Myron’s Music Notes

for Myrons article 3

What would a music event be without Myron’s take on it?  So here’s…

Myron’s look at Eurovision 2015

I come at this from the background of vocal-choral teacher / conductor and voice coach. I say this so that you know what I use as the foundation of any judging I do on music / singing performances. When I am hired to judge a music contest, these are some of the questions I ask while I am writing comments:

– most important is melody. Is it soaring or is it trite. Second by harmony and the way it is orchestrated. Then comes text – is there strong poetry at the heart of the song. Does it inspire passion.

Is this pure singing?
good vowels that result in beautiful singing tone supported by good breath support. Also, is some fake, artificial effect being used such as excessive reverb, artificial pitch adjustments via computer, voice distortion, etc. In good contests Auto-tune is illegal.

Does the singing convey passion and heart-felt emotion direct to the audience?

Singers formal training.
Were private voice lessons involved in preparation? Is a professional voice coach in use? You don’t have brain surgery done by person who did not even go to medical school. Also, if you are serious about your art and craft, you don’t enter a quality music contest as a singer unless you have been trained by a degreed voice teacher and do use a professional voice coach.

Staging – that is simple, direct and to the point minus the useless gimmicks and distractions.
Usually these distractions are used as a cover-up for bad singing practices.

Presentation – do the singers draw us (the audience) in by their own means or do they depend on other kinds of help? Do they even look like they want to be there?

However, here’s the big question: is this the way the contest is being judged? For Eurovision 2015 the answer is mixed. Some of the actual judges have that background and used it in their evaluations. Others did not. Plus we must remember that fans from the various countries could vote as well so that blows the scheme out of the water completely. Do they each know quality singing when they hear and see it? Having been in this business for a number of years I know (and you do to) that sometimes the wild staging, or background animation or the costumes or the way the hair is done or other aspects can sway the thinking. In which case they are likely to miss the true quality (or lack there of) in the performance.

I was struck by the fact that over forty countries were there and each has its own language. However, most of them chose to sing in English – not their native language. Only a few countries sang in their own language. Gee, I wonder who one of those acts might be? Hmm ? Oh, that’s right Italy’s Il Volo that sang in their native language.. Don’t get me wrong I see no problem with acts singing in English. It is the international language, but I do think it is kind of nice when the act is proud of its own heritage. Besides, we all know that Il Volo can sing in English anytime they want !

After all is said and done there really was no logical way to predict this contest. There were a lot of different types of music presented. A lot of songs sounded as if they came from Texas and added a certain amount of rock to the pattern. The winner from Sweden, Måns Zelmerlöw, sang a song that could have been derived from the USA and had a certain “country” flair to it as did his English pronunciation. Is that a bad thing? No. Just a notation. Polina Gagarina from Russia was second place and she sings with a more folk-song like style and voice. Her English shows just a little bit of Russian accent to it. Again, just a notation.

Comparing all the styles of these 40 countries is not like apples and oranges but more like apples and roast beef – in other words quite a stretch. The above mentioned “country- style” vrs our Il Volo ‘s Bel Canto . It is very difficult to compare that.

So to conclude, I will go back and use my usual format for singing contests. The same questions like which acts have the formal singing lessons background; uses a voice coach in their work; has wonderful, well-written repertoire that showed off amazing and passionate poetry; made a beautiful presentation that did not depend on staging “gimmicks” but rather connected their gorgeous voices direct to our heart and soul. Some of the acts had some of those qualifications but which acts had all of those qualifications? I am guessing that all of you on the Flight Crew site have reached the answer already before I did. Hmm — now let me think about it – – I need time – – which acts ? Oh, this is a hard one. Hmm – – Oh, I think I finally got it. Surprise ! You will never guess ! It’s IL VOLO !

Am I saying that Eurovision got it wrong? It really depends upon the approach you use to judge.

Congrats ! To Sweden and Russia but special congrats to Il Volo for sticking to their guns and presenting pure quality singing. Our guys took the high road. Bravo !


42 thoughts on “Myron’s Music Notes”

  1. I had wondered why we hadn’t heard from you, Myron! Now I know ! You were perfecting your “review”. And perfect it is! I have never really studied music, but I consider myself to have a good “ear”” for it! You are spot on in your statements (if my opinion means anything)!! Thanks for saying it! And in closing, I might add that I’ve never been prouder of any one (ones) than of I was of Ignazio, Piero, and Gianluca!! They were, as always, a class act!

