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Dear friends, I'd like to know if you do suffer (as I do!) the change of your voice by aging... I remember I used to sing the Beatles, the Led Zeppelin, the Uriah Heep and others... the same tone they did then. Now it's just a memory... I'm almost 58, still a smoker (I know, I know...) and I can't sing a lot of those songs. I don't like to low the tone of (for instance) "The Wizard" of the Uriah Heep, that starts in C, F, Bb... and jumps to an incredible high G... that I was able to reach in "souplesse", and now I sing in the lower octave! Or as the final part of "Stairway to Heaven"... terrible! As I'm not a trained singer, I don't have falsetto voice, I always sing from the chest... and I'm not able anymore to keep a note for the time it should last. Is it normal? Do you experience the same?

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Replies to This Discussion

Antonio ... LOL ...  yes!

I once could sing the old rock classic "Runaway" by Del Shannon ... remember that one?  ... "I wah-wha-wha-wha wonderrr... where she will staaay ... my little runaway, my run-run-run-run runaway." 

Well, that is a total thing of the past now.  Any falsetto singing ability I used to have is completely gone.  But, I'm now entering my Tom Waits phase ... :-)

I had the pleasure of attending a Dan Fogleberg concert late in his career, and I couldn't help but notice that his high range had left him as well.  It is apparently a symptom of aging for most of us.

Mmm... I'll start singing negro-spirituals as Paul Robeson... Amazing Grace in low C...

Thanks Jud. Marry Christmas.

Antonio - I know exactly what you mean. I don't smoke and am a year older than you and I can't sing along with the Beatles very well anymore. I've always been a baritone and have had trouble with the high tenor range, but now it's worse. My song selections have changed and the silver lining is that I am now into songs that I would not have been otherwise. Who was it who said: Style is dictated by limitations...?

Take care of your voice as much as possible and I know you don't need to hear this but quit smoking. My father, grandfather, and four of my uncles died from emphysema and bad hearts - all smokers and the last 8 - 10 years of their lives were hell. I know that you know of the health concerns, but now I hope you realize the quality of life concerns associated with... sorry, I really don't mean to lecture. Believe it or not, all of you folks at this site are my friends and I don't want to see anything bad happen to any of you.

Your mention of breathlessness (if that is what you meant by not being able to hold a note) concerns me...

Take care - m

Thank you Michael... all wise words. My father (a smoker too) died from lung cancer... I know the risk.

But, let's speak about more funny things... My voice was between tenor and baritone... let's say a "basso tenor".

Now I'm travelling toward the full baritone range... I hope to have a nice trip and find some beautiful songs to sing along the road!

Best wishes, friends..

I know exactly what you mean, man, because I had a friend tell me a few years ago that he couldn't hit the high notes like he did when he was younger.  He's in his 50's, and he smokes.  He's got one of the prettiest baritone voices I've ever heard.  As for me, I'm 37 years old, and my voice is between baritone and tenor also, which makes me a heldentenor (for lack of a term that is less classical).  I've always been told that I have a deep voice, but I can't sing bass, and I sing quite high for my speaking voice, which has won me comparisons to people like Robert Plant and Neil Young.  Maybe you can add Scotty McCreery to that list because of the way he goes from his natural baritone to his more Garth Brooks-like tenor upper register.  My advice to you is to take care of your voice, do with it what it is able to do now, and definitely quit smoking.  My dad, who is 63 and sings in the full baritone range, quit smoking almost 19 years ago because he was a diabetic, and he almost 2 heart attacks that same year.  I wouldn't want for the same thing to happen to you either.

It's largely genetic but things get bad enough as you age. My voice is more harsh and I cannot hit or hold the higher notes as I used to be able to do. I don't smoke - this loss is natural. I imagine it would be a lot worse if I did smoke. Makes you wonder about all those rockers who smoke (all kinds of things), use coke... how do they have any voice at all?

Wonder what sort of falsetto Tom Waits could conjure up??


BTW, speaking of singing voices ... did you always use your middle initial in your name, or did a certain other singer with a high voice push you in that direction?? :-)

Well, I used to be known as Mickey, or Jack to some. I guess that young man obviously needed the name more than I did. He was obviously just trying to flatterize me with insincere praise!

Yeah, right.

...In answer to your question, YES...this is normal.  My best advice...(being a smoker, and 50 years old) is simply this...sing the song to the best of YOUR ability....and MOST IMPORTANTLY....MAKE IT YOUR OWN!  If the audience knows that YOU are singing the song (and not trying to convey someone elses interperetation) they won't even notice whether or not you hit the "big high note"...they'll be too into what YOU are giving them...(at least this has always been MY experience!)

I do the old top-40 radio hit form 1962 called  "Runaway" by Del Shannon and I definitely have to compromise in some areas to reach the high notes.  But, it's just such a peppy, fun song to do and the audiences usually really get into it.  On "Wildfire" by Michael Martin Murphy, I leave out one of his signature high notes completely.  The song still works fine.  :-)

I always tell people up front that I do not do covers, I do interpretations, LOL.

Jud...did you steal my playlist?!....Wildfire...A Pirate Looks At Forty....(maybe we're just old?).....NAAAHHH!

I'm a pirate definitely looking way past 40 ...


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