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Express Rip

Size : 334KB
Operating System : Windows (All)
Freeware

Express Rip lets you extract digital audio tracks directly from audio CDs to either Wave (wav), or MPEG Layer-3 (mp3) files on your hard-drive. By using direct digital extraction, pure audio quality is maintained, and the process is very fast.
Features:
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* Quality CD digital audio extraction (ripping).
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* Complete control over mp3 encoding including Constant and Variable modes at selectable bit-rates.

* Automatically updates the displayed track-list when a CD is ejected ot inserted.

* Ability to rename tracks prior to loading.

* Simple, easy to use interface.

Audio Tagging Tools

Size : 1.56MB
Operating System : Windows XP/Vista
Freeware

Audio Tagging Tools can be used to modify id3v1, id3v2, and file specifix tag formats. It supports audio formats like mp3, wma, ogg, vqf; and playlist formats like m3u, pls and wpl, and even filetypes like html, csv, rtf, and many more can be used for output. Audio Tagging Tools will automatically create title numbers, clean filenames or tags for you. Features like filters, filename cleaning, tag generator, tag editor, filename creator, output templates, a powerful script engine and many more will help you organizing your files.



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Wedding Band Requests

Dear Bandleader thank you for your letter. I really do think you have anattitude problem and do want a few requests played if you don't mind. Whatme and my wife were thinking was:

-Any Keith Jarrett composition from his solo series. Please arrange forfull ensemble and nothing in 4/4 please.

-Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dance of the Maya and please have the guitar playerplay John Mcglaughlin's solo from the live performance Nov. 16, 1972 atChrysler Arena. My wife and I were at that show and particularly liked hisuse of polyrhythmics. If you find it too difficult you can leave out thefeedback. Your choice.

-John Coltrane's duets with Pharaoh Sanders. I understand that their use ofatonality is not everyone's cup of tea, but my guests are usually fond ofhigh register tenor saxes.

-We thought a little Stravinsky would be nice. We particularly like theRite of Spring. If you want to use the sheet music it's OK. My husbandlikes it about 1/4 note = 93 beats per minute.

-Then for the candle lighting ceremony, please learn Frank Zappa's "TheGreat Wazoo". If you want to play it in the originally B flat, that wouldbe OK. And yes, cousin Jeannie does want to sing the baritone sax solo.Please don't say no, it would hurt her feelings so.

-Finally we have built our own musical instruments (It's kind of a hobbywith us) and we would appreciate if you would use our instruments. None ofthem are based upon a 12 tone scale or on common harmonics, but our 5 yearold son tells us it's not really that hard to transpose once you understandthe physics.

We would be happy to pay each member an extra $25 for any inconvenience.Thank you and don't be late!

Mr. and Mrs. Snovly

Difference - Jokes

What's the difference between an oboe and an onion?
No one cries when you chop up an oboe.

What's the difference between a bassoon and a trampoline?
You take off your shoes when you jump on a trampoline.

"Mommy! Mommy! When I grow up I want to be a guitar player!"
"Now Johnny, you can't do both!"

Why did the chicken cross the road?
To get away from the bassoon recital.

A trombone player and an accordion player are playing a New Years's eve gig at a local club.. The place is packed and everybody is absolutely loving the music .. shortly after midnight, the club owner comes up to the duo and says, "You guys sound great .. everybody loves you .. I'd like to know if the two of you are free to come back here next New Year's eve to play ?? ...
The two musicians look at each other then to the club owner .. and the trombone player says "Sure .. we'd love to .. Is it OK if we leave our stuff here ??"

Why do clarinetists leave their cases on the dashboard?
So they can park in the handicapped zones.

What is "perfect pitch?"
When you lob a clarinet into a toilet without hitting the rim.

What's the definition of a nerd?
Someone who owns his own alto clarinet.

What do you call a bass clarinetist with half a brain?
Gifted.

What's the difference between a lawn mower and a soprano sax?
You can tune a lawn mower, and the neighbors are upset if you borrow a lawn mower and don't return it.

If you were lost in the woods, who would you trust for directions: an in-tune tenor sax player, an out of tune tenor sax player, or Santa Claus? The out of tune tenor sax player. The other two indicate you are hallucinating.

How do you make a chain saw sound like a baritone sax?
Add vibrato.

How many trumpet players does it take to change a lightbulb?
Five: one to handle the bulb, and the other four to tell him how much better they could've done it.

What do a vacuum cleaner and an electric guitar have in common ?
Both suck when you plug them in

How many lead guitarists does it take to change a light bulb ?
None...they just steal somebody else's light

What do you say to a guitar player in a 3-piece suit ?
"Will the defendant please rise ..."

Two guys were walking down the street ...one was destitute ...
the other was a guitar player as well ..

How is an orgasm like a drum solo?
You can tell it's coming but there's no way to stop it.

What do call a successful musician?
A guy whose wife/girlfriend has 2 jobs.

Saint Peter is checking in new arrivals in heaven

"What did you do on Earth?"
"I was a surgeon. I helped the lame to walk."
"Well, go right on in through the Pearly Gates"

"What did you do on Earth?"
"I was a school teacher. I taught the blind to see."
"Fine .. go right on in through the Pearly Gates!"

"What did you do on Earth?"
"I was a musician. I helped make sad people happy."
"You can load in through the kitchen."

Musician Jokes

How do you get two piccolo players to play in perfect unison?
Shoot one.

What's the difference between a fiddle and a violin ?
Who cares - neither one's a guitar

How do you know when the stage is level ?
The drummer is drooling out of both sides of his mouth ..

Did you hear about the guitarist who was in tune ?
Neither did I

Why are so many guitarists jokes one liners ?
So the rest of the band can understand them

What do you call a guitarist who breaks up with his girlfriend ?
Homeless ..

What's the definition of a minor second?
Two oboists playing in perfect unison.

How do you get a guitar player off of your front porch ?
Pay for the pizza.

How many guitar players does it take to cover a Stevie Ray Vaughn tune ?
Evidently all of them.

What do you do if your bassist is drowning?
Throw him his amp.

Trombonist's Dictionary

alto trombone - n. A very weak tenor trombone.
bass trombone - n.1-Several mutually exclusive instruments hooked together by an ingenious set of tubes, rotors, levers and valves. Capable of very loud, very rude noises accompanied by a percussive symphony of mechanical clanks, squeaks, squawks and whistles.2-The lead trumpet of the trombone family.
bass trombonist - n. The one in the section who couldn't develop any high range whatsoever as a young player and is now getting even by drowning everyone else out whenever he gets a chance.
bass trumpet - n. An instrument that combines all the worst features of the trumpet and the trombone.
conductor - n. One who has accepted the fact that he cannot play but has NOT accepted the reasons why.
contractor - n. Someone who cannot play, does not know it, but thinks he knows how OTHER people play.
doodle tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that is too weak.
double tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that is too strong.
embouchure - n. An ad hoc and ephemeral arrangement of the tissues of the face designed to allow a trombonist to play a desired note. Some players claim to have only one. They are the ones who can only play one note.
flexibility - n. A talent best left to gymnasts and contortionists.
fortissimo - adj. A trombonist's mezzo-piano.
free jazz - n. Jazz for which no one will pay any money.
F trigger-abbreviation - Originally used when the first one failed in the middle of a concert and the player was overheard to say "F*!@ing trigger as he tried to make it work.
gig bag - n. A container designed to collect and hold dents.
high range - n. The range above where you can comfortably play.
jazz club - n. A place where people pay a lot of money not to listen to jazz, most of which does not go to the musicians to whom they are not listening.
jazz festival - n. A place where people pay a lot of money not to listen to music that is not jazz in the first place.
jazz trombone - n. (also called peashooter, slipstick, small bore horn, and primitive blow stick) Any trombone that sounds bad below middle Bb and shrill above middle C.
lead trombonist - n. (also referred to as principal trombonist) The one in the section w/the worst middle and low range.
legato - adj. A style of playing midway between glissando and staccato. Rarely achieved on the slide trombone.
low range - n.1 - The ugly part.2 - The clumsy part.3 - The range below where you can comfortably play.
microphone - n. A mechanical device designed to collect and amplify the least pleasing 5% of the sound of a trombone.
middle range - n.
1 - The range in which you can be sure not to miss notes. Usually less than a minor third.
2 - The range in which you run out of excuses.
mouthpiece - n. A convenient excuse for missed notes.
mute - n. A device designed to render the already largely ignored trombone completely inaudible.
no pressure system - n. A way of playing the trombone that lets lots of air escape from around the rim of the mouthpiece.
orchestral trombone -n.
1 - Originally a medium sized horn used primarily in support of the woodwinds and strings.
2 - In contemporary times, a gigantic horn used primarily to drown out the woodwinds and strings.
3 - Also contemporarily, any trombone that is too large on which to comfortably play the trombone solo in Ravel's "Bolero".
pianissimo - adj. No definition available in a trombone dictionary.
pitch - n. What all the other instruments do not have.
rubato - adj. What most conductors consider a steady tempo.
second trombonist - n. The one in the section who can play well neither high not low.
single tongue - n. A rapid tonguing style that does not work.
solo - n. Something played by everyone but trombonists.
spit valve - n. A device invented to torture people who sit in front of trombonists.
staccato - adj., n. Notes short enough that you can't hear the slide glissando that occurs between them.
string players - n. The ones with the earplugs. (Also saxophonists in jazz big band situations.)
tenor trombone - n. A trombone that is neither capable of being played high enough or low enough to be easily heard.
trombone - n. a manually operated air driven pitch approximator.
1 - A puzzle in the shape of a brass instrument designed to totally defeat whomever is foolish enough to try to solve it.
2 - A brass instrument that is most often used as camouflage and support for bad trumpet and french horn players.
3 - The interior lineman in the game of music.
valve trombone - n.
1 - An oxymoron.
2 - A trombone for people with short arms, a weak tongue, bad pitch and/or little or no hand/eye/ear coordination.

