elusive word

English translation: break

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:elusive word
English translation:break
Entered by: Elizabeth Lyons

17:43 Apr 12, 2005
English to English translations [PRO]
Music / ---vocal sounds
English term or phrase: elusive word
OK, I am not sure how to phrase the question itself. I am just curious as to whether there is an English word to describe this peculiar sound made by the throat while singing. Sometimes it is unintended, and happens at the wrong time, and it sounds horrible. Sometimes it is used intentionally. The most obvious use is in yodeling. It is also widely used in Celtic-style singing, Spanish cante jondo, and others. Colombian pop diva Shakira, overuses it.
I hope I have explained clearly what I am referring to. For example, a singer could be relating a bad experience to a friend:
"It was horrible, I let out a ___________toward the end of the song. Everyone laughed."
Or:
"Shakira has a good voice. Too bad she overuses those annoying little______".
What´s the word?
There must surely be one!
George Rabel
Local time: 09:02
break
Explanation:
I am not sure if you mean this, but a break in the voice, usually in female voacalists, comes at that place in their range when they must switch from front to back placement. Front placement is used in "belting" and most popular music; back placement is used in operatic singing. There is a note where a natural break occurs which most singers train against. Men rarely have this same problem, with the exception of Irish tenors. I am not sure whether you mean this.
I assume you do not mean "fry" which is intentional and used in jazz and rock singing frequently and not "vibrato" which is also considered a positive feature of vocal cord vibration (when done properly). I would likely use "break" - this break is done intentionally in yodeling. Many country singers use it as well.

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Note added at 9 mins (2005-04-12 17:53:42 GMT)
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I just want to add, that belting is not considered a defect or fault. All broadway musical vocalists and most rock performers are taught to belt. Famous belters include Mariah Carey, Ethel Merman, Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion--in fact the list is endless. If done properly, belting is thrilling, especially on high notes. In fact, most popular artists worldwide enjoy the biggest successes when they know how to belt and belting is done continuously throughout the song, not at the end.

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Note added at 48 mins (2005-04-12 18:31:54 GMT)
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The voice does crack but it is like the different in golf between \'fade\' and \'slice\', the phenomenon is a crack when unexpected and unwanted-a weakness and a lack of support form the diaphragm, the mechanism that causes it is the limitation of vocal range and/or lack of muscle strength and control, improper stance, etc.; but when it is controlled and used deliberately, it is called a \"break\".

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Note added at 52 mins (2005-04-12 18:35:52 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

((Oops, the word different above should be \"difference\" and \"form\" should be \"from\" : typos!))
Selected response from:

Elizabeth Lyons
United States
Local time: 06:02
Grading comment
Much appreciated!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
3 +8break
Elizabeth Lyons
5vibrato/tremolo/afilla
bigedsenior
4 +1Cry
zaphod
3 +1glottal attack/cry
Kim Metzger
4glottal stop
Chris Rowson (X)
3 +1warble/quaver
GoodWords
3 +1crack(s)
ntext
4cracked notes; microtonal inflection(s)
Amy Williams
3trill
Clauwolf
4 -1belting
swisstell
2croak?
María Teresa Taylor Oliver


Discussion entries: 13





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -1
belting


Explanation:
Singer Magazine: Singer University, The Art of Belting - [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]
... Don’t use an overly thick vocal cord on a high note - think “thin” cord for high
... For a romantic, belting sound, I recommend a more yawny feeling, ...
www.singermagazine.com/Singer_ Magazine_Singer_University_Belting.html - 13k - Im Cache - Ähnliche Seiten

Complete Vocal Technique by Cathrine Sadolin - vocal technique ... - [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]
... Belting is used in rhythmic music of some styles and mostly in the high part
... light and sharp sound colour. The volume in Belting stays largely loud. ...
www.sadolin.net/uk/sangteknik/ gennemgang/sangteknik_10.html - 12k - Im Cache - Ähnliche Seiten

Complete Vocal Technique by Cathrine Sadolin - vocal technique ... - [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]
... Belting Overdrive Curbing Classical Growl. A riot against old myths. ...
the chest voice” when you want a high volume and resonant sound on high notes. ...
www.sadolin.net/uk/sangteknik/faq/ - 88k - Im Cache - Ähnliche Seiten
[ Weitere Ergebnisse von www.sadolin.net ]

