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#1

spacecitymarc

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Posted Mar 4, 2005 @ 5:29 PM

Here's what I envision. Instead of cluttering up the episode threads with endless tangential discussions about who originally sang what, which song was written by whom, whether such-and-such arrangement on AI was faster than so-and-so original and so forth, those of us whose self-declared knowledge of music results in pedantic history lessons of "Piece Of My Heart" and how it found its way from Erma Franklin to Janis Joplin (actually, Big Brother & the Holding Company, technically) to Faith Hill to Carrie Underwood can have a place to carry on such chats in relative isolation from the rest of the boards. Now, obviously some of this stuff would naturally be discussed in the episode threads, but you know the point at which talking about the contestants' clothing shifts to the "Pirate Shirts, Hootchie Skirts, etc." thread? That's the point at which those of us who are going to parse the history of the songs would take it here.

So a musical discussion/nitpitcky thread, basically.

I had actually tried to open a similar topic last year, but it wasn't as clearly defined and would have been redundant back then. It seems that its time may have come. From what I could tell from Jacob's Tuesday recaplet, we either desperately need this topic or should absolutely not have it. If the mods decide on the latter and close it down, I'll abide by that. I'm just trying to help, honest.
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#2

Jacob

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Posted Mar 4, 2005 @ 6:04 PM

By all means, contain it.

#3

Lindsey C

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Posted Mar 5, 2005 @ 2:13 AM

Good thread idea. I want to admit to the world that I know what the spoken word in Lindsay Cardinale's song is supposed to be. "Come on Patty, get it together! It was changed for obvious reasons. Also, looking back on tapes, she DID sing Shania Twain's "The Woman In Me" on the episode with all the rooms. They showed a clip of her solo, and I recognized it. It is the "Woman in Me."
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#4

tvweb44

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Posted Mar 5, 2005 @ 4:51 AM

I know this may not be what this thread is intended for but hey.......

I wanna know the ranges that the 24 contestants sing in. Who's an alto? Who's a soprano? Who's a tenor and whatnot. Octaves and all that ..... Can somebody break it down, please?
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#5

spacecitymarc

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Posted Mar 8, 2005 @ 11:45 AM

(moved from the episode thread for containment purposes)

A.C.: Here's the problem with Constantine last night: almost every song on Synchronicity is ridiculously wordy, and it's too hard to get to that chorus.

"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" comes from Ghost In The Machine, actually.

Meanwhile, tvweb44, while I can't be 100% sure (since I tend to use words like "tenor" and "alto" as general descriptives, rather than precise indications of vocal range, which means that the following two paragraphs are to some degree me pulling stuff out of my ass), I'd categorize Mario and Anwar as tenors. Anthony and Scott may well be, too. Bo seems to me to be classic baritone. Nikko, I can't tell, since I don't remember what he sounds like. Travis, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a range at all. And then there's Two Cats Fucking, whose range is two cats fucking.

As for the women, I think Mikalah, Nadia and Lindsay are all altos. As for the rest, I think that maybe Carrie is the closest they have to a soprano, although of course Rainbow Brightman was the only true operatic soprano we've seen all season (don't know if she was good or not, just that she was in the right range). I don't know about Vonzell, Jessica or Janay. And then there's Amanda, whose range is two cats fucking.

In other news, I'm kinda bummed to learn that the horrible, horrible song that Lindsay sang (pretty well, considering) last week was a Patty Loveless song. I acquired Mountain Soul a year or two back and like it quite fine. allmusic.com indicates that "I Try To Think About Elvis" predates it, though, so I'll just file that under "Things Musicians Do To Build Up Enough Clout To Be Able To Do What They Really Want To Do."

Edited by spacecitymarc, Mar 8, 2005 @ 11:46 AM.

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#6

Tay

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Posted Mar 8, 2005 @ 9:52 PM

I hope this is the correct thread - please forgive me if it isn't.

Would someone kindly tell me Lindsey's song title and artist. Thanks!
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#7

happycamper

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Posted Mar 8, 2005 @ 9:59 PM

Don't Wanna Miss A Thing by Aerosmith
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#8

Jacob

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Posted Mar 8, 2005 @ 11:50 PM

But there was a country version that was big at around the same time -- which was closer to what she was singing -- by Mark Chesnutt.

Edited by Jacob, Mar 8, 2005 @ 11:52 PM.


