Jump to content

Baritone become Tenor?

Rate this topic


AboveTenor
 Share

Recommended Posts

Can a baritone train himself to become a true tenor? (I know Domingo did) I know how to use twang in the head register to get a full voice sound in rock/metal. But is there anyway to get that low-larynx positioning (chesty, dramatic belt) like a operatic or choral tenor?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In one perspective, yes. Let me try to explain in my amateur way. Many a person may think he is a baritone because he can sing some baritone stuff. Well, a lot of people can "sing" baritone because that is the approximate range of most voices, especially male, though the actual meaning of baritone refers not just to range but to volume, resonance, sustainability. Some undergo some training that allows them to sing higher than they did before and it can seem like a transformation of bariton to tenor. But, actually, it's not. It's the person discovering their singing range to be tenor. It happened to me. I have most of strength and variabilty in the tenor range. Yet I can sing some baritone. But, as another member put it, he once performed with a real baritone and the amount of power and color in his voice was incredible and outshone many singers, regardless of range.

I read of an opera vocal coach who had a student who was classified as a baritone, mainly by himself but some others, as well. Almost as a lark, he had the student do some higher pitched exercises and examples. The student expressed the ease with which these happened and thought he must be doing something wrong. It turns out that he was a tenor forcing himself into baritone when usually, it's the other way around, especially in pop and rock music, of a baritone finding some way to sing or screech tenor.

You can get a belty or chesty sound in head voice. A fair amount of attention here is paid to vowel modification, consistent but not overblown air support and proper resonance, usually a varying amount of twang. It's also possible to be in head voice but to have it feel so easy and loud that even you, the one singing, feel like it's a chest note. Adding some distortion in head voice can make a "hooty" note sound like a chesty "scream." That is, singing is something of an auditory illusion. What it takes to make a note is not always what you thought it was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As they often say in poker situations - it depends. There are different types of baritones and tenors. The distinctions aren't really made in the pop and rock worlds but there are basically lightweight, middleweight and heavyweight classes of each in the classical world. A light baritone can more easily become a heavy tenor than a heavy baritone become a light tenor.

Another thing to remember is these classifications are not based on range as much as tone color. A high Bb sung by a true baritone is going to be different than a lyric tenor.

You also bring up the ever popular high vs low larynx debate. I have found singing on a stable larynx to be a very high skill set, requiring exactly what Ronws suggested: precise vowel tuning, control of airflow, etc. In my experience it is a very different sound than the higher larynx tone colors and well worth developing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can a baritone train himself to become a true tenor? (I know Domingo did) I know how to use twang in the head register to get a full voice sound in rock/metal. But is there anyway to get that low-larynx positioning (chesty, dramatic belt) like a operatic or choral tenor?

AboveTenor: There is no one 'true tenor'. There are many types of timbres, tessituras and ranges covered by the term, and there are many subtle differences in voices with varying characteristics. Its easier to say that a man 'sings tenor' than 'Is' a tenor, unless, of course, you like to duel. :-)

If we change the question slightly, there is much more to say. If, instead, we ask 'Can a baritone learn to sing with the range, timbre and tessitura required of the tenor literature and classical asthetic expectations of the audience', the answer could be yes or no, depending on the particular voice in question. The easiest of these to deal with is the range. With what we know about phonation and resonance these days, very many baritones learn to sing to the tenor high C and above. More problematic is the ability of such singers to sustain the high range for long periods of time, and to do so with good tone quality. This takes very good technique, and a fine sensibility.

In classical Opera, there are many types of roles that can be successfully sung by tenors with voices ranging from very bright & high larynx-style (think Alfredo Kraus, here) Juan Diego Flores (quite-bright and low-larynx) and the darker tone qualities used by Verdi tenors of the heroic style. In Opera, if you can do the entire tenor role with good tone quality, be heard in all the seats of the house without amplification, sing in balance in the ensembles, handle the arias expressively, elegantly and compellingly, and do so dependably every 3rd or 4th night (kind like starting pitchers in baseball), then you you can be an Operatic Tenor. If you are tall, and can move on stage while singing well... even better.