  2. Thanks Myron! I enjoy your insights and comments. I agree with you! Plus, I thought the guys looked so polished…..their suits were tailored to perfection. Before they started to sing you could tell they were ready to give us their best.

    1. I may be old fashioned but I remember when performers used to dress UP not down to do a stage presentation. Il Volo did that for sure.

  3. They were magnificent and you nailed it Myron! I am wondering how some countries chose the representative because a few of the songs and singing of them were down right horrible.

      1. You know I love America and am proud of our country and so I expect an American to sound like America. So many of these countries seemed to want to sound like America too. A number of them sounded like they spent some time in Texas or Montana. I was proud of our boys from Italy who wanted to sound like Italians. WOW ! what a new idea !

  4. I am so proud of our boys. They were magnificent. They were of course my choice to win not because I love them, but because they really sang beautifully. They were wearing ARMANI suits with burgandy handkerchiefs and burgandy shoes. They do not need any added distractions except to be themselves. They won the hearts of the people and the press trophy. Europe, IL VOLO in the house.

  5. Thanks Myron for stating what we all felt. They are the best. By not winning first, they can now concentrate on their tours one of which will be with us. Joanie G

  6. Myron, I believe you hit the nail on the head so to speak. You could see the way they came on stage, the look in their eyes to the audience, the suits they wore, the enthusiasm & confidence they had. I can’t believe some of the other acts but I am not here to talk about them. The guys were true to what they wanted to accomplish and I say Bravo IL Volo!!!

  7. Any thoughts on “professional jury” stealing the victory from Il Volo? If you wonder what i’m talking abt, the voters from all countries voted Italy as 1st place…But since the voting is counted 50% voters and 50% jury, italy ended up on 3rd cause somehow the jury had them on 6th place(!)…My thoughts are that eurovision has become really corrupted and that it doesn’t matter anymore who has the best song…I mean for crying out loud, some countries voted italy in top3, but their jury placed them below 25th place so they ended up with no points…Just take Iceland for example, in Iceland the voters voted Italy as 1st and sweden as 2nd, but their jury listed sweden as 1st and italy as 11th which resulted in Italy getting 6pts and Sweden 12pts…RIDICULOUS! ….Ever since that Norwegian guy Jon Ola Sand became the chief of the whole program 3 out of 5 eurovisions have been won by scandinavian countries (Norway this year was voted 17th but jury had them 7th)…Here’s the link, just look below the video: ….there is also the same thing on Eurovision’s official website

  8. Burgundy shoes and pocket handkerchiefs??? I must check out the videos!! Isn’t burgundy like maroon? My Aggie husband will really be impressed!! No, joke…they did look great! No big surprise!!

  9. Bravo to you Myron that was a wonderful column you wrote & that is what I was thinking as I listened to the whole concert. Someone posted during the show somethng like 3 minutes of painful listening was enough for each contestant. I agree some of them were downright bad. BUT as usual we all knew Il Volo would knock everyone out of the park.
    Myron now that Erovision is over we can look forward to Las Vegas hopefully.

    Bravo also ILVOLO you are always WINNERS forever no matter what you do or what you say or how you say it especially with Ignazio’s sense of humour & when you add your magnificent voices we are the winners also.

  10. I, too, often judge (not music, though). A judge, always works from the standard of what is quality and evaluate what is closest to those criteria. IL Volo is the ideal. Classy, not to mention, exquisite voices makes them the standard for quality, bar none.

  11. I agree with all of the Bravo’s!! With Il Volo, what you see is what you get. Class act every time they take a stage. Flawless performance. Myron, you summed it up beautifully. Thank you for your always spot on reviews!

  12. Thank you so much, Myron, have been waiting for your thoughts!!! Just let me add a few words as you & everyone posting have said it all!!! Our guys were magnificent!!! I loved the white tucked shirts worn with their Armani suits!! To win the Press Award & the popular vote is a most satisfactory achievement!!! We know they are the BEST!!! Let this Flight continue, we are anxious to follow their World Tour 2015!!! Let’s hope to meet in Las Vegas!!!

