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The Human Instrument
Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music The Human Instrument (2016)
TV Episode
Celebrating the most powerful of all instruments--the human voice--the third episode of Soundbreaking surveys the range of ingredients that go into a perfect vocal track. At once the most fundamental component of a song and the most challenging to capture, the vocal track is the product of a complex collaboration between performer, producer, and sound engineer--a titrate of artistic commitment, compelling concept, and technical wizardry that, at its best, turns a lyric into the soul of the song. Featuring rare studio footage of some the world's most renowned vocalists--from blues divas to suave crooners to rock star screamers--the show considers the gamut of tricks and techniques that can both enhance and alter the human voice, and explores the ineffable emotional quality that makes a vocal track truly great.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dermot Mulroney Dermot Mulroney - Narrator (voice)
Don Was Don Was - Himself
Robin Gibb Robin Gibb - Himself
Oliver Wang Oliver Wang - Himself
Paul Epworth Paul Epworth - Himself
Bonnie Raitt Bonnie Raitt - Herself
Roger Waters Roger Waters - Himself
Eric Clapton Eric Clapton - Himself
Gary Giddins Gary Giddins - Himself
Clive Davis Clive Davis - Himself
Chris Albertson Chris Albertson - Himself
Oliver Berliner Oliver Berliner - Himself
Albin Zak Albin Zak - Himself
George Martin George Martin - Himself
Warren Zanes Warren Zanes - Himself

Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music The Human Instrument (2016)
This offering features the staple of most of popular music, the human voice. We are brought back to the beginnings, particular the blues of Bessie Smith and her contemporaries. These people were at a disadvantage because they had to sing loud and yet try to maintain an emotional level that would attract audiences. When the quality microphone came into the picture, the crooner was born. Performers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were able to sing softly into a mic and exude a kind of sexiness that wasn't possible before. What was most interesting to me was that most acclaimed performers throughout history have had unique voices. When we hear Sinatra or Crosby or Bowie or Stewart or Adele or Streisand, there is little chance we will make a mistake in identifying them. But it has as much to do with soul and emotion as it does with technical talent. Excellent.
I have given this one star not for what was in in it but for what was not.There was not one mention of the greatest human instrument ever know ie Elvis Presley.Not even a photo of him.How can a producer allow this of the biggest selling recording star in history.A disgrace.
How do you do a documentary about the voice as an instrument and leave so many great artist out? Even more importantly, how do you include minority artist so sparringly? The first 20 minutes has only one black artist, Bessie Smith. The next has a sprinkle of Aretha, and Ray Charles but then they feature black artist the most when they talk about AutoTune???? Featuring T-pain and Kanye West. Huh???????

Marvin Gaye did so much for vocals and vocal recording that wasn't mentioned at all except for minute of hear his duet with Tammy. Al Green was featured in the promo but not the documentary. No Nat King Cole, Natalie Cole, NO WHITNEY HOUSTON or Luther Vandross. But yet they spend extra time on Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga.

It also missed some great opportunities to talk about other greats that are not pop or rock singers. No opera, no gospel, no folk singers. I guess they don't count. I know you can't include everyone, but at minimum feature the best of the best.