Kurt's Singing Voice

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  bayth on 11/2/2013, 1:42 pm

Does anyone know of a Chris only edit for the song? I haven't listened to it and only want to hear Chris' part.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 11/2/2013, 11:10 pm

other than the one posted earlier i haven't seen any kurt-only edit songs.

so i finally read the whole analysis and thank you again marie for the great write-up. i especially enjoy your opinions about chris' use of his voices and all the technical stuff. i wish i can be your secretary - just sitting there while you teach your students so i can hear more about what you will say about voices and singing, and i will be your "secret-ary". i will be quite and invisible so you won't know i was there.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 11/2/2013, 11:32 pm

^I could live with that, lol.  fanny2

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ireth on 11/2/2013, 11:37 pm

This was a great read (as always), Marie! rooots 
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  brisallie on 11/3/2013, 3:08 am

As usual, you did a good review Marie Smile 

And before you pointed out, I was sure they actually did the full version on the episode o.o. Probably I didn't listen to the lyrics carefully.


P.S It seems I'm one of the few who likes Get Back lol

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ranwing on 11/3/2013, 9:54 am

No you're not, brisallie. I loved it too. Or rather, I loved Chris's part since Lea's part in the song seemed to be little more than porny mewls and yelping in the chorus. But it was a great showcase for Chris's voice and showed that he is able to do a lot more than he's been pigeon-holed as. Chris can do rock/pop numbers as well as he can do Broadway and it was nice to see him getting a chance to show it.

Marie... as always I'm in awe of your expertise. And I so appreciate it because while I understand some of the technical points, I don't have anything near your body of knowledge and it's helpful to understand just why something does (or in the case of Klaine duets, doesn't) work.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  bayth on 11/3/2013, 1:29 pm

This has nothing to do with Kurt's singing voice.  I just wanted to be sure that Glorfindel saw this amazing little girl:

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 11/3/2013, 6:12 pm

^I saw that before (she's Dutch like me, and it's a Dutch show). Amazing.

Although she is very talented, I have my reservations about her voice techniques and what it might do to her voice 5-10 years from now, and most of all I wonder how she trained to have such a 'mature' opera voice at her young age. It's possible this is all just her own interests and doing, but when young children like her have a skill that is supposed to be not ripe yet at their age you have to be alert.
Maybe someone guided her there because they wanted it (a la Toddlers and Tiaras), maybe she is doing it for ulterior motives than just the joy of singing (attention, wanting to please someone), maybe she is merely imitating a grown up's voice and her true voice is now unrecognizably hidden behind a thick layer of effects/learned 'tricks'.

Everything could be just fine, if she (voluntarily) has had many lessons to train her voice like that (there are very skilled young singers, although they mostly develop with a lot of guidance in a certain environment, like e.g. the Kings College Choir or the Wiener Sangerknaben) and then I worry for nothing.
She can go far as a singer, but because of her young age a lot of alarm bells go off, if only for what the consequences might be of this early fame in a show that will with no doubt exploit her if she wins.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 11/3/2013, 8:28 pm

On tumblr I made a wish list of Broadway and pop songs I would like Kurt (and Chris) to sing. I figured y'all might like to read it too:



Musical songs :
 
West Side Story: Maria
Sunset Boulevard : With One Look or Sunset Boulevard
The Boy From Oz: I Honestly Love You
Les Miserables: Stars
Kismet: Stranger in Paradise
Starlight Express: AC/DC
A Chorus Line: Surprise
Wicked: What Is This Feeling or Popular
Jesus Christ Superstar: Gethsemane
Promises, Promises: Half as Big as Life
Sweeney Todd: Not While I’m Around
Whistle Down The Wind: Unsettled Scores or A Kiss Is a Terrible Thing To Waste
Chess: I Know Him So Well
Jekyll & Hyde: Good and Evil or In His Eyes
Evita: Another Suitcase in Another Hall
A Little Night Musc: Send In The Clowns
Gypsy: You Gotta Get a Gimmick
La Cage Aux Folles: I Am What I Am
Annie Get Your Gun - Doing What Comes Naturally
Song and Dance: Unexpected Song


