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Acting in Plays, Singing/Help me identify this note


QUESTION: Hi! I'm trying to identify which note is being sung in the clip below. The sentence is "I'd risk my life to feel your body next to mine," and I'm interested in knowing which note is being sung for the words "life" and "feel." Is it the same note for both words? I can hear a definite vibration that's very strong and pleasant to my ear in both of these words, "life" and "feel," and I would like to know which note she is singing for these words. Here's the clip, and the sentence I'm targeting starts around 2 minutes 20 seconds:

ANSWER: Hi, Wade –

Thank you for the question.

The word “life” begins on B4 and slides to A4. In treble clef, the notes are 3rd-line B to 2nd-space A.

The word “feel” begins on A4 and slides to Ab4 (or G#4). In treble clef, the notes are 2nd-space A-natural to 2nd-space Ab (or G#).

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Sean! Thanks so much for your help. But now I have another question, which might not be as easy. I hear a lot of people sing at B4 and A4, but they don't have the resonating quality I hear in this clip. Is there a name for the way she sings these particular notes? It sounds different, stronger, more resonant. I can't quite explain but I'm hoping you know what I mean. Is there a term for the way she is singing these particular notes?

Hi, Wade –

You are actually answering your own question.

The notes B4 and A4 sit in that area of the voice where the vast majority of mezzo soprano / alto belters begin to experience a shift or "break" in their voice. In other words, depending on the singer, C5–C#5–D5 can feel like its on the other side of the moon – something that is unreachable, unfixable. It is the obvious explanation as to why so much material is written in keys that do not extend beyond B4 or C5 – or when it does, is very often flipped into a "soprano sound", i.e., a light airy tone that is devoid of chest resonance.

My job as a professional vocal coach is to show the singer how to get her voice past (or through) that area without evidencing a "crack" or yodel and sail easily up to everything from C5 to at least A5 – the fully-blended high note that every variety of mezzo soprano and contralto is physically capable of singing. All of my alto belters and mezzo sopranos learn how to exercise and demonstrate a break-free stretch of scales between at least G3 and Bb5 – most of them going a bit higher or as low as D3.

In the past twenty five years, vocabulary about the voice – specifically as it pertains to training the voice – suggests that it is divided into two separate hemispheres or, as with an hour glass, into two sections: "head voice" and "chest voice" with a bottle-neck in between. Such thinking and training is at the root of all vocal damage – nodes, etc. – particularly among young women aiming for careers in the Pop and Musical Theatre worlds. Add to that the severe and irritating nasal twang of the "Disney voice" and the pinched "E" sound that passes for a belt. Another major cause of vocal damage is the croaking "burn" (the vocal fry) used constantly at the end of a sentence. You can hear it and that nasal little-girl-sound in the speech patterns of 90% of women in TV commercials and voice-overs.

Keeping all the above in mind, the simplest description of Mariah Carey's sound on A4 and B4 is – Normal.

But – it takes a lifetime of common-sense vocal health and on-going performance experience to convey "normal" and as beautifully as Mariah Carey has shown us since her first recording.

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield  

Acting in Plays, Singing

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Sean Martinfield


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: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


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:


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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