My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)


My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)

#0My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/2/05 at 9:02pm

Hey everyone... just joined the board and am so far loving it!!!

So newayz- this last spring I went to every festival, audition, competition, etc. singing fairly advanced baritone repertoire... at Music Federation Festival my judge gave me a 60 out of 60 and as I looked over the judge sheets he had written absolutely nothing. However, at the bottom I found a little note saying "You are not a baritone!!! You are a tenor!!! Start singing tenor literature!!!"

This startled me a little bit considering the marks he gave me as a baritone... but I took it to my voice teacher and we jumped right into tenor songs. However, I struggled and was not comfortable singing so high. (I can get up to a high an E and F on a good day full voice) but I was finding this little endeavor VERY frustrating. The G just wasn't there! (without going into a weak, not-so-good falsetto). And most tenor songs I found slipped in a stupid G at one point or another or required softer notes in the upper range (which are difficult for me.) Newayz, I finally got ahold of the judge who was positive I was meant to sing tenor and he recommended "On the Street Where You Live" in C major.

I sang this song and, after altering a few of the lyrics to have more open vowels on the higher notes, I was able to sing it for an audition that turned out very successful. (btw its highest note was a very loud, open F)

Since then I cannot seem to find another tenor song I am able to sing all too great. Does anyone know any songs that would be good to break me into a tenor range and may be similar to On The STreet Where You Live ??? I could really use some help!

Also --- any tips for expanding my full-voice range?

sry this is so long... hope i didn't bore you to death!

ForTheLoveOfLea Profile Photo
#1re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/2/05 at 11:16pm

I was singing low low alto for the longest time and I just found out this year I'm a soprano, so I was in a similar boat.

Try looking at Singer's Anthology for Tenors online. There are three volumes. I'm sure you will find something there. I'm not super informed on Tenor songs but there are lots of choices there and if you go to sheetmusicplus.com they tell you the key they are in if that helps you.

Thou giveth fever.

#2re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/2/05 at 11:58pm

The issue here, in my opinion at least, is that you "jumped into" singing tenor pieces. And I am a little weary that your voice teacher permitted this. To be completely honest, if you are a tenor, you should be hitting the F's G's A's and even B's with little difficulty. And while today it is acceptable for tenors to use head voice (NOT falsetto) above a B, a True Tenor should be able to hit a C in full Chest. But don't be alarmed...Jumping into Tenor repitorie was dumb, I'll be honest...you need to ease into it. Just because your chords have the ability to sing higher than you were letting them, it doesn't mean they are either acustome to, or prepared to. And as the tessitura on most tenor songs is significantly higher than that of baritone pieces, your difficulties are to be expected.

Talk to your vocal teacher about singing baritone pieces in the higher end of the spectum, aka, with higher than usual tessitura's, and begin incorperating more blending vocalise into your warmups. The more comfortable you become in your upper range, eventually you will find yourself having less difficulties in tenor pieces. And again, it is entirely possible that the adjudicator was wrong and you actually aren't a tenor, but only your vocal teacher can tell you that.

Songs for Tenors...and real Tenors, not fake ones...Gethsemane Heaven on Their minds (both from JCS), any of the Man 2 songs for Songs for a New World...particularily King of the World...The tenor anthologies as previouls mentioned are good too. Bring Him Home and Who am I both from Les Mis. There are hundreds out there, but its hard to name them off the top of my head, PM for more.

CapnHook Profile Photo
#3re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/3/05 at 12:05am

I'm told I'm a tenor, maybe even a counter tenor.

I can do E, F, G no problem at all. Zero effort. I start using effort at A, I can do B but not too strongly, and am working on C.

It's hard for me to find a voice teacher who REALLY knows what their talking about and can help me. Most the teachers I had can hardly play piano!

"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."

willact4food Profile Photo
#4re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/3/05 at 1:00am

I have to agree with the above post. You can't just jump into tenor songs. You have to really work and train your voice to be able to sing those high notes, or else you could really mess up something...talk to your coach about this. DOn't force yourself to sing these songs if you don't feel comfortable...

