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16 year old male, not sure if baritone/tenor/countertenor?

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My chest vocal range is E2 - A4, though E2 is very airy and i can only push out the A4 on good days. i've never understood how tenors switch into their 'mixed' voice or whatever they call it, so i can never go higher than A4 in chest. Although, using other registers, i can actually sing up to F5. one way i can do it is a kind of a weak, airy falsetto which i avoid using because of the reasons i already named, and also it cracks alot. another thing i discovered when i was 13 and my voice had just went lower and when i lost my whistle notes, was that i have some other register, that doesn't sound as thin as falsetto, it never cracks and is Much more powerful than falsetto. goes up to F5. i thought it might be what the leggiero tenors use to sing their high notes, but when i demonstrated it to my teacher, she told me that i have potential as a countertenor not tenor, because those notes are still too light for a true tenor... which left me even more confused than before.

I don't really want to upload any of my singing here, but i listened to this guy

sing the "Let It Go" from Frozen, and my high notes sound pretty much exactly like his(beginning from 3:15). light, but powerful. except when i sing anything below C5 in this 'falsetto-ish technique' (?) it sounds weak.

what do you think?

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I think you should be all three, just in case. In case of what? I don't know.

The different fachs are more important in classical, especially opera, than they are in pop music. However, there will always be some kind of voice description. Even if we use Kevin Bacon as the benchmark. Are you closer to or farther from the voice of Kevin? :lol:

Just as there are the six degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

I've read that countertenors are as rare as legit bassos. Now, you might sing some songs in the same manner as that of a countertenor, but you won't actually be one until you have trained as one.

E2 is that the lowest possible noise you can make? Or can you go lower than that?

anyway, a true fach is range and weight through 2 octaves, the compass required of most voices in an "serious" vocal work.

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As i mentioned before, i'm not really comfortable about posting my singing anywhere, yet.

I realize that the different voice types are more important in opera, but i was never aiming for pop anyway. If at all, it's going to be opera/rock for me, but i'm not even sure if i will find enough time to perform as a singer in the future, since i am, by profession, actually a classical pianist (11 years of experience.) I love playing the piano and singing both so much that i can't possibly quit either of them, which leaves me in a pretty difficult situation.

Speaking of my vocal technique (if there is any) - well, when i'm exhaling, AKA singing normally, then yes, the E2 is the lowest sound i can make. Although, if you count in any kind of noise... well, if i sing while inhaling, i make this raspy grunting sound that can go lower than the lowest A on the piano - but that obviously doesn't count as singing.

And the high notes (C5-F5) i can sing are actually in head voice. when i recorded myself singing those high notes, i realized how thin they actually are - it's not as thin as falsetto, and it has a bit of strange raspiness to it, but it's still very thin. My low chest notes sound much better, and fuller, than my high chest notes, and my low notes have natural vibrato, but the high notes don't. My high chest notes sound thin, weak, strained, and it feels like i can crack at any time.

Although, i do have a workable 2 octaves of range - everything from F2 - F4 is solid. still, i think it's best for me to quit singing for a few years or so.

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why do you wanna quit singing? Also voicetypes are just crap and not something your gonna focus on early in your vocaltraining.

your voice is either small medium or large :P you should be able to figure out wich by yourself :)

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Although, i do have a workable 2 octaves of range - everything from F2 - F4 is solid. still, i think it's best for me to quit singing for a few years or so.

Why on earth would you quit?

First of all, solid range from F2-F4 is PLENTY. Just find songs in that range and practice those for now, and work on range extension on the side, hopefully under the direction of a great vocal teacher.

Also, if you are thinking that your age is holding you back and if you just wait a few years things will sort themselves out, you're mistaken. You are past voice change now and with the exception of recovering from vocal injury (not your case), there is nothing worse you can do for your progress as a singer than not singing.

If you want to focus more on piano, that's cool, but understand that the voice is an entirely human instrument so it's so important to maintain it through consistent practice of some sort. Moreso than piano in my experience where the muscular coordination is simpler and less fickle (I play piano too) So I think a little casual singing 4+ days a week (5-15 minutes each) and a serious longer session once a week (45min+) would be a nice conservative practice schedule to just keep your voice in shape without getting in the way of piano practice if you are more serious about that.

If you are equally serious about practicing both, welcome to the dilemma of being a multi-instrumentalist! :lol:

There has to be a way to split up the practice time equally, I just haven't figured it out personally. I don't think I can get my brain to think that way honestly. I need to obsess over one instrument at a time to really improve in it, otherwise without that tunnel vision focus I won't really make much progress. But in the mean time I need to remember not to entirely neglect the others.

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singing normally, then yes, the E2 is the lowest sound i can make. Although, if you count in any kind of noise... well, if i sing while inhaling, i make this raspy grunting sound that can go lower than the lowest A on the piano - but that obviously doesn't count as singing.

And the high notes (C5-F5) i can sing are actually in head

Classical description of a high tenor.

