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Pop Vs. Opera?

This week we’re looking at which musical styles demand the most technical focus from the singer.

There has long been a divide between classical and popular approaches to singing. The former has been considered to require considerable technical prowess and the latter was dubbed as an easy alternative. In some ways I can see some truth in this argument, pop songs (on mass) are written to be anthems, memorable & easily singable so that fans can easily latch on to a melodic idea. On the other hand, classical pieces can be written to be enjoyed and admired by their audience, but never copied. What this argument does not consider is the plethora of popular music which requires an immense amount of support and ability from the singer, take power ballads for example! This week we’d like to hear your thoughts on this.       

So the question is: On average, do you think that singers who have trained in the opera tradition more ‘technically able’ than those in the pop world?

Share your views on FaceBook and our Forum!

Great Comments from last week:

Last week Craig asked: In your opinion, is illegal downloading & file sharing killing the industry or simply introducing people to more new music than ever before.

Alex De Hoyos wrote…

“Simply introducing people to more new music than ever before? That’s the nicest way I’ve ever heard someone refer to illegal activities. Killing the industry? Maybe not, but certainly hurting it and changing it. I love music. I’ll buy anything from my favorite artists. I’m happy to pay for it, knowing that hundreds of people may have worked very hard to produce an album that I have greatly enjoyed. I wish musicians and engineers could make some real money off of recordings like they used to. It’s sad that people think they can just take whatever they want. So it’s just something that we have to deal with, I guess”.

Wes Stilman commented…

“I think it helps and it hurts. It hurts sales on the music, but it increases the fan base of the artist as more music is getting around easier and quicker. There ARE still people out there that WILL buy the artist’s music, as well as materials such as shirts or posters. Kiss didn’t make their money off album sales or their shows in the early days, they made money off of merchandise”. 

Suzanna Woods posted…

“All sounds fine for the already successful artists who can command high ticket prices and sell merchandise to offset the sorry state of affairs regarding their intellectual property but unsigned acts (the potential stars of tomorrow) DON’T get paid to play live, they’re lucky if they can find a gig at all, and their original work is no less valid than a proven hit! Illegal downloads (as opposed to legal ones Peter) are hurting new aspiring artists and the industry as a whole is the poorer for it”.

Another great discussion guys! Don’t forget to log on and join the debate next week

All the best, C x

  • Megan Gloss

    As an operatic singer who also sings pop, musical theater and jazz, I don’t know if I would say that classically trained singers are more technically capable or simply more knowledgeable and equipped with more “tools in their tool bag,” so to speak. Having a thorough understanding of my total mechanism definitely assisted me in becoming not only a better singer with a greater range and more power and control over my sound, but it also enabled to me sing in a healthier manner in producing those sounds. Often I find that people that have never had any base of training – classical or otherwise – struggle with vocal deterioration, fatigue, range, pitch and line issues because they are not as familiar with bad habits they have that might be getting in their way or more efficient, healthy and more productive ways of achieving a certain sound. I have been lucky to never have had this despite a grueling schedule, often overlapping singing in these various styles. I credit that completely to my classical training.

    I feel as though classical training also provided me with a greater discipline and appreciation for my instrument and for the work it takes to achieve that level of singing. You seldom hear about operatic singers binging on alcohol, smoking or taking recreational drugs. We have a hard enough time fathoming taking a decongestant when we are ill! And I think it’s because the demands of the voice are so much greater in that of operatic repertoire. You don’t sing with a microphone. You have to fill enormous houses and sing over a full orchestra for 3 or 4 hours. And you have to be musical and accurate. You can’t improvise Mozart – especially when you have an orchestra and other colleagues depending on you. There is a certain expectation. You learn to pace yourself and build your stamina.