Also, the G is in just about EVERY tenor song, it's pretty unavoidable.

#5re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/3/05 at 12:03pm

If you are having trouble with a B and the C then you are most certainly not a counter tenor, at least, not in the true sense of the word. Contemporary counter-tenors though very rarely come under the traditional definition.

To hear a real tenor go all out with what they can do, listen to Billy Porter or Ty Taylor, I only mention them cause that's who I am listening to now. Flying Home from songs for a new world has Ty Taylor hitting well above a C D and E in full voice.

CapnHook Profile Photo
#6re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/3/05 at 1:47pm

Yeah, I don't think I'm a true counter tenor, neither. But I'm told if I train that way my range will expand an octave. One of my voice teachers thinks I'm able to do it. We'll see.

"The Spectacle has, indeed, an emotional attraction of its own, but, of all the parts, it is the least artistic, and connected least with the art of poetry. For the power of Tragedy, we may be sure, is felt even apart from representation and actors. Besides, the production of spectacular effects depends more on the art of the stage machinist than on that of the poet."

#7re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/3/05 at 11:28pm

thanx 4 ur comments so far....

I have a question though... many people keep using the terms for a male voice the "full voice", "head voice", and falsetto. I must admit that this is confusing to me. I didn't originally make this clear but(what I thought was)my falsetto can get me strongly up past a C (not quite sure how high exactly but its way up there!) However, my full voice (as in my big money notes) are E's and F's (as a baritone anyway) ....I have to switch voices at the G.... but how do I know if I am switching into my head voice or my falsetto???? I will definitely discuss this with my voice teacher but I have taken the summer off and won't have lessons for another month. And to be honest all we have talked about so far is full voice and falsetto.... where exactly does the "head voice" come into play??? And, if I can truly sing up past a C (but not on full voice) does that mean I still am a tenor?

Also, someone just recommend a song called "The Corner of the Sky" from Pippin as a fabulous tenor song to work on.... anyone heard it or have comments on the song??? (She is currently mailing it to me to try out)


Radioactiveduck Profile Photo
#8re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/4/05 at 3:12am

I'm a low tenor, cuz my low notes go down pretty far, but dont sound all that great. I can do a pretty good A, a decent B-flat sometimes, and I'm still working. I really hope this isn't where my range ends, cuz I had hoped to improve it with lessons.

BTW, I know what you mean mad4music. I think head voice is still full voice, only for higher notes. If you work up a scale, starting low and ending high, you'll feel the break where it goes from "chest" to "head". What takes you to C is your falsetto, and it can be a singers best friend. Mine goes to to E, but my money notes are more in the F G A range. HOWEVER, I'm not a music teacher, so please dont take this as absolute fact.

#9re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/4/05 at 10:48pm

You can't call yourself a tenor if your "money notes" are a F G and A, a tenor's notes in full chest should be crisp, clear and "money worthy" all the way up to at least a B and usually a C.

Falsetto, and chest voice are very different. They comprise the two main parts of the voice. The head voice though, is NOT full or chest voice. It is an independent voice part developed through trainning, used to not only extend the range, but smooth the voice and maintain it while passing through the passiago between chest voice and falsetto. It is essentially a blend between your chest or full voice, and your Falsetto. Some singers find they have this ability naturally, while others must undergo strenous trainning to achieve it. Head voice, when produced by someone proficient, maintains the sound quality of chest voice in a range higher than what is normally attainable. However it can be hard to develop and perfect. Also, it requires practice to maintain the sound and strength.

The initial exercises involved when one begins to develop head voice involves heavy use of the falsetto. Begining in falsetto, usually on a high G you descend down the scale, trying to avoid any cracks or change in tone when you revert to full voice. This can take weeks to perfect. There are exercises to follow this but really, I'm not your teacher and shouldn't be instructing you. However, if you teacher is female she may have difficulty with this aspect of your trainning, and many do. I would recommend seeking out a male singer or voice teacher, to supliment those lessons you take with your usual teacher. However make sure that you speak with your instructor before doing this.

