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soprano or alto

josephinejosephine Posts: 30Pro
Hi All,
Is it possible for someone to be both an alto and soprano? In the past, I have been classified as a soprano by vocal coaches but my new vocal coach says I am an alto although she says I can sing in the soprano range. I am confused. Please can you shed some light on this?


  • blondiewalesblondiewales Posts: 240Pro
    I'm not an authority on this by any means, but even the experts in music disagree strongly about how to classify vocal types.

    In my opinion, it's much easier to classify someone by the timbre of their voice than by their actual range. A lot of people classify singers as they would a guitar...perhaps some are basses and others are standard six-strings. However, with the same example, I'd sooner say that some people are nylon-strung guitars, others have steel-coil strings, some are in Nashville tuning, etc. This is because it's hard to tell someone's true vocal range until they have had serious, successful training or experience. A lot of tenors on this board have high notes beyond some untrained altos, for example.

    Where you modify your vowels is an indicator of your vocal fach as well.

    As for you, Ken can definitely classify you if you ever get a lesson with him. Alternatively, you could post a sample of your voice here and I'd bet some members could give it a shot.
  • highmtnhighmtn Posts: 14,430Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro

    There are many shades of alto, soprano, etc...  just as there are of baritone and tenor.

    I jokingly call myself a baritenor because I can sing low baritone notes that most tenors cannot, and I can sing high tenor notes that most baritones cannot, and I can sing all of the notes in-between those extremes.  When I tell other vocal "experts" that I'm a baritenor, they want to dismiss me as a low tenor or a high baritone.  They can't quite wrap their brains around the fact that I have a very wide range that exceeds their definitions.

    It's handy to know what your range is.  It's not so handy to put yourself into a classification box, because people will try to keep you in the box and close the lid.

    Here is a link to an older discussion that covers much of the ins and outs of what is considered each of the vocal fachs.

    See if this seems to narrow it down a bit...


  • josephinejosephine Posts: 30Pro
    Thanks blondiewales and as usual highmtn,
    I will take a look at the links provided. I might even brave a lesson with the great master.

  • AlyonaAlyona Posts: 288Member, Moderator, Pro, 2.0 PRO
    I thought I was alto - but it appeared that I am soprano, just a dramatic soprano. So my voice is pretty high but it's dark as well.
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