Music-Education.ruVocal and singing Male and female singing voices
All singing voices are divided into female, male and children’s. The main female voices are soprano, mezzo-soprano and contralto, and the most common male voices are tenor, baritone and bass. All sounds that can be sung or played on a musical instrument are high, medium and low. Musicians, when talking about pitch, use the term “register”, meaning whole groups of high, medium, or low sounds. In a global sense, female voices sing the sounds of a high or “upper” register, children’s voices sing the sounds of a middle register, and male voices sing sounds of a low or “lower” register. But this is only partly true, in fact, everything is much more interesting.
Within each of the groups of votes and even within the range of each individual vote, there is also a division into high, medium and low register. So, for example, the tenor is the high male voice, the baritone is the middle, and the bass is low. Or, another example, the singers have the highest voice – soprano, the middle voice of the vocalists is mezzo-soprano, and the low – contralto. To finally understand the separation of male and female, well, at the same time, children’s voices to high and low, this plate will help you: If we talk about the registers of any one voice, then each of them has low and high sounds. For example, a tenor sings both low chest sounds and high falsetto sounds not accessible to basses or baritones.
FEMALE SINGING VOICES So, the main types of female singing voices are soprano, mezzo-soprano and contralto. They differ primarily in range and in timbre color. Among the timbre properties can be attributed, for example, such as transparency, lightness or, conversely, saturation, voice power. Soprano is the female highest singing voice, its usual range is two octaves (the entire first and second octave). In opera performances, the parts of the main characters are often performed by singers with such a voice.
If we talk about artistic images, then best of all a high voice characterizes a young girl or some fantastic character (for example, a fairy). Sopranos are divided into lyrical and dramatic by the nature of the sound – you yourself can easily imagine that the part of a very tender girl and a very passionate girl cannot be performed by the same performer. If a voice easily copes with fast passages and graces in its high register, then such a soprano is called coloratura. Mezzo-soprano is a female voice with a thicker and stronger sound. The range of this voice is two octaves (from la small octave to la second). Mezzo-sopranos are usually entrusted to a party of mature women, strong and strong-willed in character. Contralto – it has already been said that this is the lowest of female voices, moreover, it is very beautiful, velvet, and also very rare (in some opera houses there is not a single contralto).
A singer with such a voice in operas is often charged with a party of teenage boys. Below is a plaque that lists examples of opera parts that are often performed by one or another female singing voice: Let’s listen to how female singing voices sound. There are three video examples for you: Soprano. Mozart’s Queen of the Night aria from the opera The Magic Flute performed by Bela Rudenko Mezzo-soprano. Habanera from the opera Carmen Bizet performed by the famous singer Elena Obraztsova Contralto. Ratmir’s aria from the opera Ruslan and Lyudmila by Glinka performed by Elizabeth Antonova.
MEN’S SINGING VOICES There are only three main male voices – tenor, bass and baritone. Tenor of them is the highest, its altitude range is notes of small and first octaves. By analogy with the soprano timbre, performers possessing this timbre are divided into dramatic and lyrical tenors. In addition, such a variety of singers as the “characteristic” tenor is sometimes mentioned. A “character” is given to him by some phonic effect – for example, silver or rattle.
The characteristic tenor is simply indispensable where you want to create the image of a gray-haired old man-old man or some sly-crooks. Baritone – this voice is distinguished by its softness, density and velvet sound. The range of sounds that a baritone can sing is within the range of a large octave to the first octave. Performers with such a timbre are often entrusted with courageous parts of characters of operas of a heroic or patriotic plan, however, the softness of the voice allows revealing loving-lyrical images. Bass – the voice is the lowest, it can sing sounds from the fa of the big octave to the fa of the first. Basses are different: some are booming, “buzzing”, “bell-shaped”, others are hard and very “graphic”. Accordingly, the parts of the characters for the basses are diverse: these are heroic, “paternal”, and ascetic, and even comic images. Perhaps you are interested in knowing which of the male singing voices is the lowest one? This is a bass profundo, sometimes singers with such a voice are also called octavists, as they “take” low notes from a controctave.