Jazz And The Voice

It’s Jazz Part 7


The oldest Musical Instrument is the ” horn ” in throat. For thousands of years, singing has played a part in religious ritual, work and play. Many musicians, whatever their instrument, hear the sound of voices as a primary inspiration. Particularly African voices are the root of uniquely eloquent tonalities of jazz. Because jazz has no fixed rules, singers made up their own rules governed only by their own imagination . This style of singing has transformed the music of the century.

A list of techniques and styles follows:

Scat Singing – Expose sounds of wordless singing.

Blues – A sound suggesting a Baptist choir or growling gut bucket trumpet.

Big Band Jazz – Sensitive voice with saxophone like improvisational flexibility.

Today’s Music – Extended scat singing, along with sound effects and popular song into fusion and funk.

Shifting Tones – Consist of a fundamental tone, determined by the singers anatomy.

Overtones – Sounds above the fundamental tone that give any musical sound its particular timbre. Jazz and blues singers use irregular ratio of harmonic and non harmonic overtones to create rougher more idiosyncratic tone color.

The Body – As a noise making device, singers have rediscovered a range of effects…By mimicking instruments, adding drum like percussion by beating the chest, and yodeling, has added new variations to jazz singing

The Head Voice – Throat constricted, teeth closed to produce a flat lean sound characteristic

Voice Projection – Mouth open and the sound coming from the chest. This technique was used before the invention of the microphone.

Amplification – Before the microphone, singers in tent shows and traveling variety troupes used volume to communicate.

Microphones transformed jazz singing by emphasizing the nuances lost in acoustic shows and redefining vocal dynamics. The naturalness and subtlety can be recaptured in a large hall. Amplification technology has came a long way since 1930.

The Microphone – In modern singing it is as much an instrument as the voice. How far it is held from the mouth, the type microphone used, and its changing position during the sounding of a note, all extend the singers range.