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The following program was originally released in 1967 readily available and easily portable. The human voice is also perhaps the most versatile of musical instruments. Going to the meeting. You see it in a variety of ways and for many different reasons all the peoples of the world have names. Michigan State University Radio invites you now to a program of music around the world produced and hosted by Martin Lakos. In theory the human voice can produce an enormous variety of sounds but in actual practice most of the vocal sounds any individual person makes usually fall pretty much within the range of sounds that are used by the particular society he's part of. Language is a clear case of this. Each language uses a specific set of sounds but of all the thousands of languages in the world none uses more than a small portion of the sounds that are possible for humans to produce. A
young child has a potential to make any of the sounds occurring in any language but he very quickly begins limiting himself for the most part to producing the sounds that occur in the language he's surrounded by. Even though he may not always use them correctly. For example a child brought up in an English speaking environment might say small but it's not too likely he'd say small. The small or small because. Right and don't regularly occur in English speech. The same sort of principle is in effect in the case of singing tone and technique though since most of us talk much more than we sing our habits of speech production are much more firmly set than our singing habits. But in general in singing as well as in speech we tend to imitate what we're accustomed to hearing especially if it's culturally acceptable in our segment of society in this country that might be popular music of one kind or another
for classical music or folk music maybe a traditional English song in modern sophisticated style long were or rustic American bluegrass was wounded. Maybe you or any of several other types and styles of singing. However the interesting thing is that most American singing styles as well as most of the singing styles of Western Europe tend to utilize a fairly open relaxed throat whereas in most other parts of the world it's the more tense for sound. In many cases
nasalized in addition that's preferred and admired. Before we go any further I'd like to mention that in English we don't seem to have many exact terms to discuss vocal styles and techniques especially those which occur outside Western musical traditions. Another thing is that so many elements make up any particular bit of singing that's difficult to illustrate the various features in isolation. For instance the relaxed versus the tense throat contrast actually occurs in the last two American styles mentioned Joan Baez and bluegrass. Let's hear them again. Joan Baez with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs sing the song
today. Going to be fine for a long time. Country style music as it's sometimes called was popular mainly amongst the people who lived in or were from the rural southeast portion of the United States. Most other people especially those who were familiar with opera and the smooth open sound of Bel Canto singing didn't really accept the various kinds of music using the other vocal style. They even refused to acknowledge that it might have any musical value at all. A sort of musical isolationist attitude. As a matter of fact I suspect that the upsurge of popularity of country music over the last decade has been based more upon the craze for the unusual than upon real appreciation of the style. But as we mentioned earlier much of the vocal music of the rest of the
world employs this tense throat technique. Here's one of the favorite folk songs of Tajikistan a Soviet Socialist Republic in Central Asia a love song. You may have noticed that that fellow was singing at a fairly high range and he used a bit of
tremolo now and again. He also did a series of slides from one note to the next. The Spanish flamenco singer Jose Mourinho does all these things in a much more exaggerated form that is not really. That type of singing is called Kaante Hondo which means deep song.
And it seems to derive from the Mauritian Jewish musical influences in Spain. It's interesting that the word flamenco which refers to that sort of Gypsy song dance literally means Flemish. Evidently the Spanish gypsies picked up the flamboyant manners of the Flemish courtiers and hangers on at the 16th century court of Carlos the first who was also Charles the Fifth Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. It seems that the gypsies were originally from North India but any musical influences they might have taken with them from that part of the world probably wouldn't correspond with the music of that area today. The Muslims had a powerful influence on the arts in India especially music. These men are singing in a typical North Indian style which is
Persian. The song is a lament for who signed the Prophet Mohammed's nephew who was murdered in the struggle for the killer. There are many different singing styles in India but most of them are based on the tense tone we've been talking about. And most of them incorporate lots of slides trills tremolos and other ornamentation. The voice is often nasalized too but that's dependent upon the region in the kind of music it is. Here's a bit of a classical piece sung in one of the South Indian languages. Not another one of those.
I remember him comparing the two voices we just heard.
It seems to me that the woman's voice was actually a bit huskier and deeper although that's very difficult to judge accurately from recordings of course. It also seemed that perhaps her range how high and how low she could sing might be a bit wider than the man's. Both of these factors the quality of the voice and its possible range can be developed with work but each person's potential is an individual matter. For instance no matter how hard they might work most people could NEVER song like the American folk singer Odetta. Or have the unusual range of Yuma sumac or or.
