Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Elaine and I

I remember the voice, but I don’t remember the name of the boy who owned it. Let’s call him George. It was a music concert at the school where I was teaching – a small private school. George was the smallest boy in the class, so naturally he was placed at the front – right next to the microphone the “choir” shared. He was possibly the most enthusiastic singer, definitely the loudest – and probably the least musical. He did not have that sweet soprano voice that all choirboys envy . He didn’t have a sweet anything voice. George possessed a singing voice that only his mother would love. It was painful to listen to.

I find myself very much in the same position. I am the smallest person in our “choir” and they have placed me at the front for our music concert. I don’t claim to be the most enthusiastic singer, or the loudest, but I suspect I am the one person in the choir who is singing flat and not quite hitting the notes, or holding on to them as long as should be.

The concert is in a day or two’s time, so I thought I would get in some extra practice. Just type in “I know him so well” plus “karaoke” and you get to partner the great Elaine Page on youtube. In real life she might pass me by, but in the cyber world there is no escape for her! So we sang – I took the “second” singer while she belted out the “first” singers lines.

We didn’t sound so bad. It was a little bit slower than I was used to – but that gave me time to take a few breaths along the way. It might not have graced the Albert Hall, but the neighbours were not banging on the wall.

Elaine and I were making sweet music.

So what was the problem? If Elaine and I could sing it well together – why did I sound like a strangled cat when I sang with the choir?

Two things really.

Firstly, the song on the karaoke site is pitched higher. Famous singers can probably sing in a whole variety of keys – that’s why they are famous singers. Maybe there are certain songs that are deliberately pitched to flatter a singer’s voice. The key at which Elaine was singing flattered my voice too! The low notes were not too low.

Secondly, my voice is probably a natural soprano, but I am singing with the altos. I was off sick, or recovering from sore throats when the choir learned the soprano harmonies. The alto part appeared to be much more straightforward. So I joined the altos.

So here I am – the smallest member of the choir – standing at the front – closest to the microphone – swinging wildly between pitch perfect and tone deaf.

I suppose I wouldn’t be the first person to mime on stage!

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