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Male singers: What's your highest note ?

Murray MacLeod 08 Jun 17 - 07:50 PM
GUEST 08 Jun 17 - 11:53 PM
Rusty Dobro 09 Jun 17 - 02:39 AM
Andy7 09 Jun 17 - 05:25 AM
Murray MacLeod 09 Jun 17 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jun 17 - 06:59 AM
Murray MacLeod 09 Jun 17 - 07:39 AM
GUEST 09 Jun 17 - 07:54 AM
GUEST 09 Jun 17 - 08:06 AM
GUEST 09 Jun 17 - 08:08 AM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jun 17 - 09:12 AM
Murray MacLeod 09 Jun 17 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jun 17 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,matt milton 09 Jun 17 - 10:16 AM
Murray MacLeod 09 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM
Mo the caller 10 Jun 17 - 06:51 AM
Merritt 10 Jun 17 - 12:29 PM
Richard Bridge 10 Jun 17 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Roger Dunant 10 Jun 17 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,Pete from seven stars link 10 Jun 17 - 05:35 PM
FreddyHeadey 10 Jun 17 - 05:38 PM
Shimmering 11 Jun 17 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,matt milton 12 Jun 17 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,matt milton 12 Jun 17 - 07:19 AM
GUEST,Guest 12 Jun 17 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy 12 Jun 17 - 08:17 PM
Brian Peters 13 Jun 17 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,matt milton 13 Jun 17 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Richard 13 Jun 17 - 01:54 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Jun 17 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Grishka 13 Jun 17 - 05:27 PM
Murray MacLeod 13 Jun 17 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Richard 13 Jun 17 - 07:39 PM
Merritt 14 Jun 17 - 12:53 PM
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Subject: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 07:50 PM

We had James Hickman and Dan Cassidy as guests at the Edinburgh Folk Club last night, and a very enjoyable night it was too.

I was quite taken aback, while listening to one of their songs, to hear James Hickman hit a high A .... and sustain it.

I don't think I have ever heard a folk singer achieve that before ...I know Paul Brady can hit a high G, but I don't think I have ever heard him hit an A (although I am not saying that he cannot do it).

My favorite ever male vocalist, John Cowan, can hit and sustain a high A till the cows come home, and can achieve a B as a passing note ...there may be many other bluegrass singers, of whom I have never heard, who can do likewise.

Which brings me to the question ... what is your highest note ?

I will start the ball rolling and say that I can hit a high E with a following wind as long as it is a passing note .... D is probably my highest sustained capability.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 11:53 PM

Folksinger John Denver former lead singer of The Mitchell Trio, back in the early 70s could sustain a high Bb with ease, and could hit a C without much difficulty.

Folksinger Phil Ochs could hit an A, but he not that stable, sometimes he has trouble hitting an F as a passing not


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 02:39 AM

Somewhere below what I attempted at the pub session last night.......


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Andy7
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 05:25 AM

I'd say that more important than 'highest' note is 'best' note.

Although I can go higher, if a song needs a sustained high 'climax' note, I'll always try to manoeuvre the capo so that it falls on C# or D!


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 05:27 AM

..."Folksinger John Denver former lead singer of The Mitchell Trio, back in the early 70s could sustain a high Bb with ease, and could hit a C without much difficulty".

Forgive my skepticism, but could you point to any recorded song in which John Denver achieved a high Bb , with or without ease, much less a high C ? If he had been able to hit anywhere near a high Bb he would surely have explored that upper reach in his collaboration with Placido Domingo ...IIRC the highest note he reaches there is a passing F#. Denver's highest "comfortable note" AFAIK was an E. Admittedly he had a voice which made it seem that he was singing higher than he actually was.   

Similarly, I have no recollection of hearing any Phil Ochs song in which he remotely approaches a high A ...I would be delighted to be pointed to a recording which proves otherwise, however.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 06:59 AM

If we're talking falsetto voice (which I presume we must be!) then I'm not sure it really matters, as I can't think of any folk song performances where you'd really need to. Bluegrass harmonies on the other hand, perhaps...

