Is there such a thing as bad singing?
That is a question I ask myself when I hear someone who's singing may be off pitch, or after hearing someone who may be approaching a monotone.
Now, there can be bad singing if I have paid money to hear someone whose musical abilities or tastes are not similar to mine.
For example, I am not a fan of rap music. However, it is an industry that seems to have done well without any of my support. I haven't been missed.
That is the commercial side of the music business. I am talking about the people who listen to their favorite music and are moved to the where they want to be part of the song and they join in with their voice.
While rap is not one of my tastes, I do enjoy listening to yodeling. I wish I could yodel. I want to reach those high up notes where I sound like a tire with nail in it.
So, musical tastes are purely an individual choice.
Singers come with a wide range of abilities. I have been around people who range from a flat monotone to I didn't want them to stop singing.
I remember being in an office supply store and a slightly overweight, plain-looking girl was quietly doing harmony with a popular song that was playing over the store's speaker system.
I wanted to follow her from aisle to aisle until the song finished. All I could do was muster a smile when we made eye contact. I hope she caught my approval.
We all know great singing when we hear it. We are pulled into the song by the quality and ability of the singer.
I am not a great singer. I can carry a tune, but I am not solo material.
I am one of the people in the choir who provide backup. I can provide support with the rest of the members.
And when my favorite song is on the radio or played from my recorded music, I can't wait to join in whether it is one person or a group.
Suzy Bogguss doesn't know how many duets she has sung with me. Neither does Judy Collins.
And you thought the Statler Brothers or the Oak Ridge Boys were a quartet. Nope. I am the fifth member of both groups.
When Brooks and Dunn do "My Maria" and I am around, they become a trio.
And when Ben E. King sings "Spanish Harlem" or Jay and the Americans sing "Cara Mia," there is no way I can keep still.
A favorite memory is standing next to my brother-in-law at a baseball stadium as we both belt out "The Star Spangled Banner" at the start of the game.
The singer I miss the most is when I remember hearing my dad sing as he worked through the day. He was not a great singer, but he could carry a tune and I knew he was singing for the pure pleasure of it.
I can hear his voice in my mind, either while he was doing chores or sitting in the pew behind me at church.
He did not sing a song in its entirety, but had a few lines from his favorite songs he would sing over and over whenever the urge hit him.
But I haven't specifically answered the question if there is bad singing.
My answer is, "No, there is not bad singing. When the singing comes from the heart and the singer is feeling the music and moved by it, let them sing."
And If I know the words, I may join in.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.