Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nasri shadha.doc
Singers and types of songs
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice, and augments regular speech by
the use of both tonality and rhythm. One who sings is called a singer
or vocalist. Singers perform music (arias, recitatives, songs, etc.) that
can be sung either with or without accompaniment by musical
instruments. Singing is often done in a group of other musicians,
such as in a choir of singers with different voice ranges, or in an
ensemble with instrumentalists, such as a rock group or baroque
In many respects human song is a form of sustained speech, nearly anyone
able to speak can also sing. Singing can be formal or informal, arranged or
improvised. It may be done for pleasure, comfort, ritual, education, or
profit. Excellence in singing may require time, dedication, instruction, and
regular practice. If practice is done on a regular basis then the sounds are
said to be more clear and strong. Professional singers usually build their
careers around one specific musical genre, such as classical or rock. They
typically take voice training provided by voice teachers or vocal coaches
Ercole de' Roberti: Concert, c. 1490
throughout their careers.
Classifying singing voices
In European classical music and opera, voices are treated like musical instruments. Composers
who write vocal music must have an understanding of the skills, talents, and vocal properties of
singers. Voice classification is the process by which human singing voices are evaluated and are
thereby designated into voice types. These qualities include but are not limited to: vocal range,
vocal weight, vocal tessitura, vocal timbre, and vocal transition points such as breaks and lifts
within the voice. Other considerations are physical characteristics, speech level, scientific testing,
and vocal registration. The science behind voice classification developed within European
classical music has been slow in adapting to more modern forms of singing. Voice classification is
often used within opera to associate possible roles with potential voices. There are currently
several different systems in use within classical music including: the German Fach system and the
choral music system among many others. No system is universally applied or accepted.
However, most classical music systems acknowledge seven different major voice categories.
Women are typically divided into three groups: soprano, mezzo-soprano, and contralto. Men are
usually divided into four groups: countertenor, tenor, baritone, and bass. When considering voices
of pre-pubescent children an eighth term, treble, can be applied. Within each of these major
categories there are several sub-categories that identify specific vocal qualities like coloratura
facility and vocal weight to differentiate between voices.
It should be noted that within choral music, singers' voices are divided solely on the basis of vocal
range. Choral music most commonly divides vocal parts into high and low voices within each sex
(SATB, or soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). As a result, the typical choral situation affords many
opportunities for misclassification to occur. Since most people have medium voices, they must
be assigned to a part that is either too high or too low for them; the mezzo-soprano must sing
soprano or alto and the baritone must sing tenor or bass. Either option can present problems for
the singer, but for most singers there are fewer dangers in singing too low than in singing too
Within contemporary forms of music (sometimes referred to as contemporary commercial music),
singers are classified by the style of music they sing, such as jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk,
and rock styles. There is currently no authoritative voice classification system within non-classical
music. Attempts have been made to adopt classical voice type terms to other forms of singing but
such attempts have been met with controversy. The development of voice categorizations
were made with the understanding that the singer would be using classical vocal technique within
a specified range using unamplified (no microphones) vocal production. Since contemporary
musicians use different vocal techniques, microphones, and are not forced to fit into a specific
vocal role, applying such terms as soprano, tenor, baritone, etc. can be misleading or even
Popular and traditional music
Rock singer Ian Gillan performing live with Deep
Purple in Hoyos del Espino in 2013.
In many modern pop musical groups, a lead singer performs the primary
vocals or melody of a song, as opposed to a backing singer who sings
backup vocals or the harmony of a song. Backing vocalists sing some, but
usually not all, parts of the song often singing only in a song's refrain or
humming in the background. An exception is five-part gospel a cappella
music, where the lead is the highest of the five voices and sings a
descant, and not the melody. Some artists may sing both the lead and
backing vocals on audio recordings by overlapping recorded vocal tracks.
Popular music includes a range of vocal styles. Hip-hop uses rapping, the
rhythmic delivery of rhymes in a rhythmic speech over a beat or without
accompaniment. Some types of rapping consist mostly or entirely of
speech and chanting, like the Jamaican "toasting". In some types of
rapping, the performers may interpolate short sung or half-sung passages.
Blues singing is based on the use of the blue notes–notes sung at a slightly lower pitch than that
of the major scale for expressive purposes. In heavy metal and hardcore punk subgenres, vocal
styles can include techniques such as screams, shouts, and unusual sounds such as the "death
One difference between live performances in the popular and Classical genres is that whereas
Classical performers often sing without amplification in small- to mid-size halls, in popular music, a
microphone and PA system (amplifier and speakers) are used in almost all performance venues,
even a small coffee house. The use of the microphone has had several impacts on popular music.
