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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000958.txt from 2001/02

From: (William Wright)
Subj: [kl] Intonation vs. Personality
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 16:59:18 -0500

This week, my teacher asked me to pay attention to how my
intonation changes as I move from piano to forte. This, in turn,
caused me to listen carefully to some country and pop singers. One
thing is for sure --- good intonation and being a 'star' are not the
same thing.

I suppose that I could say the same thing about microtonal music,
such as Far Eastern and klezmer. Or to put it another way, if you want
to accuse someone of bad intonation, you have to agree first on what
'good intonation' is. It may not be simple integer ratios.

....anyway, two male singers (I'm not comparing a male voice to a
female voice) happened to sing on a country channel this morning, one
immediately after the other. One of them was clearly on key and the
other went irritatingly (to me) flat where the melody was resolving.
So I asked two of my daughters, one of whom is early teen-aged and the
other is in her late thirties, "Why do you think he [the flat singer] is
a star and the guy who sings on key isn't?"
Answer from both kids: "His voice [the flat one] sounds fine to me,
and his personality makes him a good singer. The other fellow doesn't
have what it takes."

I suppose that personality counts for more in singing than it does
in other types of music. The bands for *both* singers were right on
--- which is what made the flat singer stick out like a sore thumb (IMO)
as a poor singer. But it is the 'flat sore thumb' who has all the gold
albums (or perhaps platinum albums, for all I know).

I guess I need to listen to a bunch of non-classical clarinet
albums and see if I can catch the likes of Fountain or Goodman or Davern
or Moshe Berlin or whomever playing off key. Perhaps I haven't
listened 'properly' yet.


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