Out of tuneBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Music lovers and pop-concert goers complain about new musical practices, devices or gimmicks that, in their view, have made the performing and recording scenes less than delightful.
At the top of their list is the newfangled “Auto-Tune” gimmick that enhances some singers’ vocal performances. The Auto-Tune device creates interesting and even droll effects when it’s used to “musicalize” short quotes of celebrities’ spoken words, but when it’s added to vocal performances, it has an irritatingly “robotic” effect that dehumanizes those performances.
Music lovers are similarly ticked off by “singers” who lip-sync their songs to a recorded vocal track. Even popular and acclaimed singers do this on occasion, lamely explaining that they resort to the ruse when their voice aren’t in tip-top shape.
Worst of all are the singers who lip-sync while holding a mike—this deludes viewers and listeners into thinking that the singers are performing live.
When we direct concerts, this is where we draw the line: We tell singing stars that they can lip-sync a song or two— but, they shouldn’t hold a microphone, because that’s cheating.
Lip-syncing has been resorted to by more entertainers these days, because many new stars are lousy singers. Despite this glaring limitation, they are required to “sing” when they go on provincial tours and have meet-and-greet sessions with their fans, so they lazily and conveniently lip-sync their way out of those tight spots.
Incredibly, some current talent tilts on TV allow contestants to lip-sync. This is the height of illogic, because the musical requirement is there precisely to establish the contestants’ abilities as singers—and lip-syncing begs that all-important question and renders it moot and academic.
Other musical no-nos: Singers who do “covers” of foreign singing stars’ hit tunes—copying the original singers’ renditions note for note and signature curlicue for curlicue.
Granted, some local music fans prefer and practically require this, but our homegrown singers should have enough amor propio and self-respect not to sound like Xerox copies of foreign singers. If you can’t come up with your own interpretation of songs, what are you contributing to the music biz?
Of course, many singers blame local music fans for this “colonial” preference, but it takes two to tango—and tangle. The singer who apes foreign stars’ musical performances to make their fans happy is an “enabler” who shares the blame for the unhealthy bias in favor of foreign and imported entertainment that has made it difficult for the local music and theater scenes to genuinely progress and come into their own.
We have enough genuinely good singers around, but why aren’t they the ones who become stars? Because they aren’t good-looking enough? If this is the deal-breaker, we should reexamine our preferences and priorities. When it comes to musical performances, great singing voices, not drop-dead looks, should win the day!
Recent Stories:Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.