A contralto (lowest female part) and countertenor (highest male part) sing a duet

That’s some remarkable lip-syncing. She even got someone to do a voice-over for her not only while performing on The Voice Russia but while speaking to the judges! That’s what true dedication to the prank looks like, folks. You just don’t see that sort of commitment anymore. Kids today, I tell ya.


If that bakes your noodle, they used to castrate young (often poor) men to preserve their vocal range. Long outlawed, there are only a few recordings, and they do not sound like anything you have heard before:

Other trivia: wealthy women thought affairs with castrato were quite fashionable on account that they could both be involved in artist circles and had no risk of pregnancy.


The song in the OP is a nice demonstration of the extent to which vocal pitch is socially constructed.

Absent cultural influences, men and women of similar size would have voices of nearly identical pitch. There’s an effect of size (smaller person/higher voice and vice versa), but the vast bulk of the gender pitch difference is not biologically created.


I’ve said this before, but: Jimmy Somerville is one of the great civil rights heroes of the 20th century.

Doing what he did, when he did, took more guts than any punk anarchist ever displayed.


Juliana Strangelove?

“Mr. President, we must not allow a contralto gap!”


“Highest male part”? I think that’s my bald spot.


I love hearing contraltos - I have a relatively low singing voice, don’t know my actual range or anything, but hearing ladies sing in deep voices makes me feel like hey maybe I can sing after all (because a lot of pop songs make me feel like the vocal equivalent of not being able to color inside the lines)


Hey, we’ve got Auto-tuner for that :wink:

Actually, I love to hear natural voices, without layers of production. I used to find it annoying when R&B groups would come on the radio and do a bit of a cappella singing, in which their voices would sound warm and full of emotion; and then they would play their latest release, and it would be soulless, homogenised pap.


Thanks you just reminded me of the perfect accompaniment to this sunny afternoon.

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As a bona-fide counter tenor, I can confirm that I am - ahem - entire, and I have the range of a mezzo soprano.

She has a very interesting voice - technically she’s a contralto, but with a very deep range. He, on the other hand, just on this example, is quite light without any obvious power. The voices aren’t well matched, except at the end when she pulls back.


The woman singing low is actually pretty amazing, that’s not easy. but the man signing high is just falsetto, anyone can do that.

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I agree strongly here - the ranges in use are appropriate to the labels given, but the vocal production is odd in both cases.

With her voice, you get some really interesting emphasis on chest resonance - very different from the classical contraltos I’ve listened to, but there is power there.

I’m less impressed by his performance - I’m a lyric baritone and I used to be able to reliably falsetto my way through the countertenor range. I sounded kind of like that. Good enough for a choir, but not workable for solo music.

On the other hand, I have witnessed a literal bar fight between vocal pedagogists about what the countertenor voice really is, so who am I to judge?


I think the vocals match for the song. The original was by Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue; while the former has a deep, resonant voice, Kylie has a pretty average voice when it isn’t processed and she sang as light as she could for this one. A similar pairing would be Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell.

for reference?

My best friend is classically trained contralto. I need to find her a counter tenor.

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