Pop songs (old and new) :
 

Under Pressure - Queen + David Bowie
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – George Michael (Elton John)
Only The Very Best – Peter Kingsberry
Fire With Fire - Scissor Sisters
I Should Have Known Better – Jim Diamond
Goodbye To Love – The Carpenters
Every Tear Is a Waterfall - Coldplay
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
If I can't have you - Adam Lambert
For Crying Out Loud - Meatloaf
Only You – The Platters
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Platters
Grace Kelly - Mika
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word – Elton John
Lost - Michael Buble
Grenade - Bruno Mars
Crying – Roy Orbison
Take On Me - A-Ha
Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams
Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  ColferInspired on 11/3/2013, 10:12 pm

I finally found the time to read your latest review. wub 

Can't wait for your next one. neutre 

And I agree with a lot of the songs you suggested. Smile
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Lottie2303 on 11/4/2013, 6:58 am

Thank you, Marie, for all the great work bisou 
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REVIEW: Christmas Don't Be Late

Post  Glorfindel on 12/29/2013, 9:59 pm

REVIEW: Christmas Don’t Be Late - The Chipmunk Song (CDBL).

Even though the canon time in season 5 of Glee seems to have come to a screeching halt and put the show in a its own Groundhog Day time-bubble Fox/RIB still wanted a Christmas episode this season to sell Christmas songs on iTunes. Therefore they came up with the ‘brilliant’ idea of a ‘Previously Unaired Christmas’ episode (PUC), which supposedly took place at Christmas last year, so 2012 in Glee canon.
Whether or not this episode is real canon is debatable (I’m in the “it’s canon” corner myself) but what’s not is the existence of 3 new Christmas songs that has Kurt on them. That’s a lot to be thanking Santa Claus for! ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and ‘Away In a Manger’ will get their own reviews of course, but in this review I’ll try to give a little insight in ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late’ (CDBL).
 
When the Glee version of CDBL first was released I read many comments that it was exactly the same as the original chipmunk song. Indeed: some people believed it was not even a cover at all but thought that Glee simply used the original song. And it does seem pointless, doesn’t it, to speed up and tweek perfectly fine voices (which we don’t get to hear that often as it is anyway) in a way that they’re completely unrecognizable and resemble chipmunk voices! To be honest: at first I agreed, as us Kurtsies have had to do with scraps from the table for our beloved character for too long and we are hungry for Kurt’s singing. ‘Wasting’ his voice on a chipmunk song is like watching good food being burned and charred into uneatable black crisps right in front of us.
But then the scene of the song was released and it left me in stitches from laughter.  ptdr
Seldom have I seen such an OTT funny, hilarious scene on Glee lately, and I can’t even recall when was the last time I laughed so hard because of Glee (and the same goes for the use of ‘Love Child’ in this episode, btw). So it was all worth it in the end, I guess, and I fully admit that placating my still rumbling tummy for Kurt songs with another HummelPezBerry trio song and a nice group number in the same episode played a huge part in this quick acceptance and embracing of this rodent song.
And after reading this review you may find out, just like I did, that ‘wasting’ some of Glee’s best voices on a chipmunk song was not such a bad idea after all.  fanny2 

 
Youtube :

Alvin and the Chipmunks version:




Glee version:


(if the video is taken down by Fox, as they do after a few months: here's the link to the video on my tumblr: link.)

 
The lyrics:
 
Cody:
Alright you chipmunks, ready to sing your song?
Kurt:
I say we are!
Santana:
Yeah, let's sing it now!
Cody:
Okay Rachel?
Rachel:
Okay.
Cody:
Okay Santana?
Santana:
Okay.
Cody:
Okay Kurt?...Kurt?...KURT!
Kurt:
OKAY!

Kurt, Rachel and Santana:
Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We've been good, but we can't last,
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast.
Want a plane that loops the loop,

Kurt:
Me, I want a hula hoop.