#9

katiedid

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 12:53 AM

Also, the song was written by Dianne Warren, who seems to have a knack for writing songs so bland that you can flavor them using any genre.

Some of the folks on the episode thread are saying Nadia was not performing Otis Redding's version of Try A Little Tenderness, but a version by The Commitments? I never heard of this version before reading about it on the board tonight. (I never did work up the energy or enthusiasm to watch the movie.) I know that Aretha Franklin did a cover - was perhaps Nadia's version actually the Aretha version? I don't remember what it sounded like anymore.

To be a really annoying and persnickety know-it-all, I just have to add that Respect may have been popularized by Aretha, but it's an Otis song, dammit.

Edited by katiedid, Mar 9, 2005 @ 12:57 AM.

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#10

Jacob

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 1:00 AM

I knew this thread was a good idea, Marc.

#11

tvweb44

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 2:41 AM

Some of the folks on the episode thread are saying Nadia was not performing Otis Redding's version of Try A Little Tenderness, but a version by The Commitments

It was patterned on Otis Redding's version from my perspective. Did the Commitments version substitute "funky" for "shabby"? I don't know if that could be the difference.
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#12

Swoopin It Up

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 7:07 AM

Nikko, I can't tell, since I don't remember what he sounds like. Travis, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a range at all. And then there's Two Cats Fucking, whose range is two cats fucking.


Heh. spacecity, these three are also tenors. ConstantScrud and Travis especially. Nikko's natural range is, I think, a bit lower, but still in the tenor range. Bo is the only baritone in the group.

Since webtv asked, I'd say Janay, Vonzell, Amanda, and Carrie are sopranos, but at the lower end of the spectrum (what in choruses would be a second soprano). Lindsey and Nadia are altos and practically tenors. Jessica and Mickles are altos who can sing in the lower end of the soprano range as well when they belt. But I'd say neither Nadia or Lindsey could do that without really straining. Where she and Nadia differ from the other two altos is that their range is impressive not going up the register, but down--Lindsey's in particular. Someone like Carrie could never sing those lower notes Lindsey was hitting in the Aerosmith song.
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#13

FivebyfiveB

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 11:54 AM

Did the Commitments version substitute "funky" for "shabby"? I don't know if that could be the difference.


The Commitments said shabby. I think Randy pointed out that Nadia changed the word. (And a stupid change IMHO.) Either way, I feel the song it was hampered here by being truncated. Half the fun of the song is the way it builds into an all out riot of music, words, shouts and singing.

From the out of nowhere corner comes the version on Michael Buble's new album, which is pretty much a big band version of the way the Commitments did it. Except he says "women" instead of "young girls."

I also got the feeling that Amanda was trying to do Celine Dion's cover of "River Deep" and not the Tina version. Which don't even get me started.
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#14

darling

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 12:13 PM

"Funky" just sounds silly. Is it funky as in funky-looking, or does the dress smell, Nadia?

Edited by darling, Mar 9, 2005 @ 12:13 PM.

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#15

BarbC

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:16 PM

spacecitymarc said:

As for the women, I think Mikalah, Nadia and Lindsay are all altos. As for the rest, I think that maybe Carrie is the closest they have to a soprano, although of course Rainbow Brightman was the only true operatic soprano we've seen all season (don't know if she was good or not, just that she was in the right range). I don't know about Vonzell, Jessica or Janay. And then there's Amanda, whose range is two cats fucking.


Took quotes out of order to do the SATB thing (soprano, alto, tenor, bass).

Sopranos have a range, generally, of an F on the (treble-clef) staff (the low F, if you remember the rhyme "Every Good Boy Does Fine," well, the spaces are FACE, and most people remember those by anagram) to high C above the staff.

Coloratura sopranos regularly sing above high C.

Only Rainbow Brightman of all the contestants we saw had the range to be a coloratura soprano this year, and there were very, very few true sopranos in this competition at any level. Of those remaining, Carrie might be a soprano, but her best range appears to be the lower one, so I'd guess her really to be an alto with a slightly better range than most altos.

Now, we get into the more technical stuff, because range-wise, there's not that much difference between an alto and a soprano. An alto's range, generally, is a low B-flat below the staff to an F on the staff -- but altos regularly also sing up to high C (they just don't have as good a vocal quality above an F). Vonzell, Nadia, and Jessica are all clearly altos. The reason they're classified as altos is that their higher notes are not as strong as someone who can sing soprano (such as Carrie) reasonably well.

