Was George Michaels vocal timbre the result of good anatomical resonators? (pharynx, etc)

Achord

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TGP doesn't have a vocalist forum, but here's a question keeping in the spirit of how we discuss guitar tone down to the details of woods, string gauge, pickup windings, amp tubes, etc.

George Michael was know for having a great vocal tone, specifically called "timbre". Although good technique plays a major part (which he obviously had) there's still a lot to be said for his God-given timbre/tone.

According to this Wikipedia page.... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocal_resonation ... the 3 most important resonators are the pharynx, oral cavity, and nasal cavity.

Is it possible that George Michael was gifted with exceptional anatomy (size, shape, whatever) with these resonator areas? Does anyone here know much about vocal timbre to discuss this?
 

Fishyfishfish

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I would have to guess a little of everything and a lot of hard work. From a club kid to a world wide pop sensation takes a lot of work along with a genetic pre disposition.
 

Achord

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No doubt there was a lot of hard work and technique (or whatever is the vocal equivalent of "tone is in the fingers") but it's the genetic gifts that I'm trying to zero in on. Maybe some voice experts are lurking here.
 

JohnK24

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I'm not a vocal expert, but I'd venture to say Michael's had perfect pitch as well. He had such control of that voice and power when he wanted to use it. Count me as a huge fan from the Wham days through the solo years. To me, he was my generation's Sinatra - that crooner with sex appeal and musicality. His later solo work and tours were simply smooth, professional and emotionally delivered.
 

Achord

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Funny you should mention Sinatra - ever notice how Frank Sr had a more deeper, resonant voice than his son Frank jr? Even though Frank jr had his dad's DNA and plenty of voice training he still didn't have that same timbre/tone -- which leads me to believe there was some difference in the anatomical resonators between Sr and Jr.

And something similar is going on with George Michael too.
 

JohnK24

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5,996
Funny you should mention Sinatra - ever notice how Frank Sr had a more deeper, resonant voice than his son Frank jr? Even though Frank jr had his dad's DNA and plenty of voice training he still didn't have that same timbre/tone -- which leads me to believe there was some difference in the anatomical resonators between Sr and Jr.

And something similar is going on with George Michael too.
I found this last night as I was musing to the wife about Michaels being our generation's Sinatra..
http://metro.co.uk/2016/12/27/loose...e-sound-advice-about-stardom-in-1990-6345985/
 
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The guy had genetic/God given gifts he capitalized on and had the looks and stage presence to make it a commercial money making thing. How many musicians do you know who work as an accountant or a software engineer instead of gigging all the time and only play occasionally because even though they are talented circumstance didn't let them capitalize on their musical ability?
 
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jerrycampbell

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Like any sound-producing acoustic instrument, the physical qualities of the body will do much to affect the tone produced. Bob Dylan's nasal singing, IMHO, is from the particular fleshy bits in his head and neck, which differ from Darryl Hall's, which differ from Natalie Maines'.
 

Redub

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He probably had natural gifts, but I read once that he really worked at it from a young age and had spent a ton of time emulating Freddie Mercury's vocal style.
I've personally encountered/known vocalists in life that we're naturals, and others that I watched seriously become great over years of hard work and refinement.
 

sws1

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13,112
He is genetically gifted with that tone. But that alone is not enough to make him successful. He also had the technical chops, and wonderful musicality / phrasing / soul. It's that trifecta that helps make you a superstar.
 

Steve Hotra

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He is genetically gifted with that tone. But that alone is not enough to make him successful. He also had the technical chops, and wonderful musicality / phrasing / soul. It's that trifecta that helps make you a superstar.

I agree with this.
And he worked hard at the craft of singing.
Its sad that his life ended the way it did.
He had a lot of "singing" left in him to do.
 

NewLeaf09

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2,609
I think it was more the cellular lattice surrounding his epiglottis and the girth of his uvula.

Or it could be he was an absolute perfectionist and was driven to do his best every time which accounts for his success, and could also account for his failures.

I suppose with the same training, Dylan could sound more like a Streisand and vice versa.
 

Achord

Member
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142
You're either born with a voice that is extra pleasing to the human ear or you're not.

I agree, but what I'm trying to get at is WHAT are the specific anatomical things that one is gifted with to have that pleasing tone?

I think it was more the cellular lattice surrounding his epiglottis and the girth of his uvula.

I can understand that you're being a bit sarcastic, but I've seen discussions on guitar tone here getting into things like how "Eruption"'s distinct tone was because Frankie was made of hard ash with a rewound PAF and a 25.5" scale whereas "RWTD" had a slightly different tone because it was recorded on a Destroyer made of Sen with a 24.75" scale and Super70 pickups, etc etc. It would be interesting to apply that micro-level of tone analysis to the human voice.



 




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