Musician Jokes

A guitar player and a drummer are walking down the street.
They walk past this bar.............................. well, it could happen.

Q: What's the definiton of Perfect Pitch?
A: When you toss a banjo into a dumpster and it hits an accordion.

Q: How do you know when there's a harmonica player at the door?
A: He doesn't have the key, he just comes in whenever the hell he feels like it.

Q: What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
A: Homeless!

Q: What do you call 1,695 violins at the bottom of the ocean?
A: A good start!

Bad Singing - Joke

Miranda likes to sing, and whenever she begins, her husband heads outside.
Hurt and a little dejected, she asked him, "Don't you like my singing?"

"Of course, Dear," he replied. "I just want to make sure the neighbors know I'm not beating you."

Vocal jokes

Q: How do you tell when your lead singer is at the door?
A: He can't find the key and doesn't know when to come in.

Q: What is the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and an All-Pro offensive lineman?
A: Stage makeup.

Q: How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One. He holds the bulb while the world revolves around him.

Q: What is the difference between a soprano and a Porsche?
A: Most musicians have never been inside a Porsche.

Q: Did you hear about the female opera singer who had quite a range at the lower end of the scale.
A: She was known as the deep C diva.

Q: What is the missing link between the bass and the ape?
A: The baritone.

Q: What is the difference between a Wagnerian soprano and a Wagnerian Tenor?
A: About 10 pounds.

Q: How can you tell when a tenor is really stupid?
A: When the other tenors notice.

Ever hear the one about the tenor who was so off-key that even the other tenors could tell?

Q: How many tenors does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Six. One to do it, and five to say, "It's too high for him."

Q: What's the inscription on dead blues-singers tombstones?
A: "I didn't wake up this morning..."

Person 1: It must be terrible for an opera singer to realize that he can never sing again.
Person 2: Yes, but it's much more terrible if he doesn't realize it.

Q: Dad, why do the singers rock left and right while performing on stage?
A: Because, son, it is more difficult to hit a moving target.

Q: Mom, why do you always stand by the window when I practice for my singing lessons?
A: I don't want the neighbours to think I'm employing corporal punishment, dear.

Q: How many altos does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. They can't get up that high.

Q: How many lead singers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None. Get the drummer to do it.

Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back and, instead of bleeding, he sings.
This must be heaven
So this trumpet player dies. When he reaches is everlasting reward, the guy in the robe says, "You're going to spend eternity with this combo, okay? There's a bass player named 'Mingus' and a pianist named 'Monk', and any day now we expect this 'Blakey' guy to show up with his drums.

"Wow!" the guy says, "I never imagined heaven would be this good."

The man in the robe says, "This is hell, not heaven. There's a girl singer."
A Choristers' Guide To Keeping Conductors In Line
The basic training of every singer should, of course, include myriad types of practical and theoretical emphases. One important area which is often neglected, however, is the art of one-upmanship. The following rules are intended as guides to the development of habits which will promote the proper type of relationship between singer and conductor.

1. Never be satisfied with the starting pitch. If the conductor uses a pitch-pipe, make known your preference for pitches from the piano and vice-versa.

2. Complain about the temperature of the rehearsal room, the lighting, crowded space, and of a draft. It's best to do this when the conductor is under pressure.

3. Bury your head in the music just before cues.

4. Ask for a re-audition or seating change. Ask often. Give the impression you're about to quit. Let the conductor know you're there as a personal favour.

5. Loudly clear your throat during pauses (tenors are trained to do this from birth). Quiet instrumental interludes are a good chance to blow your nose.

6. Long after a passage has gone by, ask the conductor if your C# was in tune. This is especially effective if you had no C# or were not singing at the time.

7. At dramatic moments in the music (which the conductor is emoting), be busy marking your music so that the climaxes will sound empty and disappointing.

8. Wait until well into a rehearsal before letting the conductor know that you don't have the music.

9. Look at your watch frequently. Shake it in disbelief occasionally.

10. When possible, sing your part either an octave above or below what is written. This is excellent ear-training for the conductor. If he hears the pitch, deny it vehemently and claim that it must have been the combination tone.

11. Tell the conductor, "I can't find the beat." Conductors are always sensitive about their "stick technique" so challenge it frequently.

12. If you are singing in a language with which the conductor is the least bit unfamiliar, ask her as many questions as possible about the meaning of individual words. If this fails, ask her about the pronunciation of the most difficult words. Occasionally, say the word twice and ask her preference, making to say it exactly the same both times. If she remarks on their similarity, give her a look of utter disdain and mumble under your breath about the "subtleties of inflection".

13. Ask the conductor if he has listened to the von Karajan recording of the piece. Imply that he could learn a thing or two from it. Also good: ask, "Is this the first time you've conducted this piece?"

14. If your articulation differs from that of others singing the same phrase, stick to your guns. Do not ask the conductor which is correct until backstage just before the concert.

15. Find an excuse to leave the rehearsal about 15 minutes early so that others will become restless and start to fidget.

Make every effort to take the attention away from the podium and put it on you, where it belongs!
The amazing conductor
When a young hotshot conductor was making his debut at the Met, he showed the jaded and skeptical orchestra how well he knew the music by singing all parts of the Lucia sextet during rehearsal.

Afterwards, one musician was overheard whispering to the other, impressed, "Well, this kid really knows his stuff!"

The other replied, "I don't think he is so hot. Did you notice how flat his high E was at the end?"
Arriving at Heaven
A soprano died and went to Heaven. St. Peter stopped her at the gate asking, "Well, how many false notes did you sing in your life?"

The soprano answers, "Three."

"Three times, fellows!" says Pete, and along comes an angel and sticks the soprano three times with a needle.

"Ow! What was that for?" asks the soprano.

Pete explains, "Here in heaven, we stick you once for each false note you've sung down on Earth."

"Oh," says the soprano, and is just about to step through the gates when she suddenly hears a horrible screaming from behind a door. "Oh my goodness, what is that?" asks the soprano, horrified.

"Oh," says Pete, "that's a tenor we got some time back. He's just about to start his third week in the sewing machine."
Operas that never made it
Britten: A Midsummer Nightmare.
Mozart: The Magic Tuba.
Puccini: La Bamba.
Rossini: The Plumber of Seville.
Verdi: Rigatoni.

The tenor of all times

On July 16, 1994, the eve of the World Cup final, television stations broadcast The Three Tenors in concert at Los Angeles to 1.3 billion viewers across the globe. Soccer fans the world over listened with rapt attention as the triumvirate of Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras brewed great classical arias with timeless Hollywood classics. Most viewers, at least outside the Western hemisphere, were listening to the tenors for the first time. The music was unusual, but the powerful delivery of exquisite melodies made a compelling impression. One tenor stood out in superlative extremes. Fat and rotund, Pavarotti cut out the least handsome figure. But from deep within his massive chest emerged a distinctive, very rich timbre. The incomprehension of the lyrics was subsumed under the angelic nature of his voice. For intent listeners, Pavarotti was an otherworldly experience. Such talent occurs once in decades. It must have been god-sent. Even atheists generally bow to this incredible assertion when it comes to Pavarotti.

