Showing posts with label contralto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label contralto. Show all posts

Friday 21 April 2017

JESSICA REEDY Low Mezzo-soprano or Contralto?

Jessica Reedy

Post by: Montrez Rambo

Jessica Reedy may not be a singer many of you have heard of, but in the gospel community she is well regarded, mainly because of her extensive lower register. Is she a rare contralto or one of many low mezzo-sopranos commonly mistaken for contraltos in popular music? Let's take a look at this performance to get a better understanding:

Wednesday 26 August 2015

[Vocal Profile] P!nk


Vocal Type: Lyric Mezzo-Soprano
Vocal Range: A2 - A5 - E6 (3 octaves, 4 notes)
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Strengths:A powerful, dark, rich and sturdy voice that has a trademark vocal grit within its flawless placement and superb vocal control. Pink's voice can cut through the roaring instrumentation of her music with its incredible and effortless resonance [U + Ur Hand]. The voice carries a heavy, wide vibrato that is controlled and never laboured.The voice is also capable of melisma- though it is under utilized [Love Is Such A Crazy Thing].

Tuesday 11 June 2013

[Vocal Profile] Judy Garland

Judy Garland

Vocal Type: Middle-weight contralto
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 3 notes (D3-G5)
Tessitura: E3-Bb4
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses:A fantastically identifiable voice – best known for her roles at MGM Studios, but also for her extensive back-catalogue; the entire voice has a warm, rich, incredibly velvety quality.

The low notes, encompassing a D3 [Old Man River] have a darkness that pervades much of the voice, and as most contraltos tend to, this part of the voice seems incredibly easy for Judy to hit both from the beginning of her career [F3 in Over the Rainbow original] until the end.

The middle range, starting at about B3 and up until Ab4, had that same richness, only now with more variations for volume than the lower range offered. Her voice sat incredibly easily in this part of the voice, and didn’t show any signs of fatigue even into her later years [Judy and Liza at the Palladium].

The high range, when executed using a ‘belting’ technique as she did through most of her later career, had an incredible capacity for power and dramatic highs, though they generally had to be built up to in the later section of a song. The belting range could be taken up to D5 [Get Happy], and the same rich and full tone that the rest of the voice had stands true in the high range, even moreso than the middle. She also showed in her earlier years that she could mix her voice brilliantly [White Christmas, Where There’s Music), thereby getting a sweeter, less overpowering sound, which she used in later years as well, though less frequently. When Judy decided to use head voice, though rarely displayed, it still shone with surprising brilliance and ease [Opera Spoof], encompassing at least G5 if not higher. The head voice lost no tone or warmth, taking on a nearly operatic quality that was incredibly full and bright.

Overall, though she is renowned for being an emotive singer, her technique was quite brilliant, and that she could even sing by the late 60s given her use of drugs and alcohol is quite amazing.

Vocal Negatives: The voice in later years began to lose some of the ease that her younger self had, though this is due in part to ageing, drug/alcohol abuse, and a natural lowering of the voice after her 20s. Some found her style of singing to be too abrasive and blaring, though this is entirely a personal taste.

Thanks so much to Marty M for putting this together!!

*I'll add some audio clips at some point, but here is a documentary about the singer for now:

Sunday 6 January 2013

[Vocal Profile] Etta James

Vocal Type:Contralto
Vocal Range:3 octaves 1 note and a semitone G#2-B5
Whistle Register:No
Vocal Pluses: Fiery, earthy voice that though known for its gritty growl, was in fact a versatile and multifaceted instrument.

With a solid, thick and comfortable low and midrange, it was possible for Etta James to manipulate the tone and timbre in these registers to suit a variety of styles and genres. She could make it soft and soulful [ Misty Blue], fierce and sassy [Something's Got a Hold of Me] or create a timbre that entirely omitted its trademark growl [I Sing The Blues].

