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Types of singing voices

Many novice vocalists are often interested in the question of what their voice is and what it is called. Today we will try to understand this important and relevant topic and learn how to correctly determine your voice type. It should be noted that in this article we will talk about formed voices, since the types of children’s voices are a different story.

The definition of the voice is very important for the vocalist, because an incorrect “diagnosis” can adversely affect the voice apparatus. Many people are often mistaken in the fact that the type of voice is recognized only by what notes you are able to take. In fact, there are several parameters for this, such as timbre, range, transition notes, and so on. For example, low-pitched voices (bass) can reproduce “tenor” notes, but this does not mean that such a voice can be attributed to a tenor. In practice, it happens that novice inexperienced vocalists, in the desire to sing high notes, overestimate their abilities. Most often, this is caused by a desire to imitate their idols or a desire to prove to others that “I can sing as well as this world star”. It is worth remembering that your original vocals will sound much better than forcibly squeezed out singing.

Before going directly to the methods of determining voice types, I would like to note that there are still difficulties and ambiguities in this issue. Many people have a distorted idea of the types of voices. There is an opinion that for pop vocals, the classification of voices is not necessary and is only necessary for academic vocals, but this is not quite true. There is a division of voices in the modern stage, but it is not based on the classical scheme: contralto, mezzo-soprano, soprano, and so on, but on the principle of “very low voice, low, high and very high”. The difference is that there are no clear boundaries in this classification.
In General, the human voice, both in men and women, is divided by nature into three types. Many novice vocalists are often misled by confusing the type of voice with the timbre, while these are completely different concepts. The type of voice primarily refers to the pitch characteristic, that is, the position of the voice on the scale of the scale. But the timbre features are more important for evaluating the voice from an artistic point of view and not so important for classification, which can not be said about the tessituric endurance inherent in all voices, regardless of what style you sing.

Tessitura refers to the altitude position of sounds in a piece of music in relation to the range of the singing voice. The main condition for artistic performance, namely freedom of sound, naturalness and beauty, is that the tessitura of the vocal work corresponds to the character of the singer’s voice.

In order to determine whether a particular piece is suitable for tessitura, you need to pay attention to how high or low the greater number of notes are in relation to your extreme upper and lower parts of the voice. Simply put, pay attention to how long you will have to sing “uncomfortable” notes. If they occur occasionally, then the tessitura is suitable for you, if they occur frequently and the voice quickly settles, then the tessitura is not suitable for you and in this case it is worth changing the tone. The comfortable zone of the singing range, where you can sing for a long time without harm to your voice device, will be your native tessitura.

For many singers, raising or lowering the tessitura even by a tone or half-tone can often be harmful, so mistakes are common when choosing a voice type. The presence of two or more upper resonators in many singers is confusing for many in determining the type. In the presence of higher resonators, different from the typical ones, the voice acquires the timbre qualities of a higher voice, which is not typical of nature. For example, the most real contralto in terms of pitch characteristics, but having a second head resonator, can sound like a soprano.

In order to determine the type of voice by tessitura, it is necessary to take into account such a concept as register. For example, a man’s voice sounds without much tension, when most of the notes fall on the La, Sol, FA of the first octave – it can be both a tenor and a baritone. So how do you determine what type it is? It is important not only that these notes were simply sung, but also how they sounded. If they were sung in falsetto, there will be no tension. However, remember that the voice type is not determined by falsetto (in women – by the head register). It is quite difficult for beginners to understand all this without a professional vocal teacher, because without understanding the system of sound images, it is difficult to recognize the differences between registers.

Below are tables with voice types, but it’s worth noting that this is just a compressed specification. There are exceptions to the rules everywhere, especially when it comes to vocal issues, which must take into account the anatomical Constitution of each person. For example, it has long been known that the shorter and thinner the vocal cords, the higher the voice type, but the tenor Enrico Caruso had long baritone chords.

Summing up the above, I would like to give you some tips:

1. Sing where your voice sounds best. Strengthen your vocal skills in a convenient range – this is the only safe and effective way to develop a “middle ground”. In this case, you can expect that your range will expand over time.

2. Until you have learned the nature of your voice and have learned to feel and understand how your voice system works, do not imitate idols and famous singers in any way.

3. Even if you understand everything in theory, reading specialized literature, and learn vocal art yourself, remember that this is primarily a practical discipline. You should contact a vocal teacher who will help you compare theory with correct practice.

But most importantly, remember: your audience is people who, most often, do not know anything about vocals, they do not care what your voice type is called or in what tessitura you sing. They appreciate you not for the pitch of your voice and numerous vocal techniques, but for the individual timbre, style and manner of performance!

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