Help me choose songs to practice and perform.
June 29, 2010 6:27 PM   Subscribe

I'll be participating in a singing workshop in a few weeks, and I need to choose a pair of songs to sing. The workshop is focused on performance, that is to say communicating the 'emotional content' of the songs to the audience, and less about mastering technically challenging pieces.

I have complete freedom in choosing the songs - they can be anything from pop to opera to songs that I've written. I haven't been able to come up with many ideas other than maybe "Life on Mars" or a song from my band, so consider this an open forum to suggest your favorite tunes that have room for interpretation in their performance and will complement my (male, tenorish) voice.
posted by thedaniel to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here is Chloe, singing Walk Away Renee, apparently as part of a musical workshop. A couple of notes might be out of the tenor range, maybe you can transpose. Van Morrison's Into The Mystic needs a lot of understanding to communicate.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2010

I'm capable of transposing and recording new accompaniment if I have to - I don't necessarily want to, but I can do it.
posted by thedaniel at 6:40 PM on June 29, 2010

Well, there's always Hallelujah: MeMusic challenge versions; Leonard himself, so we don't fight about which cover is better.
posted by rtha at 6:54 PM on June 29, 2010

Even if you don't need something from a musical, Sondheim's Being Alive presents a great opportunity for a tenor to let loose and communicate emotional content. Have fun!
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:58 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

"At the station with the roses" from "Grand Hotel" It is all emotion and "acting" and beautifully sung in the original (actor was a Tony winner.)
posted by leafwoman at 7:16 PM on June 29, 2010

I'm gonna self-link here, because I can't find another contemporary-sounding male vocal rendition of this song, but I would suggest American Lullaby. It might just be me, but I've always thought there was something particularly affecting about a guy taking on a feminine song, with particularly feminine emotions, and taking ownership of them. Of course, this all assumes that you have the vocal chops to give the song its worth. My own voice is... borderline, at best.

I'd suggest self-accompanying with a guitar rather than a piano if you have the chops, and there are several vocal ornamentations that could help to better convey the emotionality. I didn't include them in my rendition because in addition to being severely range-restricted my voice lacks the necessary elasticity - ability to jump smoothly from note to note - to render them in a pleasing manner.

For instance, I'd suggest finishing the first half of the first couplet of each verse by ending on the Major 2nd with a quick dip down to Tonic, rather than resolving directly to the Tonic. Similarly, I'd suggest embellishing the octave jump in the final verse ("poor heart must long") with a jump to the Major 3rd above. I doubt this is sufficiently illustrative of the performance decisions I would make, but that's probably for the best; if you do end up choosing to sing American Lullaby, I wouldn't want to suffocate you with well-intentioned advice.
posted by The Confessor at 7:33 PM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Coincidentally, on my way home tonight "Cannonball" by Damien Rice shuffled on. It's a wonderful song, both a little cryptic and a little lyrical. His "The Blower's Daughter" would also make an interesting choice...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 8:50 PM on June 29, 2010

posted by cmoj at 9:54 PM on June 29, 2010

For a similar-sounding workshop, I sang Tom Waits' "Innocent When You Dream" - while Waits isn't exactly a tenor, I found it totally comfortable to sing as an alto, and emotional without being cloying.
posted by judith at 10:57 PM on June 29, 2010

Shiver me timbers... Check any Tom Waits' cd / you'll find a lot of songs that suit your needs.
posted by nicolin at 2:19 AM on June 30, 2010

Nick Cave's The Ship Song?
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:42 PM on June 30, 2010

Ship Song.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:51 PM on June 30, 2010

Into My Arms?
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:56 PM on June 30, 2010

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