The coarse tone, and the grunts and growls were usually associated with the singer's belting range, and they're often what is most remembered about Etta James' voice. These vocal traits were noted for their power, rawness and ability to convey emotion. However, being a versatile singer, it was also possible for Etta to produce a clearer, smoother tone in her belting range by mixing with her head voice [At Last].

Etta James was an emotive, honest and smart singer that could turn her voice to any number of genres. Her voice was dexterous enough to sing melisma, and  had the power to hold notes, but her real strength lay in her ability to interpret the music she was singing: expertly varying her tone, timbre, and delivery accordingly.

Vocal Negatives:Questionable technique used to achieve trademark grunts and growls.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

[Vocal Profile] Anita Baker

anita baker music entertainment
Anita Baker

Vocal Type:Contralto
Vocal Range:3 Octaves C#3-C#6
Whistle Register:No
Vocal Pluses:  A unique voice that has an identifiable character that runs through the range and the registers. The voice, as a whole, is smooth, warm, and mature and Anita Baker wields it with exceptional skill: being incredibly natural with her delivery, while also effortlessly technical. Though capable of great vocal dexterity  [ Hear the ending of Body And Soul ], it's not something that she is prone to showing off, instead relying on her emotive voice, her mastery over dynamics, and the melody of her material to impress.

Despite hitting, on record, a low that isn't exceptionally so- when compared to other Divas- Anita Baker's voice has all the qualities of a contralto. The voice is weighty, dark, and at ease in the lower extremes- something others who can hit lower can't always claim. It also has a slight rasp to it that rounds out the tone, creating it's trademark smoothness.

As well as it being easy for Anita Baker to pitch low notes, she is also just as capable in the top of her range: being able to belt an incredible fifth octave Bb[Hear:No More Tears]. Of course, within the fifth octave the voice begins to lose some of its weight- increasingly so from about an E5- but even then, though the tone becomes thinner, as it is mixed, it retains many of its identifiable qualities.

As mentioned, Anita Baker's voice has a consistent sound throughout, but what is most surprising about this, is that it extends right up into the head voice. So whereas many Divas produce a head voice tone that sounds uncharacteristic of their lower range, Anita Baker produces rich, buttery notes that are just as identifiable, and relatable to her modal range. Effectively, this gives the illusion of no break or disconnect in the voice, adding to the overall effortless quality of it [Hear: Sweet Love 3.18 onwards].

Vocal Negatives: The voice does have a flattened, nasal quality about it that some may find not to their taste.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Annie Lennox: vocal Range/Profile [contralto/3 octaves]

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range:3 Octaves  3 Notes G2-C6
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Powerful voice, that has a rich, weighty quality throughout its entirety.  Technically brilliant singer: able to switch between the different parts of her range with relative ease, and skill; able to sing melisma; and demonstrates excellent breath control that allows for well supported held notes, and long, uninterrupted ornamentation.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Anastacia Vocal Range /Profile


Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 7 notes and a semitone (Bb2-A5)
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Heavy, dark and well connected range. Comfortable in both the bottom and top of her range. Can utilise a contemporary pop vibrato but is also able to adapt it to a jazzier styling . The chest voice is resonate and punchy with a rasp to it and can extend high up into the fifth octave with apparent ease, while retaining its edgy character. The head voice can be soft and have a controlled and operatic tone-see the intro for Left Outside Alone- or can be, like the chest voice, more direct, sharp and solid.
Vocal Negatives: The sharpness of the chest voice can sometimes be overbearing.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Shakira Vocal Range /Profile


Vocal Type: Coloratura contralto
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves 1 note E3-D6
Whistle Register:No
Vocal Pluses: Unique and versatile vocal styling that incorporates a yodelling like technique as well Arabic influences. The voice has a heaviness pervading throughout, though surprisingly it seems to be most prevalent in the midrange and low belting range.  This weight can be removed, revealing a contrasting crisper, lighter and more youthful sounding timbre. Her head voice is strong and bright, becoming more piercing the higher it becomes, but isn't often used. She is capable of complex meslisma, usually built on a middle eastern musical scale, as well as able to hold sustained notes with or without vibrato. The vibrato itself, is quick but controlled.
Vocal Negatives: Her voice sounds as if it's artificially gaining its weight via her larynx being forced down, as her talking voice is light. Her vocal styling and intonation can also make comprehending her lyrics hard to do.

