NightPanther

The Singers' Topic!

401 posts in this topic

So, a place for vocalists to commune, talk about whatever they might want to. I would imagine there'll be quite a bit of ranging in discussion here. There was on the last forum. :) Talk away.

 

Here's something: How do we classify ourselves in vocal range without someone telling us? For instance, if I had no knowledge of musical background, but wished to figure out what my vocal range is easily, how would I do so? I know what I sing according to my choir mistress, but still, I would imagine that it would help others who are curious as well. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Test yourself on a piano, starting with C4 and seeing how low/high you can go. After that, look up classifications of vocal ranges and see what you fall into, depending on your highest or lowest note.

 

Or if you're part of a choir, sing the tenor and the bass parts (seeing that you're a guy) and see what feels better. Like I feel better singing alto than soprano, even if I could sing soprano.

 

Or don't trust me because it's been years since I've been in a choir. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! :) I'm finding things a bit difficult for my voice at the moment. My band mates and I are starting work on our first song, and well, the parts that they've all written are written OUT of my vocal range. I'm trying to force myself to get high enough, but it just isn't working. I'm currently not able to speak, let alone sing, as I've lost the use of my voice. We have a meeting later tonight, and I'm going to tell them that they're either going to have to drop things down about two octaves or just not do the song.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Indeed they need to understant that a song has to fit the voice of the singer and not the other way around. They cannot think "let's write a super uber high and complicated song and then you singer will have to take all the right notes even if you're a tenor and the note is G6", composing a song doesn't work this way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what I told them. They were like... "oops. Sorry :sorry: " :lol: So they dropped it down about two octaves, and I'm comfortable with it now :) Before it was like trying to squeal, sorta like Tarja does on Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had similar range issues when my bandmates write songs, it's like they think I'm Geddy Lee :P Putting capos on the guitars to change the song's key is usually the easiest solution.

Interestingly enough, it's one of my own songs that's giving me trouble at the moment :ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should always confine with your bandmates what your range is. And not just work the peaks in it, but stay in the comfort zone as much as possible.

 

@Carnival of life: what do you mean, giving you trouble? What's the issue?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the song was in my range when I wrote it, then my voice changed some, and now it's not nearly as comfortable. I didn't suggest doing it, my bandmates heard it, liked it, and now want to play it. <_<

 

I like the song too, and would like to play it, but I'll have to rework the song some and try to find another way to sing it that works better with my voice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another classification would be the "colour" of your voice. At least in classical music you would find more classifications then only the normal Sophran/Mezzo/Alt Tenor/Baritone/Bass . For example: Lyric Sophran is always the good girl in Opera while Dramatic Sophran is rather the evil one. Colourateur is the very high sounding one. There are a lot of those definitions and basicly they define if your voice is rather powerfull, soft, clear or harsh etc. You can read more about this in internet too or I could list the classifications and difinitions I know if you want ( I had my singing teacher write them down for me :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will try to help:

 

Bass- The lowest male voice. Range is usually E2 to E4. They have a very dark colour to their voice. It's very deep thus why it's referred to as bass. Example is Peter Steele from Type O Negative. [media]

[/media]

 

Baritone- The middle voice in male vocals between bass and tenor. Most male singers are this. Their voices have a lighter colour compared to bass singers but it's still quiet dark. Range is usally F2 to F4. Singers like Marilyn Manson are baritones. I have heard of the concept of lower and higher baritones but I guess it's not relevant now.

 

Tenor- The higher male voice. The range is usually C3 to C5. Their voices have a brighter and quiet light sound to it. Like a baritone we have low and high tenors. Marco Hietala is considered a low tenor. Geoff Tate from Queensryche is a tenor too. [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYakP5Q_mWg&feature=fvst[/media]

 

Now saying this, a lot of singers have wider ranges then the supposed. For example, C3 and C5 is just a safe margin for what notes a tenor could sing but most can sing somewhat higher and lower but that is probably their comfort range.

 

Now on to females.

 

Contralto- The lower female voice. Range is usually F3 to F5. The quality is very deep and dark. Kind of like the bass equilavent for women. Not a lot of women are contraltos. In choir, this vocal role is considered as an alto but mind you that is choir terminology. You wouldn't use that term outside. Singers like Amy Winehouse and Annie Lennox are considered so. We have colouratura contraltos, dramatic dark lyric contraltos, light lyric contraltos etc. The former two are quiet rare. Those are classifcations in classical music and I'll explian them later.

