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Highest Note Hit By Karen

Discussion in 'A Song For You: The Carpenters Forum' started by GaryAlan, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Well, I couldn't resist.
    As much as I celebrate, and adore, Karen Carpenter's fantastic "lower register",
    I believe it is an injustice if we ignore the other aspect of her vocal talents--that is, the "other" voice.
    After all, we don't ignore her drumming talents--which are well-remembered--even though
    we are well aware of the minority of the drumming sessions she performed on the recordings.
    The entirety of her talents to ruminate upon.
    Don Malcolm and Jamesj75 like this.
  2. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Providing an example of what I am referring to:
    At 3 min 5 sec, in the
    Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
    Karen's note on the lyric

    Am I the only one who gets a
    "Chill Factor"
    out of that note ?
    Am I the only one who believes that that moment should be memorable, too ?
    (that is, memorable--also-- along with the 'low' notes ?)
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  3. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Yet another instance of a higher Lead Vocal note occurs at 1:55 in
    1973's Top Of The World, when Karen lingers on the lyric "....find....",
    again, soaring and chill-effecting.
  4. Joe P.

    Joe P. Member

    Did someone say high note?... listen to the end of this.

    Not Karen, but this woman was pretty amazing. Another one who died way too young.

    Mark-T likes this.
  5. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thought I would let Richard Carpenter speak to Karen's vocal range (The Carpenter Website):
    “Karen was a vocal major of course, but the trouble with that was she was a “pop” singer,
    and they (faculty) didn’t want to know from that. They had her singing using her “head voice”,
    not the “money voice” – the instantly identifiable chest voice of hers,
    because it didn’t work for the traditional classical repertoire required.
    They had her singing things she really wasn’t born to sing."
    " I’m a firm believer that there is no such thing as “ear training”; you’re either born with it or not.
    You can’t teach someone to sing in tune, or write a memorable melody.
    People can be born with perfect pitch and not be musical at all. "
    " I do not, nor did Karen, have perfect pitch.
    We have relative perfect and sang perfectly in tune.
    Once it was established what the first note was, we could tell what any note was after that. "
    "Both Karen and I felt the magic was in her ‘chest voice’ (a.k.a. ‘basement’).
    There is no comparison in terms of richness in sound, so I wasn’t about to highlight the upper voice.
    We did use it every now and again for some arrangemental colorings.
    For example, you can hear it on 'here to remind you...' on the song 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again'.
    The second time it is sung, Karen and I cover three octaves; I go to a low F and Karen goes to a high F.
    That is her head voice.
    The thirds that are done underneath the second half of the sax solo in 'All You Get From Love Is A Love Song' also feature her head voice."
    Jamesj75, Don Malcolm and Tapdancer like this.
  6. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Chris May's description of Calling Occupants,
    as heard on the SACD (which I own, but have yet to play--e.g., no player)
    has me very interested in another aspect of Karen's "head voice":
    Quoting from from the Resource.....
    Regarding the SACD surround mix:
    ".... .Karen comes in to follow, and the third set of “aaahs”,
    Karen is here singing in her “head voice” quite powerfully,
    as this is normally blended in in previous recordings. "
  7. Tapdancer

    Tapdancer Active Member

    That note of hers is so high on the Tan album recording, that for years I thought it was Richard instead on a synthesiser dialing up a high-pitch glissando!
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  8. Guitarmutt

    Guitarmutt Active Member

    If you can, listen to "Your Navy Presents" she goes so low and so high. She sings, she drums , she's amazing, then comes "and when he smiles". From BBC. So much range.
    Carpe diem likes this.
  9. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    And, as I have been listening to the Tan Album,
    seems to my ears that the beautiful " (A Place To) Hideaway" song
    is in a higher key.
    A key somewhat reminiscent of the note which Karen hits on the lyric "....take a lifetime to say..."
    in the song "For All We Know".

