Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I'm An Alto

A contralto, really. Not a mezzo. Not a soprano without a range. A real alto.

It's not so easy to be a true alto. Throughout my career I have encountered literally dozens of people who refuse to even use the word, as if mere utterance of the word itself would somehow cause the earth to open up and swallow them. I have had my bio changed after submission to read "mezzo soprano" in programs, countless times, for reasons that still elude me to this very day. The message has been sent time and time again, that for some reason, being an alto is wrong.

How can it be wrong? I am what I am.

As educated as most musicians are, it astounds me that so many think that the alto voice isn't actually a real voice type. Voice type isn't about range, it's about quality within a range. A soprano who has lost their top notes doesn't magically become an alto by virtue of a limited range. But this seems to be how this is viewed.

I have a 3 octave singing range. Not merely 3 octaves of notes I can voice. I am an alto. I am in the middle.

Altos are like air; we are mostly invisible and largely taken for granted. Sopranos and baritones covet our solo music.

It's not easy to be an alto. But it's absolutely wonderful.

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