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October 26, 2010

The pleasures of the untrained voice

An interesting post from Chris Rowberry on his From The Front of the Choir blog about the "untrained voice":-

"I was watching the Culture Show on BBC2 last week. Ben Lewis introduced a piece about Turner Prize nominee Susan Philipsz and referred to her “untrained singing voice”.

This got me thinking. Why had he bothered to say it was untrained (it sounded good to me)? What do we mean by ‘untrained’? And why do we need to make the distinction between ‘trained’ and ‘untrained’ singing voices?

Why did he need to say that her voice was ‘untrained’ and what exactly did he mean by that?

Here are some reasons that I can think of why someone would want to refer to a voice as ‘untrained’:

* grudging praise — “her voice is really quite good even though she’s never had any singing lessons”
* politeness — “his singing voice is pretty awful, but it would be rude if I said that directly”
* being a snob — “of course, she’s not a proper singer as she hasn’t been trained”
* real vs. artificial — “his voice sounds authentic, not like those trained opera singers”

But what does it mean when we say that someone has an ‘untrained’ voice? Is it possible to tell by just listening?"

Read and join the discussion here.

Posted by acapnews at October 26, 2010 9:32 PM


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