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Author Topic: Beach Boys isolated vocal analysis video  (Read 1824 times)
Sam_BFC
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« on: March 16, 2022, 06:37:29 AM »

I've not had a chance to watch this properly yet.
But this chap does pop up on my youtube now and again and has done some pretty interesting videos from what I have seen in the past.
From skimming through, this touches on some things that guitarfool, karmafrog and others have talked about through the years.
I think it could spark some good discussion here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEac2AQEsC8
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« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2022, 07:37:56 AM »

That's really cool. I never really thought about Mike "talking" his lines in IGA - but yeah he freakin nails it. It's crazy how any of this was before pitch correction - took true talent to get these lines nailed every time.

I hope we get more vocals-only in the future. I love how they'd tack on backing vocals to some albums a decade+ ago...the Summer Love Songs album had a hidden snippet of the backing track of 'Don't Worry Baby', the Pet Sounds 40th had a hidden snippet of the bgs for 'Wouldn't It Be Nice'. Such an amazing treat to hear those, especially the first time when you weren't expecting it.

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« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2022, 10:41:44 AM »

Nice to hear another musician not fall into the trap of falsely calling Brian's high voice "falsetto."

Let's be accurate, friends!!
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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2022, 11:21:59 AM »

Nice to hear another musician not fall into the trap of falsely calling Brian's high voice "falsetto."

Let's be accurate, friends!!

Hi Joshilyn, I always call it a falsetto - what is the proper term?
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2022, 11:58:58 AM »

I've not had a chance to watch this properly yet.
But this chap does pop up on my youtube now and again and has done some pretty interesting videos from what I have seen in the past.
From skimming through, this touches on some things that guitarfool, karmafrog and others have talked about through the years.
I think it could spark some good discussion here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEac2AQEsC8

How could I miss out Joshilyn Ahhh!
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2022, 12:46:13 PM »

Nice to hear another musician not fall into the trap of falsely calling Brian's high voice "falsetto."

Let's be accurate, friends!!

Hi Joshilyn, I always call it a falsetto - what is the proper term?

Head voice.  There's no fixed definition of when head voice becomes falsetto but it has to do with vocal fold engagement.  The untrained male voice (and female voice, too actually) generally needs to dramatically thin the vocal folds above a certain note, usually somewhere within a fifth of around C4 depending on the person.  At that point, with training, one can sing with more or less the full length of the vocal folds contacting each other each cycle, which is a fuller sound because more mass is engaged.  Untrained voices, or those going for an intentional effect will not have the coördination to keep the folds fully engaged, so on each cycle, less mass in engaged and the timbre is thinner.  There is also much less control over the dynamic range and expression because falsetto is kind of a one-trick pony.  But it is easier to do.

Brian, by singing along with the high parts in Freshmen records, probably, cultivated a very assured head voice capable of every shade of expression.  He also managed to cultivate a smooth register break and thus was able to push in chest voice to the head sound when he wanted for even more shading.  He was a really gifted singer.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 12:51:59 PM by Joshilyn Hoisington » Logged
Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2022, 12:51:21 PM »

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rab2591
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« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2022, 01:23:05 PM »

Thanks, Joshilyn! After thinking through that a little while it makes sense to me. Brian must've practiced his vocals so much prior to the band formation - it must've been something else to walk by their house in Hawthorne and hear that voice.
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« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2022, 06:48:46 PM »

Nice to hear another musician not fall into the trap of falsely calling Brian's high voice "falsetto."

Let's be accurate, friends!!

Hi Joshilyn, I always call it a falsetto - what is the proper term?

Head voice.  There's no fixed definition of when head voice becomes falsetto but it has to do with vocal fold engagement.  The untrained male voice (and female voice, too actually) generally needs to dramatically thin the vocal folds above a certain note, usually somewhere within a fifth of around C4 depending on the person.  At that point, with training, one can sing with more or less the full length of the vocal folds contacting each other each cycle, which is a fuller sound because more mass is engaged.  Untrained voices, or those going for an intentional effect will not have the coördination to keep the folds fully engaged, so on each cycle, less mass in engaged and the timbre is thinner.  There is also much less control over the dynamic range and expression because falsetto is kind of a one-trick pony.  But it is easier to do.