One realises the import of the assertion when one considers that Pavarotti's main rival, the fastidious Domingo, is among the greatest of tenors himself, outmatching Pavarotti in acting prowess, theory, rigour and repertoire. But just one aspect makes Pavarotti, Pavarotti. The voice. Even someone listening to an operatic aria for the first time can distinguish between Pavarotti's voice and that of other tenors. This cannot be said of any other tenor.

Leading the tributes to Pavarotti, who passed away on Thursday, Domingo said: "I always admired his divine voice, with its unmistakable timbre and complete vocal range." The vocal range of a tenor - the highest male voice naturally possible without the employment of falsetto - generally starts from a pitch or two below C3, covers C4 (known as middle C after its positioning roughly in the middle of a piano keyboard) and ends two octaves above in C5, called tenor C or the 'high C'. (For a soprano, the highest female singing voice, the 'high C' is two octaves above C4 at C6.)

Hitting the high C is supremely demanding. Even the best of tenors avoid venturing into such a high register without assiduous preparation. But Pavarotti glided through easily. At New York's Metropolitan Opera on February 17, 1972, in the defining moment of his career, he effortlessly and in quick succession hit nine high Cs in 'Ah! Mes Amis', the signature aria of Donizetti's 'La fille du régiment'. The challenging aria is often called the 'Mount Everest' for tenors. The Met's audience was in raptures and gave Pavarotti a 15-minute standing ovation and 10 curtain calls. A curtain call is the courteous reappearance of a performer on stage following the prolonged applause of the audience. (Incidentally, Pavarotti holds the record of most curtain calls for any artist, at 165). After the Met performance he came to be called the 'King of the High Cs'.

Pavarotti, a huge fan of Juventus football club, stormed into popular consciousness at the 1990 football World Cup final in Rome, when The Three Tenors sang the aria 'Nessun Dorma' (No One Sleeps) - the 1990 Cup anthem - from Puccini's 'Turandot'. With a delivery laden with heightened emotion, he sustained a top B through the last word 'vincero' (I will win) for 11 seconds. This, at a time when the critics had started carping and were writing him off.

For critics, Pavarotti had ceased being a great tenor by the turn of the 80s. They said he was descending into diva tantrums rather than reaching high registers. Among such tantrums was the demand he once made for a kitchen to be built into his hotel suite. More serious were his frequent last minute cancellations of appearances at sold-out venues with tickets priced as high as $1,800. Once he got into a scandal when he was caught lip-syncing at a performance.

For the rest of the world, Pavarotti the phenomenon had just begun. The Three Tenors went on to give several high voltage performances with a repertoire that included pop hits. From being an ivory tower pursuit, operatic arias were rivalling rock acts at stadiums and big open-air venues. Pavarotti went a step further, collaborating with pop star friends for charity concerts at Modena, his hometown in Italy. Such forays were not to the liking of high-minded purists, who heaped scorn and poured disdain on Pavarotti for belittling classical music. But the tenor couldn't care less. "Some say the word 'pop' is derogatory and means 'not important'- I do not accept that," Pavarotti told a British newspaper three years ago. "If the word 'classical' is the word to mean 'boring', I do not accept that either. There is (just) good and bad music," he said.

50,000 watch final curtain call for Pavarotti

MODENA (ITALY): Music and film stars joined top political figures and tens of thousands of tearful fans to honour opera legend Luciano Pavarotti at his funeral on Saturday.

About 800 family, friends and special guests heard special tributes to the venerated tenor from Pope Benedict XVI during a mass at the cathedral in his hometown of Modena. Pavarotti died on Thursday aged 71.

Among mourners were Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, U2 rock star Bono and Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli.

Another 50,000 people watched the funeral on two giant screens set up in the main square outside the cathedral, according to Modena authorities.

Pavarotti's second wife Nicoletta Mantovani sat in front of the white maple coffin, which was covered in sunflowers, for the service. She watched in tears as the coffin was taken for a private burial in a family vault just outside Modena.

The event was virtually a state funeral. As the coffin left the cathedral, 10 planes from the Italian air force's aerobatic team flew over leaving a trail of smoke in the national colours - green, white and red.

"It's a special performance normally reserved for state funerals," team commander Massimo Tammaro said.

Recordings of Pavarotti's pristine tenor were played to the waiting crowds before the funeral service. Bulgarian soprano Raina Kabaivandska, a friend of Pavarotti, fought back tears as she started the 90 minute service with an "Ave Maria" taken from Giuseppe Verdi's "Otello".

The blind Italian singer Andrea Bocelli performed Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus".

In a special message read at the mass, Pope Benedict XVI called Pavarotti "a great artist who through his extraordinary talent for interpretation honoured the divine gift of music."

Prodi said in a eulogy that Pavarotti "made music an instrument of life and against war" and called him an "impassioned ambassador for Italy".

More than 100,000 people had filed past Pavarotti's coffin in the cathedral in the two days before the service.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano was among those to pay last respects on Friday.

"I wanted to testify personally to the emotion and the recognition of all Italians for the man who carried his voice and the purest image of our country throughout the world," he said.

Recordings of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" by Pavarotti were to be played as a tribute before European Championship football matches later on Saturday, pitting Italy against France and England against Israel.

Pavarotti made the aria a new global hit when he sang it at the 1990 World Cup finals, helping to widen classical opera's appeal to the masses.

Pavarotti died at his villa near Modena after a long battle with cancer of the pancreas. He underwent major surgery for the illness in July 2006 and was hospitalised again for three weeks in August.

Tributes came from around the world to Pavarotti, including by his partners in the Three Tenors opera supergroup, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, though they were not at the service. Domingo said he had been held up at rehearsals in Los Angeles.

"I always admired the God-given glory of his voice -- that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range," said Domingo in a statement.

Carreras added: "The best memories are the ones in intimacy. ... We have to remember him as the great artist he was, a man with such a wonderful charismatic personality."

Pavarotti broke into the opera world when he won a competition in 1961. He sang "Nessun Dorma" during his last major performance, at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006.

He also managed to shock purists with his appearances in live concerts, sometimes alongside pop musicians. In 1991 a crowd of 150,000, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, braved the rain and cold in London's Hyde Park to hear him sing 20 arias by Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and Wagner.

Over the years he topped the British pop charts and appeared with rock stars ranging from Elton John and Eric Clapton to Bono, Zucchero and even the Spice Girls. Many of the concerts were for charity to raise money for causes such as children in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Thousands pay respects to Pavarotti lying in state at Modena cathedral

MODENA: Recordings of Luciano Pavarotti's voice boomed out in Modena's main piazza on Saturday as mourners waited to pay their final respects to the tenor before an invitation-only funeral in his hometown's cathedral.

Some well-wishers waited under the large loudspeakers erected in Piazza Grande, arms crossed and eyes closed as they listened to the voice that was as much at home on stage with rock stars as it was in the world's great opera houses.

Pavarotti's body, dressed in a black tuxedo and with his hands clutching his trademark white handkerchief, went back on view at dawn on Saturday. The cathedral was to remain open to the public until just before the mid-afternoon start of the funeral service, which was being celebrated by the Vatican's No. 2 official and televised live.

“He was our Italian flag. He was the best representation that we could have,'' said Susy Cavallini, a 43-year-old Modena resident as she emerged from the cathedral.

“Modena is known for its cappelletti (a type of tortellini), balsamic vinegar, Ferrari and Pavarotti. It's a collection of important things that Modena has given to the world.''

Admirers signed a book of condolences placed by a vase of sunflowers- Pavarotti's favorite- outside the cathedral. The Foreign Ministry said similar books of condolences would be available to well-wishers around the world at Italian embassies and consulates.

The opera great died on Thursday in his home on Modena's outskirts after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year. He was 71 and was beloved by generations of opera-goers and pop fans, for his breathtaking high “Cs'' and his hearty renditions of folk songs like “ O Sole Mio ,'' and popular tunes like “ My Way .''

Choir Jokes

THE YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO THE SATB CHOIR In any chorus, there are four voice parts: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Sometimes these are divided into first and second within each part, prompting endless jokes about first and second basses. There are also various other parts such as baritone, countertenor, contralto, mezzo soprano, etc., but these are mostly used by people who are either soloists, or belong to some excessively hotshot classical a cappella group (this applies especially to countertenors), or are trying to make excuses for not really fitting into any of the regular voice parts, so we will ignore them for now.

Each voice part sings in a different range, and each one has a very different personality. You may ask, "Why should singing different notes make people act differently?", and indeed this is a mysterious question and has not been adequately studied, especially since scientists who study musicians tend to be musicians themselves and have all the peculiar complexes that go with being tenors, french horn players, timpanists, or whatever. However, this is beside the point; the fact remains that the four voice parts can be easily distinguished, and I will now explain how.

