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Subject: Re: Opera Singers Reading Music
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 2 Apr 2010 11:45:17 EDT
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It isn't laziness in many cases, and most singers can read music  albeit in 
a laborious rudamentary fashion and dedicated singers get better at  it, 
but they never achieve the level of someone who learned it at an  early age. 
Sight reading music at an early age is absorbed much more  easily, much in 
the same manner a language or learning to play an  instrument is learned at an 
early age. Not all people have the economic  advantage or family 
encouragement to pay for lessons or a piano. Some simply  don't discover they have 
voices until they are older, and find they are musical  as well, but had no 
exposure to lessons at an early age  The  older a singer is, the more difficult 
the process of learning to read  music. In the end what really counts is if 
the singer was able to  learn what was written and have the musical 
instincts to execute it. Vocal  development and training takes place at an older 
age. If the singer is able to  perform musically at the same level as someone 
who had early musical  training, then the difference is moot. No one cares. 
Musical talent is an innate  talent that is different from musical literacy, 
and the former doesn't hinge  on such early training and can begin somewhat 
later, though musical  training takes time and needs to begin at least by 
the early  twenties. Singers who begin musical training in their thirties 
have a very poor  chance of learning the ropes unless they possess unusual 
musical genius.  Polyrhythms are particularly difficult if not impossible for 
singers beyond  their early twenties. Those that do are particularly gifted.
 Generally, in the case of the musically gifted who start late,  
(twenties), they generally learn to sight read tempi and tempi  changes the most 
easily, rhythms second most easily, and pitches the least  easily. 
 The ones who learn by rote only, tend to learn pitch most easily  first, 
rhythm second and tempi last. 
John Rahbeck
     
 
 
In a message dated 4/2/2010 7:33:55 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
[log in to unmask] writes:

Perhaps  I'm being unfair, but I've always equated the inability to read 
music  
(read: unwillingness to learn how) with laziness--and perhaps a certain  
lack of 
thirst for knowledge about one's profession. I can't imagine not  
understanding 
as much as I could learn about any work I was interpreting  because I could 
not read the composer's notes and instructions. I do not  think reading 
music is 
all that difficult. Granted I began to learn at age  six (piano). That 
said, there 
have certainly been wonderfully enjoyable  singers, classical and pop, who 
did 
not read music. Has anyone mentioned  Sinatra yet? Believe I've heard that 
Barbara Cook does not read music (my  apologies if my memory's faulty).

Mary Neuhoff
Sparks,  NV

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