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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just based off of the title alone, many of you can easily see where this is going to head. I know I'm not the only one who's sick and tired of looking at a pop singer (for this first example we're going to look at Whitney Houston) and seeing in the comment section, "OMG Everbody this is a pure spinto soprano, at her peak! Listen to her SUPER HEAD NOTES (pure idiocy at it's finest) and how smooth she bridges her operatic/church training to mix her chesty low notes to sound more soulful!" I know I'm not the only one to see a vocal range video and they come up to the idiotic conclusion that said the example is a "Spinto Soprano," despite not having any formal education in the Vocal arts whatsoever or having 8+ years of training into the world of Opera.

This thread's purpose is to discuss how said application to a Pop singer is disrespectful to the masters of the Vocal arts but even more an insult to all who claim to love Music.

To see this in action, here's a video (or two) of other examples being given classification such as "Spinto Soprano" or "Lyric-Coloratura Contralto" or even something as stupid as a "Mezzo-Soprano Contralto". Viewer Discretion is advised.... against the idiots that's going to claim such craziness of a "Spinto" or "Pop diva Assoluta"



 

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But those definitions aren't just a definition of the range of the singer? I mean Mariah Carey is the complete opposite of what I like in a singer but what's the problem in defining her range? That does not have anything to do with her quality as a singer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
But those definitions aren't just a definition of the range of the singer? I mean Mariah Carey is the complete opposite of what I like in a singer but what's the problem in defining her range? That does not have anything to do with her quality as a singer.
I think you missed the point and that was I have no problem with defining the range of a singer. However, I don't like when people give operatic classifications such as "Assoluta" or "Spinto" or even "Dramatic" to a singer that has never received the adequate amount of training to don such titles. It's quite simple actually. You wouldn't want someone to have the title of Colonel when they weren't even in the Army or Navy, so why would I, a classical artist want a Pop Singer to get a title that I technically have to work my butt off for?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I don't understand the point. I don't like plenty of singers or genres. But I don't start threads about how angry their existence makes me. What purpose does this sort of topic serve?
You completely missed the point of this thread. In no way am I damning or stating I dislike these singers nor the genres they sing. It is quite simple and not all complex as you are attributing it to be. I'm clearly stating how I don't like when people give out operatic classifications to describe a Pop Singer. Reasons for that is that generally, pop singers haven't had the training and even if they did have training, the training was meant to be used on an Operatic stage... NOT on a Pop Stage.

Like I used the example in my other post, you wouldn't go around saying "Captain" or "Colonel" to a person who never enlisted or worked in the Army or Navy. Same rule apply to giving out Operatic classifications to non-trained Pop Singers.
 
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I'm not the only one who's sick and tired of looking at a pop singer (for this first example we're going to look at Whitney Houston) and seeing in the comment section, "OMG Everbody this is a pure spinto soprano, at her peak! Listen to her SUPER HEAD NOTES (pure idiocy at it's finest) and how smooth she bridges her operatic/church training to mix her chesty low notes to sound more soulful!"
Perhaps you should exercise some restraint and not read the notes posted under YT videos if other people's ignorance is going to upset you so much that you have to create a whole thread about it here.

I would take any comment that begins "OMG Everybody" with a pinch of salt and go no further.
 

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Perhaps you should exercise some restraint and not read the notes posted under YT videos if other people's ignorance is going to upset you so much that you have to create a whole thread about it here.

I would take any comment that begins "OMG Everybody" with a pinch of salt and go no further.
That's a good one, but not only restricted to You Tube. ;)
 

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I think you missed the point and that was I have no problem with defining the range of a singer. However, I don't like when people give operatic classifications such as "Assoluta" or "Spinto" or even "Dramatic" to a singer that has never received the adequate amount of training to don such titles. It's quite simple actually. You wouldn't want someone to have the title of Colonel when they weren't even in the Army or Navy, so why would I, a classical artist want a Pop Singer to get a title that I technically have to work my butt off for?
this is what wiki says about the "soprano assoluta" :
"Soprano sfogato ("Vented" soprano) is a term which, in the art of singing, designates a contralto or mezzo-soprano who is capable-by sheer industry or natural talent-of extending their upper range and being able to encompass the coloratura soprano tessitura. It is sometimes called soprano assoluta."

I find those videos ridiculous, because I don't think that a singer should be judged just by technical abilities (as I don't think that an actor/actress should be judged for his or her beauty), but reading this it seems that even that "assoluta" is just a definition of range.
"Coloratura" for what I know is just a definition of the agility of the soprano in singing fast passages, so it does not have anything to do with being trained or not.
I've heard trained singers with terrible voices and untrained singers who are able to do virtuosistic passages.
So my "problem" with those videos is the idea that the value of a singer has to be found in their ability to hit high notes or do fast melismatic passages and stuff like that.
I mean, Maria Bethania has probably the range of a contralto and I've never heard her doing any virtuosistic thing, but she is incredibly better in my opinon than those sopranos (assoluta or not) like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
this is what wiki says about the "soprano assoluta" :
"Soprano sfogato ("Vented" soprano) is a term which, in the art of singing, designates a contralto or mezzo-soprano who is capable-by sheer industry or natural talent-of extending their upper range and being able to encompass the coloratura soprano tessitura. It is sometimes called soprano assoluta."

I find those videos ridiculous, because I don't think that a singer should be judged just by technical abilities (as I don't think that an actor/actress should be judged for his or her beauty), but reading this it seems that even that "assoluta" is just a definition of range.
"Coloratura" for what I know is just a definition of the agility of the soprano in singing fast passages, so it does not have anything to do with being trained or not.
I've heard trained singers with terrible voices and untrained singers who are able to do virtuosistic passages.
So my "problem" with those videos is the idea that the value of a singer has to be found in their ability to hit high notes or do fast melismatic passages and stuff like that.
I mean, Maria Bethania has probably the range of a contralto and I've never heard her doing any virtuosistic thing, but she is incredibly better in my opinon than those sopranos (assoluta or not) like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston.
I have a thread about the Assoluta and how it only should be referred to OPERATIC artists. Here's that link and maybe you can you can see for yourself the description of that type of voice in Opera. http://www.talkclassical.com/44122-soprano-assoluta-its-place-5.html

Second, there's a huge disparity in given certain singers certain terms like "Soprano" or "Mezzo-Soprano" in Pop Singing. When we give those terms to an Operatic singer, it's usually during their years as student in high school or even College (for those who still feel they are changing, vocally speaking.) For example like Joyce DiDonatto have stated several times in her masterclasses it took her a while before she truly knew what she was and even then it frightens her because of how big her range is and how versatile she can be.

Whitney Houston started off with a very beautiful instrument, no doubt about it but even in her "prime", she was a pure Mezzo-Soprano who was extremely gifted with an upper register "belt" (something Operatic artists don't use because it's not needed in Opera). She could've expanded her range but she didn't feel the need to because she was one of those type of rare singers who believed the pure essence of her workload and the beauty of instrument would get her far and not some gimmick like having 5+ octaves (I'm looking at you Mariah, Georgia Brown, etc.). Now don't get me wrong there are some extreme cases of pop singers in the 70's (Minnie Ripperton) who actually had a GREAT 4-5+ octave range and they used it sublimely and it showcased their music and vast versatility on so many levels, but again in Opera, we don't care about the ranges as much as the characteristics of what your voice type has.

Not to get off topic here, Whitney had no lower register in her early days -- this is a fact. It actually took her a decade before she found that area and as performances from her 1993 New York City concert to the 1994 New York Concert, she would often use a lot of chest in that area. The fact that by 1990, the voice was no longer as sweet nor was it comfortable on the top as it had been for her first 3-5 years, proved to be almost disastrous for her. She would use melissmas to hide the fact that she was losing it on the top (and it's important to note, she was always sick from 1990-1991, with 1992 being the exception for if you look at her performance at the '92 AMA awards.)

