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Help! How do you sing with an alto voice?


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#1 Tortellini

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 10:28

First of all, I am not a singer - I mean I have never really sung in front of other people and many years ago even the leader of the school choir suggested I leave.  :(  However, I love singing on my own, in the shower etc and lately I have shifted my approach towards learning the piano and, instead of classical pieces, I am learning how to accompany songs using chords - and very much enjoying it. BUT! I have always found it hard to sing with others or even with the piano. My range just seems to be much lower than other female singers. I can sing roughly between the E below middle C and up to the C above middle C (a bit shakily). Does that mean I am an alto? If so, how can I sing with other people. I love singing hymns but I find I can't reach the high notes other women reach or the low notes the men sing - I alternate sometimes between the two.  :lol:  I LOVE singing. I just don't really like the noise I make. I don't want to become a great performer, I just don't want to frighten the horses. Any tips welcomed!


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#2 fsharpminor

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 11:28

That is quite a low range, certainly alto, almost a tenor, my top note is about Bflat a tone below yours, though I can get down to bass A. Most people have about a 2 octave range.


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#3 Tenor Viol

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 11:45

At the moment that is nearer a tenor range. However... your vocal range improves as you use it and especially with the help of a teacher to work on exercises to improve it. 

When I started singing my range was about the C an octave below middle C to the D or E above it - so a 10th. Once I had lessons, I was singing 2 octaves low F# to F# above middle C. I sing 1st bass / baritone which basically sings an octave lower than an alto. 

After a session with a vocal coach two years ago, discovered that my voice is really tenor since I can hit top C, so I started lessons with a new teacher to work on switching to tenor. Of course that's been on hold

for a year now. 

I would strongly recommend getting some lessons just to get the range increased


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#4 katyjay

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 11:55

Hi Tortellini, and welcome to the weird and wonderful world of singing.

 

First, don't worry.  There are so many options for how you can sing, I'm slightly dithering as to which one to look at first.  A lot of it depends on whether you want to sing in ensemble with other people or simply on your own.  And what sort of music you want to sing.

 

Your range sounds like a perfectly reasonable set of notes for choral alto singing.  So if you want to sing choral stuff, singing alto will work for you - second alto if you really want to feel comfortable with that set of notes.

 

If you want to sing solo stuff, the simple answer is that you'll need to transpose anything you want to sing.  Which is what I do day in and day out for any of my students whose voices are changing.  Most music download sites (eg. Schubertline for classical stuff, or Musicnotes for pop and more modern things) will give you an option to transpose what you get, so look at the range they offer in the versions on hand, and transpose accordingly.

 

Of course, you could also do your own transposition at the piano - grade 7 means you've more pianistic competence to do this than I have.

 

Or, as TenorViol suggests, you could book yourself a few singing lessons.  There are a number of online teachers who are happy to help inexperienced adult singers. 

I will add my experience that when I started having lessons, I had a range pretty similar to the one you've described.  My teacher helped me discover my top octave and a bit (plus a couple of lower notes too) and turned me from a back-row-of-the-choir alto to a coloratura soprano.  And then helped me turn myself into a singing teacher....and the rest is history.

 

Do feel free to give me a shout if I can help at all.


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#5 Tortellini

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 13:39

Thanks for the replies. For the moment, I would like to just be able to sing to myself - in the future, who knows?  :D  Any tips on how I would go about finding an online singing teacher? What should I look for?


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#6 katyjay

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Posted 24 January 2021 - 13:59

Most of my gang found me by Googling "online singing teacher"   ;-)


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#7 Banjogirl

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Posted 28 January 2021 - 14:33

You have the perfect range for a bass in a ladies barbershop chorus. You would be welcomed with open arms!
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#8 Saxwarbler

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Posted 29 January 2021 - 13:23

A friend has a similar, very low voice. Anything above G/A3 is high for her. She was 'discovered' at a concert by a teacher who identified her as a promising contralto and with whom she took lessons for a while. The teacher helped her immensely,showing her how to bring out her chest voice, which she had previousy shied away from and she now cites Kathleen Ferrier as one of her inspirations. Fortunately my friend is a lover of German repertoire and there is plenty of it to keep her busy.

I'm a low mezzo-soprano myself and I find there is plenty of good, deep repertoire out there - everything from Mozart arias and German lieder to music theatre and blues.


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