Iyanla Vanzant wrote the bestseller Yesterday I Cried. 

I am hard at work on my own book: Today I Cracked. 

Practicing for an upcoming house concert of Richard Strauss and Stephen Sondheim, my friend Crack was right there with me. He’s never far away.

I happened to capture this magic moment in my trusty phone, and now I can share it with you.

(This is one practice technique that works well for me. Once I get to a certain stage of learning with a song, I’ll video myself to give myself a sort of observer. I’ll then go back and listen through the recording with my editor’s ear and mark my music accordingly, slow down and practice the sections that need more attention.)

Here’s the breakdown:

This is “Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten” from Strauss Opus 19, Lieder aus Lotusblätter.

:07 the crack happens on the text, “durch die Natur.”

:10-:20 you can see my 10-year-old OCD start-over-again impulse, then decision to work it out.

Then follows various elements with my own psyche and cell phone camera that you can diagnose for yourself.

Here’s what happened technically. You can spot some of these things from yesterday’s crack treatise.

  • “Natur” is pronounced [na-tʊr] 
    • [ʊ] is like the sound in book. I spot some oo-vowel trouble. That’s what happened. The vowel was too closed when I sang it, more like [u] (oo) than [ʊ].
    • I’m in an overdrive mode here, so [u]/oo no likee. It yodeled into neutral
  • The other factor for me was the [r] at the end of the syllable. Knowing what voiced consonant we’re heading toward can sometimes influence the current vowel we’re singing. In this case, the [r] idea brought the back of my tongue up as if I were going to say an American ‘r’ sound, and that disrupted the space in my vocal tract.

So then you can see me clarifying the vowel for myself and then doing whatever that is I’m doing communicating again with my cell phone.

But those two factors cleared it up.

And here’s a commitment to remembering this when I’m singing it in front of people on Feb 21.

I also missed a spot shaving.

In case you’re curious, here’s the text and a translation:

Wenn zwei in Liebe sich gefunden,
Geht Jubel hin durch die Natur,
In längern wonnevollen Stunden
Legt sich der Tag auf Wald und Flur.
When two souls have fallen in love,
Nature’s filled with exultation,
And daylight lingers on wood and meadow
In longer hours of rapture.