The Corrs Club

Vocal styles
27-Jun-2018 13:02:35

CorrsClub Time:
25-May-2019 11:10:10

Steve asked:
"What's the difference between singing a poppier song like Breathless vs a folkier song like Harmony?"

I'm no expert and was possible making stuff up when I talked about pop/folk sounds, but this is how I think about it:

One difference is in the vocal ornamentations. Listen to Harmony at: 0.25. Hear how Andrea does that very quick pattern of notes, going one step up then two steps down?

Irish folk singer Cara Dillon also does it here at 0.05.

You hear that a lot in Celtic singing, and it may be similar to a "roll" which is played on whistles, flutes, pipes and violins in Irish music.

As for pop ornaments/style...I'm making this up as I go along and could be totally wrong...but what made me think of BallerinaTay's voice as being a bit more "pop" (specifically US pop...possibly even pop/country crossover) is maybe some subtle slides into notes, and the very subtle little descending triplets on the word "in". It doesn't sound out of place on Harmony - I like it and wish I could do that. Harmony isn't purely folk though - it still has a slight pop feel, but is obviously heavily influenced by Irish folk music.

Stylistic differences can also be heard in vibrato. Pop vibrato sounds different to jazz vibrato and folk vibrato and opera vibrato...but that's another conversation.

Steve also asks: "Is it difficult to be able to do both styles well (not to mention) rockier songs like Only When I Sleep and big ballads like Queen of Hollywood?"

When I said it's easier for me to sing folk than pop - that was really my way of saying I have limits. Folk is easier.

But any good singer could do both. Andrea seems to have no trouble. The Celtic folk style isn't physically harder, but it is a particular style to learn - mostly due to the specific ornaments that I mentioned, and also the vocal tone tends to have an airier timbre. Ed Sheeran combines the two vocal styles at times. If you got Mariah Carey to sing a Celtic song, she would put different styles of ornaments in. However, I'm sure she could easily learn to imitate the Celtic style if she wanted to.

Regarding "Only When I Sleep": The chorus is hard for me because of the leap up to "Only". Andrea attacks that high note powerfully in chest voice, which I can't yet do.

I have the same problem with "Queen of Hollywood" when Andrea hits "never" in the chorus. But I find that song easier to sing than "Only When I Sleep", because of the shorter notes.

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