So you say you have a large voice...

So you say you have a large voice...
And my response is simply, so?

Why are so many singers obsessed with how LARGE their voice is?

What difference does it make?

Bigger isn't necessarily better - especially if you don't know how to use it!

This fascination of pushing voices out of alignment or pushing into larger repertoire too soon, or at all, really makes me shake my head.

What happened to developing the voice to find acoustical balance and true resonance?

If the voice is balanced, large or small, it will project and cut.  Granted, in North America the expectation is to sing in ridiculous barns, so we often push the voices to try to rise to the expectation, but we when will we learn?!?!?!

Realizing what you have and developing THAT FULLY is more important than anything else.  Last time I checked, all opera or music theatre for that matter,  isn't just for large dramatic voices.

Why call yourself a dramatic ANYTHING if you simply aren't?  You think by saying you are,  you'll fool someone?  Sadly, all that happens, is that you, the singer, look foolish.

If you truly ARE a large dramatic voice,  then learn how to use it well - in ANY room.  Leading with the size of your voice means nothing.  Sounds like a compensation for something else to me.

"my voice is too large for the room" is simply an excuse that perhaps you have no control, no dynamic or no acoustic balance in your voice.

Ironically, a so-called "large" voice can be very impressive in a small space, but if it is not balanced, it will fall flat with an orchestra or in a large hall.  Resonance balance is crucial for ANY voice type.

Soubrettes, lyric coloraturas, leggiero tenors et al don't have to have "large" instruments, if they have athletic ones and know how to balance it acoustically to cut through an orchestra and into a hall.

Voice ultimately has to fit the body,  find an athletic physicality,  an acoustic resonance in the body and then into the room - not matter the size.  Then, the repertoire simply must tailor fit the vocal prowess.

Last time I checked,  no one opera has all dramatic voices all of the time.  What's wrong with being a lighter voice?  a soubrette?  a light lyric?  There are ROLES for these voices too!  A dramatic voice doesn't sing these roles!!!  And what about all the roles in between?  There are MANY!

So, to those of you who do NOT have a large dramatic voice - EMBRACE WHAT YOU ARE! EMBRACE WHAT YOU HAVE!  Why would you want to sing something that is not really showing you off well?  Why wouldn't you want to sing something that truly "fits",  and allows you discover the balance and intensity of your athleticism?  Why would you want to wear something that doesn't fit you?

And those who DO have dramatic and/or large instruments - are you developing that instrument and that physical athleticism to work and adjust to ANY space you might need to sing in?  Instead of complaining that the room is too small,  perhaps singing for the space using your athleticism would allow you more control,  finesse and artistry.   If it's a big voice, I think we'll get that at ANY dynamic and at ANY intensity.  Imagine not having to use it all, all of the time.

SO - when you say you have a large voice - know what you mean by that.  Compared to what?  Compared to where?  Compared to whom?

And the proof is in the pudding.  JUST SING.  Do your work, sing your repertoire, find the fit that shows YOU beautifully.

If you are pursuing craft, technical prowess, musicality, artistry and truth - THAT is what we need to experience.  The size of the voice doesn't matter if all these things are HEARD and EXPERIENCED.

Large or small or somewhere in between is JUST FINE if you've claimed it.

If you choose to leave it unclaimed,  it remains unimpressive. Period.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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