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Questions!: Bel Canto, Vocal Fach/Type, 2nd bridge

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lisalec
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To give some background singing info: I am 18, My range is G2-G4 consistently in chest and F3-F5 in head voice. I sing mostly musical theater and Operetta sometimes. My first and second passagio areas are C#4 and F#4. I currently just started taking Musical theater voice with a teacher who specializes in Manuel Garcia Technique (A form of bel-canto) Although I have a lot of singing experience already!

-Vocal Fach/Type? I know I am a young singer to try and 'identify" my voice, but I think I might be a tenor? so I'm a little confused... I have a strong low G2-C3 lower register, however, my first and second passagio areas are C#4 and F#4 which are the passagio areas for a dramatic tenor or a robust tenor(Also known as the bari-tenor). I always thought I was a baritone, but I have noticed the ease I have singing in my higher register above my first passagio (C4-F4). I think i may just have a problem singing through my second passagio, because in lessons I have been able to sing up to Bflat4 in a well-supported chest voice. Has anyone dealt with this or have any advice? My ultimate goal (because I sing MT) is to be able to sustain notes and belt from A4-B4. This brings me to my second question...

-Singing through the second passagio? I can sing through the first passagio with ease, but I always have trouble once I get up to F#4. My teacher has helped me sing past it up to Bflat4 (I am still new to formal lessons) but I have trouble on my own. Any advice?

Thank you!

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And Before anyone tries to hate on "Bel-Canto". My teacher is an incredibly gifted teacher and singer. He has worked off-broadway and his vocal range goes from G2-G5 in full voice (with mix) and up to D6 in head voice. All of these notes with full support, resonance, and vibrato. So no hate lol. I'm asking on the forum because I am only able to see him every other week.

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Hi,

F#4 secundo passaggio also works for Heldentenor and Verdi Baritone :4:

The technique to handle singing that note can vary, based on musical context and tone quality aesthetic. In a young voice, it's very advantageous IMO to bridge it early via a slight vowel modification to 'close' the vowel, and allowing 2nd-formant tuning to give you the power and ring we want from your voice type on that note.  One 'on top', so to speak, you can progressively open the vowel again.

If you do not want to keep going up the scale, or want something bolder on the F#4, modify the vowel the other way, to one with a slightly higher Formant F1. There are several ways to do this, and the choice will depend on what sound you prefer in the musical context. A gentle smile, for example, on the F#4, will shorten the vocal tract enough to raise F1 a semitone, and that may be exactly the effect you want. Another way would be to use a more 'open' pronunciation of the vowel, or A mod to a different, but acceptable, vowel, based on context.

Could you post a recording?  It would be great to hear you.

I hope this is helpful.

 

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I just want to say that, from what I have heard the passaggio location does not alone determinate your fach. If you have very strong resonant tones at G2, you probably are a baritone. Tenors generally also have brighter voices, while baris have warmer ones. "Singing with ease" can be interpreted to be something that comes with training, so I am not so sure that has a lot to do with fach.

Hi,

F#4 secundo passaggio also works for Heldentenor and Verdi Baritone :4:

The technique to handle singing that note can vary, based on musical context and tone quality aesthetic. In a young voice, it's very advantageous IMO to bridge it early via a slight vowel modification to 'close' the vowel, and allowing 2nd-formant tuning to give you the power and ring we want from your voice type on that note.  One 'on top', so to speak, you can progressively open the vowel again.

If you do not want to keep going up the scale, or want something bolder on the F#4, modify the vowel the other way, to one with a slightly higher Formant F1. There are several ways to do this, and the choice will depend on what sound you prefer in the musical context. A gentle smile, for example, on the F#4, will shorten the vocal tract enough to raise F1 a semitone, and that may be exactly the effect you want. Another way would be to use a more 'open' pronunciation of the vowel, or A mod to a different, but acceptable, vowel, based on context.

Could you post a recording?  It would be great to hear you.

I hope this is helpful.

 

Hey Fraser, I would like to ask, if you could clarify how to pinpoint the exact passaggio locations. I think, depending on intensity I have felt the changing point anywhere between Bb3-G4, so it's a bit confusing. Especially for fach identification, where being off even by a note or two can change the fach.

And that's probably a second reason why not to take the locations too literally. For me at least, it seems like it would not be too difficult to be off by semitone or so in the identification. This all being said, I would say that it seems that you are somewhere between tenor and baritone, as most people seem to be. I think your teacher has a much better chance of categorizing exactly which camp you should end up in, than us here.


As for how to access the range above F4, I believe there are two approaches to this. Either take the low register higher by belting, or thin out/mix the voice towards a smaller sound (but not falsetto). Both can be difficult when first tried. I like the second approach, because using the "chesty approach" you probably just end up yelling and not learning the proper registration. Either way, just work at it and it will come (try to avoid strain though).

 

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I had a few thoughts and yes, I think of fachs as more about tone than range. Interesting you should note that tenors have brighter voices and baritones have warmer voices. In most cases, warmer means not as many high partials, regardless of fundamental. However, someome like Jens, who speaks in what I would call a baritone can be very bright, indeed, in the tenor range. Yet there is something about his voice that is unmistakebly his.

For example, I think of Phil Anselmo as a bass, regardless of his exceedingly bright high notes in "Cemetery Gates." But part of that is due to listening to him speak.