The Voice Workshop for voice instruction, workshops , master ... - [ Diese Seite übersetzen ]
... I don't believe that the singer CAN have a high larynx in belting, I believe
the singer has no choice, or it isn't going to sound like "belting". ...
www.thevoiceworkshop.com/FAQ.html - 15k


swisstell
Italy
Local time: 15:02
Native speaker of: German

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Vicky Papaprodromou: Hi Erich. Everything is fine here. How about you?
1 min
  -> thanks, Vicky. Hope things are well in Greece.

disagree  ntext: Belting is singing in one's chest voice, which is the exact opposite of what the asker is describing.
26 mins

disagree  Refugio: Norbert is right
47 mins
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13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
warble/quaver


Explanation:
Is it a misfired vibrato?

http://voicestudio.kristinaseleshanko.com/SingingTerms.htm
"Vibrato should not be confused with a warble, which is a large fluctuation in pitch, which is usually the result of bad singing technique."

GoodWords
Mexico
Local time: 08:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Refugio: In the case of Shakira, fits perfectly
42 mins
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32 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
crack(s)


Explanation:
or rephrase, e.g.: his voice was cracking

Example from the web (about Alanis):
“So Unsexy” has the same emotional voice-cracking that made her famous in 1995.


    Reference: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=vocal-cracks&btnG=Googl...
    Reference: http://www.bcheights.com/news/2002/03/19/ArtsReview/Alanis.R...
ntext
United States
Local time: 08:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in category: 12

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Amy Williams
6 hrs
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5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +8
break


Explanation:
I am not sure if you mean this, but a break in the voice, usually in female voacalists, comes at that place in their range when they must switch from front to back placement. Front placement is used in "belting" and most popular music; back placement is used in operatic singing. There is a note where a natural break occurs which most singers train against. Men rarely have this same problem, with the exception of Irish tenors. I am not sure whether you mean this.
I assume you do not mean "fry" which is intentional and used in jazz and rock singing frequently and not "vibrato" which is also considered a positive feature of vocal cord vibration (when done properly). I would likely use "break" - this break is done intentionally in yodeling. Many country singers use it as well.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 9 mins (2005-04-12 17:53:42 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I just want to add, that belting is not considered a defect or fault. All broadway musical vocalists and most rock performers are taught to belt. Famous belters include Mariah Carey, Ethel Merman, Linda Ronstadt, Celine Dion--in fact the list is endless. If done properly, belting is thrilling, especially on high notes. In fact, most popular artists worldwide enjoy the biggest successes when they know how to belt and belting is done continuously throughout the song, not at the end.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 48 mins (2005-04-12 18:31:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

The voice does crack but it is like the different in golf between \'fade\' and \'slice\', the phenomenon is a crack when unexpected and unwanted-a weakness and a lack of support form the diaphragm, the mechanism that causes it is the limitation of vocal range and/or lack of muscle strength and control, improper stance, etc.; but when it is controlled and used deliberately, it is called a \"break\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 52 mins (2005-04-12 18:35:52 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

((Oops, the word different above should be \"difference\" and \"form\" should be \"from\" : typos!))

Elizabeth Lyons
United States
Local time: 06:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Much appreciated!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nick Somers (X): Don't care if it's the right word, I know nothing about the subject but I find your explanation fascinating. :)
8 mins
  -> Thanks Nick! :)

agree  cello: OK. Shakira (for eg) does this yodel-type thing, which is definitely not vibrato, which I do know about, nor fry as you explain it - (strings are my thing in case you hadn't guessed) -:) Is this the same as when as male adolescent's voice "breaks"?
37 mins
  -> Thanks, Cello! :)

agree  Laurel Porter (X): This would be the one - I'm also thinking of "glottal stop" ... FYI, term used very commonly in classical singing. Sounds like "crack" or "cry" would be closer, however.
52 mins
  -> Thanks Laurel, I think you are right that 'glottal stop' is technical. I think of it as a speech analysis term. :)

agree  Refugio
52 mins
  -> Thanks Ruth :)!

agree  María Teresa Taylor Oliver: I'm with Nick! :)
53 mins
  -> Thanks Maria Teresa :)!

agree  swisstell: I think you are closest by far
5 hrs
  -> SwissTell: that is very generous of you. Thanks :)

agree  Alfa Trans (X)
3 days 13 hrs
  -> Thanks so much, Marju :)

agree  Robert Donahue (X)
4 days
  -> Thanks Robert :)
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54 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
glottal stop


Explanation:
is what I would tend to call it. That´s semi-technical though, in more informal contexts, Elizabeth´s "break" is more appropriate. An neither fits with your example of "I let out a ..." where you seem to need an opera-singer´s word that I don´t know.

