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Calling All Baritone Singers...

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Postby Wade McClusky » February 11th, 2011, 2:23 am

The lip buzz is a good one. Relax, warm up. Do a few yawns, some humming, a few falsetto descending siren sounds. Stretch. Transpose new stuff down an octave. Spending time with a voice teacher is a good idea. Also, singing in a choral group helped me a great deal. I'm a baritone, but with some training and discretion I have been able to augment some rather thin tenor sections over the years (truth is, there are a lot of guys who think they are tenors, but there aren't that many of them.) Tenor choral parts quite frequently don't go above G above middle C. Being able to fake one part and really sing another enhances your ear for harmony. Remember, electric 4/4 music is a microphone game. MIchael Stipe is a baritone, but he showed he could exploit the mic with some falsetto action in "Kohoutek". Don't strain those falsetto attempts - keep it light and pretty and let the mic do the work, and arrange the song so your falsetto highlight isn't drowned by everybody playing loud. Chances are there are a few falsetto notes above what you can sing with power...with a little practice, a baritone D, E, or F above middle C sung in full voice can sound splendid. I am a fairly new guitarist (was a drummer before I got into singing) but it seems to me that C, D, or E are good, playable keys for baris. Singing books that are written with the typical voices in mind (baritone for men, "altos" or "mezzosopranos" for women") tend to feature E above middle C as the highest note sung.
Remember, music isn't math, and higher isn't necessarily better. A baritone with a little charisma and imagination (think Sinatra) does just fine.
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Postby Tim_Madsen » February 14th, 2011, 11:27 am

Where are all these Tenors everyones talking about? I can't think of one rock singer that's a Tenor. Maybe Frankie Vally but he's a freak of nature (4 Octave range). Most men are Baritones, most rock singers are Baritones. James Taylor is a Baritone. I think there is some confusion here?
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Postby Wade McClusky » February 14th, 2011, 11:46 pm

Good question. I'm not an expert on the vocal style of old-school Robert Plant, Ronnie James Dio, Ian Gillan, or Ted Neeley (he made a career out of doing Jesus Christ Superstar). Also not an expert on the falsetto Michael Jackson or Prince singing style, though I can do a high-pitched falsetto-y croon a bit like Curtis Mayfield did. Those guys could sing high, but not in the same way that the lead tenor in a Puccini or Wagner opera would. Could a metal "screamer" from the heyday of classic rock or a soul shouter sing fortissimo for the cheap seats in a 2,500 seat auditorium with no band to compete with, and no mic? Youtube something like Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma and you'll get a taste of what I mean. It's probably not a fair question since I believe the styles are so different, and the mic allows one to sing in a higher, but lighter, style. At the end of the day I think Jon Anderson (Yes) is a true lyric tenor - a type of light tenor that you won't hear in big operas but would be used in madrigal or light opera productions. Probably also Sting, George Michael, and Freddy Mercury.

But yeah, baritones are the norm. Celebrate it. The important thing is to start singing - if you discover you have a glorious tenor voice that's like a bell ringing, enjoy your fabulous career!
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Postby Tim_Madsen » February 15th, 2011, 11:28 am

Just because some guy screams like a girl doesn't mean he's a Tenor.I sing Tenor in our church choir but I'm a Baritone. If a notes out of my range I don't sing it. If the director wants me to do a solo and it has notes out of my range, we do something else. You have to go where your voice will take you. Embrace your own voice, use what you where born with.
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Postby bemusical » May 9th, 2011, 2:12 am

hey there! it's been a while since you posted this question. how's your voice doing?

i'm really new to singing -- have in fact only started singing a little over two months ago, when i started taking vocal lessons. i'll try to give the best advice i can from what i've learnt from both research and lessons so far.

from what you, and some others have mentioned, it seems like you have been trying to hit high notes with your chest voice, which frankly, can be awfully straining and damaging. if possible, get yourself a vocal teacher, and if not, get Brett Manning's Sing Success, as suggested in an earlier post. the technique taught in that course is SLS-based, which will teach you to sing with a mixed voice (i.e. mix of chest and head voice). you could also try researching "mix voice", or even "vocal cord closure". maintain closed vocal cords while singing will help give you a stronger, more resonant voice, and even extend your range i think.

