Monday, November 13, 2023

Problems arising when men and women sing the same pitch: 5 relevant reads

This is one of a series of summary posts around a specific topic, bringing together five relevant posts from the past.

This summary is about the difficulties and apparent strangeness of men and women singing the same pitch together.

In many community choirs, the tenor section is often mixed male and female voices. At first, it can feel strange singing in the same octave as someone of the opposite sex.

There is also the issue of a female choir leader giving out starting notes to male singers. For the basses it’s usually fine since the choir leader probably can’t get down to those notes and will automatically sing an octave higher. But for the tenor section, she may well be able to sing at pitch, which might confuse a few men.

Similar confusions can arise when a male choir leader is pitching to female singers.

Here are 5 relevant reads from the past which look at these issues.

1. Low ladies
What are the implications when the tenor section is mostly made up of women, or ‘low ladies’?

2. Can women sing tenor?
There are some in the more formal ‘choral world’ who don’t believe that women can (or should) sing tenor. But most community choirs have limited ranges so the tenor section seldom covers the full ‘tenor range’.

3. Singing the same note – differently!
The challenge of knowing when you’re singing in the correct octave or not, and what ‘octave’ even means. When women singing low meet men singing high.

4. Mixed tenor sections: the weirdness of men and women singing the same note
Men and women don’t often stand together singing exactly the same notes. At first it can appear strange. Men will be singing high in their range whereas women will be singing low in their range, even though both men and women will be singing exactly the same pitch.

5. How male singers can successfully pitch from a woman (and how women can pitch from a man)
Looking at the problems that might come up when pitching from the opposite gender.

Chris Rowbury


Get more posts like this delivered straight to your inbox!

Click to subscribe by email.


found this helpful?

I provide this content free of charge, because I like to be helpful. If you have found it useful, you may like to ...

... to say thank you.





Monthly Music Round-up: