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More and more singers are cancelling big shows and turning to surgery to fix their damaged vocal cords. But is the problem actually down to the way they sing?

The Guardian | Bernhard Warner

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Love @ the Lake cast takes a bow.
The “Love at the Lake” cast is about to take a bow during a rehearsal in the Boathouse Theatre at Valhalla Tahoe. From left, Chris Taylor, Rich Sargent, Joanie SanAgustin, Sharon Kerrigan, Matthew Ault, Tom Callahan, Andrea Rogers, director Mark D. Williams.
Tim Parsons / Tahoe Onstage photos

Witness ‘Love at the Lake’ amid gloam at Valhalla Tahoe

BY TIM PARSONS

They say there’s always magic in the air on Broadway – and in the Valhalla Boathouse Theatre.

A musical revue, “Love at the Lake,” will be presented over two weekends at the Tallac Historic Site as part of the Valhalla Art, Music & Theatre Festival on the shores of South Lake Tahoe. [Read More.]

From death metal to throat singing to alpine yodelling, the experimental group is changing what it means to harmonize.
By Burkhard Bilger

In a throat, a note is forming. A puff of air, a pulse of the lungs, rushes up the windpipe and through the vocal cords, parting them like a pair of lips. As the cords begin to vibrate, they’re stretched taut by muscles to either side, raising the pitch. The diaphragm pumps more air, rocketing the note up the vocal tract, making its walls hum like the barrel of a woodwind. The sound ricochets back and forth as it rises, gaining resonance with each rebound, till it bursts into the hollow chamber of the mouth, the ringing cavities of the sinuses, and careens off the palate into the open air.

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February 21 at 10:58 AM

Peter Tork, a blues and folk musician who became a teeny-bopper sensation as a member of the Monkees, the wisecracking, made-for-TV pop group that imitated and briefly outsold the Beatles, died Feb. 21. He was 77.

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NEW YORK — Daryl Dragon, the cap-wearing “Captain” of “The Captain and Tennille” who teamed with then-wife Toni Tennille on such easy listening hits as “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love,” died Wednesday at age 76.

Dragon died of renal failure at a hospice in Prescott, Arizona, according to spokesman Harlan Boll. Tennille was by his side. [Read More…]

Just self-published my first book on Amazon.com. It is a brief (about 20 typewritten pages including 117 endnotes) biography and family history of my 2g grandfather, Brede Bredesen Sander. Available for Kindle or in a trade paperback edition.

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, died Thursday morning at her home in Detroit from advanced pancreatic cancer, her family said in a statement. She was 76 years old.

The family said that the cause of death was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist.

“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart,” Franklin’s family said in the statement. “We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Franklin’s prolific career spanned six decades and included hit songs like “Respect,” “A Natural Woman” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” Even in her 70s, she was still performing. In 2015, her performance of “A Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors brought President Barack Obama to tears. [Read more….]

What kind of effect — if any — does loudness have on articulation? This question was bugging researchers at the University of Freiburg so much, they grabbed a world-class opera singer and tossed him into an MRI so they could analyze the voice at work. Baritone Michael Volle was the willing subject, and as he sang the aria “Oh Du, mein holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser, the scientists were able to observe the workings of the human voice in real time.

Starving artists have been affected by more than just piracy and streaming royalties

By Craig Havighurst

In their many (justified) laments about the trajectory of their profession in the digital age, songwriters and musicians regularly assert that music has been “devalued.” Over the years they’ve pointed at two outstanding culprits. First, it was music piracy and the futility of “competing with free.” More recently the focus has been on the seemingly miniscule payments songs generate when they’re streamed on services such as Spotify or Apple Music.

These are serious issues, and many agree that the industry and lawmakers have a lot of work to do. But at least there is dialogue and progress being made toward new models for rights and royalties in the new music economy.

Less obvious are a number of other forces and trends that have devalued music in a more pernicious way than the problems of hyper-supply and inter-industry jockeying. And by music I don’t mean the popular song formats that one sees on awards shows and hears on commercial radio. I mean music the sonic art form — imaginative, conceptual composition and improvisation rooted in harmonic and rhythmic ideas. In other words, music as it was defined and regarded four or five decades ago, when art music (incompletely but generally called “classical” and “jazz”) had a seat at the table. [Read more.]

Updated by Julia Belluz, Jun 20, 2015, 8:40am EDT

I’ve always had a raspy voice that easily burns out. A loud party or long day of talking can leave me sounding like Tom Waits. But is there any way to avoid this?

To learn more, I called Diana Orbelo, a speech-language pathologist at the Mayo Clinic who helps people with voice problems.

Over the phone, she almost immediately diagnosed me as a voice loser. “Usually the throaty, chesty, deeper voices are the ones that tend to get more into trouble,” she said.

Assuming I have a healthy larynx, when I lose my voice it means I’ve strained my vocal cords from too much use, causing them to swell up so they can’t vibrate as easily to get out sound. (Think of this as a repetitive motion injury.) [Read more.]