Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

DVD review: The Art of Screaming! 

Wednesday, Aug 6 2008
Comments

The vocal exercises employed by Susan Carr in the new DVD The Art of Screaming! Total Training for Vocalists on the Edge are bound to make you feel a bit silly at first. It's hard not to feel odd while performing stereotypical choral warm-ups while hanging upside down, or trying to project a falsetto through the top of your scalp while doffing a literal hat to an imaginary person. Of course, a little bit of indignity is a small price to pay to for a voice like AC/DC's Brian Johnson or Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt, especially when you can suffer it in the privacy of your own home, wearing a bathrobe.

The video opens with an anatomy lesson, as Carr instructs Wesafari singer Wolf Carr on how to locate his diaphragm and abdominals and then guides him in a breathing exercise. The bulk of the instruction provided offers this kind of focus on how your body creates and amplifies sound using different groups of muscles and biological "sounding boards." It all seems a bit odd at first, but when you actually bother to follow along, it clicks. You can actually feel what Carr is talking about, from the contraction on your internal obliques when you make "karate sounds" to a kind of vibrating tingle in your scalp when practicing falsetto from the "head voice."

Carr also points out what we all knew intuitively: The Germans are built for screaming. The harsh, glottal sounds of the German language lend themselves perfectly to an investigation of the mechanics of growls and shrieks, and Carr puts all those throaty Hs and stiff consonants to good use in demonstrating the basic formation of a growl.

Throughout the instructional portions, though, Carr doesn't really get into much of what you would actually call screaming, which is a shame. It would be really cool to hear this diminutive, classy older woman really let loose and belt out some Satan vocals.

About The Author

Nicholas Hall

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Slideshows

  • A Look Back at Summer 2014
    Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer -- back to school, the days grow shorter, and fall weather is just around the corner. So have a look back at San Francisco's 2014 summer.
  • Jack White at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
    Jack White and his band performed at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday and Saturday nights in front of sold out audiences. Jack entertained his fans with music that included songs from his days with The White Stripes, and The Raconteurs, as well as hits from his solo albums; Blunderbuss and Lazaretto. Photography by Sugarwolf.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed