My favourite singer is the late Jo Stafford. One thing I found so remarkable was her ability to sing well in so many venues, from pop, vocal, blues, jazz, and well you name it.
One thing Stafford did was make comedy records as Darlene Edwards and Cinderella G Stump. Oddly her first Number 1 song was a comedy renditon of the song Temptation called Tim-tay-shun.
But throughout the songs she is always able to sing the same, even though she is singing way off key or in dialect. I was just wondering for a person with a great voice how hard is it to consistently sing bad. You would think your ability to carry a tune would over come this.
Now I know back in Stafford’s day they didn’t use tape, she said so, so they had to do it in takes.
Here she is singing Tim-Tay-Shun
Here she is singing as Darlene Edwards doing her version of the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive
Here she is singing normally Shenandoh
By the way Stafford mention in the CD interview she gave for the release of her “Ballad of the Blues” album on CD that the Bee Gees were not happy with her for her remake. She also says, despite the press she does not have perfect pitch as reported. She says she has good relative pitch and is a very careful singer.
So my question is for those who can carry a tune well, how hard is it to sing off-key throughout a song?
I sing horribly without even trying. And I’m completely incapable of singing well. I’ve often wondered this same thing too.
I wonder if people in that situation purposefully make up an out-of-key melody and sing that perfectly, or if they can just “sing bad” without thinking about it.
I don’t have perfect pitch but I do have something pretty close. I’ve intentionally sung badly for comedic reasons and the ease will depend on how you do it, at least in my experience.
If you know the song that you’re singing, and presumably in the examples given Ms. Stafford was very familiar with the material that she was singing before she recorded her comedic versions, then singing off key, or singing too sharp (which is really what she did with the Bee Gees song) can be as simple as getting a starting note that’s wrong, then singing from memory, without listening to the track you’re singing along with. Or getting, for example, only the rhythm, so you keep time (sort of) without hearing the melody which could pull you back on key.
If you actually have accompanying music and you’re trying to sing off-key to it, that’s much more difficult, you have to consciously remember to sing (and project, if singing for a live audience) which consciously remembering not to try to match your pitch. To do that and act, as well, as has been known to happen in certain instances? Incredibly hard.
Like friedo, I’m just naturally talented at singing consistently bad. I wish I could share my gift with many people, but I don’t particularly care for smashed tomatoes on my clothing.
Wish I could help the OP.