 

Mezzo-Soprano- The middle voice as 'mezzo' would suggest. Vocal range is usually A3 to A5. They have brighter voices but still have a dark quality that differentiate them from full sopranos. Most women have this voice type. Examples are Amy Lee, Simone Simones from Epica. Yet again we have light lyric, colouratura and dramatic.

 

Soprano- The highest vocal range. Vocal range is usually above C4 going over the high C (C6). They have very light and bright voices. Prime example is of course Tarja Turunen who is a dark dramatic lyric soprano. Colouratura sopranos have very agile voices and are the ones that hit those really high notes like F6. [media]

[/media]

 

Colouratura is a term given to a singer who have a very agile and brighter voice for their voice type. They use a lot of vibrato in their voice and you can really hear the agility in their voices. Dramatic dark lyric just means a singer who has a very dark colour for their voice type like Tarja Turunen as soprano. They don't usually hit high notes like their colouratura counterparts. Light lyrics are usually singers with brighter tones to their voices. I think a lot of light lyrics are younger singers. Anette Olzon and Sarah Brightman can be considred light sopranos in that respect. This is all really classical terms, though.

 

 

To find your vocal range just grab a keyboard out and start from C4 and just keep going until you can't sing any higher. Then go from C4 downwards until you can't sing any lower. C4, just to let you know, is also known as middle C. You could try doing it with a C3 instead of a C4 since you are a male. I am not too sure if that is preferable or not. Remember too you have to bring in mind the colour of your voice. Most singers can sing in different ranges like Tarja can. She can sing in the contralto range all the way to Soprano but her colouring and what notes are comfortable for her to sing play a huge role. Also, if you are young your voice will bound to change over time.

 

I myself am a contralto. I go from C3 to a G5 and I have a dark colour to my voice but I am still pretty young. My voice still has to mature.

 

I am not claiming to be a vocalist expert. I am just putting out what I know generally in music. Anyone who knows more than I do is free to correct me (just be nice about it :P )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hm, is tenor range with or without head voice/falsetto (I always mix up the two but I mean the one where you still sing and don't squeal yet :P )? Cause tenor range would fit me pretty well, I can reach up to C5 with my head voice, but only to G4 with my chest voice. My former vocal teacher once told me I'm a tenor, that's why I ask.

 

One vocal type I'd like to add: Countertenor. Range: Contralto, I think at maximum up to mezzo soprano.

 

One example of a countertenor is Andreas Scholl:

 

 

The contemporary choir "Gregorian" also has two countertenors, search for songs of them like "Ave Satani" or "Hymn" to hear their work. It's really quite amazing how high they can go.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^

Oh, yes. I forgot about the term countertenor. Thanks :) Falsetto, correct me if I am wrong, is different to that of head voice because it's produced unnaturally as that it's not from your range. It's above modal voice. So yeah, head voice would be the correct term for higher notes that are not belted. Head voice is part of your modal voice so yes that would make you a tenor. Though it's all about the colour of your voice too. Every singer has a head voice, chest voice etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know what I am, my guess would be something between mezzo-soprano and soprano. It depends on the day, some days I can reach some really high notes, other days I can't. But I'm definitely not an alto cause I can't go that far down without my voice cracks and I start to whisper. I haven't had any professional training, but consider myself a pretty decent singer and usually get a lot of compliments from people when I sing :P It's also the only "instrument" I play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the song was in my range when I wrote it, then my voice changed some, and now it's not nearly as comfortable. I didn't suggest doing it, my bandmates heard it, liked it, and now want to play it. <_<

 

I like the song too, and would like to play it, but I'll have to rework the song some and try to find another way to sing it that works better with my voice.

 

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I stupidly forgot about this thread :)

 

No sweat, your voice can change with age, it's no big deal. The most important thing is you do not try to force anything and just go with what you have. You can dig deep into your comfortable range and pull out some amazing stuff. A lot of people get impressed at how high you can get, but if it destroys your voice in the long run, you shouldn't do it. I'm sure you can solve this with some simple transponing.

 

@NekoMcEvil: there are loads of singers that aren't just one or the other. Frankly it's not that very important to label your voice, I think. What's important, is to find what feels comfortable to you and exploit that to the fullest. You can go from there to explore your lower or higher registers, just always keep in mind you cannot always rely on those.

