This article is a combination of an excerpt from Wikipedia (the free encyclopaedia) and my own knowledge.

They sound different ... but nice!

They sound different ... but nice!

In singing, there is a certain range of sounds or vocal range that singers chiefly use in their songs relating to their vocal capabilities.  The major ranges given below are approximations and are not meant to be too rigidly applied.  Some sub-divisions exist under each vocal type.  These types are basically classified by the sounds the keys of a piano can produce whereas the middle C (C4) is the scientific pitch notation.

Female Singing Voices

  1. Soprano (e.g. Céline Dion, Sarah Brightman, Christina Aguilera) – The highest female voice being able to sing roughly between C4 (middle C) and C6 (high C or two octaves above the middle C), and possibly higher.
  2. Mezzo-soprano (e.g. Madonna, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand) – A female voice in between the soprano and contralto that is able to sing roughly between A3 (A below middle C) and A5 (two octaves above A3). This is the most common female voice.  Some mezzos may be able to sing slightly lower or higher.
  3. Contralto (Chèr, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson) – The lowest female voice being able to sing roughly between F3 (F below middle C) and E5, and possibly lower. Some very rare contraltos share a similar range to the tenor.

Technically, “alto” (the voice type of Mariah Carey, Shania Twain and Gloria Estefan from D3 to F5 or G5) – approximately between D3 (D below the middle C) to A4 (A above the middle C) – is not a voice type but a designated vocal line in choral music based on vocal range. The range of the alto part in choral music is usually more similar to that of a mezzo-soprano than a contralto. However, in many compositions the alto line is split into two parts. The lower part, Alto 2, is usually more suitable to a contralto voice than a mezzo-soprano voice.

Male Singing Voices

  1. Tenor (e.g. Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban)– The highest male voice being able to sing roughly between B2 (2nd B below middle C) and A4 (A above Middle C), and possibly higher.
  2. Baritone (e.g. Elton Johnpreviously tenor, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé) – A male voice in between the tenor and bass that is able to sing between G2 (two Gs below middle C) and F4 (F above middle C). This is the most common male voice.  Some baritones may be able to sing slightly lower or higher.
  3. Bass (Don Bigras, Bobby Farrell) – The lowest male voice being able to sing roughly between E2 (Two Es below middle C) and E4 (The E above middle C), and possibly lower.

Some men can sing in the same range as women using their falsetto voices or as a result of some rare physiological conditions. These men do not fall into the three female categories. These men, like contemporary singers of popular music nowadays, are known as “countertenors” or “male altos”. The approximate range of countertenors is from G3 (G below the middle C) to E5 or F5 (E or F above the middle C).  Within contemporary music, however, the use of the term “tenor” for these male voices would be more appropriate.

NOTE: Elton John used to have a rich tenor voice in his youthful days, and his voice made the transition to baritone due to the aging process.  Michael Jackson, when he was in childhood and was playing with the Jackson 5, he had a boy soprano which eventually descended to a characteristic androgynous tenor.

For further information, check out the following on the Wikipedia (free encyclopaedia) website.

–        Singing

–        Voice type

–        Vocal classification

–        Vocal range

–        Fach

Advertisements