Kurt, Rachel and Santana:
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas, don't be late.

Cody:
Ok Fellas, Get ready.
That was very good, Rachel.
Rachel:
Naturally!
Cody:
Very Good Santana.
Santana:
He He He He.
Cody:
Uh Kurt, You were a little flat.
Watch it, Kurt...Kurt?...KURT!
Kurt:
OKAY!

Kurt, Rachel and Santana:
Want a plane that loops the loop,


Kurt:
I still want a hula hoop.

Kurt, Rachel and Santana:
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas, don't be late.
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas, don't be late.

 
 
x
 
How to turn a Christmas elf into a chipmunk :
 
The rumors that the version of ‘Chistmas Don’t Be Late’ used on Glee was actually the original Chipmunks song can be easily disproven. When the Glee version was released I changed the pitch and slowed it down a bit (song on my tumblr), and even though the voices of Lea and Naya are still too chipmunkish to get a complete picture of who is singing what you can still recognize them in some lines. But better ‘evidence’ than them is the voice of Chris, which can be clearly heard and recognized in the (re-)tweeked slowed down version.
 
There are several ways to turn a human into a chipmunk.
- The best way would be to use the Animagus spell, but as that is a dangerous and quite difficult spell to execute, and I doubt that the Glee producers are at N.E.W.T. level when it comes to their wizarding skills (plus I suspect most of them to be Squibs anyway), the safety protocols and insurance policies of the show probably didn’t allow that spell to be used on 3 of their most beloved cast members. Lingering whiskers or a cute striped tail are harder to hide in make-up than tattoos after all.  tonguue 
 
- Another way to change a voice to chipmunk pitch is to inhale helium, as Kurt, Rachel and Santana did on the show by deflating helium filled balloons into their mouths, but that only gives a very temporarily effect that lasts only seconds, so never for the duration of a 2 minute long song.
When helium is being inhaled the very light density of the gas changes the resonance of the voice (as in how a sound eventually sounds to the receiving ear due to the environment it is released in, like an echo/reverb in a church or muffled sound in a steamed sauna). In a helium filled environment (like the mouth and throat of a human being) a sound travels up to about 2.5 to 3 times its speed compared to the usual N2/O2/Co2 Earth atmosphere, influencing the overall sound of the voice, its timbre, to a seemingly higher pitch.

However: the actual pitch/height of the voice does not really change when inhaling helium, as the pitch is created purely physically by the body and inhaling helium does not effect the muscles of the vocal chords (like their vibrating speed) : it just seems that the voice sounds higher pitched due to the faster travelling of the sound through the ‘air’ to the ear or recording device. Here’s an example of a voice effected by helium: wikipedia/helium.ogg.

Whether helium acts like a drug I don’t know. I can’t imagine inhaling helium is very good for the brain as it gets deprived of its proper supply of oxygen. Combined with high amounts of alcohol and hormones (in Kurt’s case, lol) it must have created drunken giggles at least, but getting really high from it seems unlikely, as you’d probably pass out first from lack of oxygen before any interesting tripping could occur. 
 
In theory Chris, Lea and Naya could have sung repeatedly little portions and short lines of ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late’ after inhaling helium multiple times, and then the music producers only had to paste everything together to create their very own version of the Chipmunks’ Christmas song.
But inhaling helium too many times is dangerous and can even cause death by asphyxiation, as you literally replace the much needed oxygen for your body by another, not life sustaining gas. So don’t try this at home, kids. And this the writer of PUC got very right and deliberately put in the show: Santa Cody take out a helium container/tank from his bag, but they made sure to also show that Kurt, Rachel and Santana sucked the helium out of the balloons Cody filled for them instead of directly from the tank, as this wikipedia article (which I read to refresh my helium knowledge, as I’m not a scientist and any school chemistry classes are way in the past) points out that a pressured cilinder like a helium tank could cause ruptured lungs if you try to inhale helium directly from it. So really: don’t try this at home.  Shocked 
 