 

I myself used to be a coloratura, but then I overdid it (major operasinging, along with demorecordings of my previous band), and I had some voice issues for a while. Also personal skyrocketing stress levels do not do good to voice. I only very slowly recovered from it, and now I'm down to simple "soprano". I do have a rather "light" voice, which most people are surprised to hear, as I've got a quite low speaking voice. At this moment, I feel like I could work up the height again, given lots of time and effort. I'm still pondering on wether I should do it or not, since I'm also exploring other sides of my voice than simple the very high and operatic one. On the other hand, it felt so amazing to nail down that really high soprano part in the chorus of "Summernight city" by Therion :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can I ask for an opinion here?

I never had a single sing class in my whole life (I think I will, when I'll have the chance. Now I want to focus on the piano), but I always loved to sing so I keep on recording myself since I was 15 or something, to listen to my own voice to find my mistakes. This way I got rid of a huge amount of nasality and recently I've been focusing on keys and tempos, but I still suck :P Piano and music theory are helping, though.

 

I just wanted to ask if anyone was willing to listen to a clip of me singing, and tell me how do I sound taking into account my forementioned total lack of technique . I'm interested especially in your opinion regarding my english pronunciation, and in any kind of advice or critique. Don't be kind.

 

it's a random acapella (so the tempo is all ****ed up) recording of Katharine Blake's "This Harp Which I Wake Now For Thee"

http://www.sendspace.com/file/85p4bj

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, you have a very pleasant voice to listen to. The first thought that popped into my head was "Disney!". This isn't a bad thing, I love loads of Disneymusic and your voice has the right color to sing this type of stuff. I don't know the song you're singing, but it really suits your voice as well.

 

Your english is just fine, don't worry :). Also, you did a great job getting rid of nasality, because that doesn't bother me at all. At first listen, there weren't any false notes I could hear, so that's a very good thing!

 

Just curious, but is this a complete a capella? Or did you play the song in your headphones and sang along? I'm asking, because the one technical thing that struck me at first listening, was your breathing, and it could be explained by the latter :). You take nice deep breaths everytime there's a small pause in the song, and I can hear your voice is being carried very solidly by it. But your breaths in between sentences are too superficial, which makes your voice sound less supported, and your overall sound becomes "thinner". Really take your time to take the air in, and let your voice rest on it when you sing. You can use your diaphragm to control this. There's some great exercises in Cathrine Sadolin's "Complete vocal technique" (I think it's called). I can definitely recommend this book, especially if you're not taking singing lessons right away.

 

So that's about it: the breathing. It's not very easy, it takes years and years of practice to fully control it. Heck, I don't even have it down some days :P. But overall I really liked your singing. You've got a lot to work with, lady! A great singer in the making... I would love to hear you sing "The Voice" and "The lass from the low country". I think you would sound lovely in those songs...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks a lot for your advices! I noticed I have this issue with breathing, but couldn't define it properly :P Most of the time I really have to stay focused on the way I breathe to take it right!

It was a total acapella, with no headphones. I was sitting and, uhm, did pretty much no warm up (most of the times I record I don't warm up properly because I'm not used to it, but I know I should do it :/ but I always try to be careful not to push too hard when I start singing ).

When I was a teenager my voice was so nasal it was unlistenable (my speaking voice is still pretty nasal) and I was totally out of tune. My sister was always making fun of it, and to make her shut the hell up I decided I had to learn to stay on tune XD

 

Thanks again a lot <3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No problem!

 

A little thing you can do to get the breathing down, is detach yourself from the tempo of the song. Like, when two sentences should follow each other closely, don't rush to get'm sung in a row, but take a very conscient pause, and really take the time to breathe. You can work on speeding it up from there, but never give in on the solidness of your breathing. By this, I do not mean you should gasp in a really deep breath of air.

 

You can also try this:

Make sure you've put both your feet solidly on the ground (sitting is not the easiest position to sing in), stand tall and relax yourself. Put one hand on your stomach, and the other right above your pubis. Now if you breathe, you should feel both hands lifting. If you can feel this, you know your breath is nice and solid. Mind that you are relaxed, you shouldn't be tense anywhere. Breathe like this a couple of times, so you can really feel the airflow.

Now you should try to sing onto that airflow - but mind you to not breathe any differently, just because you need to sing to it now. You should do exactly the same. So, when you breathe out, try to maintain one note only, and try to carry it as far as possible. Really imagine a point (for example a tree you see outside your window) you're singing "to". Imagine there is a line from your mouth to the tree, and the note is drifting onto that. When I say "carry it as far as possible", I don't mean you should exhaust your breath. When you feel like you're nearly out of air, you should stop singing. Not abruptly, though. You know the line your note is drifting on? Imagine it slowly disappearing in the line, merging with it, instead of falling off of it.

