Singing and Playing at the Same Time
I hope you guys enjoyed my last column (By the waters). I wanted to make sure that it had time to sink in. By now everyone should be able to jam out on By The Waters, if not at tempo, pretty damn close. This month were going to stray a bit from the hard core technique based previous columns and do something a bit different. We are going to work on, what I often struggle at most, singing and playing at the same time.
When you sit down and think about it, playing and singing simultaneously is a very difficult task for the average musician to do. I may not be the worlds best at doing this, but I intend to to show you exactly how I’ve been able to do this so far.
My best advice is to, before trying to do this, is to:
1. be able to play the song (try being able to do this with your eyes closed, that way you can’t look at your hands, because live, you really can’t look at them very much.
2. be able to sing the song pretty naturally. As always start slow, and only tackle smaller peaces.
First lets look at ‘Lost Forever’,www.mp3.com/darkshift
This is actually the first song I wrote for Dark Shift. Joel and I got together and I played it for him, Dark Shift was born… blah blah blah anyway.. It needed vocals, so I wrote some. As it turned out, I wasn’t able to sing and play at the same time. Luckily, The verse riff merely held chords ex.1 and the vocal line pretty much followed the root note of the individual chords. The chorus rhythmically the vocals and the guitars go very well together.
Next, we’ll look at ‘By the Waters’: powertab transcription, www.mp3.com/darkshift
As you can see, the vocal line pretty much follows along with the verse, writing vocal melodies the go along with the guitar part is by far the simplest way to sing and play. However, this approach gets pretty boring and then your music becomes predictable. I wrote BTW about three years ago, and that is when I first began to sing and play.
In the chorus, the rhythm used in the guitars and the rhythm in the vocals are very similar, but I feel that they are different enough that it adds a bit of the more musical element to the mix, also the fact that the chorus is in counterpoint to the guitars, it makes it still a little more interesting.
Now for the last door; www.darkshift.com
This example is different from the others, it is a bit more musical and complex, yet it is actually one of the easier tunes to play. It uses arpeggiated chords with a free floating vocal line. The most difficult part for this one is tuning. The is especially true during live performances, when I can’t hear anything but the drums and my vocals, and I have to "remember" where the notes are in my throat. Sometimes I do quite well, and others, well…
The chorus on the other hand, has two different rhythms between the two parts, which make some parts difficult and require some concentration.
My last example is ‘Beyond the dark".
In this example each verse is slightly different vocally, the third verse is by far the most difficult to master, "starting to pull myself together", as it is a very syncopated rhythm. This one still gives me trouble live if I’m not paying attention.
Vocals and guitar at the same time can be quite a challenge to master, and the only way to get good at it is to practice. Break the parts down, and go. I personally like to either have a mic stand in front of me when I practice, or at least I visualize a mic stand and I practice playing and singing into the mic.
I was going to break down our new song called "Killing Myself (Slowly)", but as It hasn’t been released as of yet (with in the next few days it will be on mp3.com) I didn’t want to give away our tricks just yet… : ). I’ll let you guys figure it out.
Have fun with this one, and I’ll see you guys next month.
If anyone one has any questions, or their is something in particular that they
want me to cover, please email me, and I’ll make sure I get to it for you. Up
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