Sunday 2 October 2011

Lisa Gerrard-Vocal Range/ Profile

Vocal Type: Dramatic Contralto
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 1 note E3-F5
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Incredibly versatile voice that has many colours and timbres throughout the range. Her lower chest voice is heavy,rich and dramatic with a dark colouring and operatic timbre. This contrasts greatly to the higher part, that is bright, thin and piercing with a greater affinity for melisma.

The lower part of her head voice sounds warm and rounded and can either have an operatic mezzo-esque quality to it or a breathier lighter sound depending on the desired effect. The top part of the head voice shares the piercing and shrill qualities of the upper chest voice.

Vocal Negatives: The harsher, more penetrating, parts of her voice are not as easy to listen to as the more rounded and fuller parts.

Recommended listeningNow We Are FreeThe Valley of the Moon, Come TendernessSacrificeElysium

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Nelly Furtado- Vocal Profile/ Range

Vocal Type Mezzo-Soprano
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 7 notes  D3-C6
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Strong, full low to mid range with a piercing, clear chest register. Her voice- whether singing low, mid or high- sounds well supported and achieved via good technique, meaning there is little to no straining.
Vocal Negatives:  Voice has a nasally tone and chest notes can sound stringy.

Monday 25 July 2011

Countdown: Top 5 Contemporary Contraltos

Note: "Alto" should read "Contralto"

The operatic contralto range usually spans from an F3 to a G5 but amazingly our lovely pop Divas can do better than that, with many of them demonstrating the ability to reach at least 4 notes below the lowest requirement.

Apart from the ability to reach an F3, contralto voices have other characteristics usually associated with them- though they are not always present- such as a smoky timbre, a lower access point to the chest register and a heavier weight to the voice. So celebrate this rare vocal type, below is a list of my 5 favourite contralto range capable Divas.

Note: Of course, in reality, comparing a pop singer to an opera singer is like comparing an apple to an orange so any opera aficionados don't bite my head off please...I need it for living.

Friday 20 May 2011

Chrisette Michele- Vocal Profile/ Range

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range:  2 octaves 4 notes and a semi-tone (Approx). D3-Bb5
Vocal Pluses: Beautifully dark, textured, expressive voice.
Vocal Negatives: Limited range. 

Monday 9 May 2011

Monica- Vocal Profile/ Range

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range: 3 octaves B2- B5
Vocal Pluses: Voices strength comes from it's dark, thick low to mid range.
Vocal Negatives: Vibrato sounds unnatural and forced on the higher chest notes, and her head voice is somewhat limited.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Fergie - Vocal Profile/ Range

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range:2 octaves and 4 notes. C#3- G#5
Vocal Pluses: A distinctive character that is present throughout the registers. Her midrange can be punchy, and full of attitude or soft and breathy. Versatile chest voice that can have a heavier rocky rasp to it when sung through the throat or a thinner, lighter more elastic tone when mixed with the head voice.
Vocal Negatives:Voice becomes harder to control the higher she belts, and the tone can become unstable.
Longest note:19 Seconds

Friday 17 December 2010

[Vocal Profile] Ke$ha

Vocal Type: Mezzo Soprano
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves 1 note and a semitone (C#3-E6)
Whistle Register: No
Vocal Pluses: Ke$ha employs a talk/singing/rapping style for the most part of her music. The voice generally is used in its midrange and is characterful and able to effectively communicate the mood and tone of the lyrics. Her skill in manipulating her delivery allows for Ke$ha to project a variety of different emotions: from obnoxiously bratty [Hear:Blah Blah Blah]; to cool and relaxed [ Hear:VIP]; to soft and melancholy [Hear:Dancing With Tears In My Eyes]. However there is an identifiable marker of nasal placement that runs throughout the range, as well as a characteristic teenage petulance.It is possible for her to somewhat temper this, singing with a timbre that is contrastingly warmer, softer and airier [Hear:Blow (Deconstructed)], but it's not used often.