This is a really great exercise on breath support, that my singing teacher often does with us. It's not that easy, but it's important that you take it slow and really focus on your airflow. You can slowly go to higher notes one at the time with this - but no matter how high the note is, you shouldn't breathe any differently. The breath stays nice and solid at all times. If you feel like you're losing the breath support, start again with just the breathing against your hands, or with a lower note, and take it from there.

 

I always found singing easier if you really picture things in your head. This does two things: it distracts you from the note you're singing, so you won't put any stress on it which might distort it, and it gives you a fuller sound. It makes it even easier if you make hand gestures with it. Like with the above exercise, if you have trouble imagining this line, you could practice doing this: you put your finger against your lips, and from the moment you start singing, slowly move the finger away from your mouth and follow the movement with your eyes. Imagine you "pulling" the note out of your mouth. I also find it helpful to sing with a sound that is quite "round", like "mo". You start with the "m" and then proceed onto the nice and round "o"-sound, but that is to each his own. You should find what sounds work for you.

 

Also, you should always warm-up :). I confess I'm sometimes too lazy to do it as well, but it should be a habit. You don't want to damage your voice :). As for other exercises, there are tons of them online, and also in that book I was talking about. Or you can find some things of your own that work for you, like some lines out of a particular song that is easy for you to do. Then maybe try some variations on it. Not a warm-up, but my soundchecking line has always been from Ghost love score "bring me home or leave me be, my love in the dark heart of the night" etc. I chose that one, because it's in my comfort zone, and also stretches a little higher than that, too. It's great for volumechecking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For mental images there is also a useful trick when it comes to high notes: When singing higher, think of a downward motion. When singing lower, think of an upward motion. It really helps with hitting high notes with volume instead of forcing them out. The idea behind imagining the opposite motion of your vocal line is kind of (at least for me, don't know what the people who invented that mental trick had in mind) that you counter the tendency to force notes out, which often happens when notes are near the upper and lower bounds of your range.

 

The breathing techniques FairyLady suggested are really among the most important things to learn. Everything else works substantially better if you breathe right.

 

If you need to breathe fast in a song you can have the image of being suddenly excited. Like if you go about your business and then suddenly someone drops something heavy on the floor, it makes a big bang and you jump out of your seat cause you weren't expecting it at all. Or if something suddenly comes to mind and you say to your neighbour: "By the way, I just realized..." (this is an image from Melissa Cross "Zen of Screaming 1"). Or if a sudden idea makes you jump up and go get something done with excitement. In all those cases you take in a lot of air in a very short amount of time without even thinking about it. If you can learn to do this deliberately you got a great way to breathe when a song only gives you a very short amount of time to do so. Remember though, it's not a conscious breathing. What you train is the sudden reaction and the breathing just happens as a result of that reaction. It's a bit difficult to describe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, I think got it! It's very interesting, thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hadn't heard of that one, Sam! I think I'll try it, thanks!

 

I have two-three "tricks" I use regularly for singing higher notes.

 

The first is imagining you're plucking an apple, and make the hand gesture that goes with it. I look at my hand as I sing, and it makes it easier for me to imagine my voice go in a curve, gently picking up the high note, instead of giving one big push towards it.

 

The second one, is to stand on one leg, and deliberately distort my balance. This one you should only do when you're already quite confident in your breath support, as well as the melody you're singing. For me, it helps with relieving tension off higher notes. By having to focus on my balance, instead of "OMG, this note is so high, I don't know if I'll make it or not", I don't put any pressure on my vocal chords, and the note sounds nice, full and solid.

 

The third one I don't use very often, but it helps if my body is tense from stress or something. When singing, I bend my knees on the note (or the few notes) that come before the higher one. When I get to the high one, I stretch my legs, while simultaneously lifting my arms (like the apple-plucking movement - or kinda like trying to score a point with basketball, only without the actual jumping part). I stand tallest, with my arms at their highest, when I'm actually on top of the note. By pushing your body "up" like this, you're doing exactly what should be happening inside of you: giving more breath support on higher notes, without stressing your vocal chords extra. You focussing on this movement, helps relieve unnecessairy tension off the chords, and also solidifies your breathing without you having to put extra conscious effort in it.

 

This imagining-thingy really helps with the singing... I'll try and put up some if I think of any more I sometimes use.