At least from one of the voice experts I have read in the media section of this site.

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You are most likely a baritone (most males are) seeing that you can sing below C3 where as true tenors cannot. However, you might have the ability to become a countertenor. Keep practicing your head voice and you will get there.

Like Ron said, vocal classifications are really only important in opera music as they are looking for a certain style in that type of singing. But in all honestly, I think the terms are better used to describe someone's speaking voice as I feel timbre's vary greater in that context.

Truth be told, both tenors and countertenors are actually artificial voices. I had an ENT doctor who trained as a tenor tell me that secret. I myself, studied as a countertenor in college and I can tell you right now that when I first started singing in high school I couldn't even do falsetto. It might be a gift to an extent, but you still have to develop it.

The only thing I know for sure is that you cannot change how low you sing. That depends on the size of your vocal folds and how thick and long they are. This is why a true bass is so rare. If you have ever heard one sing in real life, their voice shakes the entire room.

I disagree with Owen, your voice changes throughout your life. Robert Lunte often talks about how your best singing is in your 30's. I am 24 and my voice is still changing. I recently discovered "middle voice" (which a lot of people claim is a myth) and am starting to be able to sing tenor. It's something the voice ends up doing on it's own. I couldn't do it until recently and I haven't even been singing as much as I used to. Some things you just have to be patient and let happen.

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Truth be told, both tenors and countertenors are actually artificial voices. I had an ENT doctor who trained as a tenor tell me that secret. I myself, studied as a countertenor in college

I like that.

The only thing I know for sure is that you cannot change how low you sing. That depends on the size of your vocal folds and how thick and long they are.

I've been saying that a while and usually meet with some resistance.

This is why a true bass is so rare. If you have ever heard one sing in real life, their voice shakes the entire room.

Precisely. My step-grandfather could sing bass and yes, it felt like whichever room he was in was rattling. And I thought I would grow up to sound like him. We are not blood-related but I thought men just had low voices and that high-singing guys were freaks of nature.

I must be a freak. Because being around him and other adults and later, friends of my own, did not turn me into a bass or baritone. So, all that mimickry didn't do a thing for me. I grew up to sound like my mother.

I think I am half as smart as she is. And if I were half as pretty, man, what a winning hand. :lol:

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AboveTenor, I'm not saying the voice doesn't keep changing. I have even noticed mine change in tone and thickness between age 15 and 18 in a way that I am not convinced is entirely due to training, but that is subtle compared to the gains I've made that I'm positive were a result of training.

I was just saying that if you have this mentality of "screw it, I'll just not train and just wait till my voice is in it's best condition before I even ever sing" that's the wrong mentality. A voice that has been singing for 10 years when it hits age 26 is going to do way better than someone who starts at age 26.

I have also heard from many sources that there are positive changes to the voice that happen around the mid-twenties. I'm not that old yet so I can't speak from experience but I do trust these sources are accurate. But still that doesn't mean you should give up and start training then. It's better to really train in your teens, and then when you hit mid-twenties these new abilities in your voice will be pleasant surprises and enhanced by your former training. Especially since it seems like a lot of the best singers I've heard have been singing since their youth.

Curious, what are you defining as middle voice here? I still think in terms of mixing chest and head, but I want to hear how you would describe what you are terming as middle voice. To another, it might be mixed voice or belting.

See the way I'd imagine middle voice in my head would be this third voice in the middle that has as much comfort, stability, and freedom as chest and head. To where you actually have two bridges on either side of the passaggio instead of one in the middle like is classically taught. But I doubt that is what you are talking about.

So how would you describe your "middle voice," AboveTenor?

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Sorry I took so long to respond. I have been extremely busy this past week.

I've been saying that a while and usually meet with some resistance.

Ron, I do not understand why. This is a common fact I have heard a lot. I also believe there is a genetic limit to how high you can sing as well.

I was just saying that if you have this mentality of "screw it, I'll just not train and just wait till my voice is in it's best condition before I even ever sing" that's the wrong mentality. A voice that has been singing for 10 years when it hits age 26 is going to do way better than someone who starts at age 26.

I agree completely, as long as it is not damaging of course.

Curious, what are you defining as middle voice here? I still think in terms of mixing chest and head, but I want to hear how you would describe what you are terming as middle voice. To another, it might be mixed voice or belting.

Middle Voice is not the same as Mixed Voice. It is a bottom-up phonation, compared to a top-down like mixed which is essentially twangy lower headtones. It has more of a core or bottom that gives more body to the sound. It is closer to belting or legit.

See the way I'd imagine middle voice in my head would be this third voice in the middle that has as much comfort, stability, and freedom as chest and head. To where you actually have two bridges on either side of the passaggio instead of one in the middle like is classically taught. But I doubt that is what you are talking about.

This is exactly what I am talking about Owen. Except Bel Canto actually teaches two passaggios, the primo and secondo, separated by a zona di passaggio or the "middle voice."

