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axemanchris: Please stop double posting or we're going to have to report you... oh wait.

Did you really write such a long post that you broke your reply button or something?
Hmmm..... maybe you were onto something there about the length. I cut it in half, and now it works. It's not that I really wrote all that much, but included a lot of the post I was responding to in line with my comments.

So, what...... now you're going to report me for double-posting? Huh? LOL.

Quote by Simptom

Full voice, and this sucks, I can hit something like A# or B, no joke, but I can't hit that god damned C without going into a mixed voice. Sucks eh?

One of the things you need to do as a singer is to recognize the strengths and limitations of your voice and learn to accentuate your strengths. Also, you need to accept and be happy with what you have as you make the best of it.

So you can't hit tenor C. So what? neither can most of us. A lot of people still call themselves tenors who top out at the B or thereabouts, but any lower than that is really pushing it.

Quote by Simptom

Oh, I found this! . According to that picture on the right

Notice this, too.... the keyboard diagram shows the range for baritone as being from G to E. The staff notation diagram shows it going from G to F#. Traditionally, ranges are defined within two octaves. Another spot on wikipedia actually agrees with my instructor as being from G to G. With many contributors with different experiences and opinions, there are bound to be some conflicts.

The discrepancy between the bass and tenor range definitions are similar. Go figure.

Quote by Simptom

and from what I can remember where the keys I sang were, I can sing bass through tenor. Tack on a couple more bass notes and bass through tenor on that scale is where I lay to give you an idea of my range from where I remember. I can go somewhere past that low C that is NOT highlighted for bass to a tenor B without going into falsetto! I know that for sure. See, 3+ octaves!

Actually, that C for the bass should be highlighted. See above.

Assuming you can sing Old Man River as you say you can (without any artificial effects such as fry), and sing up to the A (as you said above), that is roughly three octaves.

Still extraordinary, but subject to evaluation as to how *well* you can actually sing those bass notes or those higher notes.

Quote by Simptom

On a side note, one of my best friends is a deep bass actually, and I can't hit some really low notes that he can hit. He has a very rich deep bass voice. I don't know if anyone here has been around a natural deep bass or not, but man, they can blow you away with their power.

Yes, one of the things that separate a true bass from a baritone who can swallow a low E and croak it out with a tone that is wobbly at best.

By extension, the same comparison can be made between a tenor and a baritone. Whereas a baritone might pretty much scream out a high B or C, squeezing and squawking it out, a tenor will be able to *sing* that note.

Quote by Simptom

Quick question, I've always felt that I was always in between fachs and it seems a lyric baritone may fall somewhere into this. Can you not agree that voices vary and that outside classical singing there are people who are very much in between baritone and tenor fachs? I'm speaking solely of being in between your run of the mill classic baritones (Eddie Vedar, Jim Morrison) and tenors (Thom Yorke, Jeff Buckley).

The answer is yes, both traditionally and within popular music. (because in pop music, classification is a matter of academics more than it is of practicality.) I have one of those "in between" voices.

Basically I'm a baritone, but I can sing a good strong high A on most days, and depending on the day and the context can kinda hit the B just below tenor C. A "lyric baritone" is a baritone whose strength and resonance shine most in the upper part of their range, and who can usually sing somewhat above the traditional upper boundary for baritone singers. That's me, and by the sounds of things, that is what you're asking about. I can't, however, in good conscience call myself a tenor.

There are tenor labels that do also apply to this kind of range. In choral music, the demands placed on tenors are less than the demands that an operatic role places on a tenor, and as a result, a tenor is a chorus is rarely asked to sing that high. If you can get the A or Bb, you can sing most tenor choral parts. Thus, the label "choral tenor" can be applied.

There is also a label sometimes used called a "pop tenor." In most pop music, you are rarely asked to sing up to a high C, and can often get away with topping out around an A or so also - much like the choral tenor. Given the elitist tendencies of the operatic community, though, I feel that this label has a tinge of derisiveness to it.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice.

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Quote by Simptom

One point I'd like to add that Axeman has addressed from my posts many times. He says that a baritone should not try to sing tenor

Here's another analogy.... sure, maybe a baritone *can* kinda sorta sqawk out or mixed head-voice/falsetto squeak out a high C. The difference in tone between that and a true tenor is really night and day. So, this would be analogous to the notion of "sure, you *could* drive a screw in with a hammer, but why the hell would you do that when you could just go get a screwdriver and do it properly?"