I also think there is some clarification needed on what being a tenor means. A tenor is not only the highest voice part for the male (outside of counter tenors, which don't actually exist), but the word also refers to a specific type of timbre to the voice, unique to tenors. There are many Baritones who can easily hit A's B's and even C's, however the timbre, or colouring of their voice is more consistant with that of a baritone voice, so they are baritones. It works in reverse as well. There are men who posess the timbre of a tenor, but not the range. They too are baritones. To be a tenor you must posess both the timbre, and the range.
Today the word "baritenor" is often used to describe the latter description. While this is most certainly not a classical term, it is appropriate for contemporary pieces, where classical labels usually don't or can't apply.
None of this is meant to infere that you are not a tenor. Only to put forward another possibiltiy, perhaps the judge heard a tenor timbre to your voice. However, if your range is that of a tenor or that of a bairtone, it is still important to learn about head voice, and bridging the passagio between chest and falsetto. All three male voice types do this. And it's a vital skill to posess.

Radioactiveduck Profile Photo
#10re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/5/05 at 2:10am

Geez, sorry if I offended you. I call myself a tenor because it's what I sing in choir.

Pippin Profile Photo
#11re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/5/05 at 7:13pm

Hey, try "all I need is the girl"from gypsy. it is an overdone standard, yes, but if you can sing it and deliver it, then it's good for you. Corner of the sky also is a good suggestion. while your at it, try

miracle of miracles- fiddler
tonight at eight- she loves me
sometimes a day goes by- the world goes round
larger than life- my favorite year
what you'd call a dream- found in the tenor M.T anthology vol. 3
nothing's gonna harm you- sweeney todd
winter's on the wing- secret garden.

that's it for now. but remember- you can't just have the notes you want. the voice is a muscle, and with any muscle it takes time and perserverance, but the more you work on it, the stonger it will get.

good luck

"I'm an American, Damnit!!! And if it's three things I don't believe in, it's quitting and math."

wickedkiwi Profile Photo
#12re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/8/05 at 3:55pm

i think maybe what this judge was saying is that your voice quality indicates you are a tenor. that's the way singers are labeled, through their voice quality and note their range. so its very possible that you are a tenor with a baritone range. (someone once told me i'm a colloratura soprano, but my range barely registers as legit, because i havent developed that high soprano part of my voice)

there is a similar conversation at: https://forum.broadwayworld.com/readmessage.cfm?thread=862450&boardname=student&dt=080805032421

read it, it may help.

if i understood correctly, you have a weak head voice and a weak falsetto. you need to develop both if you want your chest voice to carry farther than the range you've been taught to sing. you have to do it all very carefully tho, so you dont hurt your voice. my biggest tip for this is stop when it hurts, no matter what anybody says.

don't be afraid to not sound good, especially when in training. forget aesthetics while you're practicing with your voice teacher, and accept and embrace all those breaks in your voice as part of your voice (plus they're always good for dramatics). guys have serious fear of their voice breaking, much more than girls, and usually in those breaks there is a hint of a new voice that's trying to come in. listen to the high tinkling notes of your break - it's a sign that a tenor voice is really there. once you get past the fact that your voice breaks at a certain point, you can develop those higher notes in your register. the only sign that should make you stop singing is a pain in your throat.

hope this helps.

Tenme por lo que soy, por lo que puedo ser, y si te importo hoy, tenme nena, o vete!

#13re: My Tenor Problems! (any help plz?!)
Posted: 8/9/05 at 2:28pm

Wow! Thank you all SOOOO much for your awesome advice and words of wisdom!

I am going to my voice teacher's house tonight to make a recording of about 4-5 warmups right in the area of transferring from chest to head to falsetto.... I am going to do these exercises every day for the next month and then see where i stand as a tenor and/or baritone..... then i can start doing a few tenor songs... and see where i can go with this...

thanks again!