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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Am I a natural C-minus?

Shy, died at 31 of an STD, songs for angels and the common herd
No fool like an old fool. Aged eighty I started singing lessons on January 4. Most of my life I've listened to music, live and recorded, mainly classical from operas to string quartets, and I’ve played trumpet, recorder and mouth organ by ear - badly, devoid of rhythmic sensibility. Forgetting some months with a church choir before my voice broke I’d had no formal instruction.
Half a year on; how's it gone?

I now know that technoid terms – semi-quavers and three-four time – are a turn-off however simplified. People’s eyes glaze over. So none of that.
Recently I’ve studied a glorious Schubert song Abschied (Farewell). It contains a phrase Hör verschwimmen... (Listen, becoming blurred...) the first note of which is an E. Whoops! That’s technoid. How about: just reachable by me. But the German word Hör has a bastard vowel to do singingly. There’s a trick involved and I managed to solve part of it myself.

Normally I ignore my reflection while shaving; I’ve seen it before and it’s starting to melt. But the reflection lets me experiment with mouth openings as I sing and these help develop a musical tone of voice. Variable progress there.

As well as V’s expert tuition.

I’ve recorded my own Abschied and sounded, say, bearable. But that’s my opinion. It’s V’s too but she’s frequently kind. I need another audience.

A special kind of audience. Capable of responding to Schubert while making allowances. Perhaps devoid of musical language but able to form judgments beyond generalised adjectives. That sings to itself in unguarded moments – because singing meets some unspecified need. That would be cast down without music.

No sweat, anyway. I don’t yet know how to post my own voice.


  1. You will need to film yourself, RR and place the result on uTube. You can then refer us to it by a link. Most modern digicameras have a short video setting.
    (I may regret this advice).

  2. There's also a free, easy to use software called Audacity:

  3. Avus: Apart from your doubts, the thought of getting involved with the dreaded social media (home of lunatics and bigots) is appalling enough to stay my hand.

    Natalie: I'll give Audacity a shot. I used to have an account with something called Box where I recorded myself reading sonnets. But access to it - for readers - involved a whole string of discouraging clicks and I lost heart. Later my grandson suggested another freebie called Cloud-something or something-Cloud but it required me to sell my soul and I wasn't sure I'd got one.