Maybe it's a good thing he never had professional training. There are 2 friends of mine, IMO who's natural voices sounded much better BEFORE their training.
There are those who are gifted with voice the same way as one can be born a math or science genius.
You may be born with a talent or love for music, but should you come out sounding 'less' after lessons, something's wrong with your teacher..! There are those who don't even notice students not standing up right and such. Strange but true. It's what bothers me concerning Billy Gilman. He has got a vocal coach, but he lacks sufficient breathing support. It doesn't matter in that context that I still do love him, but something's odd about that teacher.
Elvis was an "instinct and feeling" type of singer IMO he may have been put off by someone trying to explain how to breath and phrase. Sometimes individuals learn more by trial and error. I alway thought the long jams and gospel singing were just that-he could work on breath control, phrasing, style and have fun. Classes would not have been the same and he may have not learned as much.
My daughter is a singer and has had no formal training. She started when she was 12 and is now 20. I knew she had talent when she was young but now she just blows me away at the range she is developing. This is all from countless jam sessions and just playing around to see what could be done with a song.
I'm not saying she couldn't get better with training (especially breathing), but she sounds fantastic with her own style.
If you have a natural and unique voice you do not need professional training because vocal coaches make you sing perfect and you would sound different. Right?
Could have B.B. King been a greater guitar player if he had taken formal classical guitar studies?
Anyhow, Elvis did had a singing coach in the latter years of his life.
I'll probably get shouted down for saying this,but to me, not only was Elvis everyman he was also every singer. By that I mean, he was influenced vocally by singers he admired.
It's a known fact that he was a big fan of Tom Jones and I'm sure you'll find it was around this period that he started getting the big voice sound.
I seem to remember many years ago reading that he had some voice training while stationed in Germany. How true this is I don't really know, but you have to admit that his vocal abillities certainly did change. We all know from his Jonny Cash and and jonny Ray that he was a born mimic.
I would really like to see someone do an in depth search on this subject instead of writing some of the trash that has been written about him.
It's not to say Elvis had a lack of ability or talent, don't get me wrong!
I just think that with some classical education he could have had a lot of fun and could have grown in some respects, which wasn't possible in Vegas, for instance. But no, you don't sing an opera without education or help (at least not to the maximum of possibilities) - but I'm sure Elvis had the raw talent for it.
Remember that people taking professional classes learn by trial and error too. They don't read a book and then go on to sing flawlessly, LOL!
BB King is a neat blues player, but not the best guitarist in the world. That honor is for Kazuhito Yamashita, if you ask me. He can play anything from blues to classical - I know he did marvellous interpretations of 'normal' songs such as Greensleeves or songs by the Beatles - that's why I think this man should consider putting Elvis' or Roy Orbison's tunes to the test and take these to a higher level (another dimension - this guy seems crazy I can tell ya).
You can play the guitar or sing, but you can't take art to a higher level without some help/education. Believe me, all the great artists (visual or musical) from a distant cultural past had lessons: Michelangelo or Mozart, it makes no difference. I'm sure these artists had qualities Elvis would have loved to watch or listen to. It's no crime having a teacher.
Actually if you listen to the private recordings he made in the early and mid 60s he was already into the big voice type singing. He was attempting "What Now My Love" in private. He had already recorded "Its Now Or Never" and "Surrender" in 1960 long be fore he knew Tom Jones and his style. Mario Lanza is probably one of his inspirations for big open throat singing IMO He had admired him since he was a teenager.
Originally Posted by Cliff
No thats true its no crime to have a teacher and to seek help. But not everyone responds the same to it. For some it takes them to the nest level to others it makes it nothing but "school" Theres no way to know how Elvis might have done with some formal training since he never attempted any.
I will say this in school we had to sing scales when I was in chorus-it ws boring and the time just crawled. When I had my first band and we jammed it was fun and I expanded my voice at the same time-I could not wait until our next practice. Chorus on the other hand was laborous and I hated going. Different methods for different personalities.;)
Well not every class is a good one I can tell. For me it's difficult to find people who understand my stubborn nature and ambition.
But I know Elvis appreciated real art (remember 'Wild In The Country'; he asks Hope Lange's character "do you think this is art?" while looking at a horrible modern painting and kinda reacts funny to Hope's confirming answer) and wouldn't be put down or intimidated by a person who knew or could do something special.
There?s no such thing as: "the greatest guitar player in the world", to start thinking in those terms its already a stillborn argument. B.B. King and Yamashita are both amazing guitar players in their own terms, but they are worlds apart, certainly Yamashita may have superior techniques and finger agility than King, as well as a deeper musical knowledge but that its only from the classical point of view, that means, it has never been the aim of Mr. King to develope those kind of skills. Yes, Kuzahito due to his skills and great talent (that Im not denying) is somehow able to play the blues, and sound convincent, yet it is not his field and his understanding of it is poor, he can not deliver that feel that grows inside of you like B.B. King or John Lee Hooker, but once again this is not a fault, to be great blues man was never been his aim, neither his condition in life.
Originally Posted by EnigmaticSun
Diferent styles of music requires of diferent abilities, and what its considered a quality in certain type of music, might be fault in other. It is a mistake to compare the value of an artist by taking it out of his context. Can we really say that someone like Hooker or Buddy Guy fault is that they had never took his art to a "higher level" just because what they do does not fit into the classical standings point of view? about what is perfection? What I mean is, from another point of view, the blues world point of view, what Yamashita does in the blues field might be technically impresive but superficial in meaning. Yet, to asumme any of both guitar players its a poor artist without any understanding of the particular cultural context of both might be a mistake.
