As a young lad that loves singing and aspiring to be a good singer, here are some basics you must take note of;
Firstly, I will be taking us through vocal classification/placement. Trust me you will enjoy it if you take your time to go through this piece.
What Is Voice?
Voice is the sounds produced through the mouth by speaking or singing. The voice is an instrument like a trumpet or a violin. It possesses an extra ability because it can frame words and pronounce them simultaneously with the tones.
VOICE PARTS (Based on Pitch Level)
Conventionally, there are four (4) major Categories of Voices. These Voice parts are are classified based on some of the following:
5. Timbre (colour/ weight, etc)
Within these Voice parts, some exceptional qualities still differentiates and divides each of the Voices into various types. Peculiar Qualities of a Voice type can make it like Lyrical, Dramatic, Bel Canto, Leggiero, Coloratura, etc
These Voice Parts are:
Treble: This is simply the Boy Soprano voice usually done by young boys within the Prepubescent age. This is an age where the boys are still very young, innocent, pure, possibly virgins, whose voices are yet to be broken. They sound so angelic in the natural and pure state of their voice usually ranges from "Middle C" to "Top C", and even, "E6".
Soprano: The highest female voice. The normal range of the soprano is about two octaves with its lowest note at middle C.
Contralto: The lowest female voice. Its lowest note is from F below middle C.
Tenor: The highest natural adult male voice starting usually at C below middle C.
Bass: The deepest or lowest male singing voice. The range is about two octaves with the lowest note usually an octave and a 6th below middle C.
Other Sub – division are:
Mezzo Soprano: The term mezzo soprano is used for a female voice that has a range between the Soprano and Contralto.
CASTRATO: In olden days male sopranos who were castrated as boys in order to keep their soprano voices were known as CASTRATI.
COUNTER TENOR: A very high and light sounding Adult male voice, sometimes mistaken as Soprano. It can also be referred to as "Falsetto".
FALSETTO: This is the voice normally cultivated by male. Light voice above the normal tenor range. Their normal pitch sounds like an unbroken voice. Tenor with a very high range. Also known as counter tenor or male alto.
BARITONE: This lies in between TENOR & BASS.
CONTRA BASS/BASSO PROFUNDO:
Deepest and lowest possible voice type ever. It requires an extraordinary ability of dropping to unbelievably low pitches.
Question of note;
Is it right for a lady to say her voice is tenor or bass?
Or for a man to claim that his voice is Soprano?
"YES" (But must be tested, certified and classified as such).
Often times, Men with Bass voices or Tenor voices, do join Sopranos and claim to be Soprano singers, without any proper classification whatsoever and that is wrong.
A Man (real adult) who can sing Soprano, may have some hormonal defects, which may have made the voice "NOT TO GO THROUGH THE USUAL/NATURAL BREAK", each Male voice goes through towards the end of puberty/ adolescent age and graduation to adulthood.
Also, a woman whose voice is unfortunately not preserved in their natural state, and or gets broken, may be able to sing the Male Parts.
I know of only one Male Soprano singer in the world. "American Michael Maniaci" he is an opera singer.
In essence, a Man can actually sing Soprano, while a woman can sing Tenor/Bass, but must be properly classified.
When you combine your PITCH LEVEL (P L) and your VOICE QUALITY (V Q), you arrived at your VOICE TEXTURE & RANGE.(P L +V Q =V T &V R). As a singer, knowing your voice Texture (V T) and Vocal Range (V R) is of paramount importance because it becomes easy for you to know the song you will be able to deliver excellently and you will stop trying to be like every other singer you listen to or otherwise. Know that it is not every song you hear that you will be able to deliver excellently or exactly. Your VT and VR may be different from that of original singer. Voice Specialist believes that no two voices could exactly sound alike since no two people may have exactly the same size or shape of vocal cords and resonators. Your tonal quality may be dependent on the shape and condition of the resonators.
Things to Avoid as a Singer.
1) Screaming/ Shouting/Noise: It's one of the greatest enemies of a singer. It hurts the voice a lot. Your voice is your instrument, and needs to be preserved like every other musical instrument while other mistakes can make you have a bad performance, Shouting will make you have A ZERO PERFORMANCE.
2) Don’t Sing out of your range: Save the high notes for when you can sing them because you can end up damaging your voice.
3) Don’t eat heavy meal or avoid prior to performance because it can make it harder to control breathing and projection.
4) Avoid shouting.
5) Rest your voice when ill.
6) Severe Coughing can injure the vocal cord.
7) Avoid tea, Coffee and alcohol before singing as these can have a dehydrating effects.
8) Avoid extremely cold water.
9) Listen to singers with good voices on a daily basis.
10) Drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated and voice lubricated.
11) Rest – Have a sound sleep naturally.
SOME KEYS TO PRESENTING A GOOD PERFORMANCE...
1) Movement: A good performer appears to fill the stage. Many singers captivate their audience by using movement and facial expressions. This draws the audience to focus on the performer.
2) Expression: This is the term used to explain feelings in your voice. Use your natural emotions to enhance the way you perform your songs. You can achieve a bright sound in your voice just by smiling.
3) Use of Audience Participation: Create a room for audience participation. Get your audience involved in singing, clapping, dancing, waving and shouting with you. Walk among the audience, talk to them and sense their response to your music. Remember, worship is a participatory activity.
4) Sing With Confidence: The most difficult part is getting up to sing in front of an audience for the first time. Once you have achieved this, the subsequent ones will be easier.
5) Stage Fright: If you know the song really well but still nervous of performing in the front of a crowd, then focus on an object slightly above the audience instead of their faces. If you also find yourself shaking when you are singing, move around a bit and smile. It will help you to forget your nerves and make you look confident. Peradventure, you forget the melody, lyrics or sing out of tune or beat, do not fluster or stop, continue and smile as if nothing happened. Be Courageous.
6) Charisma: Dictionary describes "CHARISMA" as a personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others.
Do I have charisma?
Everyone has Charisma to varying degrees. For instance, an individual who is normally considered quiet may come alive on stage to produce an exciting performance.
7) Appearance: First impressions count. How you look and carry yourself both on stage and off stage may be the first thing that the audience sees. Wear clothing (Costumes) that is comfortable and enhances your appearance.
8) Communication: Talk to your audience. Introduce your song, this gives you instant rapport with your audience and builds your confidence.
Points to remember when using Microphone;
1) Pointing the MIC towards a speaker when you are too close causes a high pitched noise called FEEDBACK.
2) Avoid having the volume too high.
3) Do not hold the MIC too close or too far from your mouth. Although, distance is dependent on the individual’s natural power.
CONCLUSION: Always ensure you get some training and warm up before you sing, it goes a long way to determine your Musicianship, Feel free, happy, and relaxed whenever you sing.
Note:- Music is an Art, therefore it's meant to be enjoyed, not endured.
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