The Bushman in the Kalahari desert at the south end of the African continent displays his wide range. Unfortunately for our purposes the person who made the recording was interested in the accompanying instrument. A musical bow and so that somewhat overshadows the voice. But if you listen carefully you'll hear with what goes between high and low note very carefully you might catch some of the several clicks which are regular part of the languages. On a recent program I played some music from a South African group I referred to as.
Actually the initial sound in the word is a click. It's more like Oh so it's the name of the family of languages used by several groups in Cape Province South Africa. The popular singer Miriam Akiba is a native speaker of Elsa and she's recorded songs with clicks and lyrics. I think most of people's use very interesting sounds in their music as well as in their speech. You're welcome. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. This is the imponderable. I have no idea why. But all the singers are wrapped in their blankets lying on their stomachs on the ground singing into their cupped hands which they vibrate slightly. You notice the strongly force voice of the leader and the roaring or marking sort of sounds which all that. Also people's use
it seems to be produced by means of a very tense throat also. The women sing sort of an ABA Gado in the background. Deal with the the the the the money and the temple cosa have a sort of singing marathon after a circumcision ceremony. The old men are all in a circle following a general sort of song. And then when any individual feels like it he jumps out of the circle and starts his own song and each man uses his own vocal style and was told that it
was with Mom her home was her home. Here's a link also a group combining several interesting effects. A young girl plays a mouse bow and whistles at the same time. Both relaxed and forced voices sing the melody in harmony and the throat roaring and explained fight provide a rhythm back home.
1 0 1 0 0 0 0 that speaker used the throat Mark and repetition of a melody line along with a harmonica to accompany a dance. Oh was that your. That unusual throat also brings to mind an unusual song
Far far from by some Eskimo girls who whispered and panted into a large kettle to imitate the Eskimos and North American Indians in general. A singer is more often judged by how well he can remember old songs or make up new ones than he is by any criteria of his voice.
Though as always there are variations from the plane's high voice low voices patchy a good singer must be loud in the flat. In general monks the Indians both men and women use the close throat tone and in shouts and cries as they feel appropriate. Since many of the songs consist of the same syllables repeated over and over. The result is somewhat dependent upon the sounds of the specific languages. For instance a repeated all sound has a different effect from a repeated sound. These Navajo men are using an unusual technique of quickly switching back and forth
between the usual singing voice and a falsetto. This is the night chant dance part of a nine day ceremony. Perhaps they're imitating the sound of owls or other night Anna. I'd like to play something that's not exactly within the usual range of material we've been covering. It's a verse of a song written song and played by a crazy Indian girl who has an unusual voice. Buffy Sainte-Marie I want on home to mom. In many musics of the world great attention is paid to the quality of the voice by Bravo
and ornamentation of the melody. An Arabic song often opens with a long instrumental introduction leading into a sort of vocal cadenza. The singer showing off his skill in sustaining a beautiful tone and putting in just the right amount of decoration. You're to
then the accompaniment usually breaks into the rhythm of the piece and the soloist jumps into the lyrics followed a verse or two later by the course the big moment would have it was anything but. Yeah I was put in place. You're yodeling alternating notes in the natural voice with falsetto notes. Takes great skill. Musicians of Rhodesia have a well-earned reputation for their unusual style. I know those who are the aboriginals of Japan employ an impressive Yoda like technique.
Why we're in the Far East. We must go to the Chinese opera. That
was was no we've only had a chance to take a quick peek at a few of the interesting vocal techniques used around the world. We must head back home because we're running out of time. But let's start off on the way to here some Greek ladies putting some slides on the notes as they sing to a lover who's gone away. I'm making money if
they if it was me. You don't deny me they say PLEASE COME BACK PLEASE COME BACK ME YOU'LL MAKE ME VERY HAPPY AGAIN if you'll return. And may I add that you make me happy if you return next week to hear some of the world's liturgical music that gave up the ring day were you born in the US. We have presented music around the world with Martin Nicolas producer and commentator and we invite you to be with us again next week at the same time for music around the world. Well you're right this program was produced for Michigan State University Radio originally released in 1967. The program you've just heard is from the program library of National Public
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Music around the world
Vocal technique
Producing Organization
Michigan State University
WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on different vocal techniques used around the world.
Series Description
This series, hosted by Marta Nicholas, presents music from all parts of the globe.
Media type
Host: Nicholas, Marta
Producer: Parrish, Thomas (Thomas D.)
Producing Organization: Michigan State University
Producing Organization: WKAR (Radio/television station : East Lansing, Mich.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-37-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:04
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Chicago: “Music around the world; Vocal technique,” 1967-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Music around the world; Vocal technique.” 1967-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Music around the world; Vocal technique. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from