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How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?

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pyewacket 22 Apr 04 - 03:43 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 04 - 03:51 PM
Art Thieme 22 Apr 04 - 08:30 PM
michaelr 23 Apr 04 - 01:06 AM
JennieG 23 Apr 04 - 02:33 AM
Escamillo 23 Apr 04 - 03:35 AM
The Borchester Echo 23 Apr 04 - 04:31 AM
Dave Hanson 23 Apr 04 - 07:16 AM
Bob Bolton 23 Apr 04 - 07:24 AM
Wilfried Schaum 23 Apr 04 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Mr Red was here 23 Apr 04 - 08:07 AM
Mark Cohen 23 Apr 04 - 08:13 AM
Alice 23 Apr 04 - 08:32 AM
Nigel Parsons 23 Apr 04 - 02:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Apr 04 - 03:02 PM
Art Thieme 23 Apr 04 - 04:25 PM
JennieG 23 Apr 04 - 10:24 PM
Art Thieme 24 Apr 04 - 01:37 AM
Mark Cohen 24 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 24 Apr 04 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,nathan peter 16 May 04 - 11:23 AM
GUEST 17 May 04 - 04:07 AM
GUEST,singer100 05 Apr 11 - 08:23 PM
GUEST,999 06 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM
PHJim 06 Apr 11 - 11:38 PM
DrugCrazed 07 Apr 11 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,cg 07 Apr 11 - 04:18 AM
Bonzo3legs 07 Apr 11 - 06:32 AM
PHJim 07 Apr 11 - 10:04 PM
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Subject: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: pyewacket
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 03:43 PM

I wonder if someone can help me to better relate between alto, soprano,tenor and bass? I cannot even name these divisions. Would they be refered to as "Voice"? Can they be defined in relation to the piano keyboard, such as bass below middle C or soprano above? What keys would a tenor or alto sing in? How would you evaulate or determine the category that your singing voice would fall into?
Many thanks...
pyewacket


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 03:51 PM

one way


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Apr 04 - 08:30 PM

Soprano is a member of the Mafia.

A tenor is just a 4-string banjo.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: michaelr
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 01:06 AM

Very helpful, Art! ;-)

GUEST got it in one. Soprano, Mezzosoprano and Alto are the female vocal ranges while Tenor, Baritone and Bass are the male ranges, from highest to lowest.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: JennieG
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 02:33 AM

Is alto the same as contralto? I sing alto in my choir but wouldn't, by any stretch of the imagination, describe my voice as contralto. More like almost-but-not-quite-soprano.

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Escamillo
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 03:35 AM

Jennie, probably you are second soprano or mezzo-soprano. If you seriously want to find out the best range for your voice, you should contact a classical teacher, if you did not do it yet. Many times it is a surprise.

Un abrazo
Andrés (a bass whose voice was better as baritone, and happened to be a tenor)


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:31 AM

The range of the categories cannot be defined arbitrarily by gender. There are males who can sing alto and females tenor.

I like Art Thieme's definition best.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 07:16 AM

A bass is a guitar with thick strings or a fiddle on steroids.
eric


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 07:24 AM

G'day JennieG,

My (Hamlyn) simple little Dictionary of Music says:

contralto The lowest of the three varieties of female voice, the other two being *mezzosoprano and *soprano. For a soloist, the compass ranges approximately from E below middle C to D an octave and a sixth above; in choral writing, the range is smaller for both the contralto and the *alto (the male equivalent). The rich quality of the timbre in the lower register gives the contralto voice its special character. [From Italian contra, lower in pitch, + alto.

(You'll have to try yourself against a tuning meter ... or a piece played in this range to see if that's where you actually like to sing.)

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 08:00 AM

From the Renaissance practice of singing in four parts:
The melody is called tenore = the holding one
Below the tenore as a basement we have the basso = the deep one
Above the tenore there is the alto = the high one
Above the alto an even higher voice was introduced: the soprano = the uppermost one.
In most dictionaries contralto is given as a synonyme to alto, or alto as shortened form of contralto [?].
The contratenore, higher than tenore, is the male singing alto, mostly falsetto.
So by the use of the presyllable contra for higher than ... I think that the contralto is used for a range near the mezzosoprano.
In Renaissance church music only male singers were used. It wasn't difficult to find some countertenors for singing the alto, but impossible to find adult male sopranoes. So boys before the voicebreak were used, and to preserve their high range they were often castrated in young years [!].
Recommended book about this practice: Alteration / by Kingsley Amis.