Contraltos are women singers who might be called "women singing in the tenor range," as they tend to sound best about a third to a fifth below a "true" alto. Lindsey and Mikalah fall into this category.

I'm not sure what Amanda is; none of her ranges are solid and she doesn't sing well in tune at all. Ditto for Janay, although I believe from the preliminaries that Janay has an alto range.

Enjoyed the comment about Amanda's range, spacecitymarc.

On to the men; another quote from spacecitymarc follows:


Meanwhile, tvweb44, while I can't be 100% sure (since I tend to use words like "tenor" and "alto" as general descriptives, rather than precise indications of vocal range, which means that the following two paragraphs are to some degree me pulling stuff out of my ass), I'd categorize Mario and Anwar as tenors. Anthony and Scott may well be, too. Bo seems to me to be classic baritone. Nikko, I can't tell, since I don't remember what he sounds like. Travis, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have a range at all. And then there's Two Cats Fucking, whose range is two cats fucking.



A tenor's range, generally (IIRC) is a D on the bass clef staff to an F (or occasionally an A or A-flat) on the treble clef staff. Note that many tenors can sing up to a C on the treble clef staff or even a bit above that, and may well sing below that D on the bass clef staff -- but their lower notes have little power and their really high notes (even in falsetto) also have no power. This is a tenor. I'd put Mario, Anthony, Scott, and probably Nikko in this category (although Nikko's lower notes have a bit more power than the rest).

A baritone's range is more or less an A on the bass clef staff to the C above the bass clef staff (which is often called "middle C"). Bo is definitely a baritone. Anwar, too, I believe, is a baritone, although for some reason he's sung most of his songs in the upper part of his range.

Travis has little range; from what we've heard, I'd classify him as a tenor who really needs to work to get the "classic" tenor range of one and a half octaves.

And Constantine? He has two and a half octaves of something, but what, I'm not sure. His vocal quality would suit a baritone better, as he has a heavier sounding voice. But his upper register sounds like a tenor.

Btw, a bass sings about a third to a fifth lower than a baritone; there are very few "true" basses, although often-times in high school choirs, baritones are called basses.

Clear as mud, right?

Hope that helped.
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#16

Mmm... Free Goo

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:29 PM

He has two and a half octaves of something


Seriously? Clay Aiken is also supposed to have 2 1/2 octaves, and they couldn't sound more different (i.e. one doesn't sound like TwoCatsFucking [tm someone cool]), although i'm not a vocal expert. Then again, neither are the judges...

On a different tack, and not so 'nerdy' really, but I was kinda cracking up at Anthony's song choice, because "I Got You" was Marc Anthony's 'I love you Dayanara, I swear i'll never cheat on you again!!!" song, and like a year after it came out he was shacked up with J. Ho. But I disgress.
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#17

ISUHort96

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:34 PM

I'm going with BarbC on the SATB thing, or more specifically the soprano definition. In high school I was a soprano in choir with a range from B below middle C to E above the staff. I was trained to sing higher (something you push for) and moved to "first soprano" by my sophmore year. There were 5 of us that were in this range, which is good because a little high note goes a long long way. The ear is trained to hear high so you don't need much (which is why there are generally only a couple piccalos in a band and like 12 flutes). I ended up with a two octave range and ultimately could do the Sarah Brightman scream...but it hurt and I wasn't able to maintain that. I sang a LOT in high school but now that that time is in my waaaay distant past I'm back to soprano and a lot more comfy under that E.

One other HUGE classification difference between altos and sopranos that I'm fully willing to cop to is that sopranos rarely work to learn anything but the melody of a song. An alto generally has a better ear for harmonizing because they rarely have the melody.

I would say that Mikaylah is not a true contralto because she sounds like that girl on Spaceballs singing "nobody knows the trouble I've seen". I think she's really reaching to get that so she doesn't have to extend her range to hit the high notes. Change the key up on her last night and she'd have been screeching. Lindsay is more true to the contralto IMO.

I won't even go into the guys because the only thing I know about bass music is how to transpose it for an Eflat treble clef instrument.

Scott needs to sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" he's the only one of this bunch, with the possible dark horse potential of Travis (who really knows...he might surprise us), who could do it.
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#18

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:34 PM

Just ... wow. Thanks, BarbC. That helps a lot. I can rarely add more than 'that was nice' and 'that sucked.' It's nice to hear a real analysis. Perhaps we can knock Randy off and put you in his chair?

