Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Perceptions & Realities: Did I do that?

Many years ago, I realized I had a yen for male voices - singing voices in particular, but the deeper a voice the more I liked it, speaking or singing.  I chalked it up to attending an all female high school.

I remember singing at a Christmas mass.  A cold caught me, and I was unable to reach the soprano notes I usually reached.  In fact, for that mass, I sang the bass line.  It was fun.  I liked it.

Though I love the power behind a well-executed high note which rings out across the audience, high shrill voices really hurt my ears.

And yes, the huskier the female lead the more I like the singer.  Yes, I love Cher's voice.  The depth of many blues singers hold me in thrall (and I don't really dig the blues, I just like the voices.) 

Which doesn't mean I don't worship at the altars of Celine Dion, Bernadette Peters and Aine Minogue; I just would rather sing Trisha Yearwood, Bette Midler and Pink.  And perhaps Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond and Train.  And seriously, in musical theater, who has the best songs?  the Phantom.  The Robber Bridegroom.  Pippin.  Joseph & the Narrator.  Rusty.  

The point of this is the following.  I went to see a laryngologist today.  A vocal ENT specialist.  I went because I have some interesting, um, qualities?  Abilities?  In my upper range.

Originally, I thought my limitations were due to a lack of singing.  And there's probably still some of that in there…  before this year I haven't formally sung for over 20 years.  (I guess singing in my living room so my neighbors could hear doesn't count.)  So yes, the muscles need to get into the swing again.  And, as you'll notice from my blogs about singing and life, there are still some breathing issues I'd like to relax away.
But it turns out there is another issue that learning how to breathe properly will never fix.

One of my vocal chords is shorter than the other.

I know.  Can you believe it?  What does that even mean?

It means, there are only so many notes I can reach above middle C.  Middle C!  I used to sing the G above high C!  I've lost a whole octave, because right now, the G above Middle C is the top of my comfort range.

I can sing pretty low, though.  Not quite as low as the red-head in Pitch Perfect after her operation, but pretty low.

And singing low is easy.  Perhaps too easy.  Perhaps I think I have to "work" at my singing to be a good singer, no matter the quality of my voice or my diction.

The doctor said it was some sort of nerve damage caused by a virus.  So who knows when or how.  But it makes me wonder.

Did I do that?  Mind over matter.   My appreciation of a lower voice.  My enjoyment of singing low.  Did I manifest an alto  range?  I mean, they often get more fun parts.  And they don't have to shriek.  And it's easier to breathe on the low notes.

Or, do I like all those things, am attracted to the lower notes,  vibrate (if you will) with the Altos (and/or tenors) because I have always had, or knew I was going to have, a shorter vocal chord?  And it's only now that it has become an evident issue?

I hope you have a great day!


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