- The music producers luckily valued their New York cast members too much to use either the difficult Animagus spell or the unhealthy helium gas on them, and resorted to Muggle techniques by using the magic and chemistry of electricity and computers to get the desired result: they simply recorded the song very slowly and in a low key, and then they sped it up and raised the key till Chris, Lea and Naya’s voices reached chipmunk level.
 

x
 
Pitch:


In order for the lovely, velvety voices of Chris, Lea and Naya to sound like very excited rodents they had to raise the key of  CDBL with about 8 semitones. That’s 2/3 of an octave!  blinkk 
I wrote “about” 8 semitones because that’s the pitch I eventually ended up deciding to give the best ‘natural’ sounding result on Chris’ voice. And I used almost only Chris’ voice as a standard measure to get the right, natural voices’ pitch, because of 3 reasons:
1) Chris has the lowest voice of the 3 singers in CDBL, and therefore his voice would need the most tweeking, so getting his voice back to almost normal would automatically get me the closest results for the girls too.
2) Because Chris has the lowest voice he’s also the most distinguishable among the 3 voices, as the other 2 voices are female and more ‘weaved’ together in the song.
3) Being a Kurt fan I can recognize and recall Chris’ natural voice much better than Lea’s and Naya’s voices, so approaching the sound of his natural voice by trying out different keys was easier to do than focusing on either of the girls.
BTW: just in case you hadn’t figured it out by yourself: they of course added Santa Cody’s normal pitched voice after they raised the key of the song.
 
Speed:


Besides the higher pitch the music producers also sped up the song considerably to get the chipmunk-like voices. Do you remember (at least the dinosaurs amongst us who had a pick-up in the Dark Ages before the mp3 was invented) getting the giggles when playing a 33rpm (revolutions per minute) gramophone record at 45rpm speed? We were so easily entertained back then.  Smile 
Well, that’s basically what Glee (and the producers of the original Chipmunk movies) did too. At first I thought that they only sped up the song about a quarter or a third faster than the original speed, as speeding up a 33 record to 45rpm already gives quite a good result. That’s why I initially sped up CDBL by 1/4 myself.
But even though I knew there must have been additional tweeking in the Glee music studio that my simple audio processing computer-program can’t reverse I was not completely happy with the result of that first attempt at recovering the natural Kurtcheltana voices.
 
There was also a hint of more stuff going on in the song that I didn’t catch at first. I noticed it first with Chris: when he was singing “I still want a hula hoop” in the 2nd verse he inhaled again before “…hoop”. Chris has excellent breathing techniques, and him having to take an extra breath to finish a simple line would normally not be necessary. Once I had heard that extra inhale from Chris I noticed the girls doing the same on several other lines, and neither Lea nor Naya need that either, under normal circumstances, that is.
Something during recording made them take these extra breaths, and that could only be having to sing even slower (and therefore getting out of breath before the end of a line) than I initially thought they did. So, taking my cue from the reported helium effect, I slowed down the song to 2.5 times of the Glee finished chipmunk song’s duration, going from a 2 minutes song to over 5 minutes!  ohmy 
And here’s what I got:  Arrow  link to my tumblr.
(BTW: I edited the Cody talk and the instrumental break out of the slowed down version I posted, hence the ‘only’ 4 minutes length.)
The extra intake of breath of Chris is at 2.20 of the slowed down version.
 
So the Glee music editors needed approximately a raise of  +8 pitch and an acceleration of 2 to 2.5 its normal speed to get Chris, Lea and Naya to sing in chipmunk voices.  Shocked 

 
 
“The Rain In Spain Stays Mainly On The Plane”, aka diction:


