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Chris Kirkpatrick and what is counter-tenor?

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I can't believe that no matter where I search I never hear any mention of anybody asking about Chris Kirkpatrick's singing! Sure he didn't have as much up-front exposure in N'Sync, but in any song, when his voice shone through, it was the brightest part of the harmony.

I don't want to SOUND like Chris Kirkpatrick, but SING like him, if that makes sense. I want to use his technique while developing my own, but my intent isn't to actually sound exactly like him.

I want to sing in his range with his soft, pleasant, almost timid sound. It always sounds like it's just ON THE BRINK of cracking. Like he's singing on the "edge" or something. Hard to explain but you'll probably know!

1. So what is it that makes his voice so "shiny" or I suppose almost brassy? Where does he sing from? What exactly is a counter-tenor?

2. Who else compares to his sound? Notice that he's always clean, never uses fry or a lot of breathy sounds.

Here's probably the only clips that show his very brassy(?) voice.

All the way to 1:09 his voice dominates the harmony

Amazing performance. Song starts 0:29

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5hrRBvYlvc

Thanks for advice!

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He's not a countertenor. His voice is naturally light so he can get away with subtly flipping. He uses a boatload of twang maybe even some nasallyness. The "WEEEE" is present in his entire sound.

In this interview you can hear how he almost talks through his nose lol

A true countertenor is someone who has strengthen the falsetto to such strength that it can emulate and often overpower the female voice. Example: Mitch Grassi of Pentatonix.

He's easy to pick out lol

(countertenor at work)
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It's funny you use him as an example of a REAL countertenor. If somebody had told me that it was Chris singing, I wouldn't have fully doubted it. Although, Chris has a more nasally brassy resonance that rings better.

Maybe Frankie Valli is a better example.

I don't know anything about singing terms, but Frankie seems to sing in three basic voices. One is his highest, the next is high but not as over the top, and the last is a typical rock and roll sound. It's that middle one I'm most interested in. In the song Sherry you can hear this middle one in the second "sherry" of the first chorus. The one in "sherry can you come out tonight". What is it? How could I practice to find the placement for that?

In every day conversation, I always do impressions, hysterical reactions, or sound effects so I'm very very explorative in the top range of my voice and can obtain some shrill stuff with zero strain or effects. I'd like to take that potential and repurpose it :P

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i don't know if anyone has ever heard the original version of "lion sleeps tonight."

then it was redone by the tokens and the female vocal in this was so great.......cynthia zolotin. that vocal she did sounded like an instrument. to me it was her vocal that made that song.

and 50 years later (sans cynthia zolotin) they're still awesome!!

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Fun random fact (a la Ron's style :D ). Where Chris was born and lived his first 3-5 years or so of life is where my mom is from, and where I lived from 4th grade- last June (not counting away at college). His mom's maiden name is a really common last name from around the area; the area's the "Alabama" part of Pennsylvania you people may have heard about. The town also has a festival every year that has been voted the "best small-festival in the world: and I saw him walking around Main Street when I was a senior in high school.

The most interesting fact is that his dad subbed at my high school a few times. Inevitably someone would always ask about Chris; it turns out Chris moved to Florida (EDIT: moved to Ohio according to wikipedia) after his parent's divorce, and he has a rather bad/non-existant relationship with his father. His dad told our class that he didn't realize his mom was evil until he married her and that she fed Chris lies about him, he did mention that Chris "has always let me in when I've stopped by his house, so that's good."

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I remember hearing this. It isn't the "original version" so much as the basis of the pop hit. If I recall, they were simply chanting and somebody broke out in the chorus that became the song we know. It was all improvised.

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Also, what exactly is the difference between a countertenor and a leggiero tenor? Am I correct in thinking they both would be perceived as falsettoish/girly sounding (without the air leakage) but countertenor's usually naturally have a baritonish voices while leggiero tenors are still tenors? I remember Ron mentioning he thought a person could say that Geoff Tate had counterenorish abililty with his high notes, and Frankie Valli is definitely someone who I would say sounds way too nasally/falsettoish etc for my tastes.

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I'm not very well versed in this stuff, but my current understanding is that a counter-tenor is someone who would be a lower voice if they used their full voice, but they have excellent facility and projection in falsetto or head voice so they use that instead.

A leggiero tenor on the other hand, sings in full voice, but has a girlier/brighter timbre within that and an unusually high range. So like, the highest tenor. They actually have the highest male voice, shortest vocal tract, shorter thinner vocal folds, etc. Whereas countertenors sing with a different laryngeal configuration to get the higher range.

There is one exception, a famous singer whose voice never changed after puberty so he sings countertenor repertoire in what is his full voice. I can't remember his name but I think it's on the wikipedia page for countertenor.

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A leggiero tenor on the other hand, sings in full voice, but has a girlier/brighter timbre within that and an unusually high range. So like, the highest tenor. They actually have the highest male voice, shortest vocal tract, shorter thinner vocal folds, etc.

Another important point is that a true leggiero tenor before developing the high part of the voice could be mistaken for lyric baritone or low tenor due to the somewhat darker timbre of the chest voice, and has the ability to sing baritone repertoire convincingly.

Upon development of the upper extension, this voice can go very, very high, all in full modal voice without changing configuration (except doing the necessary thinning out that all voices do to go higher properly)

I don't know how really rare this voice type is but according to what I read it's pretty darn rare.

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