Singing- Born talent?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Casey C., Mar 9, 2003.

  1. Born talent

    13 vote(s)
  2. Practice and it shall come

    24 vote(s)
  3. carrot... I guess

    7 vote(s)
  1. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    I've been wanting to learn how to sing (more like how to use my voice and my step dad said something along the lines that singing is something your born with. Which brings me to my question, Do you feel that singing is something your born with or something that can come with some practice? By that I mean average singer. Not opera singer.
  2. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Wow, excellent topic and something that I don't think anyone can give a straight answer about. Maybe I shouldn't comment because I'm not a vocalist, but I don't think Simon from American Idol is either and he tells people they suck all the time. :p

    I think most people can train their voices to hit the correct pitches, but I think you are born with or not born with a pleasurable tone. I could be wrong about that, but let's face it, Bob Dylan could take vocal lessons from Pavarotti for years, but he's still going to have the tonal characteristic of Bob Dylan. Of course, like I said, it's more of an opinion.

    Maybe some vocalist here could give their opinions.
  3. Killdar


    Dec 16, 2002
    Portland Maine
    My mom is an opera singer......damn good one too. She also teaches vocal technique, so it is possible to learn to sing. the original basic tone stays throughout life, but you can make it sound really really good. Many really good singers have different unique tones. Like a beginner playing a really good bass, sounds like crap since they don't have much skill, but they can get better over time.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I don't think it's as black and white as that.

    Sure, it is a born talent - as with playing any instrument.

    But I believe you can learn to sing - everyone can sing.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    you'd be amazed how many people I've met that simply can not sing....they are never in tune, they are never in time, and they even forget lyrics quickly.

    but generally, I think anyone can sing if they put enough effort into it....but it is something you are born with....I was born with huge hands, was I born to play bass....a lot of people think so, but I wouldn't nearly as versed in the instrument as I am if I didn't practice for 6-8 hours a day.
  6. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah - some people are apparently born with no ability to sing.

    It can be learned - but it takes a lot of effort. Whereas some people just seem to be born to sing - they can naturally sing in tune, with style etc.

    Generally it's pretty unlikely that someone would start off not being able to sing *at all* and become a great singer. I'm sure it can (and has) be done - but the amount of work, and drive required would be huge.
  7. I think there's a big difference between being a good singer and simply being able to carry a tune. I'm sure training can help a lot, but, I believe great singers are born and not made.

    Did anyone see the biography on singer Connie Francis? She got a nose job to try and appear more "American :rolleyes: " and doing this reduced her range and power by a lot. I believe this is why Barbara Streisand never did this.

    I also read somewhere that women are naturally able to sing well at a much higher rate than men. Sorry, but, I don't have the stats. Think of it; how many good female singers do you know of compared to good male singers?

    When he was in his prime, I think Robert Goulet had one of the best voices going.

    Yes I am an old fart. :D

  8. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Interesting. What do you mean by "higher rate"?
  9. Agian, I don't have the stats to back this up, but, if I remember correctly, the article I read stated that about 70% of all women can "carry a tune," while the rate for men was about 30%. I wish I remembered where I read this.

  10. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Yeah, I suppose it is true really. I wonder why?

    Actually, I think generally I prefer the male voice (even if less of us can sing :D). Most of the singers I really dig are guys.
  11. While a really good male voice really does impress me, I mostly dig the chicks! :D

    I know I must post this link once a week, but, if you get a chance you should really check this girl out, she is phenominal.

  12. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Now keep in mind I can only speak from my own experience.

    I had a horrible voice as a teen. Everybody told me so. I had a good knowledgee of pitch and rhythm, from being in band. I had a good concept of harmony. But still, everyone I knew would cover their ears and make faces if I tried to sing.

    Skip forward a few years: I am in a band. I write all our lyrics and have a strong opinion about how they should be sung. I know I don't have the pipes to sing them, especially while playing bass, but I am okay as a backup singer.

