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Countertenorousity...

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Aphet
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So, I'm desperate for some advice because I'm... having a bit of trouble. I'm a bass-baritone and I have a very strong falsetto that I've been interested in doing countertenor pieces with. Now, therein lay the problem. My falsetto is very strong, yes, however I have that regular break that jumps into falsetto, but then inside of my falsetto I have another break. The first break leads into this lower falsetto that overlaps with tenor range, but according to my voice teacher is still falsetto. And -then- I have another break that jumps into an extremely high falsetto that, according to my coloratura friend, sounds stunning (this being up in the ranges up to and past High C.)

My problem is that in order to actually work on a piece in this range of my voice, I need to somehow fix a few issues I've been having. Firstly, there is an area in my falsetto that merely denies me: that meaning, I can only sing there if I push it (and it probably isn't a healthy thing. It just seems... for lack of better word dumb that I can sing well higher than that, and lower than that.) Secondly, if I'm not exactly thinking about it I can sing into that high c range easily and without thought. After singing up there a little bit, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to get past the second break that I earlier mentioned. Is it possibly because once I start thinking about it, I push too hard? I'm not sure, but I'd greatly like some advice.

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Hi there, It's quite common for people to have 2 breaks so no worries there.

It just sounds like you need to work on blending your voice into one smooth voice without any breaks. Make sure your never trying to pull your chest voice up higher than it should go which means there should be no tension in your neck as you get higher. Have you been taught placement/resonant techniques to develop your head voice? From what you have said I would firstly work on vocal slides to 'mmm' then move on to scales through your breaks trying to get them as smooth as possible ('nay' can be a good sound to start on) try it at a quiet volume first and get louder as you develop keeping in mind placement and possibly have a little look at vowel modification.

Hope that makes sense ......

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Yes, it does! I will be headed off to a camp that, I presume many here have heard of, called Interlochen and I was considering asking about countertenor technique while I am away there. Would that be a good idea?

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To get to Interlochen usually requires some basic talent. I know because my first wife went there for a while, when she was a teenager. She was a prodigy on the piano. From the age of 14, her piano instructor was Alfred Moulidoux, tenured professor at Meadow School of Arts at Southern Methodist University and he was also the pianist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for many years.

So, you're in for some tough work.

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To get to Interlochen usually requires some basic talent. I know because my first wife went there for a while, when she was a teenager. She was a prodigy on the piano. From the age of 14, her piano instructor was Alfred Moulidoux, tenured professor at Meadow School of Arts at Southern Methodist University and he was also the pianist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra for many years.

So, you're in for some tough work.

Well, that's good to know :D!

I'm thinking that they'll be able to teach me about singing countertenor especially because there aren't many people (that I've found) in my area who can give reliable advice on the matter.

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I've listened to some of the older recordings of decent countertenors and there are plenty of roles for that voice. In a classical version, the countertenor part is actually quite soft, concentrating on tone, rather than astounding volume.

In theater, it is often countertenors that get cast for the hero role. That is, most of their piece or pieces are in upper baritone with a few high notes for accent. One of my favorite examples to point out is "Jesus Christ, Superstar." Ted Neely had baritonic qualities to his voice. As he describes himself, he is a drummer from west Texas who could sing a few high notes. And he sang the title role. Carl Anderson, more of a legitimate tenor, was cast as Judas Iscariot, the second role. For they really are the principle players in this adaptation of the story.

In metal, and some may differ with me and they could certainly be right, I consider Geoff Tate to be a countertenor. He is a legit baritone who can sing quite high and can also sing high and light, approaching the quality of an operatic countertenor. This gives him a monster range and makes possible such beauties as "Silent Lucidity." I would like to cover that song but I cannot do the original vocal line as a few parts of it are too low for me to muster legitimately.

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