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Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaron de La Isla   You are logged in as Guest
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qzack

 

Posts: 39
Joined: Aug. 17 2011
 

Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaron de... 

Hi guys,

So recently one video popped up in my YouTube homepage and I thought to give it a go. It's a vocal coach (presumably pop) reacts to Flamenco singing. After I watched it, I thought it's quite interesting to see how "different" flamenco singing to common pop ones with some of her analysis. I think it's quite useful (at least for me) to explain some curious non-flamenco musician when they asked how cantaor sing aside from rythmical aspects which most of the time it's quite a struggle for them to understand. But, at least from the sound texture (vocal character), there are some interesting points indeed



The key points were

1. Direct Tone
The reactor thought that Camaron sang in a direct voice tone instead of being breathy which is "common these days". What does breathy means? would that means Camaron doesn't really treat vocal like utilizing different part of the bodies and let air flows through with different locus of control (i.e diaphragms, head-voice etc) even with the high notes? or it's something different entirely altogether?

2. Crying & Wailing tone
I would say, especially in some people singing in random videos from tablaos or juergas out there, these embellishment is very common particularly on some serious palos like Solea or Seguiriyas. Emotion was transmitted in a way that I don't really care of any vocal-circus-trick that the singer "should" do in a certain part of the song. It's just straight emotional cries that even without understanding the lyric in the first place, it can evoke the emotion quite immediately. Although, I wonder if anyone ever heard or found someone really actually cried when singing since if the singer is very emotional then they may lose control over the vocal itself (I would imagine the vocal cord may tremble and then it's hard to control the note production)

Lastly, I think I'm quite curious as well to know how different Flamenco Vocal to "common vocals" of whatever people popularly get used to. So then perhaps, if one is interested to Sing Flamenco they would know certain aspects within the vocal character other that adhering to compas. After that video I went on a search of any other pop vocal coach reacts to Flamenco to no avail so I'm unable to see more in-depth analysis on the singing. Any thoughts from anyone perhaps?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 27 2022 10:51:17
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to qzack

First, we discussed this, a bit tongue in check, in the past. Review this first:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=323845&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=camaron%2Ccoach&tmode=&smode=&s=#323845

However you bring up more specific technical questions that are very involved and interesting to me. This would take a very long time to go through and will have to get into later, but for now I will address your main points.

1. Breathy tone is more of a performance thing, where you sing quietly. People like Billie Eilish as an extreme case where it is almost sing/talking. Crooning might be another concept, but when it comes to vocals and techniques, two people envisions a completely different thing when it comes to terminology. So she is only observing that he is singing fairly robustly with the tone. However there are different modes of singing expression and vocal coaches are never very clear about it. The only thing that is VERY clear to me is that some singers use the speaking voice to sing with, which means the larynx moves around, up and down, and results in very personalized sounds. A big clue is vowel modifications on higher pitches, and other things involving dealing with the “vocal break”. This is a specific range of notes where the falseto occurs naturally and the technique of singing needs to change…if you are using the speaking voice to sing with. The alternative mode is Opera style singing, which tends to sound generic due to the different specific method of changing pitches. This is done by tilting the larynx forward and has the typical opera type sound do to the throat opening like a tube (I call it a tubular sound). And there are singers that can mix these two concepts and keep pure vowels. Here is an informative video:

https://youtu.be/aajFNsyytsw

Singers that use the talking voice tend to be dynamically much quieter as well. Opera technique is designed to project without a mic over an orchestra. But some guys in other genres also just yell in their speaking voice on high pitches and are obviously very loud as well.

This guy el Pele uses more a talking voice for the first letra. Then when it goes high, he is tilting the larynx forward much like the opera guy describes. If you were in the same room with him and Camaron, Pele would be twice as loud on the high notes with this type of technique.