For one, it facilitated the development of intimate, expressive singing styles such as "crooning"
which would not have enough projection and volume if done without a microphone. As well, pop
singers who use microphones can do a range of other vocal styles that would not project without
amplification, such as making whispering sounds, humming, and mixing half-sung and sung tones.
As well, some performers use the microphone's response patterns to create effects, such as
bringing the mic very close to the mouth to get an enhanced bass response, or, in the case of hiphop beatboxers, doing plosive "p" and "b" sounds into the mic to create percussive effects.
While some bands use backup singers who only sing when they are onstage, it is common for
backup singers in popular music to have other roles. In many rock and metal bands, the musicians
doing backup vocals also play instruments, such as rhythm guitar, electric bass, or drums. In Latin
or Afro-Cuban groups, backup singers may play percussion instruments or shakers while singing.
In some pop and hip-hop groups and in musical theater, the backup singers may be required to
perform elaborately choreographed dance routines while they sing through headset microphones.
Careers in singing
The salaries and working conditions for vocalists vary a great
deal. While jobs in other music fields such as music education
tend to be based on full-time, salaried positions, singing jobs
tend to be based on contracts for individual shows or
performances, or for a sequence of shows (e.g., a two-week
series of performances of an opera or musical theater show).
Since income from singing jobs can be unsteady, singers often
supplement their performing income with other singing-related
jobs, such as vocal coaching, voice lessons, or as working as a
choral director in a church. Due to the large number of aspiring
vocalists, it can be very competitive to get jobs in singing.
Maria Callas during her final
tour in Amsterdam in 1973
Church choir soloists can make from $30 to $500 per performance (all figures in US dollars).
Performers in a community choral group can earn from $200–$3,000 yearly; members of a
professional concert choral group can make $80 and up per performance. Singers who perform on
radio or TV shows can make $75 and up per show on a local station and $125 and up per national
network show (e.g., CBS or NBC). Jazz or pop singers who perform with dance bands or nightclub
show groups can make $225 and up per week. Professional opera chorus singers can make from
$350–$750 per week. Opera soloists, for which the number of job openings is very limited, can
make from $350 to $20,000 per performance for the most elite performers. Classical concert
soloists, for which the number of job openings is very limited, have approximate earnings of $350
per performance and up.
Aspiring singers and vocalists must have musical talent and skill, an excellent voice, the ability to
work with people, and a sense of showmanship and drama. Additionally, singers need to have the
ambition and drive to continually study and improve, because the process of studying singing
does not end after an initial diploma or degree is finished-even decades after finishing their initial
training, professional singers continue to seek out vocal coaching to hone their skills, extend their
range, and learn new styles. As well, aspiring singers need to gain specialized skills in the vocal
techniques used to interpret songs, learn about the vocal literature from their chosen style of
music, and gain skills in choral music techniques, sight singing and memorizing songs, and basic
skills at the piano, to aid in learning new songs and in ear training or vocal exercises. In Classical
singing and in some other genres, a knowledge of foreign languages such as French, Italian,
German, or other languages, is needed. Prior to college or university training, aspiring singers
should learn to read music, study basic piano, and gain experience with singing, both in choirs
and in solo settings.
College or university degrees are "not always required but the equivalent training is usually
necessary". Post-secondary training in singing is available for both Classical and nonClassical singers. In the Classical stream, singing can be studied at conservatories and university
music programs; credentials that are available range from diplomas and Bachelor's degrees to
Master's degrees and the Doctor of Musical Arts. In popular and jazz styles, college and university
degrees are also available, though there are fewer programs.
Once aspiring vocalists have completed their professional training, they must then take steps to
market themselves to buyers of vocal talent, by doing auditions in front of an opera director,
choirmaster, or conductor. Depending on the style of vocal music that a person has trained in, the
"talent buyers" that they seek out may be record company A&R representatives, opera or musical
theater directors, choir directors, nightclub managers, or concert promoters. In addition preparing
a resume or CV listing their training and performance experience, singers typically prepare a
promotional kit that includes professionally taken photographs (head shots); a CD or DVD with
excerpts of vocal performances; and copies of reviews from music critics or journalists