I can recommend Jim Moray's podcast interview with Jon Boden, in which the pair of them at one point have a natter about singing high notes.

I'm much more impressed, technically, by chest-voice range than head-voice or falsetto range. That said, I've heard the male reggae producer Dennis Bovell sing the incredibly high falsetto top note that Janet Kay sings in 'Silly Games' (he apparently taught her how to do that). What's incredible about that is that Dennis Bovell has naturally quite a low voice (a low tenor/baritone). It's a CSharp but I think it might be an octave above a soprano's high C sharp!!


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 07:39 AM

No, we are not talking falsetto... Paul Brady and John Cowan don't sing falsetto.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 07:54 AM

Hello Murray:

There's a forum called "The Range Place" where you can search for such things.

FOR JOHN DENVER

http://therangeplace.forummotions.com/t830-john-denver

Not counting the falsetto. You can find the following on YouTube:

1973 "John Denver and Paul Williams Drift Away" a sweet C5
1982 performance of "Eagle and Hawk" twice reaching B
1969 "Civil War Medley" for Bb - two steps higher than Bob Gibson's original
Any performance of "Eagle and Hawk" the first verse is A throughout

But two of his collaborators would kill him when it comes to high notes: Placido Domingo and Alexander Gradsky. With these two he only sang low harmony.

FOR PHIL OCHS

http://therangeplace.boards.net/thread/170/phil-ochs

I remember him reaching A on "Tape of California", the second bridge "The scene is coming soon".

FOR ME

I have no trouble singing any John Denver song


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 08:06 AM

Drift Away: C5 before the last refrain - https://youtu.be/Ymqr4fbU57U?t=12m55s

Eagle and Hawk: A4 sustained throughout, B4 once in the first verse, B4 again after last verse - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf7qEvXBW_k

I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free: B4 in the last line - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuqr96ri3Bc

Civil War Suite: Bb4 in the last refrain of "Yes I See" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4wBoGUff-4

Eagle and Hawk: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=688nWCN42TM

Correct me if I'm wrong? I've tried all this John Denver shit, to find that I can't reach these notes. Smh

Tape of California - A4 in the second bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20O8xrv3F7g=


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 08:08 AM

Drift Away: C5 before the last refrain - https://youtu.be/Ymqr4fbU57U?t=12m55s

Eagle and Hawk: A4 sustained throughout, B4 once in the first verse, B4 again after last verse - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nf7qEvXBW_k

I Wish I Knew How It Feels to Be Free: B4 in the last line - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuqr96ri3Bc

Civil War Suite: Bb4 in the last refrain of the "Yes I See" portion - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4wBoGUff-4

Correct me if I'm wrong? I've tried all this John Denver shit, to find that I can't reach these notes. Smh.

Tape of California - A4 in the second bridge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20O8xrv3F7g=


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 09:12 AM

Ah, so if we're not talking falsetto then when you say "high A" you don't mean a soprano's high A? I always find this confusing.
As in the A-flats being sung at the highest points of this youTube video?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktMd-kUO6cU


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 09:36 AM

No Matt ...I don't mean operatic soprano's high A's ...I am talking high A's reached by male singers singing folk songs. ...as in this inspiring performance by John Cowan ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvRdUz96WCA .

Fast forward to 1.33 to hear the first sustained high A ( he repeats it several times during the song) . He also hits a high B as a passing note later in the song.

Cowan's high A here is the same as the high A to which I referred in the OP, sung by James Hickman at our club on Wednesday night...non-falsetto, unforced, natural tenor voice.

I will check out GUEST's suggested John Denver videos later when I have time.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 09:47 AM

I just listened to those John Denver clips and I think you're out by a tone - comparing it to a tuner, those notes you're calling A4s and B4s are actually G4s and A4s. Not that that matters, he's still got an impressive range.

