Since the emergence of numerous singing competitions on Television, a lot of people secretly developed their own assessment of the qualities of a good singing voice.
What Do We Consider Good Qualities in Singing?
First off, let’s ponder for a moment on the word “good” before we agree on focusing on them. Notice also the word “singing”, not “talking” on the title of this article. It looks to me that when we say good singing voice, we might refer to the sound created by the voice box only, the tone or its distinct characteristics and not the over-all rendition of a song by a singer.
In this article, I’d like to draw attention to these qualities as the overall performance by a singer, not just the audible sound of the vocal folds inside the voice box or larynx.
The reason behind is the fact that when we listen to a singer, we are presented with the whole package, not just the mere vocal sound. You can have a nice quality sounding voice when you speak, but it sucks when you sing. Consequently, we’re not going to refer to the voice per se, but along with the other aspects of the whole presentation and singing experience.
Qualities That Come From Personal Taste – Subjective
There are perceptions that each of us pre-established in our minds what we consider good over the years since we all came from different backgrounds and exposures in terms of musical experiences. We established the kind and style (genre) of music that we want to listen to over time.
An individual might cringe hearing a singer from one genre, but another would be so enamored and captivated almost to a trance with his preferred music style. One group of fans will never go see a rock concert while another group throng to another. The same is true with other styles, like country music, rap music or opera to name a few.
That tells us that the assessment of a singer’s performance by an individual is subjective, based on preconceived thoughts, taste and emotional attachments to previous listening experiences.
There’s almost always an exception to a rule and in our case, if a certain artist of a different genre or style of singing is incomparable and so popularly above the norm, an enthusiast of a completely different genre might consider going to that concert at least once.
Have you wondered why judges in singing competitions, like the massively popular American Idol and every country’s Got Talent franchise, are oftentimes divided in their decisions on who will make it to the next level – quarter-finals, semi-finals or finals? One judge gives a nod and one says, “uh-uh”.
What does this tell us? Someone’s taste will differ from another. In short, the listeners decide what is “good”, including the judges and is very subjective.
Qualities That We Can All Agree on No Matter What Genre – Objective
What then can we agree on that make us position someone on a pedestal, disregarding personal or subjective taste? All right, some of you might see certain overlaps with subjective qualities in this section but these are what I gathered. I’m not going to discuss each one extensively, otherwise, I will have to bore you to death, but these are what we most need help on, a coach or a voice teacher to assist us.
I’m randomly listing them and here they are: In tune (vs off-key); a sense of rhythm or timing; clarity of tone; breath support – voice sounding ethereal due to the voice riding or gliding with the breath, creating a sense of open, silky, smooth quality and flexibility of tone; volume control; phrasing that comes from genuine communication; charisma; being intentional; conviction behind the voice; engaging; innate confidence or instinctive presence to the point of almost owning the whole stage to himself; a sense of freedom and openness to release your heart to the listeners; song of choice that’s right for the voice and finally, voice range especially the high notes that builds intensity and excitement.
I could probably go on and on, but let’s leave it at that.
Have you heard the phrase, “I felt chill down my spine”, or “I had goosebumps”? What do these mean? What creates those feelings? Have you tried to analyze in your mind what specific instance on the performance that makes those tiny little hairs from your skin stand up straight?
Here is my answer and it’s probably just mine, my opinion, but I’ll give you a chance to comment on what you think down below.
There is a strong conviction that emanates from inside the singer, immersed inside the song at hand believing every word that comes out. He is genuinely (or seems like) affected by whatever message he’s trying to convey and being carried away by the emotion that the audience is feeding off. There is sincerity on his demeanor, the head, mouth, eyes, hands, lips and so on move with purpose.
That, on top of those I mentioned above create that chill, the goosebumps, the tears, the laughter. Add to that, the story and the drama of the song that we can identify with generate those feelings. Sooner or later, we secretly make the judgement who makes the home run, the finals or who eventually becomes the over-all champion.
My Suggestions on How to Develop The Qualities Mentioned
List down the qualities we talked about, especially the objective ones. Start to think and learn how to develop one concept or quality at a time. Again, if you have hang-ups, find someone to show or teach you, preferably a seasoned voice coach or teacher. Otherwise, do a lot of listening and experimenting yourself if possible, then practice those concepts many times over to establish the habits.
For example, if your voice range is limited for the moment, leave the high notes (or low notes) for later and start songs that you are comfortable with until you’re ready to grow on to the next one. Practice one song at a time in your genre from start to finish and not jumping from one to another.
Employ the other qualities mentioned, focusing on one or two until you have a grip on most of them. That way you have accomplished something and believe me, satisfaction is inevitable. Just like learning an instrument or sport, focus on the problem that you are having less confidence in, practice slowly and gradually until you ultimately get to a performance-ready song.
To put simply, isolate the problem one at a time until you get to almost perfection. I want to say, “practice makes permanence”, nothing is perfect in this world. When it comes to buying a real state, the three important features are location, location, location. In aiming to learn the different qualities in singing, the three important aspects are isolation, isolation, isolation. I just made that up, but I think it makes sense, isn’t it?
Putting It All Together
To sum it all up; A singer should be able to bridge the gap between the subjective and objective perspective of a song. No matter what style or genre the music belongs, a singer can captivate his listeners by implementing all the qualities we talked about in this article.
Let me know what you think about this material and please leave your comments and suggestions down below to better serve you in my future articles.