Five Types Of Showtunes That Are Very Difficult To Sing (But Naturally We Attempt To Sing Them Anyway)

Hello, my bloggerly comrades! (Not to assume that all of you are Russian socialists, but you never know.)

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(For anyone who hasn’t met him, this is Comrade Gleb)

As you may have gathered, I have a slight obsession with musicals.

I was practically born singing. Music is part of my being and I cannot get away from it. I take great pleasure in viewing musical productions, but I take perhaps greater pleasure in performing in them myself.

Of course, this is not always possible and I often resort to belting showtunes at the top of my lungs whilst acting out scenes alone in the living room.

LITERALLY NEWSIES IS LIFE. Agree with everything except the fact that I can definitely support the statement that the Broadway show is way better than the movie.
(Yes, it basically looks like this.)

As you may imagine, troubles arise quickly.

This post will be a collection of five types of songs that may prove problematic in such cases. (In other words, the problems one may face when one tries to be Ramin Karimloo and realizes that one is not in fact Ramin Karimloo.)

The Song With No Place To Breathe

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Me after trying to sing aforementioned song

This song was written by someone who doesn’t realize that humans need air to make sound (also to survive but that’s a minor detail) and thus one is expected to sing for three minutes straight without breathing.

This does not usually go well.

Examples: “Watch What Happens” from Newsies, “Try Me” from She Loves Me, “My Shot” from Hamilton, “Poison in my Pocket” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, “Giants in the Sky” from Into the Woods (and a plethora of other Sondheim songs)

The Song That Is Technically A Huge Chorus Number

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There is always that moment when you are standing on the barricade shouting orders to your army of revolutionaries and then you realize that you are all alone and no one is singing with you.

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Chorus numbers are glorious. But as one person it can be hard to sound like a hundred people. You can scream as loud as you want to, but you can’t recreate the intoxicating swell of many voices building into a wondrous crescendo.

Examples: “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from Les Misérables, “Once and for All” from Newsies, “Masquerade” from The Phantom of the Opera, “Rumor in St. Petersburg” from Anastasia, “Finale: I Can’t Recall” from A Tale of Two Cities, “The Mob Song” from Beauty and the Beast, “Tradition” from Fiddler on the Roof

The Song That Is Out Of Your Range

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When I say “range” I refer to your vocal range, not your stove-top or a large field full of cows that you happen to own.

This is perhaps one of the most tragic problems of all. When you are singing a heart-wrenching ballad and you get to that one note

When a song is too low, you can growl out the notes in a practically inaudible drone whilst straining to exude some kind of emotion, or you can randomly jump up the octave.

When a song is too high, you can either squeak out the note in a sort of chicken-like squawk, or you can suddenly drop down the octave. Unfortunately, both options often kill the emotional build-up.

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All of these things make it very difficult to actually portray the emotions you are feeling, especially when the song goes out of your range at the CLIMAX of the song.

“I NEVER LET THEM SEE THE wOorSt* OF ME.”

          *synonymous with the sound of a dying alpaca.

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The fact that my voice fails me thus is hard to swallow sometimes.

Examples: “Words Fail” from Dear Evan Hansen, “Proud of Your Boy” from Aladdin, “Santa Fe” from Newsies, “What Have I Done?” from Les Misérables, “On Your Way Home” from James and the Giant Peach, “Where in the World?” from Secret Garden, “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked, “Foolish To Think” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, “As Good as You” from Jane Eyre (This list is so long that it makes me want to weep.)

The Song That Is A Duet, Trio, Quartet, etc.

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Me when someone suggests that I stop trying to sing songs that I can’t possibly sing

This song is akin to the massive chorus number in the sense that you need more than one set of vocal chords to pull it off. Unfortunately, not many of us have those.

This song often starts out pretty well. The characters tend to take turns singing and even though you may feel like you have a touch of split-personality disorder, you mostly feel like you can succeed in pulling this thing off.

But after a while the different parts start to overlap.  You realize that you are physically incapable of singing five different counterpoints at once. This is not going to end well.

This may also cause breathing problems.

Quartets are often super dramatic and they are the DEATH OF ME because I CANNOT SING THEM.

Sierra Boggess and Hadley Fraser in the 25th Anniversary of the Phantom of the Opera

Examples: “The Book Report” from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, “Quartet” from The Secret Garden, “Quartet at the Ballet” from Anastasia, “Your Fault” from Into the Woods, “To Life” from Fiddler on the Roof, “If Only (Quartet)” from The Little Mermaid, “I’ve Decided to Marry You” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, “Who I’d Be” from Shrek: The Musical, “Prima Donna” from The Phantom of the Opera, “Blackout” from In the Heights

The Song That You Can’t Sing In Public

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…Unless you want people to think you are a psychopath.

This song  usually makes the most sense in context. It is also usually sung by the villain.

It is also usually really fun to sing.

But if you take it out of context and start belting it in the streets, things can become problematic.

If you start saying certain things in public people may start to view you with concern.

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Someone trying to restrain me from singing awkward showtunes outside of my home

“WHAT AN AWFUL WASTE TO DO IN SOMEONE I DON’T WANT TO KILL.”

“BE MINE OR YOU WILL BURN.”

“THANK GOD FOR EXECUTION.”

“I’LL COME TO HER BY NIGHT. I’LL TAKE HER  BY THE THROAT.”

See what I mean?

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Examples: “Hellfire” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “Sirens” from Jane Eyre, “Madame Guillotine” from The Scarlet Pimpernel, “The Trial” from A Tale of Two Cites, “The Dream” from Fiddler on the Roof, “Poison in my Pocket (Reprise)” from A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder

In Conclusion

There are many more songs that I could add to these lists, and many more types of problems. Some of these songs actually fit into more than one of the categories.

