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Acting in Plays, Singing/What is My Singing Voice Or How Do I Find My Singing Voice?

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Hello and thank you for taking the time out to read my question. I'm trying to find out if I am an alto or mezzo soprano. In contemporary music or voice, I can COMFORTABLY sing low as F3. I can sing G#4 (not in full voice), A4 and Bb4. In full voice, my best notes are A4 and Bb4. However, when I sing in operatic voice, I can sing songs like Suicidio by Maria Callas and many others comfortably. I believe Suicidio is song in a dramatic coloratura voice? It's just been difficult trying to find my singing voice and if my best voice is chest or head voice. I know it's hard to tell without hearing my voice but can you give me an idea on what singing voice I may have based on the little information that I have provided? Or how I go about finding what singing voice I have?

Thank you so much for your time. I look forward to your response.

Answer
Hi, Sakura --

Thank you for contacting me. Though I cannot give you an absolute answer without hearing you, please consider the following points.

The aria, “Suicidio” from La Gioconda belongs to a dramatic soprano. Depending on the singer, some dramatic coloratura sopranos include the aria in their concert repertoire but might never perform the entire role. Obviously, there are notable exceptions. The tessitura of the aria sits between F#4 and F#5. The entire range extends from C#4 to High B.

Although the character has some heavy-duty output going on in the lower part of her register, the sound (the “timbre”) of her voice must balance with the middle register and the upper register – free of breaks, absent of noticeable shifts.

If she lacks proper training and/or is not a dramatic soprano, “Suicidio” can turn a girl’s voice into hamburger. It is not the territory of a mezzo-soprano.

I’m assuming that when you are performing “contemporary music” you are also using a microphone. Opera singers do not use microphones when performing a role with a professional opera company. An operatic soprano, dramatic or otherwise, does not sing to F3.

You are fair and correct when saying that you have provided little information. Obviously, I need to hear you in order to accurately determine your true vocal category (vocal “fach”). It’s very possible that you might be a dramatic or dramatic coloratura soprano. It’s also possible, given your access to F3, that you might be a mezzo-soprano. Either way, it’s all about the exact location of the transitions between your lower and middle register and the middle and upper register.

I have to work with you in person to make this determination. The process involves much more than just two areas of consideration -- head and chest.

If your goal is to become an opera singer, then you need to consult with a professional opera coach.

Consider contacting the professional opera company nearest you, i.e., one that has a training program. Very often their vocal coaches have private students. The same is true for music conservatories. Make some inquiries. State your primary concern: identifying your vocal fach.

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

I'm also a music critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield. When you want to make an appointment, contact me at:  BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com. We can also do a lesson on Skype.

Below are links to my recent articles and interviews:

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/a-conversation-with-piani_2_b_494

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/zuill-bailey-triumphs-in-_b_46339

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http://www.examiner.com/article/a-conversation-with-ben-jaffe-of-preservation-ha

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Sean Martinfield

Expertise

I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com I am also a music and cultural critic for HuffingtonPost.com and Examiner.com. I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.

Experience

As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at: Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com

Publications
HuffingtonPost.com Examiner.com FabulousFilmSongs.com SanFranciscoSentinel.com

Education/Credentials
San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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