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST,Mr Red was here
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 08:07 AM

Well, not that I am an expert but it was once described to me thus.

If you dop a soprano and a tenor of a cliff which hits the beach first?
The tenor, because the soprano has to stop and ask for directions.

Mr Red no longer here (very quickly)


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 08:13 AM

My understanding has been that a countertenor is above the tenor range -- a (male) tenor who "sings alto" -- while a contralto is below the alto range -- a (female) alto who "sings tenor." Of course, my understanding is often mis.

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Alice
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 08:32 AM

Contra-alto, literally against the high voice. So, contralto is the female voice that sings (below) against the high female voice. The QUALITY of the voice, and where your voice passagio lies is part of determining if you are an alto (contralto) or soprano or bass, baritone, or tenor. It is not just the range of notes that you can sing. For example, a mezzosoprano has a different quality than a light soprano or coloratura soprano, even though they can all be capable of singing the same range of notes.

Alice


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 02:04 PM

Speaking literally, Alto is the highest (adult) male voice, hence alto = 'highest'. A counter-tenor is generally used as an alternate name for an alto.
A contralto, by contrast, is accepted as the lowest female voice.

A soprano is the highest female voice (usually termed a 'treble' for a boy's voice)


Nigel


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 03:02 PM

The superb male group, Chanticleer, varies the names applied to its vocalists, depending upon the musical range they must sing in the piece being performed, e. g.:
In Matins for the Virgin ...., Fritzsche, McKnight and White perform as sopranos (no, they are neither children nor castratos), Fitch, Lichtenauer and Wilder as altos, Baum Krol and Munderloh as tenors, Alatorre, Albinder and Runyon as baritone and bass.
In Mexican Baroque, `Fitch is countertenor, Fritzsche, McKnight, others are contratenors, with the others singing in the ranges of tenor, baritone, base baritone and bass.

In early polyphonic pieces, The Tallis Scholars characterize some of its sopranos as treble, and mean.

All this means is that these gifted choristers have extended ranges.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 04:25 PM

one is more treble than it's worth.

Art


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: JennieG
Date: 23 Apr 04 - 10:24 PM

I suspect I'm somewhere in the middle of the mezzo range, not glorious and rich like a contralto, and not dizzy high like a soprano. Just dull.
*sigh*

Art, I love your definitions!

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 01:37 AM

I'd love to hear all of you!

Art


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 05:29 AM

Tell me, Art, which do you think is worse, a soprano who is treble or one who is mean?

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 24 Apr 04 - 01:16 PM

What was that old band joke about the baritone and tenor noodling the alto and soprano? It had to do with sax, of course, but my brain won't function.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST,nathan peter
Date: 16 May 04 - 11:23 AM

well to me the soprano is the highest female singer and the tenor is the second highest male singer.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 May 04 - 04:07 AM

It was covered well in this thread


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST,singer100
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 08:23 PM

They are determined by the attributes of the type.
The weight, timbre, passagio & tessitura,


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 05:14 PM

singer100, WASH your MOUTH out!


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: PHJim
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 11:38 PM

A countertenor is a male voice in the soprano range. Since countertenors often have a speaking voice in the normal male range, the high singing range is achieved by falsetto.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: DrugCrazed
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 03:35 AM

Thought CTs were Mezzo range?

Also, I'm fairly certain that with a lot of effort you could sing a different voice, but the effort required would be beyond the reward at the end. I'm no longer trying to sing CT even though I have the range up there.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: GUEST,cg
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 04:18 AM

Apparently male alto and countertenor voice are produced differently. Someone did explain it to me once but it was in the bar after the show and all I can remember is that he (male alto) and a friend (countertenor) had taken part in some research which involved examining how the vocal chords vibrate to produce each voice.


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 06:32 AM

The test for a soprano is to break a glass from 100 paces!!


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Subject: RE: How are Soprano and Tenor Defined?
From: PHJim
Date: 07 Apr 11 - 10:04 PM

Drugcrazed, according to Wikipedia, "A countertenor is a male singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of a contralto, mezzo-soprano, or (less frequently) a soprano, usually through use of falsetto, or far more rarely the normal or modal voice. A pre-pubescent male who has this ability is called a treble. This term is used exclusively in the context of the classical vocal tradition, although numerous popular music artists also prefer employing falsetto."
So I guess we're both correct if you trust Wikipedia.


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