After all the re-tweeking I did to get the original voices back they are still not sounding naturally (although Chris comes close), but this is the best I can do. At least the slowed down version gives us an indication of how the fab 3 recorded the song. Instead of an upbeat high-pitched song they recorded a sluggish and low slow ballad!
Singing so slow and low knowing the desired end result must have given them many giggling moments in the studio! It might be interesting to point out that though it must have been fun to record a song like that it’s not as easy as it sounds. Besides needing a lot of breath control for the long lines, it also required from the singers:
1)  a very good feeling of beat/rhythm, as the slow beat gives little footing in the music and they’d have had to count the beat of the singular notes along in their heads, and
2) an impeccable pronunciation/diction, as the sped up version still needed to have understandable and distinguishable lyrics, and faster or sped up talk often results in slurred and mumbled words.
 
 
x
 
Harmonies :
 
Another advantage the slowed down and lower pitched ‘reversed’ version of the Chipmunk Christmas song I made offers me is that it was much easier to use that version to detect the different voices and their harmonies.
As I mentioned before: distinguishing the girls’ voices is a bit difficult, and some of the notes Santana sings I had to guess and fill in the blanks by using music science logic instead of actually really hearing the notes, but I think I got the overall picture. But just to indicate that I’m not sure about her notes I’ve drawn them a little smaller in the next diagrams, and I won’t analyze them as thoroughly as I do with Chris’s harmonies with Lea.  unsure 
 
- Lea sings the lead melody, which, as you can see in the diagram below, is right in the middle of the 3-part harmony. It’s actually a bit odd that she sings lead on this song, as Kurt clearly is the ‘Alvin’ in CDBL, with the only 2 solo lines. Solos are usually sung on the main melody, so Chris literally had to take over Lea’s lead melody to sing those solo lines and then ‘jump’ back down to his lower voice. It would have been more logical if Chris had sung the entire lead.  dryy 
I guess that Glee is so used to having Rachel sing lead on practically every song she sings in that it’s their default mode, and nobody even stopped to think that this time it really should have been Kurt leading, as he was ‘Alvin’. Another possibility could be that they let Lea sing lead so she wouldn’t need to sing very low, as Chris’s lower harmony goes as low as an E3(!), which would be harder for Lea to sing (although not impossible for a regular mezzo-soprano, or they could have had Naya sing the lowest voice and Lea the higher 2nd voice).
 
- Naya sings a higher 2nd voice, mostly in thirds and fourths intervals, with just a few deviations. It isn’t hard for her to sing higher than Lea (even though Lea has a higher voice than her), because the song is set so low that even she does not have to sing higher than a G4!
The interval spaces between Naya’s voice and Chris (leaving out Lea in the middle) are mostly sixths (strongest harmony interval after a third) with a few seventh and fifth intervals. As the song has 3 layers of voices the harmonies create perfect chords between the 3 of them.  hapitgh 
 
- Chris also sings a 2nd voice, or better said: a 3rd voice, as his voice is the lowest of the 3 voices. It consists mostly out of thirds and fourths intervals, but with a few interesting exceptions:
 
“Christmas, Christmas time is near,
Time for toys and time for cheer.
We've been good, but we can't last,
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast.”


Santana/Naya = purple
Rachel/Lea = red
Kurt/Chris = green
 


- As you can see in the first diagram Kurt’s 3rd voice and Rachel’s lead roughly follow the same melody pattern (like 2 rails of a railway track), except that Kurt often repeats the same note when Rachel gets to have a little more melody variation. Often these little ‘jumps’ in the lead melody are the cause that the usual thirds intervals between them turn into fourths or an occasional second interval.
Kurt has a lot of those repetitive notes, and this can be boring to sing (and therefore demanding extra concentration) under normal circumstances, let alone in an extremely slowed down song like CDBL.
 
- In the diagram I added a blue line to connect the many green and red dots on the same note (in the middle). This note (the A3) gets sung by both Chris and Lea many times, and they go back and forth on it in a musical leapfrog. It’s important that they both sang that note pitch perfect all the time, or it would have been jarring everytime they switched.
The same pattern also is noticeable a bit between the lead voice and Santana’s part. All in all the 3 voices are very close together and moving simultaneously like a school of fish. As you can imagine one of them slightly deviating from these huddled close together voices would have had an immediate audible effect on the harmony.
 