Now, I will make a stop here to ask you: how do you define a "higher lever" in the art field? You might as well explain to us what its a "normal" song?
I totally agree with you on one thing, Elvis Presley had the vocal qualities and the musical talent to became not only an opera singer but a great one, and yes for that kind of singing you do need formal classical training, and there?s nothing wrong with that. Yet I don?t think that was Presley?s aim, yes, he had an opera coach in the latter part of his life, as I had read somewhere, but his aim was to expand and polish certain qualities in his singing, but never to become an opera singer. His aim and genius were in other musical fields, and he mastered them.
You also might remember than in other kinds of music, there is no such thing as proper academic coaching, you learn by instinct, feel and experience, each musical style has his own tradition of passing the knowledge. Yes, Miles Davis had a teacher, nothing wrong with that, his name was Chalie Parker, not much of a coach but a follow me if you can, and the lesons were more or less the same Elvis learnded his way, observe and mimic, then you get you own feel, then you develope your own thing.
P.S. I don?t think what a character Elvis played in a movie says would be a a good reference to know what Elvis Presley believed on any topic.
Originally Posted by EnigmaticSun
But yes, from other references we do know Elvis appreciated diferent forms of art.
"Schooled training" is good, but it's not the only way a person can learn! That's just the acceptable method for this day & age. Especially with the wide variety of subjects within a subject. For example - guitar playing - there's blues, classical, bluegrass, etc,etc. Elvis studied music his entire life - by studying the preachers in his church, the way sang gospel, their range, their way of telling a story with the song, the way the neighborhood musicians in 'Shakerag District" played the blues on the street corner or in the bars that he may have sneaked it to watch. He learned from Sam Phillips about producing his records - to play a song repeatedly & to listen for that one perfect take. Listening to recordings from Mario Lanza, Dean Martin, & the Blackwood Brothers. Even after his singing grew, he still watched & admired other singers such as Roy Hamilton - whose performances he attended.
I think his voice change was due to age...maturity. If he was educated "vocally", he would have sounded like everyone else that was educated vocally. His "no vocal" education is responsible for him being THE KING OF ROCK AND ROLL.
1. Like I've said before, people with classical education also learn by trial and error. Not to say it's impossible to learn by trial and error without classical education - but it can be helpful. You could sing the blues like in Big Mama's Thornton 'Hound Dog' (abrasive) or Elvis' 'Hard Luck' (more classical). Classical study doesn't diminish your feeling for the blues if it's in your soul. Elvis studied the opera but never lost his sense of the blues or gospel. Classical study doesn't take away anything (if done properly), it gives you even more.
2. Like I've said before, Yamashita did interpret seemingly 'non-classical' material such as the Beatles' work or folk/country songs - that's why I would encourage the man to try Elvis' work for a change.
Mr. Yamashita didn't live in a coal mine or a shotgun shack, but I still trust him to be able to successfully perform a country song - plenty of classical music is based upon folk songs.
The structure of 'Wooden Heart' seems typically classical and both Elvis and classical singers can do it.
3. Both the Carter Family and Yamashita may convincingly interpret 'the Wildwood Flower', but whereas the Carter Family would play the 'standard' C/G kinda chords, mr. Yamashita would probably know how to re-vamp the melody while keeping it recognizable and intact but impressive. In other words: there are countless of ways to play a seemingly simple melody.
4. My appreciation for mr. Yamashita is part of my personal conviction and based on a combination of technique (rational) and feeling (passion). You're free to think otherwise.
5. You can't serve God and mammon. You'll love one and hate the other. In other words: there's music where the aim is to sound pretty and there's noise for the sake of noise. Simple or technical, the Carter Family and mr. Yamashita would try to sound pretty to the best of their abilities, whereas heavy metal, house or hip hop is just noise for the sake of noise. I'd say Elvis is in the line of timeless things, serving God.
6. Yes, to me it is like the real Elvis in 'Wild In The Country' - but I may be wrong and Elvis could have loved horrible modern paintings.
I think the real Elvis is not like the superficial money-driven guy from Jailhouse Rock, so it's not that I would blindly mistake a movie character for the real Elvis.
7. You people are resisting culture probably because you don't have it, but I know Elvis was quite fond of it. That's why 'How Great Thou Art', 'It's Now Or Never' and 'Hurt' were among his favorites.
You're just like the yes-men who said it's wrong for Elvis to play Beethoven at the piano and should just try a typical E-major song instead, which he had done for so many times already and this material alone really couldn't satisfy all of his needs.
I deeply resent your comment that some of us lack culture just because our opinion is different than yours.
There were many songs Elvis sang that showed his technical ability.
I am a huge lover of classical music, especially Beethoven, and would have LOVED for Elvis to have played it.
However, some of us could care less who or what a Yamashita is and just know what we like to hear.
I deeply resent your comment concerning mr. Yamashita who is my guitar hero/champion and I'm sure you will show more respect when you hear the guy. Yep, made in Japan!
Originally Posted by TLC67
My favorite electrical player is James Burton, if you'd want to know.
You lack argumentation and that's why you attack people personally (ad hominem), whereas I use reasoning to prove the validity of my claims.
I presume you cling on to Elvis' infallibleness, which is a thing some people have used for popes and Hitler alike. My opinion is that Elvis was a sincere, modest and talented man who would have enjoyed being around people who could give him a challenge musically.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying BB King is a mammon server (there are mammon servers in 'classical' music as well). Music of the mammon is either pure noise or soulless, the things you usually hear on the radio nowadays.. With classical education you could learn to understand and play anything with greater ease, whereas blues don't make you master the opera, the art of Fugue or a symphony.