Brian, by singing along with the high parts in Freshmen records, probably, cultivated a very assured head voice capable of every shade of expression.  He also managed to cultivate a smooth register break and thus was able to push in chest voice to the head sound when he wanted for even more shading.  He was a really gifted singer.

Exactly.

Chuck Britz in the David Leaf book used to marvel at Brian’s ability to sing high without going into falsetto.  
« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 06:49:58 PM by Ragegasm, Coming Soon To A Dictionary Near You » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2022, 07:51:43 PM »

Joshilyn, if possible/appropriate, can you point out a few examples of where Brian shifts from head voice to falsetto? I think that would help clarify things for anyone who might be confused by the distinction. For example, what about the highest note in "Don't Talk" ("Listen to my HEART...")--is that head voice or falsetto?
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2022, 08:26:42 PM »

Joshilyn, if possible/appropriate, can you point out a few examples of where Brian shifts from head voice to falsetto? I think that would help clarify things for anyone who might be confused by the distinction. For example, what about the highest note in "Don't Talk" ("Listen to my HEART...")--is that head voice or falsetto?

No, that's still head voice.  I don't know if Brian ever went into falsetto unless he was doing something jokey, at least before he intentionally damaged his voice.  Even the early 70s stuff where he gets shriller still sounds like fairly complete vocal fold engagement to me. 

This is not a terrible video/audio explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zapRDCPrqsw

It can be very hard to hear the difference -- you just kind of have to know what to listen for.  It's much easier to feel within your bod.
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2022, 08:33:51 PM »

This guy's perspective seems good -- falsetto as a subset of the head voice:

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/anDfel1NpkE
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sloopjohnb72
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2022, 08:38:57 PM »

I can think of one example of what might be Brian using falsetto - on the fade of Smiley Smile Wind Chimes, he sings a high backing part that goes "oh well oh well oh well." It's a very soft part, and it gets really whispery. Falsetto can get whispery, but it can't get reedy or raspy the way head voice does. But that still might be head voice, not certain. "Columnated ruins domino" also gets pretty whispery, but I think that can be safely classified as head voice. Beyond maybe Wind Chimes, I can't think of a single other example.
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« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2022, 10:11:48 AM »

For the conversation about what is falsetto voice and the technical details, check out this previous thread:

http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,27682.0.html


One point where I think a difference can be heard in Brian's vocal versus another singer doing the same song would be comparing Frankie Lymon singing the original cut of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" and Brian singing that lead on the cover.

Frankie Lymon's original version, listen at 47 seconds and again at 1:53 when Frankie sings "Tell me why..." and extends on the word "why":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1wlRYERCw0

Then listen as Brian hits the same parts at 49 seconds, then again at 1:40 and 1:53 where he repeats the phrase twice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT9bDXNR9pU

You'll hear how Frankie audibly shifts his voice to hit those higher notes, and again audibly as he runs short of breath a bit, then comes back to his "full voice" range.

When you hear Brian, he's in his "full voice" the whole time, even extending higher beyond where Frankie did on the last phrase, and it's a smooth transition with no loss of breath or power.

It's the same concept as the host pointed out in that video, Brian could smoothly go between those registers and ranges of his voice and there would not be an audible break or transition, and his parts which are often called "falsetto" actually have much more power than when people have tried to copy or cover them. I'll have more in another post.

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« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2022, 10:32:38 AM »

I've not had a chance to watch this properly yet.
But this chap does pop up on my youtube now and again and has done some pretty interesting videos from what I have seen in the past.
From skimming through, this touches on some things that guitarfool, karmafrog and others have talked about through the years.
I think it could spark some good discussion here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEac2AQEsC8

This is a great video, thanks for posting! I subscribe to the Wings Of Pegasus channel so I saw this a few hours after he posted it, but was unable to put it here on the forum, so thanks for linking to it! He has a great channel, and I really enjoy watching his reactions to classic songs and performances because that's the magic I think most of us have felt when something really hits home and blows us away. Just that big "wow!" kind of smile...and then he goes on to analyze and describe what's going on musically in the various clips. Very cool channel, I highly recommend it.

In this case he picked great examples, "Don't Worry Baby" and the Ed Sullivan live performance of "I Get Around".

"Don't Worry Baby", alongside "Wouldn't It Be Nice", are probably the two examples of the power and magic of Brian's voice that I've referred to the most over the years. People hear it and think "falsetto" which is natural because the term falsetto has become a catch-all for a high male singing voice, as was discussed in the link I just posted above. But when you listen to those leads, Brian is literally belting out the notes with power and full breath control, especially on WIBN where he's belting certain words so hard that he gets a little soulful grit into his delivery. And on Don't Worry Baby, which doesn't have as much obvious "grit", he's belting full-out.

My point for years has been when you listen to people trying to cover those vocals, they often think of them as too sweet or precious, and deliver their vocals accordingly. But Brian's original leads are full of power and grit, not the softly-sung "sweetness" that is often proscribed to those songs. There is a big difference, and Brian's vocal range and ability does play a part in how and why those leads sounded that way originally.

That's where the video host really focused in on an important and sometimes overlooked part of the Beach Boys: Brian's vocal skills were exceptional. He had a range where he could - as pointed out in the analysis video - seamlessly transition from his lower ranges to his higher range, and have the results be smooth with often no audible shift in tone and timbre. I think that is absolutely worth noting, and I know it's an unpopular opinion sometimes, but I think as soon as that voice was not present on Beach Boys' records, some of the magic was simply not there. That high voice cut through any listening system from a 45 on a cheap turntable to transistor radios to the better hi-fi systems, and it's what gave those songs that "x factor" of a sonic hook. After the classic era, that voice was not present, and despite some very noble attempts to replicate it or recapture it, it was never the same sound after the early 70's.

Also a special kudos to pointing out Mike's lead vocals on the Sullivan performance: Mike was on fire that night! His pitch was right on, and his delivery was strong. I'm glad someone pointed that out, and also mentioned that unlike some later "Sullivan" performances from other classic bands, the Beach Boys that night in '64 were playing and singing 100% live on that stage. And for IGA, (and Wendy too where Carl flubs the guitar intro lol), they are not easy songs to deliver with energy and precision, but the Boys delivered the goods on camera. I forgot until watching the Wings Of Pegasus video breakdown just how precise Mike's lines were, and it's really cool to hear.

Again it's well worth watching this analysis video, the guy points out some important points regarding Brian's voice and vocal technique that are essential to understanding how and why the band's records sounded as they did and why they are still so appealing to listeners almost 60 years later.



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« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2022, 11:23:38 AM »

Joshylin, do you remember those recording that you made many years ago where you recorded yourself singing the California Girls chorus melody in chest voice, head voice, and falsetto? That is what made me understand better the differences between head and falsetto.
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2022, 12:28:23 PM »

Jeez, that has to have been from like 20 years ago.  I remember.
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2022, 04:44:56 PM »

I never noticed there was vibrato in Brian's voice until I watched this.
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« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2022, 07:59:50 PM »

I marvel along with the rest of you at the strength and beauty of Brian's voice on those 60's recordings; and then it depresses me how he wrecked his voice later on. In the 60's, yes, Brian was the best singer in the Beach Boys. From the 70's on, though, it was clearly Carl - and thank God he didn't deliberately try to destroy his beautiful gift.
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« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2022, 08:52:23 PM »

Joshilyn, do you know how countertenor works -- isn't that a form of head voice?
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Joshilyn Hoisington
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« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2022, 01:38:37 PM »

Joshilyn, do you know how countertenor works -- isn't that a form of head voice?


Yes, that's right, and in fact, it's more or less the same deal as what Brian's doing, only with different emphases and more specific training.

Classical singers need to learn how to create overtones in their voice that will carry in a large acoustic space, often over orchestras, where Brian only ever had to be heard by a microphone a foot away.  So it is a different discipline, but the vocal mechanism is pretty much the same between someone like Brian and a classical countertenor.
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