Good voice = Good singer?
Today’s theme is an opinion often heard in connection with the assessment of singers: “He has a good voice!” What is that even supposed to mean?
When does a singer have a good voice? When it’s particularly high? Or particularly low? Particularly loud or particularly soft? If it sounds rough or clean? As you can see – this question is getting us nowhere!
You could just as well say: „He has good hair!“ What does that mean? Beautiful curls? Or nice and smooth? Beautifully black? Or beautifully blond? Ridiculous!
What is singing again, actually?
If you bear in mind what singing actually is, then you’ll find that it consists of at least three different factors. I always say: Singing is „speaking music with the voice.“ So, besides dramatic expression, three other factors are involved in addition to the voice.
In most cases, when people say, “He has a good voice!”, what they actually mean is that they like the singer.
Quality award for gridlocked opinions?
They might also mean that, in their opinion, the voice suits the style of music or the respective role!
In classical music and opera, there are very entrenched views on how somebody with a particular voice type should sound, and especially on how a singer should sound when interpreting a specific role.
Then they might say: „He would make a perfect Florestan“. Or: „He should sing Escamillo!“
The comparison with all singers ever recorded
In classical music and opera, every singer is only one of thousands who have interpreted a specific role a thousand times each, and he will constantly and repeatedly be compared with other singers.
This situation is intensified by the existence of sound recordings. Sound recordings allow a comparison of all singers ever recorded.
Today, almost everybody is familiar with the sound of Pavarotti and will automatically compare every tenor with him. And the basses have it no better with Nicolai Ghiaurov.
At least one million Elvis impersonators have already tried to imitate the original as closely as possible, without recognizing that a fake is always a fake, no matter how good it is – but that’s another topic.
So once again: Good voice = Good singer?
As far as I’m concerned, absolutely not! I know dozens of people with super-good voices who will never learn to sing because they are super unmusical and generally super untalented.
I know dozens of people with absolutely sh.. voices who sing brilliantly, because they have so much feeling and musicality that you feel like howling along like a beguiled hound.
„He has a good voice,” means about as much as „so,“ “uh” or „I’d say“.
So if you particularly like a singer, ask yourself why. This is THE opportunity for you to learn something from it. I bet you: if it sounds good, then always for one reason, no matter what type of music is involved: He or she is singing with musicality and passion.
So that’s settled: Sing with passion!