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Subject: Re: Categorizing Baritones
From: Al **** <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Al **** <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 31 Mar 2005 01:49:35 +0000

text/plain (43 lines)

>From: william kasimer <[log in to unmask]>
>Particularly with baritones, I find such a classification to be not
>terribly useful, since the categories are defined so haphazardly.  A
>baritone is a baritone by virtue of range, tessitura, and technique, and
>suitable or unsuitable for a specific role based upon vocal size, vocal
>color, and stylistic considerations.
>William D. Kasimer
>[log in to unmask]

Yes, I find this the most reasonable view of the Baritone voice. If one
listens to the wonderful Robert Merrill when young, it is hard to imagine
the voice we would hear at it's peak. Warren was much the same, except for
the extraordinary ringing top, as a young man he sounded like a baritone who
would in all probability become a tenor, by the time he had unseated Tibbet
and moved well into major roles at the Met, it was obvious that his was a
unique voice, a stand alone instrument that could sound dark velvety and
broody or brilliantly high and penetrating, always very slightly unruly to
my ears, it was a magnificent and very exciting instrument, where Merrill's
was much more noble and lyrical. Outside the great Warren and Merrill, were
so many different baritones with different sounds different vocal strengths
and weaknesses. I believe that it is true that the middle voice (as distinct
from the high and the low) will always be difficult to define by the very
fact of it's central placement, it must involve more overlap at both ends,
there were times when Warren sounded heavy and Bass like, but when that
great instrument sailed on up to Gsharp and A, it sounded for all the world
like a dramatic Tenor about to let loose. Many great Baritones have a
tendency to bark a little, Merrill was no exception , particularly as time
marched on, I think this is something baritones must be careful of, it is
another curse associated with singing in the middle slot coupled with the
need to sound dramatic or even manly, there is very little doubt in my mind
that the baritone is the result of extending or pushing up basses rather
than pressing down tenors.

Regards,  Isaac

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