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Note added at 55 mins (2005-04-12 18:39:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In your Shakira example, I might use just \"stop\" - \"those little stops\".

Chris Rowson (X)
Local time: 15:02
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
croak?


Explanation:
Yes, Shakira uses that [which I hate], but also Dolores O'Riordan from The Cranberries [and I love it]. Don't ask me why I hate it in Shakira and love it in Dolores :P

Anyway, I've always thought that in Shakira it sounds like a frog croaking.

So, maybe, if you want a term that describes something as unflattering, perhaps "croak" would suit you.

Otherwise, I'm lost [i.e. I don't know the musical term for it].

Hope that helps :)

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Note added at 54 mins (2005-04-12 18:38:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Here, Dolores\'s voice is compared to a bagpipe:

http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/EpisodeGuideSummary/sho...

An excerpt from the MTV Unplugged book...\"The strength of The Cranberries is firmly rooted in the power of Dolores O\'Riordan\'s voice. It is an instrument that can be beautiful and whisper-soft at one moment and then suddenly have the piercing power of a bagpipe. Unplugged was therefore an excellent setting for the band and a very special opportunity to hear a voice with so much range in an intimate setting. A string section comprised of violins and guitar, matched with an eerie, blue set complete with old kitchen chairs dangling from the ceiling, gave the show a wonderful junkroom feel. Apologies, though, to the poor folks who were jammed into the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the taping. As part of our staging, we used a smoke machine. Unfortunately, the machine was overzealous, and we set off the building\'s alarm system. Both crowd and band had to be evacuated before the show even got off the ground.\"



Main Entry: 1croak Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: krk
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: Middle English croken, of imitative origin
intransitive verb
1 a : to make a deep harsh sound <the frogs croaked> b : to speak in a hoarse throaty raucous voice <I tried to ask ... but my voice just croaked indistinguishably -- Kenneth Roberts>


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Note added at 1 hr 10 mins (2005-04-12 18:53:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Ahh... perhaps LILT?


Main Entry: 1lilt Pronunciation Guide
Pronunciation: lilt
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): -ed/-ing/-s
Etymology: Middle English lulten
transitive verb
1 : to begin to sing, sound, or play : STRIKE -- often used with up <lilt up your pipes -- Allan Ramsey died 1758>
2 : to sing in a lively cheerful manner <lilting a tune to supply the lack of conversation -- Emily Brontë>
intransitive verb
1 : to sing or speak in a rhythmical manner <whose shrill voice I have heard this half hour lilting in the ... kitchen -- Sir Walter Scott>


Amazon.com: Music: Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can\'t We?
... Dolores O\'Riordan leads the band, and she can do things with her voice that
just don\'t sound human. Her lilting ethereal vocals, backed by excellent ...
www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ tg/detail/-/B000001DXL?v=glance - 78k - Cached - Similar pages

María Teresa Taylor Oliver
Panama
Local time: 08:02
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
Cry


Explanation:
Neil Diamond's lyrics: You can sing it with a cry in your voice. Does it forme.

zaphod
Local time: 15:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Can Altinbay: I think this comes the closest of the suggestions here. It's definitely not a belt or a crack or a trill.
3 hrs
  -> Yeah, Thanks
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
glottal attack/cry


Explanation:
I don't know if this is what you're looking for, George.
--
Style
GENRE-SPECIFIC SINGING
„X Country: Part of what gives country music its southern "twang" is a unique technique known as a "glottal attack" or a "cry." Once again, this technique involves both breath support and resonance placement. Virtually all country singers use this technique to produce a subtle, yodel-like effect, particularly in the higher ranges.

http://www.goliadmusic.com/dallas_voice_lessons.htm


Kim Metzger
Mexico
Local time: 08:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  humbird: Yes CW are full of this sound, often in high pitched tone. Oldtimers were especially so. I don't care much about comtemporary CW though (woops, this last part is a sidenote).
2 hrs
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41 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
trill


Explanation:
:) The rapid alternation of two tones either a whole or a half tone apart.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 26 mins (2005-04-12 19:10:40 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Another produced a trill of Sinatra-style do-bee-do bee-doos, concluding with
the admonition, lifted from a recent beer commercial, to \"beware the ...
musea.digitalchainsaw.com/91modart.html - 13k - Em cache - Páginas Semelhantes

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Note added at 4 hrs 9 mins (2005-04-12 21:53:11 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