 

Since it's been a good two weeks since my last visit here, I guess I'm allowed the double-post :P

 

I spent the entire afternoon recording today, as I found my back room has great accoustics for it! I promised Slay the Dreamer to wrap up the vocals for his next film, so it all started out with that. But I went a little crazy :P

 

I bumped into my collection of personal recordings of songs I love or things I just wanted to have tried once... Some of the stuff is years and years old, and that "image" of my voice has actually stuck in my head. I've been going around for years, thinking I still sounded like that, even though I could feel my technique has changed, and I sing differently and more controlled right now.

 

I re-recorded some of them, just for good fun, and though my vocal color hasn't changed one bit (and I wasn't top-notch on the breathing today), I was really surprised to hear myself on record, singing the same songs. It feels so good to actually hear that all my hard work is paying off, and that I haven't suffered and dealt with my voice's whims over the years for nothing :P. Also, I have been trying to smoothly switch between my head and chest voice for a while now, and I have found that I can actually pull it off quite decently now.

 

Sorry for the yay-me-post, but I just had a really great time. Singing is one great joyride for me, and my refuge when things are though. I've had some severe personal stress a few years back, which put a lot of strain on my voice as well (as all of my muscles were permanently cramped up). So breaking through all that, and basically having to build up my technique from almost 0 - it took a lot of time and effort. And now I finally feel like I'm back on my feet, and even almost at the level of my "glory days". It's just one piece of the puzzle that's in its place again :).

 

Oh, and some of the songs I re-recorded: "You're so vain" by Carly Simon - actually danced while doing that recording ^^. Also, I redid my little experiment with "Nothing else matters"-Apocalyptica version. Then I had a ride on "My Immortal" (Evanescence) - I sang it at my dear friend's gran's funeral at her request, and the song always reminds me of the extra bond this created between us. Maybe I'll decently process them and post them in the next few weeks, depends on whether I'll still be happy with them in the morning :P.

 

Posts merged.

Edited by HooPee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, way too many threads have been sent off topic by this discussion, so I figured a thread dedicated to voice types is long overdue.

 

When posting here from another thread, post a quote and give the location of that quote here, and link this page into a post in the first thread so people will know you're cutting in. This way, you can bring it up elsewhere, but keep the main voice discussion here. I'll add a reply to the Anette thread at the bottom of this post, so you'll see what I mean.

 

There are main 4 classifications for male, and 3 for female voices. Those main seven are then divided into subcategories to truly pinpoint individual voices (listed from lowest to highest):

 

Male:

 

Bass (Dramatic Low, Lyric Low, Dramatic, Buffo, High, Lyric High)

 

Baritone (Low, Lyric Low, Dramatic, Verdi, Kavalierbariton, Lyric, Bariton)

 

Tenor (Heldentenor, Dramatic, Spinto, Lyric, Leggiero)

 

Countertenor

 

 

Female:

 

Contralto (Dramatic, Lyric, Coloratura)

 

Mezzo (Dramatic, Lyric, Coloratura)

 

Soprano (Dramatic, Spinto, Lyric(Full, Light), Soubrette, & Coloratura(Lyric, Dramatic))

 

 

For reference the most common voices are Mezzo and Baritone, followed by Soprano and Tenor, with Contraltos and Basses being the rarest.

 

 

I've found some videos on youtube comparing some modern singers to their operatic counterparts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE_p_ymK_LY

This is the one for Contraltos, though they only list two types due to the rarity of the voice type. The other videos should show on the side. Sadly, I've only seen videos for the female voice types from them.

 

From the Anette Thread:

 

^ Now that's a very interesting topic going on here, why? because I can't specify what voice type I am, not sure if I'm a baritone or counter :D (off topic).

 

Anette has a very strong low notes esp. on Song of Myself. I find all song from Imaginaerum were sung naturally by Anette than on songs from Dark Passion Play.

There shouldn't be confusion between Baritone and Countertenor. Baritone/Tenor, or Tenor/Countertenor I could see, but it's quite a jump from Baritone to Countertenor. A Countertenor's range is basically that of a Contralto. It is very high for a male. A Baritone is lower than a Tenor. Basically: Do you sound more like Elvis, or Adam Levine? :giggle: (Though actually Elvis was a Tenor I believe, Dramatic or Helden, most likely. But still, you get it.)

 

To complete the whole thread-to-thread thing, I will be putting a link to this page on page 26 of the Anette thread, where the above quote originates, so roestseel will know to come to this thread to continue the vocal discussion, leaving the rest of page 26 (or 27 if it's out of room on 26 :P I can never judge that right.) for more Anette-based conversation.

 

 

Moved this to the proper forum-Symphoniker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now