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Countertenors are in my opinion the best voice to listen to :) Nothing disappoints me more when I purchase a recording of a song that was originally written for a male alto and there's a woman singing it. I've heard female voices singing the solo verses in Gibbons' 'This it the Record of John' and found it changes a piece that I have always thought of as profoundly beautiful into something mundane and generic. I don't wish to sound severe on my own sex, but I do prefer male voices generally (with the exception of soprano soloists). This does make me totally hypocritical, as whenever I get turned away from certain church choirs because I am female I complain, but whenever I purchase recordings of choral works I usually tend to go for all male choirs as I find the sound has a much purer quality. Does anyone else have an opinion on women being allowed to sing in traditional church choirs? I do sing in one now in a high church, but even in this case women were only allowed to join five years ago...
 

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Lol I wish it was like that around Yorkshire! It is restrictive, which is annoying- partcularly when church music is my favourite genre :( In York where I live part time younger girls are allowed, but only until they are about 12 and their tonalit begins to change. But even then there are seperate services for the boys and the girls
 

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There is no reason to be humble, Giovanni :) In my opinion there is nothing worse than an ensemble of female sopranos warbling away the top line of Tallis' 'Spem in Alium' with full gusto. This may make me a traitor to my own sex but the performance of a piece has to be appropriate in style to its era and occasion. Many string players in original Baroque orchestras played with catgut strings, so vibrato was not even possible (hence why some chamber orchestras have recently started to imitate this) and the same is essentially true when performing early church music. Soloists could certainly perform with a rich vibrato, but it is just not appropriate when performing in an ensemble that is intended to produce an interesting yet ethereal sound. That does not mean that I think women should not perform this style of early music, it is merely my suggestion that sopranos should try to achieve a more bell-like treble sound when performing early music rather than the gusto used in performing later choral works.
And back to the subject of counter-tenors, the same applies for women singing the alto parts in choral works- the style simply has to depend on the occasion!
 

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I agree with you, Dexter, as I personally find that female altos lack the purity in tone that countertenors have. I'm very much into early choral music and the idea of Monteverdi's madgrigals being performed by a group using anything other than at least one countertenor seems quite frankly peculiar...
 
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