Singing range and tessitura
On May 18 some Flight Crew readers saw the posting with the video interview of the guys and in particular Gianluca’s attempt in English (and this was in Brazil, no less) to explain the different voice ranges of the boys. Don’t get me wrong since 2011 his English has become really excellent. He used the word: “ extension” which is close but not exactly what he wanted to say. So some readers asked me for some ideas.
I did write something in the comments section of that posting and here is a brief version of that.
Two words: RANGE ( or Register ) and TESSITURA are the key words in English (of course, tessitura is Italian)
When one of the boys sings the absolute lowest note he can reach even though it might be thin and raspy and then sings step by step up the scale note after note until they get to the absolute highest note they can reach which is also strained and thin – that is total range or total register. The lowest one or two notes are seldom ever used because of the problems just mentioned and the highest one or two notes also for the same reason.
The dozens of notes in between are all easy and controllable for him and those are the ones he sings all the time. Total Range minus 2 low and 2 high extremes will give him the “ tessitura” .
Here I added a short article that I wrote in 2013 but edited a bit.
I have had some requests for a little discussion about our boys’ voices. (Just remember that there is always a lot of back and forth amongst music directors. The old tale goes like this: “ the only thing two choral directors agree upon is how terrible the third one is.” ) Well, given that here goes:
Ignazio: In North America he would usually be referred to as a lyric tenor. Sometimes in Europe that kind of voice would be called “Spinto tenor” from the italian – “ lirico spinto” – a voice that can float high above all the other sounds but can, when needed, become powerful to dominate. From my personal standpoint as a voice teacher/coach I admire his ability to give enough solid breath support to create gorgeous high notes that are not “forced” but fluid or “ lirico” – lyric. This guy will always be a great tenor.
Piero: in America he might be called tenor to tenor-baritone. In Europe he would be called “Heldentenor” in German – Heroic tenor . This type of voice was made famous by the composer Richard Wagner in his operas. A robust voice with a clarion texture or timbre with unusual endurance. His best example would be Placido Domingo. A voice that can stand out over the chorus if needed. At his age it is possible that his voice will keep dropping in range and he ends up being a tenor-baritone going forward. A lot depends on how he and his voice coach handle the sound which can, if not handled right, become tight and closed in. Piero is a very fine musician and they all have a great voice coach (love to meet him one day).
Gianluca: In America he would be called a “Romantic Baritone” and used as a tenor-baritone in a lot of musical or opera roles. In terms of pure vocal size his voice is the largest with very rich chest resonance which you can hear even when he talks. Of the three he has the greatest vowel control with nearly perfect vowel shape and purity. He has also been working on supporting his “head tone” what some people call “falsetto” which he has used in some songs in this season. His range is huge and dropping even now. Hearing him in March standing just a 18 inches away from me during a quiet moment I heard a huge increase in the richness of his voice. He is lower and richer than ever. What an instrument ! (yes, the human voice is an instrument )
I know this is repeated a bit but I will say it again: The human voice is the last organ to mature. Usually it takes up to between 32 years and 35 years of age. In the meantime, these three wonderful natural instruments will expand in range and increase in size (not the same as volume) and build in richness. God help us what they are going to sound like by 25 or 28 !!!
Here is a repeat of the interview Myron mentioned: