• Two exciting new Carpenters releases are in the pipeline! The new book Carpenters: The Musical Legacy will be available on November 16, 2021 and can be ordered here. A big thanks to the authors and Richard Carpenter for their tremendous effort in compiling this book! Also, the new solo piano album Richard Carpenter's Piano Songbook is being released January 14, 2022, and is available for ordering here.

Excellent and interesting analysis of Karen's voice

JohnFB

I was born to belong to the lines of a song...
Being "pitch perfect" (or almost always so) is an amazing capability, but it's only part of her vocal "story" - the other part, which is equally important, is the quality and appeal of her vocal tone or timbre, which as we all know is almost universally described as lovely or beautiful or gorgeous or incomparable - and even more, described as relaxing or soothing or calming. An in-depth analysis of why her voice quality is heard this way and effects so many people emotionally in this manner would be extremely fascinating - but would probably require more explanation than just Fil and his graphs.

It might take a team of neurologists and psychologists using advanced medical detection devices (CT scans, etc.) to determine which areas of the brain are effected when listening to her sing and in what way, and the chemicals or hormones that are released (endorphins, etc.), and what relationship this has to do with the calming emotions that are experienced, and why these combinations evoke a "tearing response" in so many people (irrespective of the lyrical content of a particular song)...I would love to understand how and why this all happens, but doubt that a detailed explanation or study will ever materialize. And maybe it would be wiser not to look too deeply into this and over-analyze, but just simply continue to enjoy the experience of her wonderful voice.
 

Kacfan

Well-Known Member
same reviewer, explaining in detail the swing / shuffle in the Carpenter's version of Close To You. I really enjoyed his explanation here. He also called Karen's voice one in a Billion =)
 

Vinylalbumcovers

Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
And of course it was also connnected to the selection of songs she sang and to their arrangements.

You do bring up an interesting point. Karen just had an incredible instrument. I contend that nothing Richard did made her better and there's no way he doesn't know that. If anything, her voice benefited him because he had it to get his artistic choices over to a mass audience. I'm not sure we know Richard without Karen. After she passed, he never dared to work long-term with another singer. He knew better. Her solo album proved that she could vocally flourish away from the stuff she's best known for. Her voice was just incredible - regardless of setting. A real singer's singer.

Ed
 

David A

Well-Known Member
[SNIP] And maybe it would be wiser not to look too deeply into this and over-analyze, but just simply continue to enjoy the experience of her wonderful voice. [/SNIP]

I share your scientific curiosity but agree that sometimes it's best to just let something be an experience. In this case, I think so 100%.

After all, science has pinned down much of the chemical/synapse actions and reactions in the brain when someone feels "in love"; but who cares. Knowing such facts neither diminish feeling in love, or the anguish of losing that feeling.
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Thread Starter
Being "pitch perfect" (or almost always so) is an amazing capability, but it's only part of her vocal "story" - the other part, which is equally important, is the quality and appeal of her vocal tone or timbre, which as we all know is almost universally described as lovely or beautiful or gorgeous or incomparable - and even more, described as relaxing or soothing or calming.
Tom Nolan's description of Karen's voice in his 1974 Rolling Stone cover story seems apt here: "Out comes that unique and wonderful voice, exactly as on record, expressing fascinating contrasts: chilling perfection with much warmth; youth with wisdom." (italics added.)
 

Mark-T

Well-Known Member
It's really amazing that for a woman with a very average speaking voice, she had one of the world's best singing voices.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
This is one of the best analyses of Karen's voice that I've seen. Well worth a look. The reviewer, using computer software, says Karen's vocal is the most accurate he's ever seen.

I’ve seen him before and he does a terrific analysis of Carpenters music.

I wish he would do a waveform analysis of I Need To Be In Love studio album version vs the live version she did on the Bruce Forsyth Show. It would be interesting to see his discussion of the waveforms from this song much like he did on Close to You video. I love to see that one.
 

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
@Chris May
Have you ever considered doing a video like this comparing her studio vocal to her live? This would be perfect with your background in music and your knowledge of Carpenters. I’d love to see you do something similar to this with waveforms for I Need To Be In Love.

I’m sure others here would love to see a video of you talking about Karen’s vocal abilities and Richard’s arrangements.
 
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