Tuesday, January 22, 2013

To Synch or Not to Synch

The news that Beyonce (Beyoncé Knowles) apparently lip synched her performance of the National Anthem at the President Obama's Second Inauguration certainly comes as no surprise. I mean, you wouldn't want the story the following day to be how you sang the thing awfully. So Beyonce pre-records and pretends to sing. Now, the detail of pretending to take out the ear audio feedback in retrospect is a bit disingenuous, but I still don't fault the decision.

It's interesting that this is a controversy seemingly new to the world since the introduction of recording technologies.

The first clear case of lip synching showing up in media seems to be the case in the movie Singin' in the Rain.   Kathy Selden dubs for Lina Lamont, until the curtain comes up to reveal who the real star was all along!

But really, lip-synching is essentially similar to earlier fictional concept of Cyrano de Bergerac supplying material to a suitor for Roxanne. 

I can't think of any other precedents that that. More vaguely, the concept of pseudonyms for lovers, such as Catullus calling his girlfriend Clodia as Lesbia are the closest truly ancient parallels to artistic substitution.

Regardless, Beyonce, you did well, live or recorded.