Ke$ha's belting range is surprisingly wide- starting at a B4 and extending up to an F#5, [Hear: Dirty Love]. The quality of the notes produced here are bright and piercing but thin and somewhat biting. The tone, timbre and texture of the notes is consistent right through from the lower belting range to the higher notes. An unusual feat when contrasted with most singers, who find their belted notes thinning and changing in quality the higher they sing. Still, Kesha doesn't sound to be carrying any tension in her voice, even up at the top, which suggests a good technique and the possibility that she can go above what has been shown. She is also able to sing for sustained periods in this part of her range without issue [Hear: Supernatural (Deconstructed) or the held F5 in Crazy Kids/ E5 in C'Mon ]

Vocal Negatives:Ke$ha's use of autotune has led many to question whether her ability to sing is pure fabrication, rather than due to a stylistic choice.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Cher- Vocal Profile/ Range [Contralto/ 3 Octaves]

Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range: 3 octaves 2 notes and a semitone. C#3- F6
Vocal Pluses: Solid contralto voice,even in the higher octaves,with a dark,smoky tone,a soulful colouring and a range that is brilliantly connected.

Cher has the vocal stamina to hold notes for extended periods of time, with or without the use of her a natural and easy vibrato. A vibrato that is predominately quick, but capable of being modified to make wider if desired.

Cher's belting technique is great, being well supported and mixed effectively. This makes it not only easier for her to reach higher fifth octave notes but it helps retain the fullness that is present in her lower range.

For someone widely known for her low voice, Cher's head voice is surprisingly robust, being bright and clear, with a weight to it.

Vocal Negatives: The heaviness of the voice makes it difficult to be flexible in its ornamentation melodies.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Fiona Apple- Vocal Profile/ Range

Fiona Apple  

Vocal Type:  Contralto
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 5 notes C3-A5
Vocal Pluses: Gorgeous low tessitura and a brilliantly expressive voice.

Friday 12 November 2010

Amy Winehouse- Vocal Profile/ Range

Amy Winehouse 

Vocal Type:  Contralto
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves and 1 semi tone D3-Eb6
Vocal Pluses:  Unique and thus instantly recognisable voice. Naturally adept singer with a great technique and brilliantly individual phrasing. Her voice is connected well through the registers and maintains its character throughout. Also has an emotive voice that communicates the songs subject exceptionally.
Vocal Negatives: Unique style may make it harder to adapt to different genres of music.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

[Vocal Profile] Sade


Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range: 2 Octaves 3 notes D3-G#5
Vocal Pluses: A voice that is texturally united throughout the range. Warm and smooth, Sade’s strength comes from her tone and timbre [Lovers Rock]; skill emoting [Smooth Operator]; her musicality (e.g.building harmonies) [Slave Song]; and ability to alter dynamics [King of Sorrow]. This puts her in contrast to other “powerhouse” Divas who use more obvious skills- such as melisma and high octave belting- to impress, but it makes her no less a vocalist. Her voice has a “quiet storm” beauty.

As mentioned above, the Diva has excellent volume control and breath support, which she uses to create the requisite mood and ambience to compliment the production. Though often found to be singing with a low/medium volume- something which is often (wrongly) credited as the reason for the soothing quality of the voice- she can shift dynamics without any negative effect on the timbre of the voice [Pearls].

Miley Cyrus - Vocal Profile/ Range

Miley cyrus, milley vocal range

Miley Cyrus
Vocal Type: Contralto
Vocal Range: 3 Octaves one semitone C#3- E6
Vocal Pluses: Unique voice, that is instantly recognisable. Surprisingly wide range.
Vocal Negatives:  Nasal tone, and a chest voice that is shrill and piercing.

This Video is by guisousacunha1 and lets you listen to her range