A clear and concise read for every singer’s book shelf.
Item: Ultimate Vocal Voyage by Daniel Zangger Borch, published by Notfabriken.
Mic rating: 5/5
At a glance: This light and manageable book takes the singer through the whole journey: from posture, breath and technique to musicianship, live sound and voice care. The accompanying warm-up CD is based on bluesy scales and funky rhythms that the everyday pop singer will be accustomed too. The author is a renowned vocal coach and researcher, and this book was the result of his PhD study. Although, he emphasizes that this book is written from his perspective as a seasoned rock and pop singer.
High notes: It is great to see that his warm up section doesn’t just skip to the vocalizes; he takes the time to walk us through basic laryngeal massage which is still a burgeoning subject. As he explains different voice styles and qualities, he adds examples of recording artist which allows the reader to truly understand and apply the text. The song mapping task in the ‘Gigs’ chapter may be enlightening to some; requiring you to examine the lyrics and your perspective of the song’s meaning.
Off pitch: If I had to find a fault, the vocal exercises are a little hard to grasp at first and sometimes he leaves you to figure out the key changes and re-intros by yourself. But once you are in the swing of it they are great fun and a nice change from boring arpeggios.
Review: It is clear that this book is for green beginners by the simple lay out, clear diagrams (the clearest I’ve ever seen!) and additional glossary and FAQs section. This is not to say that the more experienced among us wouldn’t benefit from some revision. Daniel’s triple pronged approach: ‘Taking Care of’, ‘Technique’ ‘InTerpretation’ serves as a reminder that we should balance artistry with solid technique and vigilant health care. I have revisited this book many times and always have something useful to take away – from how to use a sound desk to the proper phonetic symbols for vowels. An essential addition for any singer, from nervous student to worn out professional.