Syd Barrett vocal question

General discussion about Pink Floyd.
buduwee-
Embryo
Embryo
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:39 am

Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by buduwee- »

Hi,

First time poster here, huge Floyd fan. Lately I have been obsessed with the Syd era floyd and it struck me while listening to Arnold Layne and Emily that he could get up there vocally. I know Syd wasnt exactly known for being a singer, but I am wondering if anyone has any idea or estimate on his vocal range/type, and how it compares to the other Floyd members. I remember I always assumed that Rick sung on the debut album on Matilda Mother and Astronomy Dominae because Syd couldnt sustain or reach those high notes, but I'm not so sure now. Thanks.

Hi Buduwee. Welcome to the forum :)
I've moved this thread into the main Pink Floyd forum where it'll be of more relevance. If you want me to move it onto the Syd Barrett forum, just PM me.
Regards, Snifferdog
kjek1
Hammer
Hammer
Posts: 722
Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 9:46 am

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by kjek1 »

on Arnold Layne the highest vocals were done by Rick
User avatar
The Gunner's Dream
Lord!!
Lord!!
Posts: 3887
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:58 am
Gender: Male

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by The Gunner's Dream »

Syd had a standard tenor range, frequently singing in the upper baritone range. He had the highest vocal range after Roger (whose highest note is an Eb5 on "For the first time today part 2", which is in the alto range). Gilmour had the lowest range, he struggled to hit notes above an A4, but he also had a good baritone range.
GeezerButler
Axe
Axe
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by GeezerButler »

User avatar
rememberaday
Judge!
Judge!
Posts: 1571
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:45 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Gravity Eyelids

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by rememberaday »

Syd's my favourite vocalist in the sense that he has not the best singing voice, but is not completely unbearable like Dylan is (in terms of vocals). If It's In You is a good example. Syd was a tenor, and to answer your question had a wide range (though not as much as Roger).

Rick was good at high vocals (like those on Arnold Layne, they almost give the song a spiritual-like quality).

So, who sings on Scream Thy Last Scream (the studio version)? Nick or R.K.B ?
GeezerButler
Axe
Axe
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by GeezerButler »

rememberaday wrote:Syd's my favourite vocalist in the sense that he has not the best singing voice, but is not completely unbearable like Dylan is (in terms of vocals). If It's In You is a good example. Syd was a tenor, and to answer your question had a wide range (though not as much as Roger).

Rick was good at high vocals (like those on Arnold Layne, they almost give the song a spiritual-like quality).

So, who sings on Scream Thy Last Scream (the studio version)? Nick or R.K.B ?
Both Barrett and Mason.
buduwee-
Embryo
Embryo
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:39 am

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by buduwee- »

Thanks for the responses, yeah I guess I had always just assumed Syd was a baritone because he sounded so comfortable singing some very low notes both in his solo albums, and with the Floyd. It is interesting, I love Syd's guitar style and chord changes and he is a huge influence on me, but re listening to his voice, I think he had potential as a singer as well, his high and low notes both sound very effortless actually, (unlike a John Lennon, for example, who always sounded extremely strained in high registers).

Also, I'm not too sure if this is true or not, but I (think) I remember reading somewhere his voice was actually pretty quiet, and when he had to project, depending on the quality of the recording equipment, he would tend to sing off key. I wonder if, maybe, this (among other things of course), accounts for some of the off key singing in his solo stuff
GeezerButler
Axe
Axe
Posts: 60
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:49 pm

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by GeezerButler »

Syd was a low tenor.
User avatar
rememberaday
Judge!
Judge!
Posts: 1571
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:45 pm
Gender: Male
Location: Gravity Eyelids

Re: Syd Barrett vocal question

Post by rememberaday »

buduwee- wrote:Also, I'm not too sure if this is true or not, but I (think) I remember reading somewhere his voice was actually pretty quiet, and when he had to project, depending on the quality of the recording equipment, he would tend to sing off key. I wonder if, maybe, this (among other things of course), accounts for some of the off key singing in his solo stuff
It's the same case for me. I have trouble singing in-key when I have to sing loud. :(

But off key singing in his solo is not probably because of his quiet voice. I don't think he projected all that much in the Madcap/Barrett sessions. I know you're probably referring to If It's In You, but I think that deliberate. :?

I think what you read was more in the context of the Piper sessions, more specifically on the song The Gnome. (I've tried singing that song and I find the "Look at the sky, Look at the river, isn't it good?" whispering part impossible to sing loud.)

PS. I searched for articles about Syd having a quiet voice. The only place I could find it was Dark Globe, Julian Palacois' book. Is that where you read it?