be sure if vocalise everyday, and don't give up hope:)

true story: before i started lessons, I had trouble just hitting middle C, and was convinced i was of the bass-type, which i later realised i wasn't. my teacher diagnosed me as a baritone, though i do have a low speaking voice. after a little over two months of lessons and (near) daily practice, i can hit a high E (E5). i won't say the middle octave is a total walk in the park for me, but i don't have to strain my voice to hit notes within it.

you might also like to know that though some male singers sing high notes with a strong voice that resembles a chest voice, it's very possible that they're using a "mixed" voice.

as was suggested in an earlier opst as well, try making siren sounds and go up and down your range. go as high as possible without strain, don't be afraid to go into your head voice (that voice that makes you sound like an opera singer). that is what you should be using to hit high notes -- your head voice, not your chest voice (i.e. the voice you talk with).

as you sing higher notes, the moment you start feeling some sort of strain, that's a sign that you should be adding in, if you aren't already, bits of that operatic voice. don't worry if it sounds well, operatic at first, you'll learn to balance your voice out, so it won't sound that much like that, nor will it sound like you're straining to maintain a strong "full" voice by squeezing your vocal cords to keep in chest voice.

side note: if you find yourself singing the higher notes with a breathy voice that you have very little control over, that's falsetto, not head voice. you'll usually get that after having pushed your chest voice right to its upper end, and then push some more. you'll break into that airy voice as mentioned. you should start transitioning into head voice waaay before that happens, around when you first feel strain, as mentioned earlier.

hope what i've said made sense. i'm definitely not the best person to be explaining all of this, especially when i can't demonstrate it. like i said, get a vocal teacher, or Singing Success...or both:D

hope i helped at least a little. take care of your voice!:)
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Postby angeldust84 » September 27th, 2011, 4:44 am

What a lovely thread ! Here's my situation : I'm a baritone as well (proud of it :-P) and I've been struggling for years,just to understand NOW that you have to adapt....you can't sing some songs and expect 'em to come out similar to the originals,or you'll have to transpose big time...but as stated above,continous training and exercise can do wonders ! I personally see improvement in my voice almost every day,i find it more agile and bright compare for example to the last month ! But I stille struggle sometimes and it can be frustrating.

For example i CANNOT sing Jimi Hendrix ,it's impossible.,Unless i transpose it maybe a FOURTH higher (which then means I'll sing within my highest bariton range).And I CAN'T do the "rough" rock voice.

BUT for example i can sing some david bowie,jeff buckley (of course one octave lower),some patton,johnny cash,danzig (:D),red hot chili peppers,some perfect circle,,,

keep HEALTHY and train or at least sing every day ;)
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Postby grendle7 » October 25th, 2011, 7:53 pm

You know what?

I guess if there aren't any intuitive well-known-baritone-rock-singers for us baritones to look up to, then I guess we have to become them, so future baritones like us have someone to look up to; in the future

It's the same issue with woman. Right now, it's all about the nice Alto sound. I mean, when's the last time you've heard a soprano sing pop?

There's also something funny about the alto and tenor ranges; they're practically the same thing. There's something about that range of notes (A3-D5) that just rocks everyone's world.
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Postby johnnyfreud786 » January 24th, 2012, 3:10 am

I am looking for famous tenor singers list for my music category, I tried to find in online sites but they all are paid and can't download them. If there is any way I can get famous tenor songs for my festival.
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Postby idj » May 11th, 2012, 1:20 pm

My range is bass-baritone. I can go higher too, until it become falsetto, but it's not my natural range. I love singing, but all my life I've been frustrated by all the music that is written for tenors. It doesn't matter the genre. I'm pretty eclectic in my music taskes, but I can't sing rock - they always want someone who can get way up there loudly and rattle people's fillings in their teeth. Country, country/rock - the same but not as loud.

I've found I've had to look for certain performers and just do their music for myself. People like John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Hoyt Axton. These are all folk or country-rock singers, but they're some of the few folks I can find in my range, or who at least write music I can adapt to my range.

And I fear it will always be so. I have to resign myself to playing the music and forgetting about the singing. So I sing in choirs when I can. And we sing parts, and I can sing the bass/bass-baritone part. And I'm happy.
Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded. - Jimi Hendrix
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