If you want to find out if _you_ can do this, then the elements you mentioned will help. Learn twang, and do it with classical vowels and a 'comfortably low' larynx and sensible jaw opening. Find your way to connecting your voice consistently through the passaggio. Learn dynamics, phrasing, articulation and expression. Taken together, those will be the basic techniques for developing a classical voice, and will lead to the answer (over time) to the question for you personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven, you mentioned "duel" and I was powerless to stop myself from imagining you with white gauntlet, waving it at another gentleman, with a british or even upper bostonian accent, saying, "I challenge you to a duel." Not that you are duelling anyone but now I have that image.

help ... it's stuck in my head ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies guys!

Steven, would you suggest any exercises to practice twang (whenever I contract the aryepiglottic sphincter, narrow the epiglottic funnel, tilt the thryroid cartilage, contract the cricothyroid muscle) my throat starts to get scratchy and I cough. I know how to quack like a duck, but it doesn't always work.

If you have any tips on vowel modification and low-larynx exercises as well, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks in advance!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven, you mentioned "duel" and I was powerless to stop myself from imagining you with white gauntlet, waving it at another gentleman, with a british or even upper bostonian accent, saying, "I challenge you to a duel." Not that you are duelling anyone but now I have that image.

help ... it's stuck in my head ...

Ronws: too funny! Personally, I was thinking of the Accent of Professor Henry Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven, would you suggest any exercises to practice twang (whenever I contract the aryepiglottic sphincter, narrow the epiglottic funnel, tilt the thryroid cartilage, contract the cricothyroid muscle) my throat starts to get scratchy and I cough. I know how to quack like a duck, but it doesn't always work.

If you have any tips on vowel modification and low-larynx exercises as well, I'd really appreciate it! Thanks in advance!

AboveTenor: If your throat gets scratchy, and you cough, you are doing 1 other thing besides what you mention.... you are overadducting and causing pressed phonation.

To avoid that... try adding twang to a tone which is just a little bit breathy. When you have that going, let the phonation firm up just a teeny bit, so that the breathiness is no longer audible, and sing some sirens that way. I think you will be pleased with the outcome.

As to tilting the thyroid... that is going to happen when you sing higher in the scale. I would not bother thinking about it at all. If you are doing something deliberately to cause that... stop.

The best vowels for learning the 'comfortably low' larynx position are /i/ (ee) and /u/ (oo), especially /u/. Sing it with a big smile, but asking it to be dark...and the tendency to push the larynx down with the tongue will be avoided. As you try this, you will likely become aware of the tension which is resisting the larynx drop. When you locate it, let it go, and the darkness of the /u/ will appear. Then, sing some slow /u/-/i/ vowel pair (slow dipthongs) to carry the lower larynx over to the ee vowel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ronws: too funny! Personally, I was thinking of the Accent of Professor Henry Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' :-)

Or the guy who played Mr. Higgins on "Magnum, P.I." and was in charge of the Robin Masters Estate. Here's some trivia for you. That actor was actually from Hondo, Texas and underwent extensive vocal coaching to drop the west Texas accent and be able to assume other accents, such as british. Another useless trivia. The budget was tight for "Ace Ventura: When nature calls." They couldn't afford to fly to Africa. So, they built a village on the outskirts of Hondo, Texas.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

The answer is yes and likewise for tenor's wanting to become baritones, but in my mind, the process of becoming a great singer is more important than gaining any particular range. Often times, tenor range and resonance will not come until the very end of vocal development for a baritone. The trick is to lightly practice in a range which is comfortable for you for an hour a day five to ten years (practicing more hours a day may speed the 5 to 10 year process up..for me it took about 8 years) and head voice will appear bridging a baritones chest and falsetto with a tenor head voice. It does work and I believe some of the best tenors were baritones because they know how to use their lower range. Hope this helps :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had another question, then. I can see some baritones learning to sing tenor, mainly by learning to thin the folds. And they were originally baritones because of the natural size and thickness of their folds. But there are some natural tenors who have folds not so thick or large. How would they sound like a rounded baritone when they don't have the physical apparatus to make those lower tones.

For example, many is the baritone here than can make full, lucious E2. I have never been able to and will never be able to, as far as I can tell, sing a note that low. My folds are barely meeting at G2 and it is nearly inaudible. F#2, it's just wind, I can no longer adduct. Not that I want to be a baritone. I just wondered how a tenor might extend down to baritone.

And yes, it's easy to classify incorrectly, even one's own self.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...