For me, middle voice is an extension of the chest voice (I still subscribe to the two register theory). It is thinner in quality, but not necessarily lighter. It is a different sensation than pure chest and you will know it when you find it.

One way to find it is by singing on an "AA" vowel as in "cat" or an "EH" vowel as in "egg" like in the CVT mode Overdrive. Stay in chest and take it as high as you can while adding lots of compression. Keep in mind that this can lead to excessive distortion caused by vocal fry if not finely calibrated as it is extremely hard to master. Another way to discover this is by covering on an "AW" vowel as you ascend. You can also try "light singing" in a higher range as Jaime Vendera describes it.

However, this will only take you so far. The first break for males is at Eb4-F#4. I am able to take it to maybe a G#4 if I am lucky. To stay fully engaged into the second bridge at A4-Bb4 you must then start adding in a mix of head voice into the sound which you already know how to do. That pharyngeal quality or buzziness must be present in each as well as it is a connection that helps add to the illusion of one voice. They will incorporate together the more resonant you are. Eventually it will start to meet in the middle once you work them from both sides.

All of this is something that your voice does on it's own. That is why my previous comment stated that I could not even do this until about a year ago because my voice is still changing. My advice is to just play around with it until you find the tone that you like. And if you cannot do it yet, it will come.

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I happen to think acoustic volume means something. And voice type is more about the texture and endurabilty of the voice, then exactly what notes are in it. So, for me, and I could certainly be wrong, baritone is not just notes down into the second octave, but a ring and volume, or some kind of acoustic power there that can be heard over instruments without amplification.

I know in pop music, amplification is ever-present and you can get away with a lot, and I certainly have. And I can make some woofy notes in the second octave, about like tuning down the d string on a guitar. It can make the pitch but does not have the same quality as a string with larger diameter (more mass) making the same pitch.

But I have reached a point where I am not that concerned with voice classification. Go ahead and call me a light baritone. Or a screachy tenor. In any case, my voice type is goosenfrabe. :lol: :cool:

Surely there have been guys who thought they were baritones, incorrectly. I kinda thought I was and a guy much wiser than I am showed me I was wrong in my estimation. And I lived another day. As long as I can keep doing that loud A4 in "Ramble On" over and over again, I'm happy. Of course, some might think I have no standards.

I have seen vids where Mariah Carey is down in the second octave and the notes are woolen and clunky and don't have the bright shimmer that I like in her voice, higher up.

But what if one goes to a teacher and he has you vocalise to see where your break or flip is? There is a school of thought that fach is where the passagio is. Frisell says that tenors pass at F4. And many a baritone may flip at D4. A space of 1.5 steps. So, the tenor needs lots of training, he is closer to the passagio and must deal with it more constantly and in an endurable manner.

And is that teacher wrong for stating that you sound like a baritone? Have we not constantly advised to get a teacher? Or do we keep searching for a teacher until one says what we want to hear, "poof! you are a tenor!"?

And is the teacher trying to place you in a musical prodution or choir? Where he may need a certain voice and has decided you will be that voice? Like my version of the Army advertising slogan. "Be all that you can be - as long as it's what we want you to be." :lol:

A guy can rattle a few low notes and gets pegged as a bass. Another can get a whiny whistle out of his nose and he's a "high tenor."

What if you take these legit lessons and do not become the tenor of your dreams and instead become a robust baritone?

There is another school of thought that says to take the lowest possible sound you can make and add 2.5 octaves. I happen to like Steven Fraser's definition. Your range or type is where you have the greatest dynamic. Control and variability of volume and tone.

Thanks, really, to Jens and Felipe, from slightly differing perspectives, to help me see that range description means nothing outside of being cast for an opera.

My acoustic volume without need of amplification is C3 and the highest note I have made in full voice is C6 but I don't go there every day. But I can repeated A5's and I am okay with that. Again, my standards may be low. And, since I am not training or aiming for opera, I can get away with it, I guess, maybe.

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Actually, Bolton has never been baritone. And for that tone in his voice, he has always had it. Even a as teenager. And, according to his autobio, he did undergo opera training and it was for tenor. And the opera training was strengthen what he had and try to clean up from the natural rasp he has. His worst fear was bombing big time with his bud, Pavarotti.

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Well, that was a little more debate than I was looking for. :lol:

Anyway, it don't hurt my feelin's none if my voice, which I consider tenor is artificial. Whether that ENT was right, or not. Whether one believes in his summation of such, or not.

In fact, the more I know, the less I know. I started out knowing everything. But I have devolved back to the great ape that I am, zoologically. Working on the knuckle-walking, now. That takes some coordination, let me tell you.

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Geran,

Well, voice type is voice type, no matter what you sing right?

What voice type am I Geran? :)

For once, I have the right answer. Goosenfrabe. Admit it, I'm right. (doing a happy dance, right now, kind of like the irish jig Bruce Willis did in the "Last Boy Scout."

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