2. This is called “quejio” and I feel it also embraces the sounds that occur in the vocal break that might be called “cracking” where the singers are deliberately letting the voice flip into brief falsetos for an expressive effect. Flamenco singers use pure vowels in Spanish as opposed to the English and American pop singers (and foreigners that sing in English as well), so vowel modifications in order to get a pure or better note never come into play. In that sense some flamenco singers that sing up high are using the same opera type technique described above and don’t break the voice much at all. Other flamenco singers that use the speaking voice to sing with embrace the difficulties of the upper pitch register by letting it crack or “yell” or “cry” to both cover the vowel problems or be expressive. In the end a huge difference between Opera and Flamenco is the capo. The idea of the vocal break or pitch area is essentially universal so singing in a specific key has a specific feeling situation and in opera they are trying to teach about that feeling to everybody. So you don’t change the key in other words, you learn how two keys feel differently. In flamenco, the capo is used because of the personal choices of the vocalists. In other words, the singers get used to singing the specific melody in a certain range rather than adapt the technique that a specific range calls for. This goes for guys and girls. It is not about being born with a lower or higher voice, it is about which techniques you want to use to sing the melody.

Hope that helps.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 27 2022 12:23:38
 
Morante

 

Posts: 2179
Joined: Nov. 21 2010
 

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to Ricardo

I wonder how she would react to Agujetas
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 27 2022 16:02:56
 
qzack

 

Posts: 39
Joined: Aug. 17 2011
 

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to Ricardo

Wow it’s very clear to me once you explained it. Very detailed although perhaps there are more things we need to observe when it comes to Cante and its vocal techniques which might even longer to discuss like you said. Very helpful indeed, Thanks!!

I still think there are certain characteristics still yet to be discussed thoroughly. Like for example the vibrato that flamenco singer uses sound quite different than the usual pop vibrato at a glance. I wonder if that’s really the case though. Once my friend who very much accustomed to Jazz singing tried to do vibrato in a verse of letra, they come out more like…. Indian or Arabic pop melisma so to speak (forgive my limitation on describing this since I don’t have an audio sample either). As an additional point which less discussed in the video, I notice somehow cantaores/as treat vibrato differently

quote:

A big clue is vowel modifications on higher pitches, and other things involving dealing with the “vocal break”. This is a specific range of notes where the falseto occurs naturally and the technique of singing needs to change…if you are using the speaking voice to sing with. The alternative mode is Opera style singing, which tends to sound generic due to the different specific method of changing pitches. This is done by tilting the larynx forward and has the typical opera type sound do to the throat opening like a tube (I call it a tubular sound). And there are singers that can mix these two concepts and keep pure vowels


I see, so I guess sound-production-wise is not so different with what people usually do to avoid singing too quiet through falsetto _(despite some others did that for aesthetic/personal reason)_

[link] https://youtu.be/r-QAoKNuTZg[/link]
Like in 1:16 - 1:26 I saw no tension in his neck when he tried to reach high notes, did he do the opera technique you described? I guess from the way he sat up straight to generate “tubular sound” you mentioned?

quote:

This is called “quejio” and I feel it also embraces the sounds that occur in the vocal break that might be called “cracking” where the singers are deliberately letting the voice flip into brief falsetos for an expressive effect.


That’s very interesting, so “voice-crack” is part of basic ornamentation that flamenco singers do. Was it like planned to fall into lower notes often or they just… do?

quote:

the singers get used to singing the specific melody in a certain range rather than adapt the technique that a specific range calls for. This goes for guys and girls. It is not about being born with a lower or higher voice, it is about which techniques you want to use to sing the melody


I see, I suppose it makes sense now that cantaores/as are not that keen on or competitive in their vocal range as opposed to pop/rock vocalist let’s say. Whenever I gather around pop/rock vocalist, they tend to have a certain degree of competitiveness and one would be seen as great singer if they sing in a wide span of octaves in a single song. I wonder if this is the case as well in flamenco

quote:

I wonder how she would react to Agujetas


I really would like to see that happens, although I kind of sense these reaction type videos are only best in promoting something if there’s a “shock” factor. I’ve seen this too many times in guitar playing videos and those that got numerous reaction always do some circus-trick or fast playing. Not that flamenco wasn’t impressive enough to be “eligible” for it

Like, I don’t know if I want flamenco to be reacted and incentivized with this kind of attitude. Say, Yerai Cortes was very impressive with his rhythmical control that he deserved to be appreciated but not so much about the speed as most of everyone would want to see. Gerardo Nuñez and Dani de Moron also has some interesting phrasing and extensions but then that’s just too musical for general public to notice imho. I wonder if Flamenco Singers being reacted to with an initial thought in mind where these reactors were looking for something bigger, badder, higher and faster which almost sound too robotic and narrow I think which then leaves out other interesting portion of the performer

