy, projecting massive resonance with ease. A master of breath support, Houston rarely ventured outside of her embodied range (a positive trait). Able to rapid fire mid and upper belts. Her low notes are also well supported, dark and full. The head voice is resonant and piercing, full and fluid. 

Her vibrato is well developed and rolling, and can be executed with ease. Her timbre is velvety and luscious and makes for a perfect midrange. She is also able to sing complex melisma in all registers, with every register well connected. Pitch perfect in 99% of performances.

Her upper chest register notes can only be held for so long, and her voice can become shrill or unpleasant approaching F#5. Occasionally raises her larynx in upper-belts. 

Her A6, which is being counted as an exclamation.

C3 - C#6

A2 - A6

Vocal Range and Profile: Hayley Williams

Range: Bb2 - A5 - A6
Vocal Type: Light Lyric Soprano (4 octaves)
Vocal Rating: B
Recommended Listenings: All I Wanted, Decode, Ignorance

Voice that is well connected throughout all registers. Sharp tone that allows her to be heard over the roaring instrumentation of her band. Her vibrato is one of her strongest assets, as it can make her notes roaring and can give them a mystical quality (See the chorus of Decode). Her stamina and breath control are excellent, allowing her to headbang without the pitch changing, or sounding out of breath. She can also control voice cracks as a way to convey emotions (See Still Into You).

Her lower notes are dark, well supported, and accessed with a neutral larynx down to D3. As Williams ascend, she cuts the weight found in this register in favor of a brighter tonality.

Her middle-register is well projected and contains an original "twang" thanks to her articulate diction and phrasing. This area is bright and girlish.

Her upper belts are cutting and resonant, and convey emotions better than the rest of the range. As she ascends, her mixed voice becomes headier, though overall is chest-dominant. Her versatility here shines, projecting a much bolder and edgier sound in some instances (Decode), while being smoother in others (Renegade).

Her head voice, though very underutilized, is extremely bright and full (Miracle), and connected to the rest of the voice. The whistle register, though also underutilized, is piercing and executed excellently.

Her head voice and whistle register are rarely used, though this is common in Alternative and Rock music. Her upper belts can sound like shouting, and sound strained towards the top of chest voice. Her upper belts live are inconsistent and falter in intonation. She has been known to blow out her voice after and during concerts due to having vocal nodes, however, the feats she has accomplished with her nodes speak to her endurance and technique.

D3 - A6

Bb2 - A5

Vocal Range and Profile: P!nk

Range: G2 - A5 - D6 (C7)
Vocal Type: (A Dark) Lyric Mezzo-Soprano (3 Octaves, 4 notes)
Vocal Rating: A
Recommended Listenings: Sober, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Who Knew, Slut Like You

An incredibly unique timbre and rasp exclusive to P!nk. The rasp gives her lower notes a darker quality and her high notes a passionate, raw emotive quality, allowing her voice to convey emotions in all registers. Wide chest register spanning 3 octaves, capable of hitting an A5 live and down to a G2. The belts are powerful, well placed and supported. The head voice can be light and airy, or thick, and is nimble enough to trill (See Sober). 

Able to sing complex melisma, though she does not over use the technique. She can use her falsetto as a talking voice while keeping pitch steady (See Stupid Girls).

Her breath control is unparalleled, being able to support her belts and pitch even when executing acrobatics and heavy dance routines without issue.

The head voice sounds disconnected from the rest of her range, and her deep rasp is not to everyone's taste.



Her G2:

One of her now many A5 belts

Friday, November 2, 2012

Vocal Range and Profile: Ellie Goulding

Range: A2 - F5 - G6

Vocal Type: Light Lyric Soprano (3 Octaves, 5 notes)
Vocal Rating: C
Recommended Listenings: Anything Could Happen, Hanging On, Army

An incredibly unique voice that only Goulding has. The head voice is where the voice finds its best qualities; in that register, the voice is nimble and able to move through complex melismas with ease, while even demonstrating operatic qualities (see Explosions and Intro (Delirium)). The notes can be plucked or connected smoothly, and demonstrate remarkable resonance. Her transitions from Chest to Head Voice and mastered with great accuracy (See Only You).

The low notes are very dark and thick, showing solid support throughout. The midrange belts are full. The voice carries a sweet and wispy timbre throughout all registers, making her voice very trademarked and recognizable.

Her timbre can sound like a child's, which is not to everyone's taste. The voice can be nasal, and she can be seen curling her nose while singing. Belts at higher frequencies are very thin (See the F5 in Salt Skin), coarse and forgo mixing.

A2 - B5

Eb3 - F5 - G6

Vocal Range and Profile: Taylor Swift

Range: C#3 - G5 - G5

Longest Note: 15 Seconds
Vocal Type: Light-Lyric Soprano (2 Octaves, 3 notes and a semi-tone)
Vocal Rating: D+
Recommended Listenings: I Knew You Were Trouble, Untouchable

Positives: The voice overall has a pleasant timbre that is very sweet and gentle, and can convey emotions by experimenting (somewhat) with rhythmic figures and articulation to match the moods of her songs. Ability to hold notes for long periods of time with good stamina and no wavering in pitch, and pluck between head voice and chest voice very easily.

A dark lower register that Swift finds herself generally comfortable in. As she ascends, her voice becomes more feminine and "peppy," with a slight, sharp edge. Her tessitura is relatively low for a soprano, settling around the B4-D5 range. Sweet head voice.

