Archive | May 2015

Contest songs

As I was adjudicating last weekend at the Classical Singer conference in Chicago, I kept track of the songs from the High School Musical Theatre (Legit) second round.

In no particular order, here’s the list:

What good would the moon be.  Street Scene

Make Believe.  Showboat

I feel pretty.  West Side Story

If I were a bell.  Guys and Dolls

Art is calling for me.  Victor Herbert (four times)

Into the fire.  Scarlet Pimpernel

How could I ever know.  Secret Garden

I don’t know what I’d do.  A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (twice)

Tell me on a Sunday.  Song and Dance

Waitin’ for my dearie.  Brigadoon

The beauty is.  The Light in the Piazza

Stars.  Les Miserables

Les Poissons.  Little Mermaid

The Impossible Dream.  Man of La Mancha

Mr. Snow.  Carousel

Green Finch and Linnet Bird.  Sweeney Todd (five times!)

Beyond my wildest dreams.  Little Mermaid

If I loved you.  Carousel

I’m a stranger here.  Touch of Venus

And this is my beloved.  Kismet

The life I never led.  Sister Act

Warm all over.  The Most Happy Fella

Cool.  West Side Story (complete with choreography, flips, and a muscle shirt)

I rise again.  On the 20th Century

If ever I would leave you. Camelot

White Christmas.  Holiday Inn

My white knight.  The Music Man

The devil you know.  Side Show

Bless your beautiful hide.  Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

I could have danced all night.  My Fair Lady

Il mondo . . .  The Light in the Piazza

My true love.  Phantom

Wishing you were somehow here again.  Phantom of the Opera


Legit v Belt

Classical Singer postulates some very clear statements about ‘legit’ musical theatre singing, as contrasted with ‘belt’ singing.

For instance, the legit sound is characterized by the dominance of head register, with vowels and consonants having clarity of sound that is more sung than spoken.  Vibrato is active throughout phrases.  Vocal tone has great flexibility and gradations of fullness.

Belt sound is built on the dominance of chest register, incorporating more speech-level style of singing.  The sound is narrowed and brightened, but some traditional and contemporary stylistic elements are allowed.

Full disclosure: I cribbed these ideas from their judging guidelines, published last week at the annual competition in Chicago.

Range unification

I am increasingly convinced that one powerful way to develop a voice that sounds the same from top to bottom, and from bottom to top, is to really slide and feel connection between pitches.  And I’m a huge fan of not singing thirds or steps all the time.

Try this exercise on an open vowel, starting the first pitch with an M or an N so that the sound is firmly in the mask.  Move up by half-steps for three sets, then down one half-step and start up again, so that we avoid the inexorable tension of moving higher, and so that we cover some of the same pitches over and over again.  Listen and feel diligently to be certain that no pitch bumps or crunches.  The aim here is total uniformity and unification from top to bottom.