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What is the definition of classical singing? When people refer to themselves as singing using classical technique what do they mean?

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Classical singing is usually referring to the idea of choral works performed in a classical style. We wouldn't consider Bruno Mars to be a classical singer, for example. Not even Elvis. Opera, I believe, is another area of classical singing. Classical singing generally has a strong emphasis on homogenous technique and tone, where modern/contemporary styles tend to eschew those values, instead going for whatever works. Classical singing also tends to be accompanied by classical music, unsurprisingly. If you grab a group of ten classical singers of the same voice type and ask them to sing the same thing, it should be hard to tell them apart. Ten pop singers w(sh)ould not sound so identical.

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    That seems different from my family's experience with opera singing. My brother has noticed that loads more people sing on talent shows with an operatic style than you might think, and based on listening to those contestants, I suspect this is because those operatic singers sing with a non-homogeneous tone that is forgiving when it comes to nailing pitches and inclusive when it comes to vibrato. – Dekkadeci May 28 at 5:05
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    Yeah, that heavy vibrato does make it a lot easier to be perceived as having hit the pitch. By homogenous tone, I meant that a lot of the time, classical singing focuses on getting one's voice to sound like other's voices, especially in ensembles such as choirs, where they focus on blending a lot. – user45266 May 28 at 5:09
  • @Dekkadeci Classical technique and classical style are separate things. A vocal coach will teach you the classical singing technique, but you can then apply it to any style. If those contestants sound operatic it's probably because they haven't fully mastered the technique, and instead imitate the style. – Your Uncle Bob May 28 at 12:14
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My best guess is, that completion of a classical singers training, likely even involving a degree is intended here. Classical is due to the fact, that in the sector of classical music this is a strong requirement and not replaceable by any amount of other practice.

  • After having lessons from a classical teacher I can tell you this: it is very focused on the connection between speaking and sing....but only when you speak with a bigger voice with great articulation, ie how I read a text to an audience. Pop is not really closer to speech than classical singing. Isn't classical technique(s) a lot about articulation? This is where pop (or even jazz singing) singing differ? – Hank May 28 at 9:42

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