Calling All Baritone Singers...
I'm 21 and love rock music. And I have a great ear and a serious drive to be a singer.
But I have a problem: 95% of the bands I like have vocalists that are tenors. I don't have the best range (I can go higher but only if I sing LOUD) and my tone is pretty good, just kind of low.
So I'm curious if any other baritones here can relate to my situation? If you have any recordings that would be cool too... 8)
yeah mate right here, im not a true baritone but can hit all the notes in a baritone range and most of a tenor but it gets loud and sometimes crackly up the top end, i can sing a few rock songs but unfortunately is only uses the top part of my range and that leads to vocal fatigue, through this i have damaged my voice considerably...so dont do it!!
sadly the other singer in my band is a true tenor and doesnt like to lower the songs to suit me (i do admit it quite a lot of work sometimes) so i struggle through at band. however what i have done is a lot of transposing, take the song you want (if your lucky they will just be generic chords) and change them until the song is now in your vocal range. most people wont even notice they key is different if they dont have the original to reference off.
a really sucky thing is i cant do things like singstar at parties cause to reach the note i make WAY to much noise and look like a %$^# :( :( :(
it is not a baritone rock world...
what you can do is sing punk music thats HIGH! and drop it an entire octave :D that does work, or if you dont want transpose, sing a song an octave lower and use a capo on a guitar to make it higher.
Yeah, I'm definately in the same boat... I can hit a fair amount of high notes, but if I do it quietly they sound weak, and if I do it loud I get that strain too.
But you know, if we practice (A LOT) we'll be able to hit all those high notes with ease, and have them sound strong. Different tone of course, we won't sound just like tenors, but a lot of hard rock singers do this. Punk music is a whole other story though... I like Finch but for me to sing it an octave lower just sounds like a lame cover most of the time...
You know, Gavin Rossdale from Bush and Anthony Kiedis from the RHCP are both baritones. If they can hit those notes than with practice I'm sure we can too! I just hope it doesn't take like 5 years of practice to do that :|
Can you think of any good songs that were written for guys like us? Something lower and not terribly hard to sing :?:
a lot of acoustic rock, and seether. he has a low powerful voice.
powderfinger is not always super high,
some grinspoon stuff
changing the key of nickelback songs works
in other words not much...but i choose mainly from the songs not the artists as to whether i can do it or not
Yup. Same frustrating problem, always wanting to go higher but never can. I've had singing lessons and I think I'm actually doing quite well now but it never gets any better. I've just recently taken to changing keys and it feels so much better. I find most stuff that's written for tenors just cappo on the 5th, and it seems to fit nicely. Not sure if it works with all songs but with (And don't make fun. We just have fun doing these) Hero - Enrique Englasias and Year 3000 - Busted it seems to work. I think the song If I Could Be Like That by 3 Doors Down is sung by a baritone and Biffy Clyro aren't always hard to sing. I'm the lead singer in my band but the recordings are from when I wasn't such a good singer...
Yeah. Song is always too high. And when at some point it is too low as well then it is just frustating. Crash Test Dummies and The Calling popped to my head. Both their singers have deep powerful voices and range which goes quite low and quite high. Even Michael Buble demonstrates his low end voice in his latest album, song called "Lost" for example. Still, he goes to hights not very reachable to me.
I'm kind of new to the whole singing thing but here's my take. I think I'm a baritone so I'm kind of in the same boat as some of you. Right now I've been working on extending my range upward and from what I understand it's easier to go up than down. I recently downloaded the Singing Success course and it's working. A song I've been trying to nail forever is "Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town" by Pearl Jam. The lowest note in the song is a bass low A (same pitch as an open A string on the guitar) and the high is an F# above middle C (high E string, second fret). That's a range of almost two octaves and the high note is a very wide vowel which makes it even harder. Anyway, through trying to extend my range I'm getting pretty close to being able to sing the song which I would consider to be very difficult. All I'm saying is that I don't think you need to give up hope on hitting the high notes. If you can download a torrent or buy a copy of the Singing Success course, I'd recommend it at this point.
By the way, I think Eddie Vedder is a baritone as well. After all, he can sing the song.
The band needs to play in the key the singer sings, not in the key some other singer sings. Ask the bass player to hit the lowest note on the bass. Say "no, sorry, not low enough." It's ridiculous.
Band mates need to work together, and singers need to have the uh, courage....to tell the band when it isn't the right key.
Elderly Woman behind the counter is a good song. I had no idea the range of the song, but it is within mine. I have almost an octave below it and a note or two above. We played this up at David's last year. I think it went pretty well.
Anyway, go sing. Buy the guitarist a capo.
In reply to CalmerThanYouAre
Actually, Elderly Woman Behind... goes from G2 to G4 (G an octave below middle C to G above middle C). The main chords in that song are D, G and C. Eddie Vedder IS an actual baritone, BW, and he has learned to extend his range a bit higher than his natural upper range. That song is an incredible song for any baritone, because you have to go low quite often (he repeats fade away lots of times, hitting G2 very clearly on the last syllable of "away"), and later he goes on to hit G4, when he sings "it's BEEN so long never DREAMED you'd return" (G4s are in caps). His highs and lows are so incredibly clear and sound so relaxed, that it doesn't even seem he is going as high or low, until you take the guitar, play the chords and try to sing it. It's great to hit three notes of different octaves in the same song (G2, G3 and G4). Another song where you hit three octaves of the same note is "The House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals. That song hits A2, A3 and A4, although the A2s are only hit at the very beginning of the song; the rest of the song is screaming G4 and A4 most of the time, which is a real challenge for any baritone, and even many tenors, because you may screw up your voice if you sing high so much during the same song, without proper technique and warm up.