 
“Want a plane that loops the loop,
Me, I want a hula hoop.
We can hardly stand the wait,
Please Christmas, don't be late.”





- This is the diagram which has the Kurt solo line in it: “Me, I want a hula hoop” (inbetween the 2 black vertical lines). BTW: In the 2nd chorus Kurt sings “I still want a hula hoop”.
If you can picture in your head the green line of Kurt’s solos as red instead you see clearly how that line was meant for the lead voice, as it connects the red dots of the line before and after the solo line. Chris had to ‘jump’ up from his lower 3rd voice to sing Alvin’s solo line, and then jump back down to continu the 3rd voice.
 
- Right after the solo line there’s a little descent of semitones in Kurt’s 3rd voice (I put a blue arrow underneath it), a ‘cascade’ which is different than the overall pattern of his 3rd voice. This little cascade is playful and provides more variation in the intervals, creating fifths, a sixth and a seventh, plus it uses a semitone which is not in the key the song is set in (an Aflat in a C major key), which makes the harmony a little bit jarring, but in a good way. The seventh at the end raises the anticipation/tension for the conclusion in the last line of the song.
In the repeats of this line the first 2 words (“We can…”) are sung lower, but the rest of the cascade remains intact, including the Aflats.
 
- In the same line that has the semitones cascade in Kurt’s 3rd  voice, Santana’s 2nd voice suddenly dives under Rachel’s lead voice, or Rachel’s lead voice jumps over Santana’s 2nd voice: it all depends on how you look at it. In the diagram I also had them share a few notes together, but I’ll be honest and say that I couldn’t hear that clearly, so it could be that I simply didn’t hear Naya sing something else over Lea’s voice.  blushh 
 
- The repeat of the chorus after the instrumental break is practically the same as the first one, except for a often used key change to 2 semitones higher, and the 2 notes that Chris sings differently in the cascade, so I won’t write about that chorus separately.
 
- BTW: I’m 99% sure the “Tickle me” is Naya.  moque 
 

x
 
Chris :
 
If my theory of the slow and low recording of CDBL is correct, and I managed to guess the key for their natural voices right, then Chris had to sing very low in his range. Which is quite ironic, as he often gets ‘insulted” (even by himself) for having a chipmunk voice high pitch!
 
Chris’ vocal range as we know it:
A2-B2-C3-D3-E3-F3-G3-A3-B3-C4-D4-E4-F4-G4-A4-B4-C5-D5-E5-F5-G5-A5-B5
 
I underscored the range of notes he sang in CDBL (if my original key is correct). His lowest note in CDBL would be the E3, his highest the F4sharp.
All these notes he sang in his low register (chest voice), which is even more ironic when you think of it. For Chris that must have been a bit awkward, as I believe he once said singing so low for a long time is something he’s not comfortable with, probably also because he was forced to sing low almost constantly while singing in choir in his childhood as noone recognized the countertenor in him.
Lea and Naya also had to sing relatively low in their ranges, especially Lea, as she has a higher voice type than Naya but sang lower than her in CDBL.
 
I like how Chris embodied the funny Alvin the chipmunk cheer in his singing and the spoken lines in the song. Remember: he had to incorporate that cheer while speaking and singing low and slow. Just listen to his stretched out “Ooooookaaaayy”.  Razz 
 

Did the chipmunk song waste Glee’s best voices?


The finished version of CDBL distorted the voice timbres of the singers because of the higher pitch and the faster speed. But we know now that Chris, Lea and Naya in reality had to sing very slowly, and low in their voice range. There are also many repetitive notes in their melodies, plus they had to repeatedly ‘take over’ a note from one of the other singers. This made singing CDBL difficult, as they all had to sing pitch perfect on long, slow, vibrating tones (so no individual ‘scooping’ or gliding would be allowed, and especially Lea had to reign that in, and she did) or else the slight deviations in tone would have caused a jarring dissonant. And speeding the song up and a higher pitch would have amplified even very little flaws. In the mean time the song also required a lot of breath(-control) and precise articulation.
 
