Saturday, August 10, 2013

re: Should all of Jackie Evancho's songs use all her singing range?

On a Jackie Evancho forum I was talking about the need for her to perform songs that exploited her range. I said:

Giving a songwriter Jackie to work with would be like giving a violinist a Stradivarius to play.

It is a double-edged bow, though. A song that fully exploits the "instrument" that is Jackie--from a songwriter's POV--would be a song few others could sing, whereas if they write a great one-octave song with catchy hooks and the like, a million singers could perform it.

But the songwriters Team E wants are the songwriters who want to write for the Stradivarius.

Then a fan said he didn't see why Jackie had to avoid the normal one-octave song (and most songs are pretty much one-octave songs) and only sing song that exploited her whole range every time. This was in response to me talking about the need for her to do wide-range songs. My reply:

I don't understand the logic of requiring that everything she does show off everything she can do, either. That's why I didn't say that.

Mariah Carey is a good comparison, since she has--or at least had--a very wide range, like Jackie. And I don't think all her songs always show off all she can do...just the ones we remember. Just the ones that set her apart.

I said that the Lion King song (that she sang for the PBS Capitol 4th celebration on the 4th of July 2013, and which isn't a wide-ranging song) was probably appropriate for the occasion, and that something like Nessun Dorma wouldn't have been.

At the same time, Jackie fans should understand that it didn't distinguish her as much as a more fully Jackie-exploiting song would have done. This fact isn't incompatible with accepting the limitations of the occasion.

"To make the best of life as it is--and as it can be made to be."

As for what's "the most important," it's true that I've heard plenty of wide-range songs that weren't good songs, and a lot of one-octave pop songs that were.

But if Jackie's next three albums comprised nothing but one-octave songs--no matter how well-written and Jackie-appropriate they were otherwise--it would be like seeing a concert on the loveliest grand piano on Earth, played by the best piano player, but where the whole concert only used, eight of its 88 keys.

I can't believe any of Jackie's fans have such a tin ear that they'd find that acceptable.

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