The sad truth is, I can’t single-handedly recreate an entire Broadway cast recording.

That being said, that fact isn’t going to stop me from trying it on daily basis.

What are some problems that you face when you attempt to sing your favorite Broadway ballads? Do you relate to the ones I mentioned? Do you ever accidentally start singing an awkward song out in public? What are your favorite Broadway showtunes to sing? Do you ever improvise choreography (of course you do)? Who is a Broadway star that you admire? I would love to commiserate with you on the troubles of trying to sing songs that we can’t sing!

 

26 thoughts on “Five Types Of Showtunes That Are Very Difficult To Sing (But Naturally We Attempt To Sing Them Anyway)

    1. Indeed! I deeply sympathize, my friend. It must be very hard! Often the best thing to do is sing along with the recording with it turned up so loud that you can just imagine that you sound as good as they do. 😉
      Thanks for commenting!

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      1. When I am singing in my room, sometimes my sister says I am terrible. Well, I love singing to musical songs anyway. I have to be listening to the songs to sing. I cannot sing with just the melody. Some people don’t understand why I will never be in a musical if I am so passionate about them: I always say I can’t sing well

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Just keep singing! (And who knows? I think with the right practice you could learn to sing well, if you wanted to. Don’t feel stuck!) Even if you are always just singing to yourself (or to torment your family) I am glad to hear that you love doing it.
        Yes, it can be much easier to have the support of the trusty cast recording underneath us. I often sing along with the recordings myself.
        Happy singing!

        Like

  1. Whaaat, it’s not humanely possible to sing five parts at once?? Haha, just kidding. The only problem on this list I myself have experienced is a song being out of your range and having to go down or up an octave (or just singing very, very quietly), and that’s because of singing songs at church. Ahh, I really wish I could, but I unfortunately can’t say anything about Broadway songs and actors because I am clueless when it comes to that topic. Also: when I saw the gif of the boys (the Newsies?) leaping, I totally thought dancing and singing at the same time was going to be on this list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I figure out how to sing five parts at once I will open up an academy and become rich from imparting my coveted knowledge.
      So many problems! Having a range the size of a small peanut can be very hard when you want to sing a watermelon-sized song, let me tell you.
      Ah, indeed, dancing and singing at the same time is yet another difficulty that we face. I am not sure why I didn’t think to add that to the list though…
      As ever, thank you for your wonderful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes and then tell me so I can come visit and learn immediately!
        Oh my goodness, I completely agree. Haha, I wouldn’t say it’s a difficulty “we” face. I can’t think of the last time I tried dancing and singing at the same time. You’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Omg I’m laughing so much right now. 😂😂 I RELATE. Although kind of I relate on behalf of listening to my sister singing while we were growing up.😂 I wasn’t much of a singer?! but her and my brother used to sing ALL the time and dueting alone was always hard (like the hardness of one person trying to sing 5 parts is always a struggle) and trying to sing those songs out of one’s range…ahh. The good ol’ days where you tried to break the windows with your voice. :’) Also singing in accents! That’s HILARIOUS to listen to.😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad to have caused you mirth. And vicarious relating is totally allowed. 😉 You have indeed experienced many of the trials of the musical enthusiast, albeit through the lives of your siblings. I am sure they were a joy to listen to. Ugh, ACCENTS. I absolutely adore accents but I am totally dismal at doing them. I am sure that my family gets amusement out of my attempts.

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  3. Oh my goodness! I read this aloud to my sister and we were both laughing so hard. We especially relate to thinking that we’re Ramin Karimloo….when we’re actually not.
    And singing inappropriate songs in public 😛 “WE JUST CAN’T WAIT TILL THEY DECAPITATE AND STICK HIS HEAD ON…wait, I didn’t say that aloud, did I?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, ha, I am so glad to hear that you both enjoyed it! And that you found relatable sentiments within. It’s so hard not to think that one is Ramin Karimloo, isn’t it? And why is it so fun to sing about decapitation? It can be quite awkward, I think some people are concerned about my mental soundness.
      Thank you so much for reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha – great post! I’m a terrible singer but it doesn’t stop me – so long as I’m alone! (The cats don’t count – they’re terrible singers too.) I do the octave-jumping a lot, when I suddenly realise I’ve started Old Man River but can’t actually sing like Paul Robeson. And I also have the can’t-remember-the-words-so-have-to-make-them-up-as-I-go-along problem. We all do that, right?? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, cats haven’t exactly been blessed with the gift of song, have they? If I have to put up with my cats’ wailing, they can put up with mine. 😉
      Oh, yes indeed, that is also a problem that we often face! How can we be expected to remember all those words all the time?
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These struggles are SO REAL. I can occasionally bypass such problems by just watching my original characters perform the entire musical on the stage of my imagination; but sometimes, you just gotta belt on your own, and ~devil take the hindmost!~

    (…What “Love Never Dies” reference? I would never…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aren’t they though? That is indeed a nifty trick. Sometimes even when I know it would be better to let the world be at peace I just can’t help screeching my heart out- whether the sound be pleasant or not. Ah, I love the Devil Take the Hindmost Quartet! Love Never Dies is something of a difficulty for me, as I absolutely despise the story- Some of the music is too amazing to ignore however, and thus I am torn.
      Thanks for commenting!

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      1. Yeahhh, the story is far from my favorite. But doggone it if I don’t need a few of the tracks on repeat, some days. (Lookin’ at you in particular, “Til I Hear You Sing”…)

        Liked by 1 person

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