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Good evening All, I'm a 24 year old male who is very interested in operatic arts and how human voices work. I have just attended few voice lessons and have been classified as a tenor.

I have made two audio recordings of myself vocalizing several tones and would like to know, out of curiosity, if they are reinforced falsetto, head voice, or chest/mixed voice? (Apologies for my poor voice quality)

1.) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151783829594058&l=917821361708559690

2.) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151783829099058&l=3637408008140603908 (I'm not too sure what this note is, but it sounds like it's above Bb4)

The 3rd recording details my attempt to sing Che Faro senza before I attended any voice lessons and went through any warm up, so my high notes sound shaky. In fact, my G4 sounds fluttery and anything above that seems to be in a different register:

3.) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151727800764058&l=236862807768213136

Based on the above two recordings, given proper training, what kind of tenor will I be?

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1 Answer 1

One cannot really tell where a voice type is heading, and it very much depends on what you end up being long-term comfortable with.

To give you an idea about different voice types, I just made a recording showing the difference between chest voice, head voice, and falsetto over the same range. It's not all that surprising that using chest voice and falsetto over the same octave range will be less than convincing at the respective upper and lower range. The difference between chest and head voice is mostly apparent at the higher range where keeping locked in pure chest voice gets close to the voice flipping. For reference, I add another copy of chest voice one octave below, and of falsetto one octave higher.

See whether this gives you more of an idea what this is about. In the lower/middle range of the exhibited range, head voice is smoothest because the falsetto is really taken below its natural range. In the low range, head voice is basically just the same as chest voice but with less chest resonance. In the higher ranges, it moves into a mixed voice type.

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wow. awesome video! it is hard to tell whether you are using falsetto or mixed voice from 1:01-1:03... –  Alexy Vincenzo Apr 9 at 12:14
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Imagine chest voice like a flap blown closed in one direction, falsetto in the other direction. The larger the volume, the stronger the wind. You can pull the flap with a bit of rubber band in either direction. If you have good positioning, you can keep it in "mixed position" pretty well if done in time. High pitches pull towards "falsetto" at an angle. If you keep too long at "chest" position, the flap breaks open uncontrolledly eventually. In the respective comfort ranges, mixed voice is little different from falsetto or chest voice, as opposed to the extreme ranges of the registers. –  User8773 Apr 9 at 12:34
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There is considerable variation depending on the underlying voice type (quite a few operatic tenors are natural baritones). If we are talking about "Heldentenor" passages, high passages are typically "belted" in chest voice, possibly somewhat colored. Lyrical tenors tend to employ head or mixed voice a lot more. Either will avoid full falsetto (when you need full falsetto, you are basically outside of your Fach as a tenor). Countertenors and male altos are a totally mixed bag, however. –  User8773 Apr 9 at 12:50
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Actually, regular (mixed choir) tenor is what I stopped doing because it became too unhealthy: to stay "in style" with the others, I tended to stick around too much with chest voice. Nowadays, I'd just sing through the break, but that makes it sit a lot in central passages. And the "alto habit" of just dragging down the falsetto into the raspy range does not mix all too well with other tenors. With regard to bass: while the falsetto singing improves the bass sound quality, engaging full chest voice quickly impacts the purity of the higher falsetto. So one needs to decide what to aim for. –  User8773 Apr 9 at 13:16
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Well, there are more muscles groups involved in and around the larynx, so you have some more possibilities for breaks. With regard to high pitches: the vocal folds are muscles affixed to points of the larynx, and the larynx is cartilege. And for the male voice, it's comparatively large, and it takes decades to "ossify", fully harden. What happens if you try drawing taut strong rubberbands with a cardboard mechanism? There are several opportunities for things not moving smoothly or even getting damaged. Which is good reason not to go overboard with high powered singing too soon. –  User8773 Apr 9 at 14:16

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