“Natural” singing and genres

What is “natural singing”? Sometimes we say that someone “is a natural” or that the music seems to come so “naturally” from their throats. What does that mean?

If we listen to the following singers – a lead in a traditional Chinese opera, a country singer in a noisy bar, and a Lieder singer in recital, all with 30 years of experience and excelling in their style and expression – is one more “natural” than the other? Would you call singing in any or all of those genres an “unnatural” use of the voice?

When a child sings their first sounds before age 2, is that natural singing? Do all untrained singers sing naturally? Do any trained singers sing naturally?

Isn’t high-level singing in every genre extremely specialized, and therefore carefully crafted and artificial? I think so. The human voice can sing easily and healthily in so many different ways, some of which can be channeled to allow the singer to specialize in a genre, as most singers do.

It’s my belief that what is commonly called a “natural” way of singing means that it is an easy production, and therefore in agreement with the laws of Nature. But to say that your favorite genre is more natural than my genre is like saying blueberries are better than bacon.

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