Here's a video comparison of her performing "Greatest Love of All" from 1989 (late '89-early '90 recording) to 1992. (The '89-'90 recording is a LIVE recording because the live recording video was taken down, Arista used it for their DVD)


And now, the 1992 live recording as a tribute to Muhammed Ali:

 

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I have a thread about the Assoluta and how it only should be referred to OPERATIC artists. Here's that link and maybe you can you can see for yourself the description of that type of voice in Opera. http://www.talkclassical.com/44122-soprano-assoluta-its-place-5.html
I see that you disagree with the definition of Whitney Houston as soprano assoluta and I don't have anything to say about it, onestly I don't even care. Maybe you're right.
But I've read the first post with your description and still I don't get why it should be something to be used only for operatic singers. Range, agility, sound, power does not have anything to do with the genre. I have the impression that what disturbs you is to put pop singers and operatic singers on the same level, and onestly I think that Maria Callas is one of the greatest singers ever but hey, I would say the same for Dock Boggs or Iris DeMent for completely different reasons, and I suspect you will not agree on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You obviously missed the entire point. I'm targeting people who are using operatic classifications (example: Spinto, Dramatic, Lyric, Lyric-Dramatic, Lyric-Spinto, Ful Lyric, Assoluta, Falcon, Dugazon, Basso cantate, Basso Cantabile.) to describe the voices of non-trained singers aka Pop Singers. What is there to not understand?

Regardless if I like Callas or not, she's an Operatic singer (keyword: OPERATIC singer) and she fits the characteristics of the Soprano Assoluta (as did Malibran and Pasta did in their day.) And you claiming you place her on the same pedestal as a pop singer, while it is purely subjective at best, it's highly illogical to compare two people from two different backgrounds. Though that doesn't stop people from doing it and I'm not condoning it whatsoever.
 

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You obviously missed the entire point. I'm targeting people who are using operatic classifications (example: Spinto, Dramatic, Lyric, Lyric-Dramatic, Lyric-Spinto, Ful Lyric, Assoluta, Falcon, Dugazon, Basso cantate, Basso Cantabile.) to describe the voices of non-trained singers aka Pop Singers. What is there to not understand?

Regardless if I like Callas or not, she's an Operatic singer (keyword: OPERATIC singer) and she fits the characteristics of the Soprano Assoluta (as did Malibran and Pasta did in their day.) And you claiming you place her on the same pedestal as a pop singer, while it is purely subjective at best, it's highly illogical to compare two people from two different backgrounds. Though that doesn't stop people from doing it and I'm not condoning it whatsoever.
Clearly you regard this practice as a bad thing. What are the consequences? Should we be concerned?:confused:
 

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You obviously missed the entire point. I'm targeting people who are using operatic classifications (example: Spinto, Dramatic, Lyric, Lyric-Dramatic, Lyric-Spinto, Ful Lyric, Assoluta, Falcon, Dugazon, Basso cantate, Basso Cantabile.) to describe the voices of non-trained singers aka Pop Singers. What is there to not understand?
What I don't understand is why those terms should not be used for you.
This is what you said:

Here's a few characteristics of the assoluta/Soprano Sfogato voice:

It possesses a dark timbre with a rich and strong low register, as well as the high notes of a soprano and occasionally a coloratura soprano.
Those voices are typically strong, dramatic and agile, supported by an excellent bel canto technique and an ability to sing in the soprano tessitura as well as in the contralto tessitura with great ease.
The common requirements for the roles associated with this voice type are:

widely varied tessitura throughout the role, extended segments lying well into the low mezzo or contralto tessitura and segments lying in high soprano tessitura
a range extending down to at least low B and at least up to high B with at least one whole tone required at either end
fioratura (coloratura) singing in the most intricate bel canto style
florid singing combined with heroic weight
a heavy or dense sound in the lower range
vocal power over energetic orchestral accompaniment.
I can't understand why you think that all those aspects can't be found also in a pop singer. For instance, recently I've seen this video:
She's singing the famous Doll song that it's considered something for a coloratura soprano AND after that a pop tune... just to say that (besides any other consideration) a style does not define the voice of a singer but it's just that, a style.

And let me ask you this: do you think that a great pop singer can be as great as a operatic singer?
 
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