Are you confused about…
How to become a singer
Your voice type
Are you confused about your singing auditions? Your voice type or your voice classification… well read on….
Here is some info collected from Wiki about voice classification, voice range, voice type and the classification of professional singers.
A definition of vocal range:
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Although the study of vocal range has little practical application in terms of speech, it is a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study of tonal languages and certain types of vocal disorders. However, the most common application of the term “vocal range” is within the context of singing, where it is used as one of the major defining characteristics for classifying singing voices into groups known as voice types
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by the use of both tonality and rhythm. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music known as songs that can either be sung a cappella (without accompaniment) or accompanied by musicians and instruments ranging from a single instrumentalist to a full symphony orchestra or big band. Singing is often done in a group of other musicians, such as in a choir of singers with different voice ranges, or in an ensemble with instrumentalists, such as a rock group or baroque ensemble.
Singing can be informal and done for pleasure; for example, singing in the shower or karaoke; or it can be very formal, as in the case of singing during a religious ritual such as a Mass or professional singing performances done on stage or in a recording studio. Singing at a high amateur or professional level usually requires instruction, and regular practice. Professional singers usually build their careers around one specific musical genre, such as Classical or rock, they typically take voice training provided by a voice teacher or vocal coach throughout their career.
voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics. Voice classification is the process by which human voices are evaluated and are thereby designated into voice types. These qualities include but are not limited to: vocal range, vocal weight, vocal tessitura, vocal timbre, and vocal transition points such as breaks and lifts within the voice. Other considerations are physical characteristics, speech level, scientific testing, and vocal registration.The science behind voice classification developed within European classical music and is not generally applicable to other forms of singing. Voice classification is often used within opera to associate possible roles with potential voices. There are currently several different systems in use including: the German Fach system and the choral music system among many others. No system is universally applied or accepted. This article focuses on voice classification within classical music. For other contemporary styles of singing see: Voice classification in non-classical music.
Voice classification is a tool for singers, composers, venues, and listeners to categorize vocal properties, and to associate possible roles with potential voices. There have been times when voice classification systems have been used too rigidly, i.e. a house assigning a singer to a specific type, and only casting him or her in roles they consider belonging to this category.
A singer will ultimately choose a repertoire that suits their instrument. Some singers such as Enrico Caruso, Rosa Ponselle, Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas, Ewa Podles, or Plácido Domingo have voices which allow them to sing roles from a wide variety of types; some singers such as Shirley Verrett or Grace Bumbry change type, and even voice part over their careers; and some singers such as Leonie Rysanek have voices which lower with age, causing them to cycle through types over their careers. Some roles as well are hard to classify, having very unusual vocal requirements; Mozart wrote many of his roles for specific singers who often had remarkable voices, and some of Verdi’s early works make extreme demands on his singers.
A note on vocal range vs. tessitura: Choral singers are classified into voice parts based on range; solo singers are classified into voice types based in part on tessitura – where the voice feels most comfortable for the majority of the time.
Voice Range and classification
Vocal range plays such an important role in classifying singing voices into voice types that sometimes the two terms are confused with one another. A voice type is a particular kind of human singing voice perceived as having certain identifying qualities or characteristics; vocal range being only one of those characteristics. Other factors are vocal weight, vocal tessitura, vocal timbre, vocal transition points, physical characteristics, speech level, scientific testing, and vocal registration. All of these factors combined are used to categorize a singer’s voice into a particular kind of singing voice or voice type.
There are a plethora of different voice types used by vocal pedagogists today in a variety of voice classification systems. Most of these types, however, are sub-types that fall under seven different major voice categories that are for the most part acknowledged across all of the major voice classification systems. Women are typically divided into three groups: soprano, mezzo-soprano, and contralto. Men are usually divided into four groups: countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass. When considering the pre-pubescent voices of children an eighth term, treble, can be applied. Within each of these major categories there are several sub-categories that identify specific vocal qualities like coloratura facility and vocal weight to differentiate between voices.
Vocal range in and of itself can not determine a singer’s voice type. While each voice type does have a general vocal range associated with it, human singing voices may possess vocal ranges that encompass more than one voice type or are in between the typical ranges of two voice types. Therefore, voice teachers only use vocal range as one factor in classifying a singer’s voice. More important than range in voice classification is tessitura, or where the voice is most comfortable singing, and vocal timbre, or the characteristic sound of the singing voice.For example, a female singer may have a vocal range that encompasses the high notes of a soprano and the low notes of a mezzo-soprano. A voice teacher would therefore look to see whether or not the singer were more comfortable singing up higher or singing lower. If the singer were more comfortable singing higher then the teacher would probably classify her as a soprano and if the singer were more comfortable singing lower than they would probably classify her as a mezzo-soprano. The teacher would also listen to the sound of the voice. Sopranos tend to have a lighter and less rich vocal sound than a mezzo-soprano. A voice teacher, however, would never classify a singer in more than one voice type, regardless of the size of their vocal range.
The following are the general vocal ranges associated with each voice type using scientific pitch notation where middle C=C4. Some singers within these voice types may be able to sing somewhat higher or low