It’s just been stuck in my head lately. Nota, the winners of NBC’s The Sing Off, did an amazing fusion that’s been lodged in my brain of Jay Sean’s “Down”. Watch this: If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. […]

Oh! You Beautiful Doll

Oh, you’re such a beautiful doll!  This 1911 hit was a wartime favorite that shows how Barbershop harmony, ragtime, and popular music overlapped. [Audio clip: view full post to listen] This is sung by Bill Murray and The American Quartet in 1912.  Fantastic stuff here, very vintage.  It’s hard to imagine this being the height […]

The Art of Song Selection 2: Mechanics and Logistics

While it’s well and good to know what your group is about, who your target audience is, where you want to take the group, and if your 2nd soprano is single, that doesn’t actually pick your songs. This article is geared towards the practicality of picking songs, and several methods with their pros and cons. […]

Arranger’s Toolbox: Vocal Percussion

“Guh, chicka chicka tss” “Doof, tepuh kss” “Pfft dubba dubba, kcha” It’s a fallacy that drums noises are reserved to just drums, just as vocal percussion is limited to the vocal percussionist. If you can speak, you can do VP, and if you’re writing arrangements for people who can speak…well, everyone can be a drum […]

Practice suggestions for VP

I’ll be putting up my article about vocal percussion soon, but I thought I’d give you all an opportunity to study-up before class. Try to imitate drums in heavy metal songs. Let out your secret love for Linkin’ Park and Metallica, and just give your mouth a go. Put on some Emperor and see what […]

Paganini vs. Paul Gilbert

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it’s missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe. Man, I love Paul Gilbert. Stupid-fast metal guitar always appeals to that pick wielding side of me, and he has such a sense of humor about it. […]

SmarterGuide: The art of song selection

Song selection is tricky business. It might not make or break your group, and each individual song choice might not matter that much, but a group’s audience and reputation are largely determined by the catalog of music they present. So before you decide on your group’s lineup for the year, or the semester, mull over your priorities.

“Runnin’ With The Devil” Soundboard and Vocal Track

If you don’t already know, the first track on Van Halen’s first album features a thrilling vocal performance by lead singer David Lee Roth. In fact, the first sound you hear from David Lee Roth in the entire Van Halen catalog is his opening multi-tonal wailing in “Runnin’ With the Devil.” [Audio clip: view full […]

Sammy Davis Jr. – For Once In My Life

The more I see of Sammy Davis Jr., the more I have to love him.  He’s singing a classic tune, updated to some funk/disco hybrid, while wearing hideous striped pajamas and smoking a cigarette suggestively.  He’s so skinny at this point too.  I do wonder what the rest of the Rat Pack was up to […]

Jackson Five Rehearsal, 1970

If you have been involved in producing music for stage or recordings, you are probably well familiar with the trials and tribulations of rehearsal–especially when your bandmates have trouble focusing and a penchant for doodling around.  Or is that diddling?  Either way, I’m quite reassured to know that an act as high-quality and successful as […]