    Of course, none of this takes away my love and adoration for songs such as
    "Little Altar Boy" or "He Came Here For Me" ,
    those songs which linger in predominantly lower notes)
    but, my appreciation for Karen's expansive vocal range grows and grows......
  10. byline

    byline Active Member

    It seems to me in past discussions someone identified the highest recorded note Karen sang as being in the harmony vocal passage of "Another Song" on the Close to You album: "The warmth of you had gone. Go-o-o-ne."
  11. GaryAlan

    GaryAlan Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    As I listen to the EMI LP
    Yesterday Once More,
    it occurred to me how much higher the notes were
    in the song Don't Cry For Me Argentina.
    The bold lyric emphasizing the higher notes:
    "....I kept my promise...",
    "....love me...."
    But, then, the song is also punctuated by some lower notes
    (those more common lower notes as occur in Carpenters' songs).
    The point here:
    Karen Carpenter, again, flawless rendering of this entire offering---
    even if punctuated by higher notes.
    Absolutely chilling vocals.
    Chris Mills and Jeff like this.
  12. Brian

    Brian Active Member

    Recently there was a link on the forum to an article that had Karen named on a list of singers who were well-known for having a limited range, can you believe(?)

    Richard has been quoted as saying that 'E' below Middle C is one of Karen's lowest notes but she touches 'D' below Middle C in 'Because We Are In Love', (if my CD plays at the correct pitch). This is a low note for a woman.

    Richard mentions that Karen reaches a high 'F' in 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' but, without checking, I reckon she sings higher than that on other songs.

    The range which Karen covers so effortlessly on 'Ave Maria', including on the bootleg live version, is actually just under two octaves, but somehow it sounds much more than that.

    A person with an average, untrained voice can cover two octaves quite easily with their chest voice.

    Writers who claim that Karen didn't have much range probably haven't researched carefully. Actually, I've only heard that claim once, in all my years of reading 'Carpenters' reviews and articles. I think Karen's range was actually quite exceptional. One of the most impressive things is that she had a beautiful TONE, whether singing low or high.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  13. Song4uman

    Song4uman Active Member

    That note is a D. 4th line treble clef.
  14. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    The recent thread about Karen's lowest note veered off into discussion about her highest and we established it was in the background vocals of B'Wana.

    Lowest Note Hit by Karen

    You can hear it at 4:46 on the below video:

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  15. Carpe diem

    Carpe diem Well-Known Member

    Based on your comment, I made it a point to listen to the "Your Navy" broadcast. And like you noted, showcases Karen's incredible vocal range. Highlight for me was their performance of All I Can Do, love that throbbing bassline, harmonies, and the jazz drumming from Karen. Becoming a big fan of that little gem...
  16. From the sacd gold cd ISOLATED vocals. And my ringtone!!!!
    Jeff likes this.
  17. Graeme

    Graeme Active Member

    Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere, but someone has compiled examples of lowest to highest note in one video. Quite interesting

    Simon KC1950 and Geographer like this.
  18. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    Wow. I never heard that! And over 40 years this is my first time. Thanks!
  19. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    It would be good to hear a similar isolated track for B'Wana, as Karen's backing vocals reach a note even higher than that :o
  20. CraigGA

    CraigGA Well-Known Member

    I had always thought it was in I’ll Never Fall In Love Again, as the luscious harmonies are laid upon each other in a most beautiful fashion. In the first clip above it almost sounds sped up to produce that note, but it’s certainly pleasing.
  21. Mark-T

    Mark-T Well-Known Member

    Interesting fact: Minnie Riperton is comedienne Maya Rudolph's mother. Minnie's Adventures in Paradise is a wonderful album.
    Jamesj75 likes this.
  22. newvillefan

    newvillefan Well-Known Member

    We got to the bottom of it recently, ironically in the thread about Karen's lowest note :laugh:

    Lowest Note Hit by Karen
    Graeme likes this.

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