Quote by Simptom

and that my admission of my past voice difficulties speak for this. I agree that unless you know what the hell you're doing, to try to avoid doing what I did. I have been obsessed with increasing my range since I can remember

This is important. The number one culprit for shooting out your voice (aside from doing it deliberately, I suppose) is trying to get more out of it than what is there.

Quote by Simptom

To get back on topic though... I am covetous of natural tenors' voices. They just sound more beautiful to me and I wish I wasn't stuck with this in between, just-short-of-a-tenor range. The only advantage I have is that I have a significant more amount of weight and power behind my voice than your run of the mill tenor, but it still doesn't make up for it in my mind.

Don't sweat it. Seriously. Your range is independent of your agility, expressiveness, tone, etc. Learn what your strengths are and play to them. Who cares if you can apply a particular "badge" to it? Your listeners sure won't. They just care whether you sound good.

Quote by Simptom

I mean look at all popular music such as rock, awful corporate produced pop, and virtually any type of modern day music from the 1960's onward; tenors rule the field!

In hair metal and other corporate rock genres, yes. But those genres come and go in and out of fashion. Throughout almost the whole 1990's, being a tenor was more of a curse than an advantage, because you ran the risk of making your band sound like a bunch of Bon Jovi wannabes.

Also, as one of those "in-between" voices, there is really very little that you can't sing. Just don't try to do Boston or Iron Maiden and you should be alright. Think of most of the biggest bands in the world right now, and with that kind of range, you can probably sing at least a good deal of their catalogue.

Because really.... there are *very* few men who can really belt out that high tenor C. You can sing 90% of the notes that any singer would ever sing.

Quote by Simptom

For the record, you seem like a pretty cool guy Axeman, I've enjoyed this conversation. And remember, I never once said that I was a tenor!

You too. I quite agree on what you have to say in the bits that I have read in some of the other threads (that I just haven't had a chance to get to). I never took exception to you calling yourself a tenor. I took exception to assertions of people having ranges of 4 and 5 octaves.

I guess what is instructional here, too, is that there is a way to expand your range, but it is not pushing and squeezing and squawking your voice in hopes that one day you'll be able to get there more easily. You'll just damage your voice.

The answer is to build strength, confidence and facility right through to the top of your *comfortable* range. As you strengthen that highest note (say the highest note you have today), then you will find that there will often be another one at the top that wasn't there before, but will not be quite as robust or secure. Then you build and strengthen that and so on.

As long as you are using good technique, this is a safe way to proceed.

Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice.

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
I know I'm 2 years behind in this but.... I think a true tenor or a baritone can be found by asking them to sing something quietly at a certain range.

Many can belt but as a baritone (I think), I was always envious of singers who can sing a note softly without straining. As much as lightly as possible I try to hit the note, I am still 'trying' to hit the note with softness and a mix.. (which I'm still training to be fluid between my chest and head.. I have too much depth in my voice that it's night and day when I get into my head voice)

Anyways. Just adding a blab after 2 years. lol
I'm trying to start writing some songs and learn music theory myself. If I can sing Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison, Dion and the Belmonts, and Billy Idol songs the best, are they Baritone? I experiment a lot with karaoke and get good results with those artist's songs, but every time I try out a higher pitched song like a Trent Reznor and I'm shy to admit- a Motley Crue song, it sounds bad to me and/or I butcher it. I don't like the high pitched voices myself, but unfortunately a lot of songs are written to correspond to voices of those ranges. Any suggestions on keys that work with a Baritone voice? Thanks
Cash is a bass-baritone. Jim Morrison would be a baritone, and Billy Idol is a baritone. The latter two have a lot of music within their comfort zone but have hit some pretty damn high notes. I think Johnny Cash topped out somewhere around a G4. It's funny that you mention Reznor, because he's also a baritone, but he's trained himself to properly hit notes higher than what the traditional operatic baritone would hit. Like the guy above me said, your vocal classification isn't determined by which notes you can hit, but by the vocal weight and strain when hitting those notes. Axl Rose is a bass-baritone, just like Johnny Cash, however, the man hits absolutely ridiculous highs.

The keys question is a little weird to answer; you can't just say "I can sing out of Am, therefore I'm a baritone". Ideally, if you're a baritone, you'll likely want to sing songs where the highs top out at a G4-B4 at the highest. For example, you'll likely be able to sing "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley in its entirety, as the song doesn't go past E4 I believe (the final "hallelujah" in each verse, right before the choruses).

