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SYS65

Untie Bel-Canto from Culture Music

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Hey,

I don't know you, but I, I really don't like the Bel-Canto in singers, I mean I can stand like 3 or 4 famous singers for a couple of minutes, but not the 99% of the rest of people sing like that, now, why is it that ALL Opera or Concert music has been always hopelessly tied to this technique, and remains tied in present ?

So if I write an opera, or any sort of musical form is to be preformed in a concert, or just considered as part of non-comercial music, will be forced to sing like that ? There's no way to avoid that ?

I understand the history of all this, but now we do have technology to use microphones or any other sort of help, I mean it's just matter of get opened to other possibilities, but nobody seems to even try, do we have to start writing vocal music asking (somehow) for an specific technique is not the Bel-Canto ? There's any hope we can turn off that vibrato please ?

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It all depends on the repertoire.  Here's some Palestrina sung by a good contemporary group:  https://youtu.be/0yd5EE0hAB8  Vibrato would be inappropriate here, so there isn't much.  Ask for straight tone if that's what you want.  (If I see something marked "simplice" I assume that's what the composer wants).  Good singers can do either.  But straight tone at the extreme high end of the range is very straining to sustain for long periods of time, even if your singers have mics.  People can do permanent damage to their voices.  So, know that the comfort and safety of your performers has to be a consideration or they won't be able to get through all the rehearsals leading up to performance, much less a long run of concerts.  You can ask for a general style, but you can't dictate no vibrato whatsoever.  It's not practical.  

I wonder how much of the mic question in modern opera is about not picking up a lot of wind noise as they move around the stage?  I went to a performance recently that did use mics and it sounded like you were in a car going 60 mph with the windows rolled down every time the blocking had someone moving around.  You can't turn the mics off all the time when they move, since sometimes they move and sing at the same time.  And just putting some mics where they will pick up the whole ensemble also picks up the orchestra, so it doesn't necessarily help the singers be heard.  Shrug.

 

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If one takes a look to the comercial music, Rock, Pop, R&B, Soul, Disco etc, tons of different voices can be found, many are complete crap but some others are quite good, there are enough for all tastes, but in serious music is practically the same style, yes in Renaissence and Barroque is a little different, but is only like the previous version of the same thing.

Today we have operas with serialism, algorithms, mathematics, electronic resourses, a lot of "new" elements but honestly they keep singing like it would be Rossini. Maybe Opera will be a difficult field to start the change, but maybe in a smaller form, like a simple Piano + Voice lied, could I imagine the piano supporting a voice like Sade, Suzanne Vega, Leigh Nash (Sixpence none de Richer) is it too crazy idea ? Each one of these kind of singers is like its own style per own, but I think it could be possible to start creating new styles and even teach certain techniques and somehow define those styles, because right now is like "Bel-Canto, and the rest", for instance I have noticed in music schools, (at least what I've seen) many people go to the school because "they like to sing" but they don't even like the "bel-canto" they have in their minds something very different, and instead of developing those talents, they drawn their voices into a world they don't even known, understand, like or even wish.

Recently I've seen a couple of new ideas by composers, for instance a work "for Orchestra and Rap-Singer"  perhaps I'm now the only one with this idea.

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Non-bel-canto singing is becoming much more prominent in high-cult rep; I think you just haven't found the rep yet.  Start with Judah Adashi (his perfect example of this, Sestina, is on soundcloud), Caroline Shaw (her Partita is everywhere and won a Pulitzer), Ted Hearne, Du Yun (also Pulitzer for an opera in every style from bc to punk), most of what Roomful of Teeth does, and all the other artists recommended from searches on those artists.  Even in the most uptown of the new-music-focused choral groups like The Crossing, vibrato isn't the default; they use it carefully and often sparingly.

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