[LMB] words for voices

B. Ross Ashley brashley46 at gmail.com
Wed Sep 6 16:35:01 BST 2017

On Tue, 5 Sep 2017 21:16:06 -0600, Margaret Dean <margdean56 at gmail.com>
> And while we're at it, "contralto" is essentially the same as "alto,"
> a mezzo-soprano is in the middle range of (usually) women's voices between
> soprano and alto.

--Margaret Dean, who's a longtime chorister

Beg to differ somewhat on the definition of contralto. In our 80-voice folk
chorus, we have two contraltos ... both sing in the tenor section, one is
the tenor's music section leader. They have each been told (in other
choruses) they are too low to be proper altos. Heather sings Tenor 1 parts,
while Donna, whose vocal range is closer to my baritone, sings Tenor 2, the
lower tenor parts. Both their voices are warm, smokey, and Donna's is at
the absolute low end of female voices.
Closest example of a contralto I can find you'd be able to listen to is the
late Nina Simone, and she was a bit higher.

As for male voices, don't forget the countertenors who can compete with
coloratura soprani.

And then there are the beyond-categorisation voices like the late great
Russo-German "Ivan Rebroff" ... look for "Evening Bells" on Youtube. He had
four and a half octaves, from soprano to basso. Really. Turns me green.

So: Soprano 1 (Coloraturas included), Soprano 2, Mezzo, Alto 1, Alto 2,
Contralto, among the women; and Countertenor, Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Baritone,
Bass 1, Bass 2 (Basso profundo included), among the men.

Plus outliers like Rebroff.
B. Ross Ashley, Baritone/Bass 1, Common Thread Chorus of Toronto

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