Others, such as Jimi Jameson has referred to himself as a baritone.

So, again, such definitions are slippery and it depends on who you are asking and what day of the week that it is.

 

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Hey Fraser, I would like to ask, if you could clarify how to pinpoint the exact passaggio locations. I think, depending on intensity I have felt the changing point anywhere between Bb3-G4, so it's a bit confusing. Especially for fach identification, where being off even by a note or two can change the fach.
 

Tonyy:  thanks for your question.

Assuming that a singer has established free, balanced phonation throughout the range, the passagio moves based on the Formant structure of the vowel, principally the location of F1.  Vowels with a lower F1, for example ee and oo, have a low passaggio.  Vowels with a high F1, like ah, have a high passagio.  Vowels with middle F1 frequencies will be between those.

when a singer says that their passagio is <note>, they usually mean for ah.

I hope this is helpful.

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Tonyy:  thanks for your question.

Assuming that a singer has established free, balanced phonation throughout the range, the passagio moves based on the Formant structure of the vowel, principally the location of F1.  Vowels with a lower F1, for example ee and oo, have a low passaggio.  Vowels with a high F1, like ah, have a high passagio.  Vowels with middle F1 frequencies will be between those.

when a singer says that their passagio is <note>, they usually mean for ah.

I hope this is helpful.

 

 

Ah, so it's the acoustic passaggio. Hmm, the exact spot of the format could probably be better identified by singing low notes. Of course, the vocal folds might vibrate differently depending on the note fooling you. The best bet would be to sing multiple notes with harmonics in the area, short of sticking an amplifier in your throat.

Here are some more of my thoughts on the matter. The reason why the frequency response should not be used as the sole fach guideline, is that vocal folds for sure have differences as well. If you put shorter strings on a cello it's still going to play higher notes, even if the body is not ideally impedance matched. That is to say it's the combination of resonance and musculature that counts I believe (which to be fair are probably somewhat correlated).

Ok, that's it for my theoretical ramblings, hopefully I didn't bore everyone and divert the topic too much. Here are some posts that others interested might consider reading:
http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/articles.html/article/male-voice-passaggio-101-where-is-it-and-why-r174/
http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/topic/2127-unraveling-the-mysteries-formants-and-harmonics-vowel-modification/?page=1

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Ah, so it's the acoustic passaggio. Hmm, the exact spot of the format could probably be better identified by singing low notes. Of course, the vocal folds might vibrate differently depending on the note fooling you. The best bet would be to sing multiple notes with harmonics in the area, short of sticking an amplifier in your throat.

Here are some more of my thoughts on the matter. The reason why the frequency response should not be used as the sole fach guideline, is that vocal folds for sure have differences as well. If you put shorter strings on a cello it's still going to play higher notes, even if the body is not ideally impedance matched. That is to say it's the combination of resonance and musculature that counts I believe (which to be fair are probably somewhat correlated).

Ok, that's it for my theoretical ramblings, hopefully I didn't bore everyone and divert the topic too much. Here are some posts that others interested might consider reading:
http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/articles.html/article/male-voice-passaggio-101-where-is-it-and-why-r174/
http://www.themodernvocalistworld.com/topic/2127-unraveling-the-mysteries-formants-and-harmonics-vowel-modification/?page=1

Hi, Tonyy.

Yes,  the frequency area of the passagio, taken alone, is not a complete determinant of Fach, as overall range, vocal weight and ability to sustain the tessitura are important factors, too. And, on top of that, the  kind of music (and particular roles) sound best in the voice.

As was said earlier, outside of Opera (especially German opera, from which the Fach system springs,) and classical music generally, Fach is less critical.  In a very young voice, esp one with insecure technique, we train on the lyric side to allow the voice to reveal itself.  Later, as the voice settles, (and bridging is secure,)we may discover that it trends higher, or lower, and to more or less weight.

I am delighted that you found the 101 and 102 articles.  I wrote those in the former site, as blog posts, to help get the perspective out there.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Well, I am clearly late on this topic, however, I will add whatever knowledge I have. I was trained in Bel Canto. Operatic, Bel Canto, that is. I wasn't aware that techniques from Bel Canto transitioned into theatrical singing, and I find that interesting. But in relation to vocal fach, I find that especially unusual. In the vocal classification system which I was subjected to, there were several different factors that were used whenever my voice type was determined. Range, weight, and singable compass, and vocable compass. My range spans from C2-G7. And much like what Jens was communicating in his video, it seems to me utterly useless, especially in a contemporary sense to classify a voice.

Clasically speaking, however, operatically speaking, roles and parts are given to particular voice types. Operas rarely ever call for pitches beyond F6, Mozart's Der Holle Rache, as an example. It is quite easy to get trapped in a particular "range" of voice, and I have seen it a hundred times with people that I have sang with, and people that I have spoken with wherein they feel that they are limited to this very narrow range of what is clasically considered performable by a tenor or soprano. I can sing in the baritone range, all the way up into high coloratura soprano range, and yet, I typically speak in a contralto range.

My passagio starts on A5, and I can produce the note in falsetto, or I can produce it in flageolet. It certainly is unusual, I think, given that passagios vary from voice to voice, but I think in order to be able to help you out any, I would really have to either see or hear what is going on exactly.

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