John & Paul's vocal skill in "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" | Recording and musicology | Fab forum

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John & Paul's vocal skill in "I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
1 March 2013
1.27am
Funny Paper
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The specific skill/talent I'm referring to I've never heard or read anyone else mention:  When they sing "hand" they hit 3 notes in quick succession going down -- "ha-a-and".

It's relatively easier to do that when the syllables have a consonant in front of it, like "wa-wa-wa" or "doo-doo-doo" or "la-la-la".

But in this song, they are doing it with only an "h" on the first syllable (which is more difficult to jump off of than other consonants), and no consonants at all for the 2nd and 3rd syllables. 

I try to sing that and I just can't do it.  I'm not a professional singer, but I have sung songs for years.  I wonder if this is a difficult feat, or whether most pro singers can do this as effortlessly as John and Paul do.

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
1 March 2013
1.36am
Egroeg Evoli
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If you're referring to what I think you're referring to, then I think I know how to do it. It's sort of like a little stop after each syllable: "Ha (very quick pause)- a (very quick pause)- and." The air is cut off for a fraction of a second, and then the singing resumes on a different note. (I'm pretty sure it's called a glottal stop.)

And if this isn't what you're talking about, sorry.

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1 March 2013
7.52am
Funny Paper
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Egroeg Evoli said
If you're referring to what I think you're referring to, then I think I know how to do it. It's sort of like a little stop after each syllable: "Ha (very quick pause)- a (very quick pause)- and." The air is cut off for a fraction of a second, and then the singing resumes on a different note. (I'm pretty sure it's called a glottal stop.)

And if this isn't what you're talking about, sorry.

You could be right -- but the three syllables run so fast together, I'm amazed it could be done that way (also, there's no "h" aspiration on the 2nd and 3rd syllables, from what I can hear).

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1 March 2013
5.01pm
Toughdiamond
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You mean right at the end of the song?

If so, they did a similar thing on "Rain":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....JqoGIEzKN4

e.g.

3:38-56
6:10-26
9:12-30
12:29-46

If I remember right, the equivalent thing on a guitar is known as a slur.

There's also actually a lot of it in the bass part of Rain:

(e.g. 0:48-56)

For a vocalist it's just a matter of dipping the sung note by a semitone or so for an instant, and then sliding quickly up to the correct pitch.  If you sing the word "yeah" you may find that the slur effect happens almost automatically.  Or you might get it if you can sing a note using strong vibrato, a la Marc Bolan......that should help you to feel how your throat muscles can sweep the pitch up and down.  It's probably not difficult to learn, but quite impressive when it's done.

 

 

1 March 2013
5.21pm
Funny Paper
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No, it's done throughout the song, whenever they sing "Hand" -- at the second time of each set of three.

I wanna hold your hand [high note, sustained]

I wanna hold your hand [ha a-a /a /a-a-and]

I wanna hold your hand [back down to tonic note].

As can be seen in the above, I also just remembered it's not ONLY a 3-note thing, there's also a double-note, immediately followed by a single note, immediately followed by the 3-note thing. And NONE of them are helped by the aspirated "h" consonant, so it all has to be done by singing "ah" -- NOT just "ha" (which would make it somewhat easier, but still more difficult than other consonants, like "la" or "da" or "ma" or "ta" etc.).

This set of three "hand" stanzas is repeated 4 times.  It is NOT that last "Ha-a-a-a-a-a-annnd", which is 7 syllables, and slow enough that it can be sung even by ME!

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
1 March 2013
6.48pm
vonbontee
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That 7-note descending bit on ha-a-a--a-a-a-a-nd is one of the great bits of Beatle vocal virtuosity - they even manage to harmonize! Breathtaking.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
2 March 2013
5.35pm
Egroeg Evoli
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Funny Paper said 
 

I wanna hold your hand [ha a-a /a /a-a-and]
 

I can sing that using the stop-thingy I described. That's the line you were referring to, right?

 

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2 March 2013
6.29pm
parlance
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I TubeChopped it. You mean this, right?

http://www.tubechop.com/watch/983468

Yeah, that's a hard one. And like vonbontee said, even more impressive that they can do it together.

parlance

 

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

2 March 2013
7.25pm
Funny Paper
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Egroeg Evoli said

Funny Paper said 
 

I wanna hold your hand [ha a-a /a /a-a-and]
 

I can sing that using the stop-thingy I described. That's the line you were referring to, right?

