Ayumi Hamasaki Sekai - View Single Post - TROUBLE TOUR 2019-2020 A -misunderstood- II
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Old 16th May 2019, 11:15 PM
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AJFmzk AJFmzk is offline
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^ As someone who is currently studying this and has gone through similar problems (thankfully the more severe ear problems were temporary for me, but I still have some on-going ear problems) I'm gonna put out some theory/technical stuff based on my experience, but I'm not a professional or expert, just studying...

Songs are a finite number of pitches placed in a pattern (in this case the melody line). For example, in Western music you have a maximum of 11 notes or 12 if you count the octave note (yes, the octave notes are different frequencies, but they are all on the same frequency line so technically it's the same thing, just a certain multiple higher or lower) and songs are a matter of memorizing and ingraining the pattern. As long as she can hear and match pitches (and she definitely can), she should, in theory, be able to sing the songs just fine, as long as she has memorized the song properly, because pitches are relative to a single reference pitch. If the band is playing on key with no mistakes, that's all the reference one should need. That's in theory. If she starts on the correct note or can get back to a correct note, all the other notes that follow are in the order dictated by the pattern, but related back to that single reference point. This assumes that she ingrained the songs properly. If she didn't learn the songs properly at the beginning, it could also be that years of bad ingraining makes it hard for her to unlearn the wrong or unsure pitches in her muscle memory (and use the reference instead of relying on habit/muscle memory or guessing), which is compounded by her compromised hearing, because even if she goes off, if she can listen and match a correct note, she can use that as the reference. Then we have to add in the mechanics of her voice, which sounds very overworked. This is also a big part of the problem. If the machine is not functioning/maintained correctly, it can falter whether you have ear/pitch problems or not.

You are absolutely correct that poor technique makes the problems worse, better technique will help. It's not so easy to break habits though, and nerves tend to make people rely on old habits. She sounded good during Cirque de Minuit, I believe she was working with a vocal teacher at that time. It made a huge difference. I think she has been attempting to fix her technique or at least not scream as much. She's definitely improved since 2017/early 2018 and I think she's making some effort, but the best thing probably is to get a vocal coach like in 2014/2015. Another thing that could factor in is distractions. If she has distracting thoughts or something happens to pull her out of her "zone", it can disrupt her flow and cause her to lose her place in the pattern or to lose her reference point temporarily. If she's having ear/balance problems, not only can it mess up hearing, but ears popping and balance issues that come from it is a major distraction. But Ayu could also have other problems we are not aware of that could be having an impact on her singing as well.

Anyway, this is just based on the method I've been studying recently and I am certainly not an authority or expert of the subject, feel free to correct me if I've made a mistake in the technical details so I can learn. But the technique for memorization, breathing support and vocalization combined with her physical "instrument" are the most important parts of a good vocal performance.

Last edited by AJFmzk; 17th May 2019 at 02:46 AM.