So even though ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late’s a silly, fun song that turned their voices into a childish jumble Chris, Lea and Naya still had to pull off singing an elaborate 3-part harmony while the slow and low recording challenged their breathing, range, pitch and pronunciation.
Their excellent vocal skills were not wasted on this chipmunk song but very much needed!  wub 

Of course it’s a pity that the end result does not really reflect that, as CDBL will only be “that silly chipmunk Christmas song” to most people, and unfortunately it’s not really a nice, peaceful song you put on your annual Christmas playlist because of the annoying chipmunk pitch, so not many fans bought it from iTunes.
 
Is ‘Christmas Don’t Be late’ a waste or not?
Yes, when you consider the sparse times we get to hear HummelPezBerry sing together, as a trio, in duet or separately on the show: I’d exchange CDBL for a Kurtana or Hummelberry duet anyday (let alone a Kurt solo).
No, if you look at what vocal techniques and musicality it took to pull this off, and what fun the song’s scene was in the show.
 
 
x
 
Final remark :
 
I thought this was going to be a nice, short review (not much to tell except for how the music producers made chipmunks out of Chris, Lea and Naya), something I could finish in the few free days before Christmas, right in time to give my very own Christmas present to the fandom.  cvece 
I figured that ‘Christmas Don’t Be Late’ would be a warming up before I tackled the other Christmas songs of 5x08, as both ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ and ‘Away in a Manger’ have harmonies that I know will take time to review properly. So when I began writing this review I even added the helium stuff to fill what I expected to be a thin review up a bit.
 
But then I got to the harmonies of CDBL, and where I thought I could dismiss that easily by saying something like “they did mostly a harmony in thirds intervals” as I sometimes did in other songs, the harmonies turned out to be a lot more complex. The review writing came to a grinding halt and I had to dissect the song note for note (and it was extra difficult with the distortion of the chipmunk tweeking), writing the harmonies down for each singer and drawing them up in a diagram in Paint, which took me all my free hours of 2 days (after Christmas), and writing about it in this review took me another.
 
Not that I minded doing the extra work (except for the fact that I couldn’t post the review on Christmas Eve like I wanted to), because I spent some great hours with the harmony puzzle I laid out for myself. I’m weird that way, lol. areu 
And while I was dissecting and drawing, with reddened cheekbones while softly humming the tones I needed to identify, as the harmonies slowly revealed themselves, suddenly my awe for Chris, Lea and Naya reached a new high.
They keep amazing me, and they work together so well.  wub 
 
When I write these reviews I’m mostly in ‘vocal coach’ mode, especially when I have to do something music theoretically/technically challenging like figuring out harmonies, and one of the by-effects of this ‘mode’ is that I then sort of view Chris as if he were one of my students. A student who’s voice I’m familiar with for a while now, able to recognize its strengths and weaknesses, following his education and evolution as a singer over the years.
And then to hear Chris tackle the unexpected technical difficulties of this song as if he really was trained at a school like NYADA….. it was nice to be reminded of what he can do musically, and how immensely proud I am of his abilities and progress as a singer and performer.   aa54 
So I consider that as a (late) Christmas gift to myself.  hapitgh 
 

x


Last edited by Glorfindel on 1/2/2014, 6:26 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 12/29/2013, 10:41 pm

yay! more song analysis! thank you so much marie! i cant believe you even listened to that chipmunk song. what a waste of 3 great voices!
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  valkeakuulas on 12/30/2013, 5:20 am

It was indeed a fun song. I thought the pause before the last hoop was endearing, because it happens to a lot of kids when they sing, or indeed to adults who are a bit...drunk, because they forget how much they need to intake breath or they forget how long the verse was going to be. Razz

I know it might have taken truly extra effort to listen to that slowed down version. All the kudos for that!
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Buenos on 12/30/2013, 5:23 am


fantastica: wrote:what a waste of 3 great voices!