I can hit those notes in chest voice on a good day, when I've been practicing and when I have properly warmed up. I also find that there's a region around where my chest voice turns into my head voice wherein I can do reasonably convincing, well-supported composites of the two voices that sound more chesty than falsetto-ey.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 10:16 AM

again, feeling I'm slightly splitting hairs here as it's only a semi-tone's difference, but unless several different online tuners are wrong, John Cowan is singing a Gsharp, not an A, at 1.33 on that video. The song is in E.

The one my singing teacher used to get me to do... well, ahem, 'attempt' was Bridge Over Troubled Water. It seems that G sharp/A is the ceiling for a lot of male singers. Check out Art Garfunkels' hitting a G sharp at 4.02 on the word 'bridge':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrcwRt6J32o

It's clearly a bit of a challenge for him and you can tell by the way he phrases the words in the lines around it. I almost wonder if the reason the song is in E flat major rather than E is simply cos Art Garfunkel might not have managed those anthemic notes if he'd had to stretch to an A!


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 09 Jun 17 - 11:23 AM

Not splitting hairs at all, Matt ...I was mistaken, Cowan is in fact singing a G# in that video, as you say, not an A.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 06:51 AM

So what notes are we talking about in relation to middle C?


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Merritt
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 12:29 PM

I can pretty reliably hit the G above middle C in full voice and hold for as long as the song requires, altho I'm not thinking of any where I need to hold the G for say 4-8 beats. A few years ago, when I was practicing a lot and doing 4-5 gigs a week, I could reliably hit the G# and A above middle C. Now my day job takes precedence; which is just wrong. Another factor is congestion. In the wake of a cold I can lose 1-2 whole notes off the top of my range.

My lowest solid singing note is the 2nd E below middle C. I think of myself as a sort of bari-tenor.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 03:16 PM

I have not got a "good" voice but I can go from D to G - ie two and a bit octaves - but at either end for about three semitones I prefer to be singing harmony to another singer.

My tenor, Royston, can do an A, and in a manly voice (unlike John Denver, who sounds a bit girly everywhere in his range). I'm pretty sure that both John Matthews (Wee Jock of this forum) and the late Dave Bryant of this forum could do B, and Dave probably a C.

Clive Lever (Clever Evil of this forum) I think went soaring past A - he did a parody of "Piano Man" that I think required it. He aso has a very versatile verse of very good quality.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Roger Dunant
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 05:22 PM

Tommy Fleming?


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Pete from seven stars link
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 05:35 PM

I'm impressed you know what notes you're hitting. I can go quite high , but no idea what notes - I hope they are right ! . Near Christmas I like to do a verse of o holy night , as a prelude to another song , both of which in C . Don't know what the highest note in that is in C !


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 10 Jun 17 - 05:38 PM

D


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Shimmering
Date: 11 Jun 17 - 07:35 AM

Well I went to check it out, and ... I am pretty comfortable on F. Less comfortable on G, and I can't do A. When I sing in a choir I do Bass.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 12 Jun 17 - 07:17 AM

done some loud operatic warbling this morning as was on my own in the house, belting it out to that John Denver Eagle and Hawk song. Pleased to say I can hit an A and the occasional passing B (just about!), but I feel a bit silly, have to adopt quite an operatic-sounding voice to do so!


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 12 Jun 17 - 07:19 AM

Thing is, to hit those notes you have to be singing loud, and I can't think of any of the traditional English songs that I sing that would ever benefit from that kind of singing/that upper range. I vastly prefer songs sung in a laid-back, matter-of-fact, conversational way, which usually means low-to-very bottom of a singer's range.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 12 Jun 17 - 07:23 PM

I have a $100 Australian note. Does this count?


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Larry the Radio Guy
Date: 12 Jun 17 - 08:17 PM

I must confess I'm a bit confused. When Murray first posted this I assumed he was talking about a high G and A being 1 1/2 octaves above middle c. But a G or A above middle C really isn't a huge challenge for most male singers, is it?


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 09:15 AM

"Thing is, to hit those notes you have to be singing loud, and I can't think of any of the traditional English songs that I sing that would ever benefit from that kind of singing/that upper range."