One of the funnest parts was Will\'s explanation of how a trill works -- along with
his inimitable Tarzan yell -- and then Yuri\'s demonstration of what it\'s ...
listserv.cuny.edu/Scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind9706a& L=opera-l&F=&S=&P=5211 - 9k - Resultado Adicional

Clauwolf
Local time: 10:02
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese
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7 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
vibrato/tremolo/afilla


Explanation:
Vibrato or tremolo is used in operatic singing.
In cante jondo, the rough or coarse voice that can be cracked or split at will is know as afilla (accent 2nd a), from the flamenco singer Diego El Fillo.
(This is taken from "The Art of Flamenco" page 48, by Donn E. Pohren, published by Editorial Jerez Industrial, 1962.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 hrs 19 mins (2005-04-13 01:03:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

... Singing with vibrato is a matter of taste. Having a choice is a matter of ...
For most singers, the subtle, rhythmical movement of vibrato feels more ...
www.voicelesson.com/html/lessons/free_lessons_07.htm - 20k - Cached - Similar pages

Mrs. Alverson on Vocal Vibrato
... The article entitled \"The Singers tremolo and vibrato—their origin and ...
\'The continued vibrato is the worst defect in singing and is a certain sign ...
www.standingstones.com/alverson.html -


bigedsenior
Local time: 06:02
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
cracked notes; microtonal inflection(s)


Explanation:
Hi George,
A couple of ideas. Bit of an issue with the intended/unintended thing, but here goes:

First of all I thought of Indian music and Eastern European music. I recently sang a piece by Tavener - Thunder Entered into Her ... interesting title, I know...and this kind of intended Byzantine chant-style "hiccup" is referred to in the score as "microtone: a characteristic 'break in the voice' of Byzantine chant". So if you're going technical I would say "microtonal inflections" but this doesn't involve a huge grunt over a few octaves etc.; it's more controlled and - I guess - intended :)

Much less formal (I don't know whether you're looking for formal or not?): an opera singer will "crack" on a note: "I cracked really badly on that note", but they wouldn't say "I let out a crack towards the end of that song". This usually means that they changed register suddenly from their head voice to their chest voice - without wanting to.

"Cracked notes" could be a way to get round this.
"Cracked notes" could be either intentional or unintentional, so that could be a solution.

"Davey-Hatcher's passaggio register seemed problematic, with more than a fair share of stressed or cracked notes. On the other hand, he gave a fine account of "De miei bollenti spiriti" and generally relaxed in the latter acts, displaying an ability to craft an unbroken legato line."


I guess break could work, but don't get it confused with "the break" in one's voice, which is where your chest voice finishes and head voice starts (you can get them in other places, too) - people yodel by going across that break. People often have a weak area at that crossover point and singers work hard at covering it up. Your voice might "crack" when it drops suddenly from your head voice to your chest voice across the "break".

I hope that isn't too confusing.

So...
"It was horrible, I cracked really badly toward the end of the song. Everyone laughed."
Or:
"Shakira has a good voice. Too bad she overuses those annoying little cracked notes."
So much to say but so little time!
Enjoy, George!

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Note added at 7 hrs 2 mins (2005-04-13 00:46:10 GMT)
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Could you give us a link to a sound clip for the exact sound you\'re after, George? I know you\'ve given loads of names but I\'m interested in hearing the exact sound. Cheers!

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Note added at 7 hrs 44 mins (2005-04-13 01:28:03 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Have just been listening to Hank Williams and found this - a tribute site where a Lucinda Williams talks about how she learnt to \"crack\" her voice listening to Hank:

http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/various/various-time...
\"Of particular note is Lucinda Williams\' cover of \"Cold, Cold Heart\". She explains to Phyllis Stark, \"I\'ve always been a fan of Hank. . . . I remember listening to his stuff when I was a kid. My dad was a big fan of his\". She adds, \"Singing Hank Williams\' songs . . . is how I first learned to crack my voice\". In this song of absolute powerlessness, Lucinda\'s voice, like Hank\'s, expresses complete abjection, the dobro musically echoing the hurt of a singer who cannot melt her lover\'s \"cold, cold heart\" but also cannot bring herself to stop trying.



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Note added at 8 hrs 57 mins (2005-04-13 02:41:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks for the link! Wow - she does so much stuff with her voice - scoops, warbles, wiggles, yodels, even - I don\'t even know where to start!

Good luck :)


    Reference: http://www.sfcv.org/arts_revs/sflyric_3_11_03.php
    Reference: http://www.diamandagalas.com/press/bbc_radio0998.htm
Amy Williams
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:02
Native speaker of: English
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