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December 5, 2009

Singing out of tune can be good

The Guardian (UK): (Hat tip The Choral Blog)

One of the weirder side effects of watching The X Factor is that I've started to think singing in tune is hugely overrated. It's a central tenet of the show that singers should be note-perfect, the ideal being the melisma-heavy, high-octane style practised by R&B vocalists, who are all talent and no taste. I suspect at least 250,000 people agree with me: that's how many people bought the debut album by La Roux, whose trademark falsetto tends to flail around only in the approximate vicinity of the tune.

Her wobbliness lends a fragility to songs like Bulletproof, undermining its lyrical feistiness. It's proof that singing out of tune can convey emotions that being in tune can't: frailty, insouciance, sarcasm, anger. All the melismas in the world can't pack the emotional punch of Billie Holiday's ravaged voice on her 1958 album Lady in Satin. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at December 5, 2009 12:00 AM

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