THE SOPRANOS are the ones who sing the highest, and because of this they think they rule the world. They have longer hair, fancier jewelry, and swishier skirts than anyone else, and they consider themselves insulted if they are not allowed to go at least to a high F in every movement of any given piece. When they reach the high notes, they hold them for at least half again as long as the composer and/or conductor requires, and then complain that their throats are killing them and that the composer and conductor are sadists. Sopranos have varied attitudes toward the other sections of the chorus, though they consider all of them inferior. Altos are to sopranos rather like second violins to first violins - nice to harmonize with, but not really necessary. All sopranos have a secret feeling that the altos could drop out and the piece would sound essentially the same, and they don't understand why anybody would sing in that range in the first place - it's so boring. Tenors, on the other hand, can be very nice to have around; besides their flirtation possibilities (it is a well-known fact that sopranos never flirt with basses), sopranos like to sing duets with tenors because all the tenors are doing is working very hard to sing in a low-to-medium soprano range, while the sopranos are up there in the stratosphere showing off. To sopranos, basses are the scum of the earth - they sing too damn loud, are useless to tune to because they're down in that low, low range - and there has to be something wrong with anyone who sings in the F clef, anyway.

THE ALTOS are the salt of the earth - in their opinion, at least. Altos are unassuming people, who would wear jeans to concerts if they were allowed to. Altos are in a unique position in the chorus in that they are unable to complain about having to sing either very high or very low, and they know that all the other sections think their parts are pitifully easy. But the altos know otherwise. They know that while the sopranos are screeching away on a high A, they are being forced to sing elaborate passages full of sharps and flats and tricks of rhythm, and nobody is noticing because the sopranos are singing too loud (and the basses usually are too). Altos get a deep, secret pleasure out of conspiring together to tune the sopranos flat. Altos have an innate distrust of tenors, because the tenors sing in almost the same range and think they sound better. They like the basses, and enjoy singing duets with them - the basses just sound like a rumble anyway, and it's the only time the altos can really be heard. Altos' other complaint is that there are always too many of them and so they never get to sing really loud.

THE TENORS are spoiled. That's all there is to it. For one thing, there are never enough of them, and choir directors would rather sell their souls than let a halfway decent tenor quit, while they're always ready to unload a few altos at half price. And then, for some reason, the few tenors there are are always really good - it's one of those annoying facts of life.. So it's no wonder that tenors always get swollen heads - after all, who else can make sopranos swoon? The one thing that can make tenors insecure is the accusation (usually by the basses) that anyone singing that high couldn't possibly be a real man.. In their usual perverse fashion, the tenors never acknowledge this, but just complain louder about the composer being a sadist and making them sing so damn high. Tenors have a love-hate relationship with the conductor, too, because the conductor is always telling them to sing louder because there are so few of them. No conductor in recorded history has ever asked for less tenor in a forte passage. Tenors feel threatened in some way by all the other sections - the sopranos because they can hit those incredibly high notes; the altos because they have no trouble singing the notes the tenors kill themselves for; and the basses because, although they can't sing anything above an E, they sing it loud enough to drown the tenors out. Of course, the tenors would rather die than admit any of this. It is a little-known fact that tenors move their eyebrows more than anyone else while singing.

THE BASSES sing the lowest of anybody. This basically explains everything. They are stolid, dependable people, and have more facial hair than anybody else. The basses feel perpetually unappreciated, but they have a deep conviction that they are actually the most important part (a view endorsed by musicologists, but certainly not by sopranos or tenors), despite the fact that they have the most boring part of anybody and often sing the same note (or in endless fifths) for an entire page. They compensate for this by singing as loudly as they can get away with - most basses are tuba players at heart. Basses are the only section that can regularly complain about how low their part is, and they make horrible faces when trying to hit very low notes. Basses are charitable people, but their charity does not extend so far as tenors, whom they consider effete poseurs. Basses hate tuning the tenors more than almost anything else. Basses like altos - except when they have duets and the altos get the good part. As for the sopranos, they are simply in an alternate universe which the basses don't understand at all. They can't imagine why anybody would ever want to sing that high and sound that bad when they make mistakes. When a bass makes a mistake, the other three parts will cover him, and he can continue on his merry way, knowing that sometime, somehow, he will end up at the root of the chord.

Farewell to Pavarotti

Ledendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who brought opera to the masses, succumbs to pancreatic cancer aged 71 at his home in Modena; survived by wife and 4-yr-old daughter.

Modena, Italy: Luciano Pavarotti, legendary Italian opera star hailed by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, died on Thursday after a long battle with cancer, his manager Terri Robson said.

“The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti died on Wednesday, 11 pm EDT at his home in Modena,” Robson said in a statement. He was 71.

“The maestro fought a long, tough battle against pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life.
“In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness.”

The rotund, black-bearded tenor known as “Big Luciano” helped bring opera to the masses and performed to vast stadium audiences round the world. He shot to fame with a stand-in appearance at London’s Covent Garden in 1963 and soon had critics gushing about his voluminous voice.

His last public singing performance was at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006, singing Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma”.

In July last year, Pavarotti underwent surgery in New York for pancreatic cancer and retreated to his villa in Modena. He had to cancel his first planned public reappearance a few months later.
Pavarotti was taken to a hospital in Modena last month and treated for more than two weeks. He was released on August 25, and spent his final hours at home with family and friends nearby, the statement said.

“He remained optimistic and confident that he would overcome the disease and had been determined to return to the stage to complete his Worldwide Farewell Tour,” the statement said.

He is survived by his wife, Nicoletta, their 4-year-old daughter, Alice, as well as three daughters from Pavarotti’s first marriage.

The news saddened Italians, particularly those in Modena, Pavarotti’s hometown. Police stood watch outside Pavarotti’s villa as television crews gathered.

“For Modena, it is a enormous loss. Modena is known to the world thanks to Pavarotti,” said Antonio Dibiccari, 39.

Pavarotti with wife Nicoletta Mantovani and their 11-month-old daughter Alice in 2003


Key dates in Luciano Pavarotti’s life
• October 12, 1935: Pavarotti is born in Modena, Italy.

• 1961: Wins a local competition and with it a debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Boheme”, in Reggio Emilia city. Marries Adua Veroni, with whom he has three daughters.

• 1963: First UK appearance at Covent Garden in London, where he stands in for tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano.

• 1972: Records nine high Cs at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

• 1990: Performs at the closing ceremony of the World Cup Football in Italy with fellow tenors Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras.

• 1991: Serenades Princess Diana at London’s Hyde Park in one of the biggest music events at the park.

• 2001: Appears in a court in Italy on charges of 13.3 million of taxes.

• 2003: Marries his 33-year-old former personal assistant Nicoletta Mantovani.

• 2006: His final vocal performance at the opening ceremony of the 20th Winter Olympics in Turin.

• 8 August, 2007: Admitted to hospital in Modena with fever, but stays on to have more tests related to pancreatic cancer. Discharged on August 25.

• 6 September, 2007: Opera legend dies aged 71.

TRIBUTES TO THE TENOR

There were tenors, and then there was Pavarotti - Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli

Pavarotti was the best known classical singer in the world, the best incarnation of the great popular tenor since Enrico Caruso. His artistic qualities, his warmth and his charisma seduced the whole world. - French President Nicolas Sarkozy

What is overtone singing?

Whenever a tone is sung, overtones (harmonics) naturally occur at fixed intervals above the fundamental tone. The combination of harmonics is what gives a particular voice or instrument its distinctive timbre. Through careful listening and subtle adjustments of the lips, tongue, jaw, soft palate, throat, and the rest of the vocal apparatus, harmonic singers isolate and amplify chosen harmonics while suppressing others. This enables a single person to produce two (sometimes three or four) distinct tones at once. With practice and control, it becomes possible to harmonize with oneself. Another kind of harmonic overtone singing involves subfundamentals, which do not occur under normal conditions, but can be produced at fixed intervals below the "normal mode" vocal fold fundamental tone.

Vocal overtone techniques often seem mysterious partly because their effects are so extraordinary. Researchers have found that harmonic overtone singers use their mouth/throat anatomy to create interconnected but distinct resonating chambers of varying sizes and shapes that alter the loudness and distribution of harmonics. Thus, much of Spectral Voices' music involves sculpting internal spaces to interact with external spaces.

To learn more about specific harmonic singing techniques and get a mini-lesson, click here.

