Howling at the Moon
The hellhound event horizon is a bit brighter today. Yesterday was definitely the sucking black hole during which they ate about one quarter of their usual rations . . . at the end of about three weeks of increasing numbers of half- and two-thirds-rations days. (Almost) total breakdown of hellgoddess. I have no idea. They drift in and out of digestive weirdness, and sometimes there are clear and graphic symptoms—besides the not eating—and sometimes there aren’t. The physical manifestations this time have been nothing like dramatic enough to explain the breadth and depth of the not eating. Nice ribs, guys. Really nice ribs. I hate visible ribs on anyone who isn’t an athlete in hard condition—the racing-fit of the obvious popular species, dog, horse and human, tend to be ribby, and lurchers who are keeping their owners’ cooking-pots full often are as well. Which is fine. And there are plenty of pet sighthounds around with a full rack of ribs on display because many sighthounds think food is an elective. I sympathise with their owners. Even if my guys were normal, with happy normal GI tracts, I’d still be trying to slip a little extra food into them because I don’t like visible ribs, but my guys are not normal, and having something to lose is a bit of, uh, padding against the rough stretches. Like this one. My best guess is that one of their unpredictable bad spells* managed to coincide with the last few weeks before it’s time to worm them again, when they usually do start getting hinky about food. If we have two days of bad eating in the same week my first thought is to check the calendar. It should be the middle of September, but I couldn’t stand it any longer and wormed them day before yesterday. Yesterday, as already observed, was a dark night of the soul, but the one hopeful sign was that they weren’t ill and despondent this morning—which they usually are** if they missed supper the night before.*** I was still saying ‘if they don’t eat lunch I’m taking them to the evening surgery at the vets’’. But they ate lunch.† They’ve now eaten dinner. †† Whatever happens later tonight, we’re doing better than we were yesterday. And they were back to taking-hellgoddess-arms-off-at-the-shoulders mode on the afternoon hurtle, which generally speaking I discourage but in this case. . . .
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Meanwhile as I said yesterday I got a lot of singing practise in, waiting (mostly futilely) for hellhounds to eat. There have been a lot of interesting posts to the forum in response to my gibbling about singing and asking if any other singers wanted to make it a discussion.
Catlady: I’m an alto, tried and true . . . I just went to test my break and it is the A above middle C going up and the A below middle C going down. So the whole range in between can be either, depending on which works better for the song . . . singing in a choir, I just made it work, whatever it was . . . I have a lot of practice going into my chest voice, and that break was hard to find. So the hurdle does get shorter if you leap it enough times.
Yes. This is exactly what Nadia says—the more you do it the less of a ‘break’ it becomes. What I’ve noticed just in the two days since we had this conversation is that merely by officially addressing the issue it’s gone from ‘that square peg will NEVER fit in that round hole’ to what it’s like changing gears your first week in driver ed. It’s dire, but you have some idea what you’re aiming at, and you’re (fairly) confident you’ll get better.
Joseph-ine: At last! someone else who thinks my break is in an odd place!
We’ve got only a sample of three so far. Maybe Catlady and I are odd.
I can comfortably sing well up to an A (and have been known to get down an octave below middle C), and can only sometimes sing in chest voice to the Asharp/Bflat and B. It really depends on my voice on each day and if I bothered to warm up well or not.
Well yes, but ALL singing is like that?!? It’s that ‘your instrument is YOUR BODY’ thing. I was talking to Nadia about this too, because my Stress Levels Have Been Rather High Lately which means I’ve been singing rather . . . paralytically. And she says that a lot of what becoming a professional means is just pushing the limits of how well you can sing even on a bad day. ::Oversimplification alert:: But the idea is that if you can rely on being x good even when your Life Is A Ruin, you can afford to become a professional. If you can’t, you can’t.
