Singing Gestures

My friend recently showed me a stage performance of his favourite Japanese duo, Chage & Aska. They seem to be an oldish duo who sing rather oldish songs, but what struck me the most was the humourous repetitive gesture of 1 of them (Aska, I believe). As he was singing, he kept holding out a finger, moving it upwards, then putting his finger behind him, before holding it out again, rinse and repeat. It’s a pretty funny gesture if you’ve spotted it, which brings to mind some other signature moves by other artistes on stage.

For instance, we all know LiSA’s signature body jerks on stage, much like how she does it in her music videos. FLOW has some signature moves as well, like holding their hands out. And of course, SID has probably carefully orchestrated their every move and rehearsed it many times over. Even so, Mao has some moves he always uses when performing, like holding up 2 fingers when singing “futari”. I’m sure fans of SID will know of many other moves that appear regularly.

Contrast that with Faye Wong, the Chinese singer who is famous for not knowing how to dance, at all. She always stands stoically straight as she sings, refusing to move her body more than she is comfortable with. Well she has always been known as being a bit of a diva, but her vocals are so great that her temperament is forgiven. In fact, some find her endearing, because she tells you what she thinks without sugar-coating her words. If she doesn’t want you to interview her, she’ll just tell you to your face, “no, I don’t want.”

And really, sometimes I pity rock or metal bands. Not only are their songs quite taxing to sing, the vocalists are also required to make exaggerated body movements, jumping, screaming at the audience, cheering. And yet they have to preserve their voices for singing 20 to 30 songs at 1 go. I can imagine that much of pre-concert preparation goes towards arranging the songs to be least demanding on the throat.

And how do you move when you sing? I know a friend who shakes his head whenever he sings in karaoke, so he’ll be singing and swaying the microphone and shaking his head. Most people will move their non-mic hand in some way, though usually in a repetitive motion that’s just as funny. You may want to take a look yourself at how you move when singing, especially when you’re not using a microphone. Do you stand still or sway, and are your hands tucked obstinately to the side?


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