Origin of Spectral Voices

In 1991 Jim Cole began practicing overtone singing after hearing recordings of the Tibetan Gyuto monks and David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir's Hearing Solar Winds. He was astonished and fascinated to discover the haunting otherworldly sounds he heard were produced entirely by human voices. Within a year he was turning people on to the wonder of harmonic singing, teaching others as he continued to learn, and gathering an ever-changing group around him. Asian throat singing was never really a public art, developed instead by solitary wandering herders communing with nature and by monks deep in meditation. Jim's group likewise experienced the focus and peace that can come from harmonic singing. Members enjoyed the shared opportunity for musical exploration, self-expression, and interaction with each other, but originally had no intention of singing for anyone but themselves. As the group evolved into Spectral Voices, the singers became increasingly experimental, playing with their voices to create new sounds and techniques and discovering the challenges and joys of totally improvised group work.

Background and Influences

For centuries people in many parts of the world have developed overtone singing traditions (khoomei - throat singing, harmonic singing, overtoning, harmonic chant, subfundamental chant, multiphonic singing, vocal fry, etc), and nowhere has it reached greater refinement than in central Asia. You may have heard the high whistling melodies, expressive warbles, and intense low croaking tones of Tuvan throat singers. A similar folk tradition occurs among the herdsmen of Mongolia. Certain groups of Tibetan Buddhist monks practice a deep subfundamental type of sacred harmonic chant.

Hitting the right note is genetic: scientists

Reuters
Chicago: Musicians and singers work for years to develop their sense of pitch, but few can name a musical note without a reference tone. US researchers on Monday said one gene may be the key to that coveted ability.

Only 1 in 10,000 people have perfect or absolute pitch – the uncanny ability to name the note of just about any sound without the help of a reference tone.

“One guy said, ‘I can name the pitch of anything – even farts’,” said Dr Jane Gitschier of the University of California, San Francisco, whose study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

She and colleagues analysed the results of a three-year, Web-based survey and musical test that required participants to identify notes without the help of a reference tone. More than 2,200 people completed the 20-minute test.

“We noticed that pitch-naming ability was roughly an all-or-nothing phenomenon,” she said.

Based on this, the researchers concluded that one gene, or perhaps a few, may be behind this talent.

Gitschier said those with perfect pitch were able to correctly identify both piano tones and pure computer-generated tones that were devoid of the distinctive sounds of any musical instrument.

She said people with perfect pitch were able to pick out the pure tones with ease. And they also tended to have had early musical training – before the age of 7.

“We think it probably takes the two things,” she said.

They also found that perfect pitch tends to deteriorate with age.

“As people get older, their perception goes sharp. If a note C is played, and they’re 15, they will say it’s a C. But if they’re 50, they might say it’s a C sharp,” Gitschier said. “This can be very disconcerting for them.”

The most commonly misidentified note, based on the study, is a G sharp. That may be because G sharp is overshadowed by A, its neighbour on the scale, they said.

A is often used by orchestras in the West as a tuning reference.

Gitschier said she and her colleagues were focusing on identifying the gene responsible for perfect pitch, which will involve gene mapping. Then they will try to figure out what is different in people with absolute pitch.

“We’ll have to play it by ear, so to speak,” she said.

Absolute Pitch

Reuters

Chicago: Musicians and singers work for years to develop their sense of pitch, but few can name a musical note without a reference tone. US researchers on Monday said one gene may be the key to that coveted ability.

Only 1 in 10,000 people have perfect or absolute pitch – the uncanny ability to name the note of just about any sound without the help of a reference tone.

“One guy said, ‘I can name the pitch of anything – even farts’,” said Dr Jane Gitschier of the University of California, San Francisco, whose study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

She and colleagues analysed the results of a three-year, Web-based survey and musical test that required participants to identify notes without the help of a reference tone. More than 2,200 people completed the 20-minute test.

“We noticed that pitch-naming ability was roughly an all-or-nothing phenomenon,” she said.

Based on this, the researchers concluded that one gene, or perhaps a few, may be behind this talent.

Gitschier said those with perfect pitch were able to correctly identify both piano tones and pure computer-generated tones that were devoid of the distinctive sounds of any musical instrument.

She said people with perfect pitch were able to pick out the pure tones with ease. And they also tended to have had early musical training – before the age of 7.

“We think it probably takes the two things,” she said.

They also found that perfect pitch tends to deteriorate with age.

“As people get older, their perception goes sharp. If a note C is played, and they’re 15, they will say it’s a C. But if they’re 50, they might say it’s a C sharp,” Gitschier said. “This can be very disconcerting for them.”

The most commonly misidentified note, based on the study, is a G sharp. That may be because G sharp is overshadowed by A, its neighbour on the scale, they said.

A is often used by orchestras in the West as a tuning reference.

Gitschier said she and her colleagues were focusing on identifying the gene responsible for perfect pitch, which will involve gene mapping. Then they will try to figure out what is different in people with absolute pitch.

“We’ll have to play it by ear, so to speak,” she said.

Hoarseness

What is hoarseness?
Hoarseness is a general term which describes abnormal voice changes. When hoarse, the voice may sound breathy, raspy, strained, or there may be changes in volume (loudness) or pitch (how high or low the voice is). The changes in sound are usually due to disorders related to the vocal folds which are the sound producing parts of the voice box (larynx) (see A). While breathing, the vocal folds remain apart (see B). When speaking or singing, they come together (see C), and as air leaves the lungs, they vibrate, producing sound. The more tightly the vocal folds are held and the smaller the vocal folds, the more rapidly they vibrate. More rapid vibration makes a higher voice pitch. Swelling or lumps on the vocal folds prevent them from coming together properly, which makes a change in the voice

What are the causes?
There are many causes of hoarseness. Fortunately, most are not serious and tend to go away in a short period of time. The most common causes are acute laryngitis which usually occurs due to swelling from a common cold, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or irritation caused by excessive voice use such as screaming at a sporting event or rock concert.

More prolonged hoarseness is usually due to using your voice either too much, too loudly, or improperly over extended periods of time. These habits can lead to vocal nodules (singers nodes), which are callous-like growths, or may lead to polyps of the vocal folds (more extensive swelling).

Vocal nodules are common in children and adults who raise their voice in work or play. Uncommonly, polyps or nodules may lead to cancer.

A common cause of hoarseness in older adults is gastroesophageal reflux, when stomach acid comes up the swallowing tube (esophagus) and irritates the vocal folds. Many patients with reflux related changes of voice do not have symptoms of heartburn. Usually, the voice is worse in the morning and improves during the day. These people may have a sensation of a lump in their throat, mucous sticking in their throat or an excessive desire to clear their throat.

Smoking is another cause of hoarseness. Since smoking is the major cause of throat cancer, if smokers are hoarse, they should see an otolaryngologist.

Many unusual causes for hoarseness include allergies, thyroid problems, neurological disorders, trauma to the voice box and occasionally the normal menstrual cycle. Many people experience some hoarseness with advanced age.

Who can treat my hoarseness?
Hoarseness due to a cold or flu may be evaluated by family physicians, pediatricians and internists (who have learned how to examine the larynx). When hoarseness lasts longer than two weeks or has no obvious cause, it should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon (ear, nose and throat doctor). Problems with the voice are best managed by a team of professionals who know and understand how the voice functions. These professionals are otolaryngology-head and neck surgeons, speech/ language pathologists, and teachers of singing, acting, or public speaking. Voice disorders have many different characteristics which may give professionals a clue to the cause.

When should I see an otolaryngologist (ENT doctor)?
*If hoarseness lasts longer than 2-3 weeks
*If hoarseness is associated with:
  1. Pain not from a cold or flu
  2. Coughing up blood
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. A lump in the neck
*Complete loss or severe change in voice lasting longer than a few days


How is hoarseness evaluated?
An otolaryngologist will obtain a thorough history of the hoarseness and your general health. Your doctor will usually look at the vocal folds with a mirror placed in the back of your throat. Occasionally a very small lighted flexible scope (fiberoptic tube scope) may need to be passed through your nose (or in some cases, a rigid scope may be used which is placed in the back of your mouth) in order to view your vocal folds. Videotaping the examination may also help with the analysis.

These procedures are not uncomfortable and are well tolerated by most patients. In some cases, special tests (known as acoustic analysis) designed to evaluate the voice may be recommended. These measure voice irregularities, how the voice sounds (acoustic content), airflow and other characteristics that are helpful in establishing a diagnosis and guiding treatment.

How are vocal disorders treated?
The treatment of hoarseness depends on the cause. Most hoarseness can be treated by simply resting the voice or modifying how it is used. The otolaryngologist may make some recommendations about voice use behavior, refer the patient to other voice team members, and in some instances recommend surgery if a discreet lesion, such as a nodule or polyp, is identified. Avoidance of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke (passive smoking) is recommended to all patients. Drinking fluids is also helpful.