Linnet: I first discovered that women could sing tenor and bass when my sister got involved with a choir that was emulating Vivaldi’s choir at the Pieta. The research seems to suggest that Vivaldi’s music written during this period was actually designed for women to sing the tenor and bass parts.
Well, sure. He was writing for his foundling girls’ school, yes? What’s interesting is that he just went ahead and wrote low parts for them. Yaay Vivaldi. I don’t care what he thought he was doing—I kind of doubt he was a feminist—the point is he did it.
It seems that a lot of women have more lower range than they think.
I thought I was a freak in high school. I’ve said this before, that when I was younger I had a (nearly) four octave range and so sang everything from baritone to high soprano. But I was the only one moving through the ranks like this. Mind you I’d trade two octaves of my old range in for half a dozen notes worth listening to, but you deal with what you have. My other fond ambition—the first one being that I become both good and confident enough to survive an audition to a slightly better quality choir—is to regain three octaves. I’m nearly there now very late at night after a couple of glasses of champagne on a really good free open flexible day, which would not be recently, but I want three RELIABLE octaves. Which is going to take some work—if it’s even possible.
Harpergray: In my experience, it doesn’t seem so much that singing alto is unfeminine, it’s that we do so well as a harmonious base line.
Yes. BOOOORING. Which is why despite my confidence problems and what is probably my natural range, I will probably stay among the sopranos till Ravenel positively turfs me out.
And that’s not all social imposition, though the diva-esque reputations of sopranos has certainly been well-formed over the years, at least as far as I’ve seen it. It’s a lot easier for the lower notes to carry in this way than the higher.
Well, Nadia, who is a soprano, says that part of the diva-ness is that sopranos’ voices are so much more exposed, which is the other side, I think, of what you’re saying. But that means that soprano confidence problems are going to be more exposed too, I guess.
. . . singing alto in a Gilbert and Sullivan chorus usually follows along these lines: “I am a lonely alto, I only sing one note, and if I am lucky I sing…two.”
Yes, and if I’m singing alto principal I’m old, ugly, pathetic, and the butt of bad jokes. I love G&S but I don’t love Gilbert for his broad-mindedness.
I stumbled across this video a while ago, and it’s a fun little song for choir altos. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HABEHXu40fw&feature=relat ed
It would be more fun if she were a better alto. It’s a great song and she performs it well, but she’s not a hearty resonant baritone.
TO BE CONTINUED.
PS: ANNAGAIL. GUEST POST. GUEST POST. —And I was being provocative, calling myself a contralto. I don’t have that chest resonance—just the sheer muscular strength of the fact that my speaking voice is deep, even for a (western) woman. But then I don’t have good singing resonance, full stop, which is why I will remain back row of the chorus.
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* Caused by I have no idea. Earwigs. Manticores. Alien spores from space. Hellgoddess allergy. Whimper. The very occasional twenty-four hour double-ended geyser effect I assume is from picking up the sandwich-end or cookie some ugly careless slob has dropped in the street^ and is also usually fairly straightforward. These longer murky fits of Food Is the Enemy . . . I have no idea. I also have no idea how much the slinking and visibly oppressed spirits are a reaction to hellgoddess disapproval of this behaviour. Some, maybe, but not all.
^ I’ve never seen anyone actually doing this and I hope I never do. I hate confrontation almost as much as I hate visible ribs—I’m a pretty good all-purposes coward—but my short fuse is genuine too, and seeing some asshole not only dropping trash but dropping trash that would make my dogs violently ill if they ate it+ might very well make me lose my temper too fast to remember that yelling at strangers may have unfortunate side effects.
+ and, just by the way, which attracts rats, those well known and charming accessories to all human civilisation
** especially Darkness. Chaos is the drama queen, but Darkness has more sheer physical symptoms.
*** I am neurotic, but I am PATHOLOGICAL with cause about the hellhounds eating.
† Although it took Chaos two hours. Drama queen, as I say.
†† Very small lunch. Very small dinner. The point being to get/keep them eating at all.
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