Tough job for female Broadway singers

My last post was a look at belt singing. Today I want to express the problems facing female trained voices in theatre.

Traditional training typically approaches the high voice in a female singer, and works downward. It can produce some beautiful head voice sounds, but leaves the “speech-level” chest tones alone. Female singers are typically more breathy as they go lower in pitch….irregardless of whether they are a soprano or an alto.

These trained voices have issues pursuing work in theatre….more so now than ever before. Due to the cultural musical shifts and changes, producers are writing plays that require a more contemporary sound with the ability to chest belt. What is good belting? In my opinion, good belting is the ability of the singer to ascend through her first bridge, while maintaining a good chest register connection at a loud volume. This means the balance of the mix voice has more chest tone (speech-like), as opposed to head tone. Can this be done without major trauma or distress to the vocal cords? Absolutely!!! Unfortunately, classically trained singers are at a disadvantage because this sensation is everything they have been told not to do.

Some female voices on Broadway have found a good mix while others have not. Singers who are unable to find a good mix are unable to transition from their low voice into their head voice without notice. They tend to flip into their chest register for lower singing lines, and end up “shouting” up to the highest note needed to complete the phrase. Then, as soon as the music is back to a higher pitch they go back to their classically trained approach. These complications generally happen for notes that fall under A4. Have you experienced this? Tell us about it.

Comments and questions are welcome.

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