Jump to content

Female tenors -- a thing?

Rate this topic


 Share

Recommended Posts

Many years ago when I took vocal lessons as a child, I was classified as an "alto," and sometimes sang with the boys in chorus, although I could also sing soprano. I think it was more because of the darker tone of my voice. As an adult, I find that I can sing along with contraltos (Amy Winehouse, Grace Slick, Nico, Stevie Nicks), but when it comes to imitation, I'm MOST comfortable and sound most impressive, I think, singing songs that were meant for tenors with a good falsetto range (Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Robert Plant, "Dream On" era Steven Tyler). I think perhaps because instead of singing in a "pretty" head voice, I sing falsetto in the way a man would sing - Does that make sense? It's like my range is the same as a contralto or even a mezzo-soprano, but it's easier for me to sing like a man singing in a similar range. I love singing Freddie Mercury, especially the high parts! Is there really such thing as a female tenor? Is there something in the timbre/quality of a high tenor voice that would be different than a contralto singing the same notes? Also, could it be my tendency to sing with a bit of natural rasp that makes it more comfortable to sing male classic rock? I've just been puzzled by this comfort/ease in singing all OVER the place in a man's range, but not being as comfortable with female singers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds to me like you were pushed in a direction or sound ideal that you followed, now you sound like that.

Your voice is gonna sound the way it was trained

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing is, alot of femakes can sing tenor and similar however our society rarely encourages women to explore the lower ranges of their voices.

Agree. Actually a lot of the time I notice amazing powerful female singers often get quiet and unconvincing on their lowest notes. In my opinion as a man it's easier to get the lower pitches in a powerful way, not a quiet way, so I often think the reason you don't hear women doing that much is that they don't want to sound "like a man".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think she is really talking about low notes when it's about "men with a good falsetto range". That is usually something between F4 and F5 for men, which is not really low for women, too.

Actually females that sing with a higher larynx configuration and more "metal" in the tone (which often goes hand in hand with the higher larynx) can sound pretty similar to tenors, especially on notes above C5.

Females can usually sing with a more balanced/medium larynx up there (and most of them do), while men (especially rock singers) will go towards a higher larynx in their "falsetto range" because it's the only way to stay "full metal". If a woman does the same it sounds pretty close to a tenor's "pharyngeal falsetto" even if its done by a soprano.

I could just be that you like to sing with a higher larynx, which is totally fine if you don't strain. It's just not very common among females (there was even an article on TMV about how females have to dampen their larynx more than males because the high-larynx sound is not as accepted as it is for males), but it doesn't have to mean that you are some kind of "strange voice type".

What actually would be strange is if you could do notes that are typically to low for women to even sing in a similar way a tenor could do them. On the low part of the voice most women get into trouble around E3/F3/G3. While I have heard women sing in the 2nd octave I have yet to hear a quality sound (in my ears) in that area. Basically everything is extremely growly and quiet down there.

Probably the most extreme female range I've heard yet:

Listen for the note at 8:35 for example, is that a woman? WTF :o Her mory twangy (high-larynx) notes may be similar to yours, also often with rasp. She has an insane arsenal of sound colors and effects, but very few women dare to to this.

But the lows are pretty much all growly and improved by smoking a lot :/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be an ignorant redneck but, legitimately, there is no female "tenor."

There is contralto, mezzo-soprano, soprano coloratura.

If I had to make a guess, standard tenor relates closest to mezzo-soprano, but not quite.

So, you may be a mezzo-soprano, with opera training and being cast in an opera.

Outside of that, you are a singer of no particular fach or voice classification. And that's not me being a twerp. Others have told me the same thing after I described myself as a light tenor. Though someone from the classical world suggested, with some work, I could be a leggiero tenor.

However, I just cannot drag myself away from rock and roll.

"I know, it's only rock and roll but I like it ..."

Here's a guy that used falsetto for high notes. And made more money than he can spend in a lifetime, doing it. Nasal, pitchy, using falsetto. And a multi-millionaire.

It be's that way, some times.

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...