Although I'm still unclear what octave two cats fucking is.
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#19

spacecitymarc

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:54 PM

(moved from the episode thread)

LA Don: "Try a Little Tenderness" was a hit song for Frank Sinatra back in the days of 78 rpm phonograph records. I also believe that Sinatra wrote the lyrics.

The song was actually written by Reginald Connelly, Harry Woods and Jimmy Campbell. Dipping into my trusty copy of Dave Marsh's The Heart Of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Otis's version is listed at #155), we find this:

"'Try A Little Tenderness' was popularized in 1933 by Ted Lewis and Ruth Etting and eventually became associated with king crooner Bing Crosby. Sam Cooke cut it on his Live at the Copa album, which is where Redding's manager, Phil Walden, heard it."

According to allmusic.com, Frank did cut it, though (it's on The Best Of The Columbia Years: 1943-1952). So did Jack Webb from Dragnet, and it was a real hoot.
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#20

Swoopin It Up

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 8:57 PM

I would say that Mikaylah is not a true contralto


I agree with this--her lower notes are muddy and forced, much like someone trying to reach the upper end of the coloratura soprano range, except in the opposite direction. I think with some training she could get there eventually. But I'm a contralto, and I am positive that she's not.

Although I'm still unclear what octave two cats fucking is.


*snort* The joke is, he actually should have a decent range--he trained at the Boston Conservatory, for pete's sake. He ain't showing it though.

BarbC, I think you're right about Anwar actually being a baritone and not a tenor. My bad.
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#21

darling

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 10:03 PM

The joke is, he actually should have a decent range--he trained at the Boston Conservatory, for pete's sake.


Well, cats are extremely difficult to train.

And thanks, BarbC, that was great.
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#22

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Posted Mar 9, 2005 @ 10:30 PM

he trained at the Boston Conservatory

Gosh, I forgot that...I hope they aren't embarrassed! Though I'm thinking boy's a better actor than singer...since he's merely acting like a singer/rocker now, so perhaps his parents did get their money's worth.

Thanks spacecitymarc for the forum, the snark and spacecityroommate.

Edited by ISUHort96, Mar 9, 2005 @ 10:30 PM.

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#23

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 12:32 AM

When Nadia sang "funky" for "shabby" in "Try a Little Tenderness", I was momentarily worried that she was going to pull a Nuke Laloosh and just make up her own words: "Oh she may get wooly, women do get wooly, because of all the stress..."

ETA: Looks like TheDoc87 beat me to it!

Edited by Luban, Mar 10, 2005 @ 12:57 AM.

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#24

TheDuchess

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 1:06 AM

I think Mikalah tries to sound like an alto but really isn't. To me it sounds like she's trying to force that deep, smoky sound. She would sound better if she sang in a higher range.
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#25

maiana

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 1:26 AM

One other HUGE classification difference between altos and sopranos that I'm fully willing to cop to is that sopranos rarely work to learn anything but the melody of a song. An alto generally has a better ear for harmonizing because they rarely have the melody.


Unless you are a second soprano. I was a second soprano in high school (transferred from sop. 1 in junior high) and we generally did not have the melody either. Half the reason I transferred to sop. 2 was because I enjoyed harmonizing more than singing the melody. Also sang sop. 2 in my collegiate a capella group The (snerk) Treble Makers.
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#26

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 9:47 AM

I think Mikalah tries to sound like an alto but really isn't. To me it sounds like she's trying to force that deep, smoky sound. She would sound better if she sang in a higher range.


I agree, but I wonder if maybe she doesn't have any head voice at all. She drastically lowers her keys so she can belt the top notes. I wonder if she's just doing it for the show (where there seems to be the unspoken rule that EVERY song MUST end in a big, high belt), or if it's a situation where, once she gets past the limit of her belting range, she's got nothing.
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#27

spacecitymarc

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 10:18 AM

Whose "The Boys Are Back In Town" was Jessica covering? I mean, it's definitely the Bus Boys song, but I've checked allmusic.com and can't seem to figure out where she got her countrified version (a la Carrie's cover of Faith Hill's cover of "Piece Of My Heart"). It's definitely not Patty Loveless, because her TBABIT is a different song entirely. Was Jessica doing an original arrangement? If so, yet another reason for me to root for her.
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#28

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 5:44 PM

Swoopin it Up wrote:

I agree with this--her lower notes are muddy and forced, much like someone trying to reach the upper end of the coloratura soprano range, except in the opposite direction. I think with some training she could get there eventually. But I'm a contralto, and I am positive that she's not.



