Singing, as most of my friends and family will say, is not a strong suit of mine.
Singing was also not an activity I was particularly interested in either.
However, as this blog generally poses questions to accepted norms, it is only fitting that I ask, am I really that bad a singer?
Actually, I think I am not a good singer but definitely not a bad one. Here is why.
To start us off here is a clip of me singing.
It is obvious that I am not a technically gifted and by that I mean I don’t have the natural ability where my voice apparatus, vocal muscles etc, creates sound that matches pitches. Of course this was no big deal before the modern recording age. In fact, many communities before modernity were communal and their music activity was centred around participation, think Amazonian or West African village life, so no matter your voice, you sang!
What modernity did though was create the professional singer. And the recording of the professional singer gave value to a certain kind of singing which in some ways eroded how people considered singers globally, this ultimately made singers like me…
Listen to the following clips, first up is Wendy Moten then Beyonce.
These songs are damn fricking hard to sing.They also have a certain history and tradition behind them that many people globally were not a part of. So for example, if a Tuvan tried to sing these, he might not succeed, even though he might be an excellent throat singer.
In other words, Wendy Moten and Beyonce are not only PROFESSIONALl singers, they are also showing a CERTAIN TYPE of good singing based on the values of their music culture. It does not make the Tuvan a bad singer. If you are unsure what Tuvan throat singing is let us reverse this now and take a listen to some Tuvan throat singing.
Here is a clip from American Idol where this guy was dismissed.
The judges and audience thought he was crap but was he? They were just using the value system from their music culture which was totally inappropriate to judge Tuvan throat singing. If I used the Tuvan method, Beyonce and Wendy Moten were rubbish because they only produced one pitch, in fact where was the drone Queen Bee!!!???
In short, there are no universal values when it comes to singing. Singing is dependent like all value systems on who makes the rules. So if I someone calls you a bad singer, just ask them if they understand the discourse of power at work in aesthetics. If the look at you blankly, continue singing just like I will now…
* This post does not condone karaoke. Any suggestion that it does is just a coincidence. 🙂