Specialists in speech/language pathology are trained to assist patients in behavior modification which may help eliminate some voice disorders. Sometimes, patients have developed bad habits, such as smoking or overuse of their voice by yelling and screaming, which may cause the voice disorder. The speech/language pathologist may teach patients to alter their method of speech production to improve the sound of the voice and to resolve problems, such as vocal nodules. When a patients problem is specifically related to singing, a singing teacher may help improve the patients singing techniques.

What can I do to prevent and treat mild hoarseness?


  • If you smoke, quit
  • Avoid agents which dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine
  • Avoid secondhand smoke
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Humidify your home
  • Watch your diet - avoid spicy foods and alcohol
  • Try not to use your voice too long or too loudly
  • Seek professional voice training
  • Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse (this is similar to not walking on a sprained ankle)
What Is Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery?
Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery is a specialty concerned with the medical and surgical treatment of the ears, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck. The specialty encompasses cosmetic facial reconstruction, surgery of benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, management of patients with loss of hearing and balance, endoscopic examination of air and food passages, and treatment of allergic, sinus, laryngeal, thyroid and esophageal disorders

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Jayne's Singing Tips

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The 3 areas of the body
Breathing
To breathe in, fill up the lower part of the lungs, feel the area between the sternum and the waist expand. The top half of the rib cage and the shoulders should be very relaxed and should not go up and out.

Breathe all round the body; never above the sternum. The diaphragm moves down when you breathe in and you should feel as though it has reached down as far as your waist.

A tickle in the throat when singing could be tension. Breath should go straight to the abdomen. There should not be a sucking sound that makes the air dry the vocal chords on the way in.

The diaphragm
Before you sing, breathe in, lock your diaphragm tight like a drum all round the body (=tight-waisted). As you sing the diaphragm is gradually relaxed, releasing a cool column of air into the throat to give energy to the voice. Support the diaphragm by tightening tummy and buttock muscles: breathe in with tummy muscles relaxed, then as you sing and feel need for support, bring the muscles in and squeeze the buttock muscles to gradually squeeze under the diaphragm to support it.

Bodyline
Use you power base - feel like you've got roots going into the floor. But keep knees relaxed, like shock absorbers.

Singing is about being aware of your whole body, not just your throat. Lock the diaphragm and then breathe inside the lock.

Pelvis tilted forwards, stand tall to allow the ribs to float out of the way when you breathe in. Intercostal muscles also support you if you stand correctly (Alexander technique).

No man's land should be relaxed all the time, should not be involved in the singing.

Holding the score
When standing with your score, your shoulders should be relaxed and down. Shoulder supports elbow which supports the wrist and the arm is slightly extended from the body. Head should be up and the line of sight for the eyes can move easily between the score and the conductor without having to move the body.

Brain centre
In your brain centre you have your throat, pharynx, larynx and vocal chords. The chords are very delicate and need to be protected. There should never be tension in the neck. Vocal chords do not fully mature until your early 30's. They are very delicate membranes.

If you cough or shout the chords rub against each other instead of vibrating smoothly together. If you feel that to sing louder you are causing the chords to rub together instead of vibrating then DON'T SING LOUDER!

The higher in pitch you go, the more relaxed your pharynx, larynx etc should be, as if in a yawn where there is a lovely open space at the back of your throat. Called 'open throated'.

Face and diction
The face is the resonator for the voice. There are spaces in the skeletal structure of the face, as there are spaces in the chest cavity, and the mouth is the main resonating area. Never sing with a wide cheesy grin, it causes tension in the cheeks and neck. Your smile should come from your eyes.

Sing with an oval shaped mouth. Jaw should be relaxed and 'gormless'! You only open the jaw if you need to go higher in pitch.

Concentrate on the vowels, you don't need to sing the consonants - they clip the sound.

TIP OF THE TONGUE, THE TEETH AND THE LIPS

Your top lip is important. Your face needs to have range of flexibility and movement to make the right sounds. There should be a lift in the cheeks: bright sounds like 'e' vowels should come from lift in the cheeks, not from the jaw.

Mask of singing
All the front of your face (ie from your ears forwards) is the mask of singing, also knows as the dome of sound - other expressions include: head singing, head resonance, spin the voice around the head using the bone space.

Mental control and visualisation
After a bad day need to lift the sound of the voice, need to think positively and brightly to get it right. Learn to isolate the muscles in the face and imaging that your voice is like the ping pong ball in the snorkel - it floats on the air energy provided by the power base. Avoid 'white singing' where the air and the voice are mixed together; the air should float the voice.

Singing is 60% technique and 40% confidence, so mental control and attitude is important, as is self-awareness and being aware of your body. That is how to be in control of your voice.

Rehearsing and warming up
Humming is a good way to rehearse, as is to sing 'la' or something that wakens the face up. Never sing on a cold voice. Get it oiled first. Support the voice, learn to breathe properly and you can sing softly. It takes more control to sing softly, so a good way is to practice loud and with confidence and then sing softly once you are confident.

Singing while sitting
Feet square, sit up, shoulders relaxed. Do not cross legs. Remember to do all these things to fill up the inside of the rib cage and diaphragm. If you slouch you will be fighting your rib cage.

Vibrato
Don't try to stop the natural vibrato in your voice using your throat. It will make your throat tense. Control it using the breathing. Often it is a slacking of the diaphragm (especially as one gets older) that causes the beating effect of the vibrato.

Tips for choir directors

I have been in many ward choirs. These are some pointers I have that I believe can apply to every choir director. I appreciate all choir directors, and I am glad they take their time to serve us. I certainly do not have the skill to do what they do, and I appreciate their selfless service. Nevertheless, I believe some improvements could be easily made. But if you are a choir director please do not take anything personally or as an attack -- especially if you are one of my own current or past choir directors! In other words, these are written more for humor than anything else. If you do not find it funny, stop reading.


  1. End choir practice at the scheduled time, and not a minute later. Consider ending early if you are at a convenient stopping place.
  2. One or two people do not constitute a majority. When you ask "Shall we sing it one more time?" and only one or two people respond affirmatively, that means that everyone else is silently responding "no". Ditto for "Do you want to stand?"
  3. Leaning over a first row choir member to conduct directly to the third row makes people nervous.
  4. Don't specifically invite "all members, including those who can't sing" to choir. Those who can sing become less enthused about attending themselves. Choirs should sound pleasant.
  5. Consider singing the music as it is written. It is perfectly acceptable to sing a hymn out of the book without stuffing as much variety as possible (or more so!) into the verses with unison/parts/harmony or new verses.
  6. If you have limited practice time before the performance, consider simplifying the selection before you call an extra weeknight rehearsal.
  7. Never, never say "Let's sing it just once more(, I promise)." I have never met a choir director who lived up to that promise even once, so do not even pretend you will live up to it. You tease us with the concept of getting home to eat, then we practice the piece three more times.
  8. Give the choir time to talk to each other. Singing can be an inspiring experience, and singing with people you know and love greatly enhances that. Just two or three minutes per rehearsal of "talk with your neighbor" time can go a long way to putting smiles on the choir's faces both for rehearsals and for performances. We will probably pay more attention when you are talking as well.
  9. When working with a small section of the choir, invite the others to sit down.
  10. Do not ask us whether we want to sit with the congregation or in the choir loft for the rest of the meeting. We will be divided anyway, just tell us what to do. We will do what you say.

Source : http://cs.nerdbank.net/blogs/darnit/archive/2006/03/13/122.aspx

Maximum Range

Likewise, no song has ever become popular simply because it contained some birdcalls. Yet, we singers tend to fixate on range as if it’s the reason we’re not winning awards and selling piles of CD’s. True, there is an emotional lift when a melody soars upward, but the pitches should always be proportionate to the instrument. Sing at the height of your voice’s potential and your audience will assume your abilities are limitless. Sing beyond your boundaries and you merely call attention to your limitations. This does not mean you are stuck with the measly dozen or so pitches you sing well these days; rarely does a singer access his or her full genetic range without some training. It does mean, though, that before you worry about expanding, it helps to embrace what you have.
Vocal range is a lot like the range of motion of your limbs. Can you drop down into a split without warming up? Even after warming up? For most, the elasticity necessary for a move like that requires a long program of stretching. The same is true for your voice. The vocal folds are membranes (a little smaller then your eyelids) that close over the windpipe. When air streams through the tiny opening they create, their edges vibrate. The vibration is nothing more than a microscopic wiggle. Look closely at a guitar string after it’s played and you’ll see them same thing. The speed of the wiggle, or vibration, is called the frequency. We refer to frequencies, or pitches, by their beats per second. The pitch, for instance, that an orchestra uses when tuning is A – 440, meaning the frequency wiggles 440 times in one second (the larger the number, the higher the pitch). To sing high, your vocal folds have got to vibrate fast.