    Still more time passes: We auditioned alleged singers basically continually for something like two years. It was a lot like the American Idol reject show, people would show up thinking they were amazing and they would be horrible beyond words. We had one truly decent vocalist audition. He moved to California three months later and I saw him once on Mtv back when they did music videos.

    Let's look at the math, shall we? : 75 applicants, 1 was actually good. 0 were almost good enough to be lead singers. 0 were really better than a backup singer needs to be and could be groomed to be a lead singer. 15 or so were competent to be backup singers. I count myself in this group. ALL THE REST sucked so bad they could have been used to interrogate criminals.

    All these people THOUGHT they were good enough to front a band. They DEEPLY BELIEVED they were fabulous. This was not the general population. This was the people that truly believed they were the next big thing waiting to happen.

    So, after a while I said "Fine! I'll just do it myself!", and I started singing lead and fronting the band.

    Again, time passes. People frequently tell me I have a great voice now. I usually think they just like the song I 'm singing until I was complimented on my voice by my sister, who did'nt know the voice on the tape was me, and didn't believe me when I told her.

    So apparently you can develop over time.

    My drummer was the most impressively atonal person in the world. He didn't understand pitch but wanted to sing backup too, since everyone else was. We gave him a mic and then neveer turned it up at a gig. The practice where he successfully hit all the right notes for a whole line ( NOT the whole song, just one line) has become a semi-legendary moment, in that no one that knows him and was not there believes it ever really could have happened.
  13. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Maybe it's because I always like to sing along, and I can sing along much better to the male voice :)

    Or perhaps it's that most of the people who's songs I like happen to be male? Beatles, Sting, Stevie, Billy Joel, Steely Dan etc.

    The female voice does have one thing - sexiness! A male voice isn't gonna be sexy (to me). A sexy female voice is a good thing :)
  14. I think it's mainly practice, but you can have a certain "born" talent which without practice is basically useless
  15. I have no stats to back this up, but I really believe that the dimensions of one's inner vocal cavities (i.e. voicebox, mouth, nasal cavity) have a great deal to do with the "natural" ability to hold a tune.

    Although I have a good ear (can identify intervals quite well and repeat them on my bass, guitar or keyboard), I have a tough time with my voice repeating the same intervals. I have a very small mouth, voicebox and airway, and a small muscle excursion means a large % change in intonation and thus harder to control more accurately (IMHO).

    Look at some of the "purest" voices we hear commercially (regardless of the quality of the material they sing) and you will find a large number of them with strong chins, large(r) nasal construction and often a cleft palate condition (even greater increase of intonation area) - i.e. Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, etc...

    However, even I am taking some vocal training (at my advanced age!) and it does seem to help. As does practice practice practice.........

  16. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    Interesting. Obviously internal dimensions would have an awful lot to do with the sound/character of the voice - but I'd never considered that it would have anything to do with the ability to hold a tune.

    Thinking about it, singers do tend to have large mouths, don't they?
  17. Mandobass


    Nov 12, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    singing in key can be learned as well as harmony...just like playing any instrument.

    the timbre of one's voice, however, is usually an inherent trait. to me it is the timbre that is the most important(along with signing in key, obvioulsy). id say only about 10-15% of the general mass out there simply cannot learn to sing, and on the same token i bet about 95% of the mass, whom can sing perfectly in pitch, have an undesirable vocal timbre.

    here's a knee slapper:
    my friend started smoking cigs just so he could alter his voice to be more like morrison. hah!
  18. For that to work I think he'd have to start drinking Bushmill's as well......;)
  19. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    These are exactly my feelings on this topic. I can carry a tune, hit the correct pitches and technically, sing pretty darned good. But my voice does not have a pleasant timbre to it. So I will continue to sing backups, and not lead.
  20. with practice the timbre of your voice can also be changed, for example most opera singers sound very similar because they practiced to sing that way