I'd agree with you, Swoopin it Up (and also Duchess, who said it as well earleir). Mikalah is trying hard to be a contralto because she knows she doesn't have the high notes. She needs to work on her range; she's probably a true alto singing out of her range, but the songs she picks are better for contraltos like Lindsey or someone with a lower voice like Nadia (although Nadia, too, seems to need work on her upper range).

Hisurfer wrote:

Just ... wow. Thanks, BarbC. That helps a lot. I can rarely add more than 'that was nice' and 'that sucked.' It's nice to hear a real analysis. Perhaps we can knock Randy off and put you in his chair?



Thanks. I'd be glad to do it. I'm sure I could give 'em real advice from a real musician. I do think Randy could do better if he heard what the TV audience hears, without the ambient crowd noise. His commentary in the audition rounds was much more prescient than this stuff, although he does tend toward the, "It's aiiight," or "I enjoyed it" without specific feedback.

And I agree with your later comment; I have no idea what range Constantine actually has. I think he might be a 'tweener; he's not a true baritone nor a true tenor, but something of each. And that makes choosing songs difficult for him -- although in writing his own songs for his own band, he seems to do far better.

Maiana wrote:

Unless you are a second soprano. I was a second soprano in high school (transferred from sop. 1 in junior high) and we generally did not have the melody either. Half the reason I transferred to sop. 2 was because I enjoyed harmonizing more than singing the melody. Also sang sop. 2 in my collegiate a capella group The (snerk) Treble Makers.



I'd agree with this as well; second sopranos and altos both tend to harmonize more and have better ears with which to tune. By _that_ analysis, every single one of these women would be first sopranos (with the possible exception of Lindsey -- she appears to mostly sing in tune, but regularly gets drowned out by the backup band), even though they don't have the voice for it!

Swoopin it Up also wrote:

BarbC, I think you're right about Anwar actually being a baritone and not a tenor. My bad.



Oh, that's all right. Anwar is singing at the high end of his range, and he's trained, so his voice has a lot of flexibility. He also knows how to sound like a tenor -- if his voice wasn't a shade heavier than a tenor usually has, I'd have been taken in, too, and I've known quite a few singers in my time.

Btw, I think the difference between Anwar's training and Constantine's is that Anwar worked on arranging and conducting, because he got his music education degree. Constantine almost certainly got a performance degree -- not that performance degrees are bad, but the emphasis in many schools is quite different for an ed degree (where you're dealing with how kids make music, and learn more about your own strengths and weaknesses) and a performance degree (where you mostly learn how to cover up your own flaws). I'm also guessing that Constantine hasn't done a lot of teaching -- I have, and that makes a huge difference in your own mindset as well.

Thanks to everyone else who enjoyed my analysis.
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#29

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 8:54 PM

Whose "The Boys Are Back In Town" was Jessica covering? I mean, it's definitely the Bus Boys song, but I've checked allmusic.com and can't seem to figure out where she got her countrified version


According to ASCAP (click on ACE Title Search), "Back in Town" has been recorded by the Bus Boys, someone listed as (Johnson J), and The Maines Brothers Band. The Maines Brothers Band is a country group (including Natalie Maine's father), so maybe this was their version. I don't know who "Johnson J" is.

Edited by TrueBlue, Mar 10, 2005 @ 8:56 PM.

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#30

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Posted Mar 10, 2005 @ 10:58 PM

if it's a situation where, once she gets past the limit of her belting range, she's got nothing.

I personally don't think she's got much to begin with, but YMMV.

Would agree that Anwar knows about music, how to sing music, how to play music. He and Bo...they're really so much better than this competition. I hope they are doing this to get noticed and I really hope they don't win because I don't want to see them reduced to bubblegum pop crap. Constantine (other than the fact that he's so icky and gross) can win because he deserves to be forced to at least one album of "Flying Without Wings" tripe. I'm sure his band will be delighted to assist with that.

"The Boys Are Back In Town"

Every time I read this I think of the song from "The Santa Clause" among other movies...I don't think that was what she sang. I'm so confused, but oh well. This group has really pulled out a lot more songs that I haven't heard before.
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