The action required to sing different notes is very much like tuning a guitar. Muscles surrounding the larynx pull or release the folds to create high and low pitches. The amount of movement required for your entire range is microscopic. I suggest you reread that previous line about a thousand times until it is embedded in your subconscious. The root of all vocal problems is that we perceive the activities involved with singing as big events. They are not. We ball our fists and load up enough air pressure to create an aneurysm just to get through the chorus of a song. The automatic reaction to such force is resistance; the body braces for the assault. Rigid muscles surrounding the larynx deny flexibility and lock up the vocal folds. No flexibility, no range – it’s that simple.

The key to singing high notes is volume. Reducing the volume of your voice removes the burden of excess air pressure so your folds can become more elastic. Just as it takes a little stretching every day to get your legs into a split, vocalizing daily at a low volume will allow you to visit higher notes without stress. It’s best to sing scales rather than songs at first; the memory of a song’s performance will lead you to pushing. Allow you higher notes to venture into falsetto or head voice. It’s okay if the transition cracks or skips out; this is just a symptom of your imbalanced ways. Don’t worry that the light voice you vocalize with is not up to performance standards. Only after you are completely comfortable with producing a note at a low volume should you attempt to raise the output. Increasing the volume in very small increments will allow you to monitor muscle independence. If facial or neck muscles join in to support a note, you’ve added too much air pressure. Your controllable range for the day lies waiting at the balance point between force and flexibility. And as always, tomorrow is another day.

Vibrato - An Xtra Effect

Singing with vibrato is a matter of taste. Having a choice is a matter of control. For most singers, the subtle, rhythmical movement of vibrato feels more like fate. When you want vibrato, it hides on you; don’t think about it, and it shimmers on the end of a note. Vibrato brings vitality to a voice. Sound without variation is boring. Compare a refrigerator to a fly buzzing around. The steady hum of the compressor quickly becomes background noise while the bug gets harder to ignore. With the exception of rappers and singers like Beck who don’t sustain notes, those without vibrato tend to rely on overdrive to create excitement. This often leads to blow outs. The more vocal colors available on your pallet, like vibrato, breathy, nasal and gritty, the easier it will be to paint an interesting portrait of a song without killing yourself.

The mechanics of vibrato are simple and reflexive, which is what makes it so elusive. Picture the fret hand of a guitarist sustaining a note. The finger movement alters the length of the string creating a slight waver in pitch. Things are just a little more complex with the voice. Like a stringed instrument, the tension of the vocal folds is varied rhythmically, creating movement in pitch. Along with this tension change, though, is a variation in the thickness of the vocal fold. The combined movements of pitch, volume and tone are what set vibrato apart from tremolo (change in volume only) and wobble (change in pitch only).

Tension squashes vibrato. Not just the obvious neck bulging stuff, but subtle everyday stiffness can neutralize it as well. Like the freedom required to wiggle your finger when sustaining a note on guitar, vocal vibrato requires muscle independence. Backing off the air pressure is the first step to releasing your voice. Let the ability to produce vibrato be your guide. Lay down flat on your back and place your hand on your belly button. Breath so that your hand rises and falls. Now sing a comfortable note and look for the presence of vibrato. If the pitch is stiff notice what your abs are doing. Are they contracting to drive the note? Check the behavior on various pitches. If you push too much from your stomach, the muscles surrounding the larynx will brace and vibrato will be lost. Reduce the volume and try again. The goal is to reduce the air pressure to the point where flexibility is found. Don’t be alarmed if this only happens at very low volumes. With practice, you’ll be able to increase the volume without loading the neck with pressure. Strike the proper balance during a song and vibrato will blossom. That’s why it tends to come in at the ends of notes; once we feel safely on pitch, we ease off the pressure a bit.

Another check for vibrato-eating throat tension is to rotate your head in a small circle when singing. Pretend you are tracing the outline of a quarter with your nose. Does the rotation stop when you begin to sing? Is it stiffer on high notes? Again, reduce the volume until you find the correct air pressure. Neck tension is not a requirement of singing loud or high. We often see singers so locked up in the neck that they literally have to shake their heads or jaws in order to create vibrato. In the same way, a guitar player who needs to shake the guitar to move a note must be applying a death grip on that fretboard. There’s nothing wrong with using force to make a strong statement. Too often, though, the statement it makes is that we are overcompensating to mask weakness. Be brave and do the dirty work in private. Use vibrato as your guide and discover the power within.

How can you increase your vocal range?

You don't push, you don't force, and you don't concentrate on your vocal cords. Support, and control from your diaphragm Proper breath control. Practice doesn't help if you're practicing wrong. Find a vocal coach. We don't all charge $70/hr. Go to places that let people sing. Talk to the people, and listen to different voices. You'll start to hear whose hurting themselves when they sing, and what a good clean open voice sounds like. Sing into your own ears with headphones. Practice a clear open tone as soft as you can. Don't do just scales, practice 8 bar sections of the song you're working on over and over without the lyrics, exercises of different intervals (space between notes) Don't force! I feel head voices and chest voices are incomplete. Any note you can sing in those voices you should be able to sing in full voice. That should be the goal.