  13. Thank you, Myron! I love your perspective on music and competitions! I was SO PROUD of Il Volo the entire week during rehearsals and interviews, and totally in awe of their beautiful performance in the final! They were most definitely the real winners!!! BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO! <3 <3 <3

  14. Thank you, Myron, for confirming what we on the Flight Crew have known a long time; Il Volo is a CLASS ACT! All the comments above have expressed our feelings so well, that I have nothing more to add. Piero, Gianluca, and Ignazio we love you, and can’t wait to see you (hopefully) in the fall.

  15. I think Myron’s article was excellent. I personally feel they would have been in first place if my boy Gianluca had been able to sing his full verse in the middle of the song. I know time is a factor but thats the best part. Anyway 3rd is fine. There were alot of countries so being in the top three was a real accomplishment. I am glad they sang in their native language too.

  16. Just my opinion, but contests like these are a joke. It’s like you said, Myron, apples and oranges. I was so proud they won the popular vote, though, and the press award! Now, hopefully, NO MORE contests…they don’t no stinkin’ contests! We all know they are in a category by themselves, and now a whole lot more of the world knows, too.

    1. I know what kind of music I like. I watched the man from Sweden. I did not concentrate of his singing because there was toooo much going on in the background. I agree with you that the guys went out there and sang a song. No dancing or not a lot of moving around on stage. THEY SANG A BEATUIFUL ITALIAN SONG. I am not Italian, but I do love Italian music. The fans kept clapping while the guys were singing, they liked what they were hearing. IL VOLO did a fantastic job and I am very proud of them.
      Alice in Florida

    2. What might have made it interesting, Ruth, would be if the others had to sing the same type of music that Il Volo sang in their native language and the same style.

  17. HI Myron –
    Loved the review. One of the more important parts for making a huge impact is the part you called Presentation. This would include the effect of keeping the audience in the palm of their hands, for a 1.5 hr. concert, or for a single song presentation in a highly diversified competitive situation like this. Gotta say, I believe they have it in spades! Not only do they look like they want to be there, but they look like they are paying attention to details the entire time they are onstage – something that I believe only comes from absolutely LOVING the material you are presenting and the people for whom you are performing. Building Bridges, indeed. Seems to me that Il Volo was brilliant in doing just exactly that.

  18. I am certainly no expert, but having both parents as musicians, and having been exposed to great music all my life, all I can say is today’s music seems to be mostly noise and beat. I think that is why I appreciate Il Volo, they have so much class in their style and music. You are right, they stand out like few entertainers do today.

  19. Well said Myron and to me IL Volo did really win because the European people voted for them overwhelmingly which mean IL Volo did everything perfectly. They are still the best.

  20. Thank you so much, Myron! Fantastic Music Notes. You pulled it all together in a way that we see the details demonstrating IL VOLO is absolutely in a class of their own. Bravo e grazie!

    ~ Jeanine, Compassion’s Doorway

      1. Mary, you touch my heart! (You wrote that you miss me on May 27, and here I am on Sept. 24 scanning past messages.)

        I’ll see you in Las Vegas in March (!), and I hope I can pop in here a little more frequently. (Will be catching up from having been traveling to help family most of the summer)

        Love and gratitude,
        Jeanine, Compassion’s Doorway

  21. Thanks, Myron! Everyone in the Il Volosphere has appreciated this–as evidenced by the number of times it’s been tweeted and facebooked! :D. In this case, though, the public definitely got it right. 🙂

    1. Myron great review as always. What a class act. Do the judges know what a class act is? The people do. Il Volo always gives a class act. Maybe there should be a better way to pick the judges. Myron, you are a good example.f

  22. re: judges – we have the same problem over here. Singing contests that are really not singing contests and they are too often judged by people that are not trained for that work. What can you do. Il Volo takes the art and craft of singing seriously ! ! and they still have fun with it. I wish others would try to do that.

  23. Thank you Myron for that wonderful and enlightening evaluation. I too was proud that IL VOLO stuck to their way of performing and did not indulge into the glitz and glamour. They have not swayed away from how they perform in all the years they have been together and it has worked out tremendously for them. I have a lot of respect for them, their management team and their strong beliefs.

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