In my earlier message I wrote G2 (G an octave below middle C)
But I meant G2 (G TWO octaves below middle C; middle C being C4). All of this is scientific notation, as referred to the piano. On guitar, G2 is played by pressing the 3d fret on the 6th string.
Alright so I'm in the same boat. My voices breaks up right in between B and C (If there were a B# that would be my limit).
We're called Baritones and that is the classic range for a baritone to have. The reason we're having problems is because we are trying to sing as if we were tenors. I've tried everything, from tuning down guitars down 5-7 half steps and transposing the song (fancy way of saying singing the same notes only lower) and also just searching around like crazy for the right songs to sing.
My only success so far is to do as one poster suggested; take high sounding punk songs and take them down one full octave. The Offspring's "The Kid's Ain't Alright" is a perfect example of a song you can do that with.
Otherwise its a tough call. The slip side is that we baritones make great harmonizing partners and might find a niche as being the next Eddy Vedder, Jim Morrison or Elvis... but as far as trying to play covers in different tunings or finding songs where the singer isn't going out of range it's not going to happen. Even songs where the singer is staying at a lower ranger won't sound right because you'll be trying to sing up to pitch in order to match whereas the other singer will be trying to lower his voice and have less energy. A good example of that it "Sex and Candy" by the 90s grunge band Marcy Playground.
Interested in hearing your opinion. One thing I have thought about is buying a baritone guitar which I imagine would make it easy to sing above the deeper chords. Anyone have any luck with this. -R
Yep, cursed with a lower voice.
Sometimes you can change the key of the song, and other times when you do, it just doesn't sound right.
I just accept my limitations, make the best of what I have, and if I can't sing a song, I let someone else sing it or it doesn't get sung.
Insights and incites by Notes â™«
Good suggestions on here...but if Morrison's too low for you, you're probably not a baritone. He's most comfortable in the higher baritone ranges.
Check out Mark Lanagan's solo stuff, or with his band, Screaming Trees if you want to go harder.
His solo album "Whiskey for the Holy Ghost" has some FANTASTIC Baritone and bass stuff. He has a full bass range (maybe less a few notes) but doesn't often use it, and can get well into the tenor range, but doesn't just do it to show off. Some outstanding ones off the top of my head:
With Screaming Trees:
Shadow of the Season
Nearly Lost You (one higher note to practice on before each refrain)
More or Less (all off Sweet Oblivion)
Sworn and Broken
All I Know (Both off Dust)
Alice Said (off Uncle Anesthesia)
I've brought the house down (a small house, but whatteryagonnado) with El Sol, Nearly Lost You, and Pendulum
But if you're into creativity and making songs your own, PLAY! Don't just capo, rewrite! I got rave reviews from doing Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time," 'cept I slowed it down to a crawl, sang it in a low growl, as a mournful blues song - picture: "Oh pretty baby, the reason I breathe is you - girl you've got me blinded," except it takes about 15 seconds to get through that line. Totally stripped down, me and a guitar.
Take a song you like - or one you don't like but see potential in - and make it yours. For a great example of this, check out what Ted Hawkins did with CCR's classic "As Long As I Can See The Light":
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In case that doesn't work, it's here:
It's not one that I would do quite that way, but it suits him and his voice perfectly. I would never try the original version of Layla, but the unplugged is perfect.
But I've found the best baritone song to bring a crowd into it Dobie Gray's "Drift Away" (or at least the refrain.) You know: "Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock 'n' roll and drift away." It's also one of the few songs that is really built for a baritone to riff/scat/improvise on vocally, and you can easily go into 3, 4, 5 part harmony. Unfortunately, the verses are horrible, seem like they're just tossed in to get from refrain to refrain.
Oh, I almost forgot: Mark Eitzel, front man for AMC and Red House Painters, has some fantastic stuff for baritone if you're into very sad/depressing/introspective stuff.
Check out his "Songs of Love (Live)" Album. Suggestions include "Kathleen," "Gary's Song," and if you want to tear up a room that is paying attention and relatively quiet, you can hit with a soulful take on "The Room Above the Club." None of his album versions hold up to the live versions, which just go to show what tweaking a song for performance can do.
My top recommendation there is probably "Gary's Song" - getting to wail out "And if you drink too much, you drown/If you drink to much, you drown/And the shame of my life is watching you drown!" to end the song can shake people up if down well. However, it's a very serious tune so you have to get through two lines that sound very silly (they're great lines, but singing the words "the stain in my pants" to a roomfull of people takes a certain personality, you know?). The other is a metaphor for a life that is as artificial, meaningless, and awful as it gets...yet sounds silly: "If we sit here and drink some more beer, we'll be two inflatable dolls in a hooker's bad dream.". That was a WTF line when I first heard it, but it's a very serious line when you think about it.
Anyway, more information than y'all wanted or needed, but Eitzel is a baritone, and not a very powerful/good one, so there's a lot of room to build on his tunes.
The problem with singing higher, especially rock songs, is that we tend to tense up. Doesn't help; you've gotta stay loose. Try buzzing your lips like you're playing cars with a kid. Hum the notes of a song you want to sing behind the lip buzz and I bet you can hit the notes. Practice the song like this and when you sing it for real, try to sound like yourself instead of (insert your favorite rock deity here).