Increasing Your Vocal Range


Here are ideas and recommendations from FAQ Farmers:
  • Basically, just practice all the time. Practice with songs that are in a higher pitch and some that are lower. Listening is a key factor when playing any type of instrument, including your voice. The more you listen, the more it helps your voice to become in tune with songs and singing in general. I, too sing so I've found this to help! Also, practice with a piano, (especially because its the easiest).. or any instrument for that matter (and make sure its in tune)... after a period of time, the notes will be almost "programmed" in your head. Good luck .
  • I think practicing scales is very important to ensure accuracy over the extremities of the voice's range. For many years I had a much bigger range than I would dare use; because I did not have confidence in the lower / higher notes I would never sing them live. Practicing scales, particularly ones that span the gap between the "chest" and "head" voice, has given me much more confidence, and that in turn has improved my singing in the higher / lower extremeties.
  • Sewjazz says "I'm a male of 33 now and I can hit low E, when I was 20 my lowest note was about a G so I think the bass end of the voice becomes lower with age perhaps, although I don't know if this is the case with women? I've always been able to squeek up to nearly two octaves above a middle C, but whilst at 25 I'd struggle to hit a G above middle C in my chest register, practice and particularly working on scales has enabled me to reach Bb, although sadly still not that elusive top tenor C! My transition to head voice is much smoother now though, and I can happily sing some Roy Orbison pieces, going acceptably into falsetto for the highest notes." When singing scales, make sure you repeat with a full range of different vowel sounds, and always have a tuned instrument to use as reference. And, most importantly of all, BREATHE OUT SLOWLY! The control of air flow is the most essential technique of all. One final word of warning - if you can't sing a note quietly, you shouldn't be singing it at all!
  • Gidday ive just started singing, hmm bloody puberty and all :( i used to be able to sing around 3.5 octaves, now im down to just over 2 it sucks but Now ive started just doing scales... you sound absolutely BATTY doing them but hey, after a year you'll notice a HUGE difference, to me it was well worth it
  • Learning to sing lower is almost, if not downright, impossible. This generally happens as you get older, but there's not much you can do to influence it yourself. However, you CAN learn to sing higher notes. I'm 16, and I reckon I've gained at least half an octave over the last few months. The key is this: Try singing songs that are just outside your range WITHOUT going into falsetto. Just try and force your normal voice up that high. You will find that over a few days, firstly it will get less difficult to hit the note, then you'll find that you can reach it without being ridiculously loud. Once this happens, go a little higher. You'll be amazed, in a few weeks, at what you can do. An example is the song "city of blinding lights" by U2. A month ago I wouldnt have even dreamed of trying to get the "oh you look so beautiful tonight" bit at the pitch he sings it, I'd just drop an octave for that part. I can now sing it with complete ease, and thats normal voice. I think there's probably a limit to exactly how high you can go, but remember that every note you gain in your normal range is also a note gained in falsetto, so it really is amazing just how high you'll find yourself going. Hears a tip though. Don't measure it day by day, just to what I did and pick a song that just about hurts to try and sing, and sing it. Another tip: ALWAYS stand when singing really high songs, I don't know the mechanics of it, but for some reason it's a lot easier to go higher when you're standing upright. Most importantly, in order to make it happen fast, ENJOY it. Don't make it a job, or a chore, just do it for the sake of doing it. You'll find that time flys if you do it like this.
  • Whoa whoa WHOA!! Now if there is one thing you should not do when aiming to sing higher songs, it is to force your voice, in fact, you should not "force" your voice to do anything! I've thought this for two years and realised i could sing a few songs, but it was causing me tension and strain. The professional singers who are singing with 4 or 5 octave ranges have been trained in order to do so, but the exercises involved in that training are actually very simple! Singers from James LaBrie of Dream Theater to Madonna and Michael Jackson have practiced using these, as they can set your voice free! your voice when you start out as a baby is perfect, did you know? I've never heard a baby go into falsetto! Only with years of speaking, muscle development around your larynx and not knowing the technique, you create a falsetto voice, it is actually a defence mechanism to stop you going too much higher and damaging yourself. Range is restricted by lack of knowledge rather than lack of talent. Basically there are 3 registers to your voice, they are: Chest voice: Named this because of the resonance occurring in your chest cavity, it is usually lower notes. If you sing a low "ahhh" and place your hand on your chest, you can feel it vibrate; Head voice: Higher notes, like if you were to impersonate Mickey Mouse or something, the note resonates mainly in the chest cavity. It is not quite as strong as chest voice, but as a singer develops their use of "resonators" in the head cavity, it gets louder and more powerful; and Whistle voice: usually present in women, but loads of men can use it too, the highest recorded whistle voice is by a guy called Adam Lopez. Say if you scream like a girl, that's using a kind of whistle voice, i don't advise you do any screaming though, in time and with patience and practice, it can be accessed. A trained voice will go higher in pitch not by pulling up chest voice and tightening the muscles (as i guarantee a lot of guys can't go past F above middle C without having some real difficulty) but instead, the intrinsic muscles in the vocal cords will help the cords "zip up" as it gets higher. In the end, a singer with the right knowledge and practice can sing notes up to and above high (tenor) C (or Soprano C if you are female) with the same ease as your speech! That is a technique known as "speech level singing" and to be honest, sounds a lot more comfortable than just belting out your songs, which is tiring and can take days to recover from, and also, does NOT feel easier over time, in fact, if you belt all the time you can cause some real damage to your cords! One other thing, the way that pro vocalists sound like they are making one consistent voice all the way up to the high registers, even though their voices are actually "changing gears" as they do so, is because they develop a "mixed" voice. When I say mixed I mean at the notes above middle C their chest voice blends with their head voice, almost like there are two voice techniques mixing in with each other, they get to retain the power of chest voice, but their head voice takes the strain off the note! Isn't that great!? Developing a Mixed voice DOES TAKE TIME AND CONSISTENT PRACTICE. About 45 minutes to an hour a day is good enough, and a singer should get plenty of sleep too, to prevent edema (a condition that causes swelling in the throat and is attributed to lack of sleep). If you are interested in using these training exercises, there are E-books and Audio Programs on sale that can help you develop your voice and master your technique, however, you must keep consistent practice and look after your voice. Things involving shouting like cheerleading and stuff are not options for a serious vocalist. Useful sites include: www.singingsuccess.com - Singing Success, a program by reknowned vocal coach Brett Manning (who has trained Grammy-Winning artists such as Keith Urban). Brett started out awful, but ended up with a 5 octave range! He has a friendly, understandable and enjoying approach to teaching voice, and is definitely a recommended coach. I have his program myself. www.thevoiceconnection.com - Rock vocalist and voice coach Jaime Vendera is known for being the first recorded man to shatter a crystal glass with his voice without amplification. He has a 6 octave range and is a powerful vocalist, not to mention a good coach. His e-book "raise your voice" is well recommended www.jeanniedeva.com - Another reknowned vocalist, Jeannie Deva has her own audio books such as the "contemporary vocalist" series also, http://p102.ezboard.com/bjessenemitz - A forum with a vocal technique section. Some good vocalists online there with plenty of useful info on singing technique and practice, not to be missed! Oh and one last thing, I'm no god of vocal technique myself, I'm actually a 17 year old student, but I've been using Brett Manning's technique and it's well worth it! For all you serious singers out there, never lose hope, look after yourselves and keep practicing!
    • JBL Reference 410 Headphones

      Frazier Barretto

      Features : Loud, Foldable, Comfortable, Volume control, Price, the JBL Reference 410 headphones are very similar to the QuiteComfort from Bose.

      Disadvantages : Can't Contain Vibration, Bass cracks at full volume.

      Bundle
      Phone Adapter
      Airline Adapter
      Inline Volume Control
      Foldable Headband
      Travel Pouch

      Tech Specs
      Drivers 40mm Transducer
      Maximum Input Signal 50mW
      Sensitivity 125dB SPL/V
      110dB SPL/mW
      Frequency Response 10Hz - 20kHz (-10dB points)
      Input Level/Impedance 32 Ohms
      Wire length 1.5m

      JBL has tried to make this set of headphones very comfortable. For the ears - the headphones are designed to sit in the ear instead of covering them; and for the head - there's a soft cushion on the on the headband, so that there's least possible pressure on your head. JBL Reference also features Noise Cancellation, so that you get pure music and nothing else along.


      While traveling, you can conveniently fold the product and keep it in the pouch that is bundled in the package. The headphone's volume control is placed neatly, such that when you are wearing the headphones it comes at the chest and is easy to access even without looking. These headphones deliver what JBL calls, JBL realism and bass response, which is supposed to give a more realistic music.
      Performance
      The JBL 410 headphones are so comfy that you can wear them for long hours. The music produced from the 40mm drivers (with a frequency range of 10Hz - 20kHz) is loud and good. I enjoyed my music minus any shattering as the highs and mids were taken care of.

      The bass is also quite good, but there's a catch here. Although the overall sound is superior, the headphones cannot handle the vibrations that are produced because of the immense bass. One of the songs that faced this issue was Prodigy's Diesel Power. With the headphones at full volume, the bass cracked for most of the tracks which had continuous bass. Keep the volume at 70-80% and it was perfection for highs, mids, lows.

      Also, the uncontainable vibrations caused a tickle in my ears, which got me to take off the headphones and scratch my ears. These vibrations wouldn't be so much of a nuisance if the there was enough breathing space for the drivers.

      Similar on-ear headphones from Sony - MDR-NC6 are not as loud as the 410, but the vibrations are contained. So basically, with 410 you deprive yourself of an absolute bass experience at the cost of loud music. I wouldn't suggest rock fans to go for JBL's 410, while hip-hop fans would most definitely enjoy the thumps come and go.

      Another thing, the sound is contained when you are wearing the headphones and it doesn't disturb people sitting around you. Also, the volume control on the headphone cable when turned to the minimum level doesn't shut the music, you can still hear it.

      Conclusion
      The JBL Reference 410 headphones sell at an MRP of Rs. 3950, while the street price is around Rs. 3100. It is way cheaper than the Bose QC3. At this price, your only bother comes from the Sony on-ear headphones which are available for around the same price. Here the question of brand loyalty arises - your loyalty towards JBL or Sony will influence your decision.

      ALLPlayer 3.0

      Version : 3.0
      Size : 1.61MB / 1.42 MB
      OS : Windows (All)
      Freeware

      ALLPlayer program is a Media Player that is Available for free and which will allow you to play all video formats like AVI/MPG/MPEG/DIVX, etc. with IQ Text (Intelligent Subtitles).

      The IQ Text function, which analyzes the length of the displayed subtitles so that it would be displayed long enough for you to be able to read everything and won't miss any lines while watching the film.

      Download

      Homepage

      GermaniX Transcoder 4.0.0.32

      Version : 4.0.0.32
      Size : 3.75MB
      Platform : Windows 9x

      Freeware

      GermaniX Transcoder is a very simple, flexible, and extensible Audio Transcoder designed for Microsoft Windows.

      * Transcode a lot of audio formats like mp3, mp4, aac, mp2, flac, ofr, ape
      * Create and use your own front-end language
      * Build custom encoder add-ins
      * Develop custom audio file processing plug-ins

      Language support for the the Transcoder includes German, English, French, and Russian allowing you also to create your own language file. You can also create Format Add-Ins for more Encoding Formats or a Process Plug-in to process a audio file, or a group of audio files.


      Nexus Radio v2.1

      Version : 2.1
      Size : 8.0 MB
      Os : Windows (All)
      Freeware


      Nexus Radio is a free full-featured radio player for listeners who can record their favorite radio content for playback on their PC, or any portable device that supports MP3s, besides listening to the radio channels. With over 6000+ radio stations, Nexus Radio delivers the content radio listeners yearn for.