 

I'd say "yes", except that you refer to it in the singular, as though it only happens once in the song. 

Just to make sure, I am NOT referring to the 7-syllable "ha a-a /a /a-a-and" at the very end of the song, which is slower and even I can sing it.  Rather, I am referring to the much faster 7-syllable "ha a-a /a /a-a-and"s that occur 4 different times throughout the song.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
2 March 2013
7.27pm
Funny Paper
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Metaphorically, John and Paul during those four very fast 7-syllable "ha a-a /a /a-a-and" parts are using their vocal cords almost as though they were whips, oscillating them side to side (and on a descant) with the greatest of ease.

 

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2 March 2013
11.15pm
Ben Ramon
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Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea here, but I've never really considered this difficult? It's an awesome little melodic twist for sure, and love how they do it in harmony, but I wouldn't say it's any more difficult to sing than any other line.

 

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Oudis
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3 March 2013
2.12am
Funny Paper
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Ben Ramon said
Maybe I'm getting the wrong idea here, but I've never really considered this difficult? It's an awesome little melodic twist for sure, and love how they do it in harmony, but I wouldn't say it's any more difficult to sing than any other line.

 

I used to think that too -- until I tried to sing along recently and simply couldn't approximate what they are doing.

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4 March 2013
12.59am
Egroeg Evoli
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Funny Paper said

Egroeg Evoli said

Funny Paper said 
 

I wanna hold your hand [ha a-a /a /a-a-and]
 

I can sing that using the stop-thingy I described. That's the line you were referring to, right?

 

I'd say "yes", except that you refer to it in the singular, as though it only happens once in the song. 

Just to make sure, I am NOT referring to the 7-syllable "ha a-a /a /a-a-and" at the very end of the song, which is slower and even I can sing it.  Rather, I am referring to the much faster 7-syllable "ha a-a /a /a-a-and"s that occur 4 different times throughout the song.

 

Yeah, I know that's what you meant. Sorry if it was unclear.

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4 March 2013
3.12am
Funny Paper
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Egroeg,

Just wondered if you had any thoughts, seeing that you are a singer, on how a singer can comfortably sing a long string of words that are so close together and sung so fast they don't seem to permit any breathing in between?

I recently wrote a song that has one part that is very "wordy".  Let me count the syllables that have to be sung (different notes) all in a fast string without any pauses for breath:  yep, 28 syllables (which represent about 20 words, since most of the words have only one syllable anyway).

I can sing it if I quickly suck in my breath at odd moments, but it sounds funny to do that, and I can't do it silently.  The other alternative is to take a giant breath before the 28 syllables and see if I can make it through.

Surely, there has to be a better way -- some trick singers know?

 

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4 March 2013
3.37am
Egroeg Evoli
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Funny Paper said
Egroeg,

Just wondered if you had any thoughts, seeing that you are a singer, on how a singer can comfortably sing a long string of words that are so close together and sung so fast they don't seem to permit any breathing in between?

I recently wrote a song that has one part that is very "wordy".  Let me count the syllables that have to be sung (different notes) all in a fast string without any pauses for breath:  yep, 28 syllables (which represent about 20 words, since most of the words have only one syllable anyway).

I can sing it if I quickly suck in my breath at odd moments, but it sounds funny to do that, and I can't do it silently.  The other alternative is to take a giant breath before the 28 syllables and see if I can make it through.

Surely, there has to be a better way -- some trick singers know?

Hmm... Well, it might be easier if you take a fairly large breath before singing that part of the song, and then try to "pace" your breathing. Don't let too much air out when you sing that part. It might be a little quieter, but it will probably help.

Also, the "correct" breathing method for singing is to "inflate" your stomach (well, the diaphragm moves, and it makes your stomach move) when inhaling and "deflate" it when exhaling- in other words, breathe deeply as if you were asleep. Try just breathing naturally, without really thinking about it, and you'll see what I mean.

I learned that singing for a long time is easier if you "push" against the force that makes the diaphragm contract  when you exhale (or maybe it just flattens out; I'm not 100% sure). Or something like that. Sorry if that doesn't make sense.

 

 

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