For the past 4 months or so, I’ve been moving back to my baritone rep and really liking it. So I decided to switch back, and it’s taken me this long to figure out how to write about it.
It Feels Good
When I switched to tenor I really believed that it was appropriate, but after a year and a half where I’ve performed in a higher tessitura and recorded myself and made every attempt to make it work…it just hasn’t. It’s not that I was awful as a tenor. It’s just that I feel better as a baritone.
And that’s it. I could make technical sounding arguments both for and against singing tenor, but I don’t want to do that. I feel better as a baritone. The whole experience feels more like a massage for my throat. I like it, and I’m happier singing as a baritone.
Am I Just Being Lazy?
When my teacher and I talked about it (and, yes, even though Andrew lives in New Mexico I still consider him my teacher), we talked about the difference in effort between tenor and baritone. Tenor is more vocally strenuous than baritone. It sits higher – relatively speaking and in general– for longer than baritone equivalents.
However, as Andrew pointed out, it shouldn’t feel like it is “300% more difficult”. That’s about what it felt like.
I’ll still practice tenor repertoire occasionally. By singing high, I learn how to sing high. By singing something so challenging, I feel like my technique and strength have improved. It’s like vocal weightlifting. I am now bringing that to my baritone repertoire, and I feel like I’ve never sung as well. Suddenly, it takes more effort to sing as a baritone, but it feels like the right kind of effort.
And some songs’ “higher” keys feel better. Just because baritones are lower doesn’t mean we need to sit in the nether regions of our voices all the time if something might fit better.
Why Did This Post Take Me So Long?
It’s taken awhile for me to write this. I’ve been afraid that this makes me look incompetent or foolish because I was so certain. And I wrote some things during that time that I plainly disagree with now. Yet the nature of a blog is that it never forgets, and the longer you write the more this becomes evident.
For context: these posts about “tenor or baritone” stuff have consistently been my most viewed and commented upon material by people who have stumbled across the site. I need to acknowledge that my circumstances have changed and that this may affect the way my prior content is perceived. Or I could just delete the offending posts and move on.
However to delete those older posts outright would feel wrong. I deleted a few when I combined Beginning Singer and iansidden.com, and I wish that I hadn’t. It just goes against – in my opinion – the beauty of blogs as a “log”. But I do need to clarify and adjust some of the things I wrote. So I will write a follow up and embed a link to it in those earlier posts announcing that some of my opinions have changed. This will take me some time to get finalized.
In the meantime, I’m practicing a lot and loving it. I’m learning new rep, and I’ve begun working with an accompanist here in PA. There’s also a ton of music to check out in the Northeast.
Thank you for reading.
About the image: This is my first attempt at using the Open Source Inkscape program. If you can’t afford or don’t want to use Illustrator, then it’s pretty nice.