Verse & Voice

The fourth and fifth angels of the ‘Daughters of Music’ is ‘Verse & Voice’.  The ‘verse’ of music is analogous to the ‘stanza’ of poetry, where the two often have a rhyming scheme, as shown below:

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Beneath the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone,
And our defense is sure.

The voice of music is the singing of musical sounds.  It can be formal, informal, arranged or improvised like the scat singing of Louis Armstrong. 

A singer’s vocal range is grouped into six pitch categories, where middle C = C4:


Pitch Range


C4 – C6


A3 – A5


F3 – F5


C3 – C5


F2 – F4


E2 – E4


Women’s voices are typically divided into three groups:

Soprano:  highest voice. Middle C to High C (C4 - C6)
Popular Sopranos (non-classical):
• 1940s: Julie Andrews, Doris Day
• 1950s: Shirley Jones
• 1960s: Joan Baez, Dolly Parton, Minnie Riperton
• 1970s: Emmylou Harris, Olivia Newton-John
• 1980s: Sarah Brightman, Kate Bush
• 1990s: Christina Aguilera, Kristin Chenoweth, Mariah Carey, Charlotte Church, Celine Deion


Mezzo-soprano: middle-range voice (most common female voice).  A3 - A5
Popular Mezzo-sopranos (non-classical): 
• 1930s: Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman
• 1960s: Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, Barbara Streisand
• 1970s: Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, Donna Summer
• 1980s: Tori Amos, Enya, Whitney Houston, Alison Krauss, Madonna, Sarah McLachlan, Janet Jackson, Gwen Stefani
• 1990s: Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Alanis Morissette
• 2000: Rihanna


Contralto:  lowest voice.  F3 - F5
Popular Contraltos (non-classical):
• 1930s: Judy Garland
• 1940s: Rosemary Clooney, Sarah Vaughan
• 1950s: Patsy Cline, Etta James, Nina Simone
• 1960s: Cher, Mama Cass Elliot, Grace Slick, Dionne Warwick
• 1970s: Karen Carpenter, Rita Coolidge, Chrissie Hynde, Grace Jones, Chaka Khan, Reba McEntire, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks, Carly Simon
• 1980s: Anita Baker, Annie Lennox, Sade, Cassandra Wilson
• 1990s: Toni Braxton, Fergie, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall
• 2000: Lady Gaga, Pink


Men’s voices are usually divided into three groups:
Tenor:  highest voice (non-falsetto).  C3 - C5
• 1960s: Peter Cetera, Elton John, Robert Plant, Kenny Rogers, Steve Winwood
• 1970s: Bono, Phil Collins, Steve Perry, Boz Scaggs, Sting, Steven Tyler
• 1980s: Boy George


Baritone:  middle-range voice (most common male voice).  F2 - F4. 

Unique qualities include “breathy” (Jim Reeves), “crooning” (Ville Valo), “gritty” (Al Green), “growling” (Neil Diamond), and “ragged” (Bruce Springsteen).
Popular Baritones:
• 1930s: Bing Crosby
• 1940s: Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra
• 1950s: Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Dean Martin, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves
• 1960s: Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, John Fogerty, Robert Goulet, Al Green, Jimi Hendrix, Mike Love, Jim Morrison, Bob Seger, Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Paul Williams
• 1970s: David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, David Lee Roth, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Withers
• 1980s: James Hetfield, John Cougar Mellencamp,
• 2000: Michael Buble