As a bass-baritone, or lower baritone myself, I try to keep the songs that I sing from right around E2 to F4. I can sing slightly higher or lower by two or three keys either way but singing for extended periods of time beyond those notes really makes my voice fatigued. For example, I'll sing "Don't Look Back in Anger" by Oasis because there are only slight instances where notes outside of my comfort zone have to be used: at the beginning of each chorus, there's a G4, and near the end of each chorus there's an A4.

So really, you can get lessons and work on your highs, and try to get trained to hit higher notes with a healthy technique, or you can decide to sing in your comfort zone, and just slightly outside of it. There's really nothing wrong with either approach. Many rock/pop/country/indie, etc. singers decide to sing where they feel comfortable and they can be extremely effective vocalists. Mark Knopfler is a great example, along with Jimi Hendrix, and Johnny Cash, like you said. The only problem is that a lot of people are uneducated when it comes to vocals and have the "only high singers are good singers" mentality, and look down upon guys that are rock solid at singing but don't try to do anything extraordinary.
Last edited by Milan999 at Nov 10, 2014,
I felt compelled to put my 2 cents into this old but fascinating thread because having been around in the singing game for a while, I can see where some people are a bit confused about falsetto, head voice, good singing technique and the difference between a tenor and a baritone.

Let me first say that there are so many charlatan singing teachers out there that it is scary. A singing teacher that tells you to belt out your chest voice until you are hoarse is going to do you harm. If they do not help you to blend your chest register into you head register then they will bring on the premature destruction of your voice. It doesn't matter what your voice type is, blending/mixing is the only way to build a versatile voice that can sing basically anything.

I was taught by crap classical singing teachers for years. The first one thought I was a baritone; when I look back now this was simply ridiculous. Then I was classified as a short tenor. I could sing an Bb4 and maybe even squeal a B4 but a high C was out of the question; terrible straining. After giving up for a time, I accidently stumbled over my head voice. This is distinct from falsetto which is a thin and reedy sound; head voice is a much stronger and more resonant sound and I can now sing (as opposed to scream) up to an E above a high C. Getting between the two voice types is a bit of a trick and others have already discussed this at length in the forum but involves narrowing and lightening off around the passagio. For me, that is around the G4 to A4 mark. For a baritone that is likely to be a tone or so lower. Given enough practice, trial and error, you can make this transition very smooth to the point where changing registers is very difficult to detect. A young guy that is a master at this is Von Smith. Adam Levine is also pretty good too if you like his sound. Bono from U2 does not (falsetto) and either does Chris Martin of Coldplay. In the majority most male pop singers belt from their chest register. John Farnham's register changing is absolutely flawless and he sings a full E5 in one of his songs. It is true that there are freaks of nature out there who can push their chest voice above a C5 (Sting, Benny Mardones - anyone remember him?) but it is always going to shorten your career singing like that. Good singing technique will allow you to sing for hours at a time.

Falsetto voice and head voice are very different. They can sometime feel the same when singing but the difference is in the quality of the sound. Falsetto is thin, airy and light whereas head voice is gathered, rounded and is a full sound. The vocal cords vibrate very differently in each case so I've been told. Pavarotti describes the head voice as like going into another room in your voice. And as far as having the right physiology to do it, my voice is nothing remarkable; no freak of nature here. Tuition from a singing teacher who knows what they are on about should be able to get you there. I go so far as to say that 3 octaves is within everyone's grasp... Though I know there will be many that don't agree.

Whether you're a baritone or a tenor really depends on your timbre more than anything else. Sure, a tenor who is of reasonable competence should be able to sing a high C, but a baritone who knows how to mix registers should have no problem getting to a high C. In fact in some cases you could rebrand as a dramatic tenor (like Domingo did). But all that C2 to G4 stuff really doesn't matter. It's just stuffy old people trying to put you in a box. And it has nothing to do with your speaking voice. I can make my voice sound like Darth Vader but that has nothing to do with my singing voice which is lyric tenor. Ultimately what matters is the quality of your sound.

I worked out my head voice at age 38 so I do not believe that being older means your voice is set in some kind of way. For those who think they are too old to progress... Think again! You have to experiment if you find yourself getting stuck. If you are straining to get a high note then my guess is that you are probably tensing up and forcing too much pressure through a high positioned larynx. I first stumbled into my head register when I was not trying so hard.

I hope this helps somebody out there. And happy to be challenged on any of the above...