Web links Center Home - Main Menu Art & Music Musical Instruments Musical Periods Musical Forms Music Almanac Musical Humor Music Dictionary Music Jukebox Great Composers World Music

"Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it." (Numbers, chapter 21:17)

PreviousUp to the instruments menuNext

Human Voices

The opera
The Opera

Jokes about singers and singing
Vocal Jokes

Quotations about singers and singing


Musical Dictionary
Troubadour, minesinger or trouverThe human voice
Man's voice has been used by him, for making music, ever since he became human. Self-expression through singing is the earliest form of music humans have experienced.
The human voice allows a person to sing, and its compound of harmonics (overtones) is the one providing it with its vocal uniqueness. The human voice can be improved by practice and exercise called vocal training.
Human voices are sorted into six kinds, by their pitch (see voice chart). In addition, there is another classification of voices, by quality and nature. Thus, we find a dramatic soprano (a strong voice fit for recitation and theatre), a lyric voice (light and pleasant), and so on.
The choirThe Vienna Boys Choir is the vocal ensemble, and it includes the four main groups: sopranoSoprano singer, alto, tenor and bass. Choir sometimes sing a cappella, meaning without the accompaniment of an instrument or an orchestra.

The History of art singing
The Israeli Philharmonic ChoirUntil the 9th century, singing was monophonic. From the year 860 a.d. and on, people started singing in two parallel voices (this is the famous organum), and in the 12th century, French composer Pérotin began writing arrangements for four separate voices, in polyphony. This is the stage when singers started gaining their own place as respectable musicians. Polyphony evolved further and further, until the 16th century, as Thomas Tallis wrote a motet for 40 different voices.
In the middle ages, many singers became revered and some of them were also important composers. Dufay, Josquin des Préz, Ockeghem and others are considered to be the most important composers of the era, mostly for their massesKyrie from a Mass by Bruckner and motets. The 16th century brought about the blossom of madrigal - the secular polyphonic song.
The Vienna boys - one of the leading boys choir in the worldIn the 17th century, the opera appeared. This is the most prominent combination of soloist singers' voices, choir singing and instrumental accompaniment - all matched with theatrical playing and drama, stage design and other effects. Its greatest artists were Gluck ("Orpheo et Euridice"), Verdi ("Othelo", "The Force of Destiny" ("La forza del destino"), "La Traviata" and more), and Mozart ("Don Giovanni", "The Magic Flute" ("Die Zauberflöte"), "The Marriage of Figaro" ("La Noza di Figgaro")).
Opera's religious counterpart, the oratorio, evolves side by side with it, and the predominant composer in this field is Handel, with oratorios such as "Messiah" and "Jephteh".
As instrumental forms such as the sonata, toccata and others evolve, vocal music developed, throughout history, with the encouragement of the church, on the one hand, and in the secular arena, by folk singers (troubadours, minesingers and trouvers, according to their country). In his cantatas (for example, Cantata No. 147 "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desiring" and Cantata No. 208 "Sheep May Safely Graze"), Bach elevated the human voice to heights of sanctity and charm; Beethoven introduced choir and solo singing into the holy of holies of instrumental music - the symphony, in his 9th Symphony. Schubert raised the German lied (song) to its peak, in his wonderful song cycles - "The Winter Journey" ("Winterreise"), and his earlier "The Beautiful Miller" ("Die schöne Mülllerin").

Singers in Art

Cantoria (1431-1439) Lucca della Robbia, Firenze, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo
Cantoria (1431-1439) Lucca della Robbia, Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Firenze

Singer with a Glove, Edgar Degas, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Singer with a Glove, Edgar Degas, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Cabaret, Edgar Degas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington
Cabaret, Edgar Degas, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington

Vocal Ensembles

Gospel Music
Web site
The web site
Vocal quartet
Web site
The web site
Gregorian chant
Web site
The web site
Boys choir
Web site
The web site
Church choir
Web site
The web site
Madrigal music
vocal quartet
Vocal octet
Web site

Human Voices

Highest female voice
Mezzo Soprano
Mid female voice
Lowest female voice
Highest male voice
Mid male voice
Lowest male voice

Singers & Choirs on the WWW
Sites about choirs in the internet
Music of choirs in the internet
Videos of choirs in the internet
Images of choirs in the internet

"Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea." (Exodus, chapter 15:1)


MusixCool© By Nadav Dafni