OTOH, I'd rather those three sing on my screen a chipmunk song than the mind numbing boring songs of most of the New New Direction numbers.  That number had visual fun and the characters of Rachel/Kurt and Santana brought on the  comedy on screen.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Delight on 12/30/2013, 7:46 am

Thanks, Marie, for your dedication in analysing a song such as this. I'm particularly tickled that you went all Sherlock Holmes-y and used the fact that Chris needed to take a breath when he normally wouldn't have to as a clue that they all had to sing slower to make this song work. Who would've thought that it'd be such a challenge to sing chipmunk? I thought that everything would just be tweaked in the studio and that's that.

And thank you for the lesson in physics about the helium-induced pitch change (it's a phenomenon that had intrigued me but never made me curious enough to find out how it came about)  neutre 
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Glorfindel on 12/30/2013, 3:17 pm

^Thanks to wikipedia.  fanny2 
I learned the theory about helium in school a long time ago, but I was glad I checked wikipedia first for the review, because my memory jumbled quite some things.
Makes you wonder how much of the things in your life you remember wrong.  unsure 


valkeakuulas wrote:I know it might have taken truly extra effort to listen to that slowed down version. All the kudos for that!
Haha, the slowed down version was convenient because I had more time to memorize, reproduce and write down the notes they sang. So that was a plus.

But after a while the very slow tempo started to drive me up the wall: even when I could start the song at about the time I needed to check e.g. a melody or harmony, after needing to hear the same line for the umpteenth time I was almost screaming at my laptop for every few seconds I started the song too early, like "Come on!!! I need to hear a note in the line after this one, so get going you 3!!!"   Razz

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Georgette888 on 12/30/2013, 7:54 pm

fantastica wrote:yay! more song analysis! thank you so much marie! i cant believe you even listened to that chipmunk song. what a waste of 3 great voices!

Ah, but when you read Marie's excellent review, she explains why it wasn't a waste. *g*
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  fantastica on 12/31/2013, 12:04 am

i want to hear kurt's voice though. i am addicted to his voice. i don't really care if hte other 2 girls are chipmunks. just want kurt to sing in his real voice.

p.s. i wrote that post before i read it. i had to cook dinner to feed my hungry "house mates".
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  ColferInspired on 12/31/2013, 1:17 am

Thanks for another wonderful review, Marie.  bisou 

That scene was just perfect.

I don't mind the slowed down version of this.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ireth on 12/31/2013, 7:35 am

Wow thanks so much for this great review, Marie! I learnt a lot from this, and I'm impressed by how you "solved the mystery" of what they did to get the chipmunk song. It really took more effort than I realized to get this song done. And the end result was worth it, what a cute song and wonderful scene!
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Ranwing on 12/31/2013, 11:31 am

Marie, thank you for putting in so much effort (and doing a serious CSI job) to show just how hard it as to pull off CDBL and that the talent of the singers involved shouldn't be discounted. Had Lea, Chris and Naya not been as strong singers as they are, the song would have been a jumbled mess. My only complaint is that we've been shorted on this group singing so much (Chris especially) that I desperate miss more straight numbers from them and would love to hear a proper trio performance by them.

It's also a great credit to Lea, Chris and Naya that the song which was a novelty number ended up being the highlight of the episode, showing that it take more than just being able to carry a tune to be compelling performers.

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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Kurt addict on 1/7/2014, 8:00 pm

Thanks so much for the review, as per usual you had me gripped. \I loved this episode and Chris singing on Away in a manger, i dont know this version we dont have this version in the part of england i live at least, the layering of Chris's voice was really beautiful and i think it showed that he is not a stranger to singing carols, i loved the way he held the end notes!
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Porcelain on 1/15/2014, 5:14 pm

Marie, I've loved your reviews so much for so long.  wub As someone with a limited technical knowledge of singing, they've been enlightening and oh so fun to read! So brava and thank you for all the hard work you must put into these!
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

Post  Buenos on 1/15/2014, 5:26 pm

Best musical education ever I get here because of Marie.
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Re: Kurt's Singing Voice

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