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Subject: Re: Serious Question II
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 24 Apr 2017 10:22:48 -0400

text/plain (96 lines)

I'll start my response by saying that voice and vocalism are
distinct from each other.

For me, vocalism always trumps sheer voice, but the ideal is
a balance between the two.

As far as pitch is concerned, I'll offer an example of greatness
that ignores intonation just about entirely.

Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien" is among the most jaw 
dropping recordings ever made, and among the most famous.
There are very few serious lovers of music who don't know it.
Do not do Beckmesser routines! The intonation is as bad as
pitch issues ever get. Just let her personality and her way with
words take over and, like me, you'll think it among the sublime
musical experiences of your life. If you apply any other 
standard, you'll probably never want to hear it again. Music 
isn't only about "correctness".


On Mon, 24 Apr 2017 09:27:45 -0400, Kiwi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>I thank all of those who have responded, publicly and privately, to my question.  I have 
learned A LOT and have enjoyed reading each email.
>So, here’s where I am:  I messed up completely on my use of the terms relative and 
absolute pitch.  I understand the proper usage now, and thanks all of those who took the 
time to explain.
>I think I also learned the following, though I am open to the folks in the know telling me 
where I’ve messed up again.
>  > Unlike interpretation and musicality, pitch is not opinion-based but fact-based.  
>  > Perfect pitch may allow a listener to identify a specific note as is is sung but you do not 
need to have perfect pitch to know that a singer is not on the note. 
>  > A singer is on pitch or off pitch and that fact can be ignored but not truly, honestly 
>  > While pitch is an objective quality, it can become much more subjective (and less 
important) depending on the listener and that listener’s affinity for the singer. 
>  > While it is possible to prove a singer is off pitch, there is a degree of willful ignorance 
at play among fans that will cause them to ignore / reject / downplay the proof.
>  > You can hear off-pitch singing best when not being distracted by the staging / 
audience / etc., – visual stimulation may dilute aural awareness, for example.
>On the other hand, there seems to be a certain ‘so what’ raised on the issue
maybe I’m misinterpreting that? For example (to stay with Netrebko only because it is 
a recent example), if someone finds she was “at her best” when having obvious pitch 
problem, then my next serious question has to be what vocal qualities (again, not talking 
about interpretive or musicality or even appearance of the singer) go into making a top-
flight singer?  
>I’m truly interested to hear from the list because time and again folks say that opera is 
all about the voice and everything else is secondary.  If pitch is fact but can be ignored, 
maybe it is not so important? 
>I understand that appreciation of a singer is often subjective and there is no accounting 
(and shouldn’t be) for liking this or that singer, but what goes into a high-quality voice 
and are those factors mutable?  And if mutable, then can any argument be sustained that 
opera is primarily about voice and not about all the other elements of a singer?
>Is this an impossible question to answer?
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