Negatives: The lower register has a tendency to become airy below E3. 
Her live performances have often been panned for being pitchy and/or off-key, and the voice can become nasal at times. Her belts are pinched above B4, and drops breath support below G#3. She relies heavily on her head voice for most notes in the 5th octave.

She can only hold her stamina when performing one song at a time, such as at an awards show, but at concerts, her energy drains very quickly, with little body motion or dancing. Her breath support is the most likely culprit for this. All registers lack vibrato as well.

C3 - G5 - C6

Vocal Range and Profile: Lady Gaga

Range: F#2 - G5 - C6 (E7)

Longest Note: 20 seconds (The Abramovic Method)
Vocal Type: Lyric Mezzo-Soprano, though Contralto is a common but incorrect perception. (3 Octaves and 3 notes)
Vocal Rating: A
Recommended Listenings: Government Hooker, Speechless, Wonderful, Do What U Want

A properly trained singer with great technique. Her belts are resonant and supported well, reaching up to G5 in early recordings, and up to F#5 in Do What U Want. She is capable of rapid firing high belts, (see the last chorus of Marry the Night). Her low notes are very dark and full, but can also mimic a talking voice. Her head voice can be thick with an operatic weight, or light and airy. The contrast in colors in her tone is impressive though her voice sits naturally with a darker tone.

Distinctive, unique vocal phrasing, that allows for her to communicate an array of emotions. Even though she is capable of singing a melisma, she does not overuse the technique to show her abilities. Great legato lines and respectable staccato ones as well. Ability to hold pitches for extended periods without wavering. Her voice can transcend through multiple genres, including balladry, dance/pop, country, jazz and rock.

Her vibrato and placement are some of her strongest points. Her vibrato is wide, controlled with an operatic quality and is executed excellently. Her placement for her belts is becoming stronger over time, there is less strain on her D5's, Eb5's and E5's.

In her early career starting at D5, her belts were shouty and poorly mixed. She rarely uses her head voice live (at least above E5), and lacks projection in that area. After vocal coaching in 2014/2015, her issue mostly lies with mask placement and occasionally dropping support above C5.

Her range with exclamations: F#2 - F#6

ARTPOP Vocal Range: F#2-A5

F#2 in "Do What U Want"

Vocal Range and Profile: Kelly Clarkson

Range: C3 - C6 - G6 (F7)
Longest Note: 11 Seconds
Vocal Type: Light-Lyric Soprano (3 Octaves, 4 notes)
Technical Rating: A-
Recommended Listenings: Honestly, Invincible, Sober, Why Don't You Try 

A vocalist with top notch phrasing that makes her an incredible emoter. A top echelon belter, with the ability to access any part of the belting range with ease (see her A5 in rehearsal on "Duets"). The belts (can) draw heavily from lung power, carry support up to the F5/F#5 region, and are capable of reaching Soprano C (C6). In this area, her voice can cut through even orchestral and band arrangements (My Country Tis of Thee). The belts are most resonant from Eb5-G5.  

Her falsetto is light and gentle, adding soulful nature to her ballads as well as emotional leverage. Her head voice, though rarely utilized until 2015, is clean and full (see Tightrope). Her low notes (below Bb3), though the weakest part of her range, have become more supported over time. These notes have been getting stronger through the years, carrying the previously mentioned smokey tone down to Eb3 (See her cover of Lies), and a dark quality to C#3 (harmony in Good Goes the Bye). Her midrange is full and well supported.

Vocal drives can be executed in all parts of the range, and can be taken out when desired (Compare the F5's in Honestly and Let Me Down). Able to flip through all her registers without the use of melisma, though she is more than capable of using the technique (See Why Don't You Try). Vibrato is a major asset to Clarkson, with the vibrato being wide and rolling (See Honestly and Mr. Know it All country version). She can apply her stunning vibrato to a majority of her voice (as demonstrated it from F3-C6-G6).

Though her voice is truly 'at home' in rock and pop stylings, her voice can also transcend through multiple genres, including Rock, Country, Pop, Jazz, R&B, Classical, Gospel, and Indie. With this ability to cover multiple genres, she has covered an expansive list of artists on American Idol and on her latest tours. Some of the artists she has tackled include Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Sara Bareilles, Adele, and even Eminem.

Her whistle register, though heavily underutilized is light and maintains a rolling vibrato.

Clarkson tends to push her voice in the upper chest register, creating distortion. This is mostly due to heavy touring, the demanding nature of her songs, and inconsistent technique. In her upper belts were lodged deep in the throat, and sounded very damaged. However, a few years of experience and better technique lessened this effect (2012-2013). The whistle register is underutilized live and in studio. 

Since her first pregnancy, Clarkson's belting voice has been incredibly inconsistent, showing an inability to hold C5's and occasional cracking, while the head voice lacks accuracy in the 6th octave.

In general, Clarkson's voice is inconsistent, and she generally takes pride in putting emotional delivery over technical perfection (an assessment she has admitted to). 

Eb3 - F7

C3 - C7 
(the C7 is disputed)

A video showing her vocal runs and melismas, since some have asked to see her complex melismas.


Review: One Direction- Little Things

Let me say, that after a hoard of dance/pop singles I was very surprised to see UK heartthrobs One Direction release a ballad. It's far from a power ballad, as it's just guitar and over lapping vocals the whole run through. The video is shot in black and white and it brings out the points where the song falls flat.