It's all a matter of taste, Matt (though I don't know what kind of songs you sing). Belting it out works for Bellamy or Jon Boden, and Phil Tanner repeatedly nails a high E on his amazing recording of 'Henry Martin'.

Personally I'm very comfortable with D, pretty OK with E, can hit F,G or (on a good day) A without going falsetto, but F and above is the stuff of harmony parts rather than lead vocal. And, yes Larry, I'm talking about middle C + octave + interval.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 09:53 AM

"When Murray first posted this I assumed he was talking about a high G and A being 1 1/2 octaves above middle c."

Larry - you assumed correctly. We're talking about Gs and As an octave above the Gs and As directly above middle C.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 01:54 PM

Now I'm confused. I thought only rare operatic tenors attempted C an octave above middle C. Anything higher than that surely only comes into "Die fledermaus"! (and sopranos; they'll get cross if you poach too much of their territory)
Richard


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 02:30 PM

No, Richard ... every male with the slightest pretensions to being a singer can sing a middle C, and I would guess that 99% of males can sing a C an octave above middle C... it's beyond that upper C that things can get tricky.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 05:27 PM

Some posters here seem totally confused for terminology. A middle C is the C near the bottom of the staff with a treble clef if sung by a woman or played on a violin. Male singers will usually transpose that written note an octave down, so that the sound is no longer a middle C. The average male voice, called baritone, has its most comfortable range in the octave down from the middle C. Average female and young boys' voices have their most comfortable range slightly higher than one octave above. Therefore, the usual song and hymn books prefer that range, so that most people can sing easily, men and non-men one octave apart from each other.

Performers of folk songs (in a narrow sense) who want to sound as if they were ordinary folks will stick to that range, often encouraging their audience to sing along. However, there is a lot more to folkloristic singing. Many traditional styles require a sophisticated voice technique and long training. Some are reserved for people with suatable voice characteristic. For example, the seemingly highly artificial art of 19th century Italian operatic tenor singing has its roots in genuine folklore - reserved for such voices, and, yes, "loud" as if overwhelmed with emotion. Other traditions and styles have a preference for bass voices - think of "Russian/Bulgarian basses".

Bottom line for public performers: choose a style that suits your voice, and make sure to give it an adequate training.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 06:15 PM

Grishka is in fact correct, and I for one was mistaken.

I had always assumed that the note at the third fret on the fifth string of the guitar was middle C, but it isn't ... middle C, in equal temperament, is 262Hz, and that is the note on the B string at the first fret. The note on the fifth (A ) string, 3rd fret, is 131Hz. I just now tested this with my Peterson tuner.

So the high notes are in fact the ones directly above middle C, and not the ones an "octave+interval" above, (which would be unattainable by any normal male voice).


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 07:39 PM

The confusion possibly arising from guitar music being written an octave above actual pitch, so as to fit it all on the treble clef.


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Subject: RE: Male singers: What's your highest note ?
From: Merritt
Date: 14 Jun 17 - 12:53 PM

+1 most men sing in the baritone range

This is anecdotal to male singers in my part of the Upper Midwest, USA - not based on a random singer sample - but our lakes district has a lot of resorts, restaurants, bars and such that like to feature live music. I get out and perform but also routinely catch others' performances. I'd say,

~ in full voice that most have a high note in the Eb-F above middle C (on the piano) range
~ as noted (har-har) above, I can currently hit the G above middle C but find it's rare to hear a guy hit a note that high
~ I know 3 musicians out of dozens around here who can sing above the G. One seems to top out in Bb-B range; he has a beautiful tone and feel to his voice; I try to catch his gigs whenever possible and am always trying to drag him into fundraisers for various causes. Another, who seems most comfortable singing south of middle C, surprises me now and then hitting a clear, full voice G or A; he's like a stealth high tenor. The third guy gets easily into a full octave and more above middle C - I'd have to grab him on a break and have him run the scale, but I'm guessing like E4-F4 in full voice - but his vocal quality is kind of nasal and harsh.

Again, just from my limited experience in my geographic area.


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