The ability of a vocalist and an instrumentalist to “mix” or communicate together can be compared to that of two super-skilled sportspeople. The person who throws the ball is able to run with it while the receiver tries to catch it and then runs after it. They are both running, yet they are not running in the same direction. Likewise, the instrumentalist has the ability to play the song (or instruments) while the vocalist sings above it. As you can see, they are utilizing different forms of communication.
A vocalist uses a diaphragm, lungs, and bronchi to produce sound. A guitar player plays an instrument using his fingers. When you watch a rock band or an actress do a voiceover presentation, you will see them communicating with their respective instruments (vocals, bass, drums, etc). The question remains, how to blend vocal with instrumental?
When it comes to musical arrangements, there is no one instrument that stands out from the rest. Each musician needs to find a way that works for him or her. Some performers may prefer a nylon string instrument (such as a classical guitar), while others may favor steel string (which produces a timbre that is brighter and more rugged). A classical guitarist may view himself as a percussionist and a vocalist as a melody singer.
In general, any song, poem, or music that utilizes an ensemble of instruments works well as an instrumental piece. As an example, I sang “Where to Have All The Flowers Gone” while my brother played the electric guitar, drums, and bass. The words to this song did not change even though my brother changed instruments several times during the arrangement. The song finished with a powerful synthesized sound that was seamless. When I listen to instrumental compositions today, I don’t often notice the vocals because I assume they were added later to the mix.
The same principles hold true when studying how to blend vocal with instrumental. As a vocalist, you have a range of sounds that can be utilized to express your emotion. The voice range contains low tone, high pitch, middle tone, and falsetto. As a vocalist, you want to express how you feel without having to say it directly. If you sing a lyrics version of a song while only playing an instrument part, you aren’t really expressing anything, are you?
Vocalists have instrument parts that can be used in addition to singing the lyrics. Examples include cello, vibrancy, trumpet, and so forth. As a vocalist, you may find yourself questioning how to blend vocal with instrumental. Most bands and musicians practice songs with a vocalist and do the vocal version first. This allows the vocalist to become comfortable performing an instrumental arrangement.
You can also do this when learning how to blend vocal with instrumental. Listen to a song and try to recreate it as accurately as possible. After you’ve heard it several times, play it along with an acoustic guitar or keyboard. This shows that you know the song and have the ability to play the song accurately. While you’re practicing the song, listen to the instrumental version as much as possible.
Learning how to blend vocal with instrumental is very similar to learning how to vocalize with another instrument. Playing the guitar parts of a song will come naturally when you listen to it and play it appropriately. However, an instrumentalist must have the ability to play the instrument well if he wants to become a successful vocalist.
The most important thing is to remember that an instrumental piece is meant to be played. Don’t expect it to have vocals. Sometimes people try to make an instrumental CD as musically versatile as possible, but this rarely works. The songs should have clear vocals so that listeners can identify with the music and not get frustrated.
When you learn how to blend vocal with instrumental, practice singing the song with the instrumental as the lead vocalist. If it’s difficult to sing the instrumental part, consider having a friend or family member sing the lead part. Have them practice the song for several weeks until they feel comfortable with it. Once the vocalist is comfortable singing the song alone, he can move on to playing it with the band. Sometimes it’s best if the vocalist starts out playing the instrumental and then learns how to sing with the band.
There are many cases where a band will have several instrumental pieces that will go into a single song. This is where a vocalist comes in and plays a different song than the one he is supposed to be performing. Learning how to blend vocal with instrumental can be frustrating at times, but when you put in the effort it can pay off in the end.