Not that these reactors would care that much on what flamenco is to begin with. Perhaps what the earlier thread suggest was right about YouTubers only make use of certain segments to add up their subscription counts.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 28 2022 9:03:10
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14799
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to qzack

quote:

link] https://youtu.be/r-QAoKNuTZg[/link]
Like in 1:16 - 1:26 I saw no tension in his neck when he tried to reach high notes, did he do the opera technique you described? I guess from the way he sat up straight to generate “tubular sound” you mentioned?


So, this is why you have these weird debates amongst vocal coaches etc. It is hard to know exactly what he is doing until you can imitate the sound exactly and even then you could be achieve the sound in a different way. I will say that in this spot and the concert in general he sings high by yelling compared to the way he used to do it say with Paco in that buleria video. Why he was doing that I believe is because he has always been using the speaking mode to sing and when he was younger the chord closure was working good for him when he transitions into the vocal break, but as he got older he lost control of the flip that happens up there and started doing this Yelling from his chest to cover the issue. But that is a guess. Pele sings very high but doesn’t “yell” like that, and never really changed his sound the way Camaron had done, over time. I would guess then no, he is not tilting in the same way as the opera guys because he would then lighten up as he used to, perhaps even more, toward the end. Interesting to note the Camaronero copy guys like to yell up in the break in the same way he was doing…it was part of the style in other words.

As far as your other question about quejio, yes it is part of the sound and the reason many flamenco singers insist on singing certain cantes in a specific range. They don’t break the voice by accident it is very deliberate and they expect their voice to behave more or less the same way each time they sing. AS the singer get older and discover the voice not responding as before, they move the capo down generally. Notice Camaron has moved the capo up later in life…so he might have felt that lowering it revealed his vocal issue/changes even more and preferred to just keep it up there and yell or belt it out. Many aficionados that noticed his voice change from his early records blame drugs etc, but i don’t anymore believe those things as major factors. It is simply about how he deals with his vocal break area.

About competition, in the Camaron documentary on Netflix, not the movie version but the multipart series, there is an anecdote that after Caracol criticized Camaron as a young guy, he returned years later for a por fia. What the means is litterally a cante battle that is done to see who is better. In that time Camaron obviously discovered how to use his head voice or mix voice so he could sing in higher keys. So the fandango por medio by Almendro they went back and forth higher and higher (guitarist moving capo up) until Camaron “won” in some higher position. So yes, very competitive to the point of silliness like that. In the end the real competition becomes about how many styles or letras a singer knows versus the other. It is extremely competitive like any genre.

In talking about technique changes and development the coach reacts videos are done by many coaches that can’t even sing well or at all. I try to follow more stories of actual singers that learn to improve on their own. For example this guy sent in his audition as a 20 year old. You hear him struggling with this speaking voice up high, cracking in the break and otherwise struggling to reach the notes, and then ten years later he has learned how to tilt this larynx and other things to fix those issues (if you can’t tell much difference focus on his eee and ooo vowels where it is more obvious).




_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 28 2022 14:46:18
 
orsonw

Posts: 1934
Joined: Jul. 4 2009
From: London

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to Ricardo

Great thread. Thanks for posting.

I'm no singer but the opera professor was very interesting. I always enjoy people who have got deeply into their subject. And the dragon force singer really improved.

Flamenco singing requires the kind of embodied, non-propositional ways of knowing that can only be taught person to person. Hopefully the knowledge will stay alive continue to be passed on.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 28 2022 17:37:21
 
Arash

Posts: 4495
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to qzack



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 29 2022 13:02:39
 
Echi

 

Posts: 1132
Joined: Jan. 11 2013
 

RE: Pop Vocal Coach Reacts to Camaro... (in reply to qzack

There’s so much more of what that lady got. It’s like she ignores that there’s a specific and hard technique to sing the flamenco tunes: it’s like she’s missing how great is Camaron as she doesn’t know the rules of the game.
As a singer myself, I think Camaron was really exceptional: I almost feel pain when I listen to him.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Oct. 29 2022 16:50:14
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