Even though we don’t always need to try and sing in different genres for
performance, practicing other genres can be a helpful exercise. But before
we just let it rip, we first have to educate our ears in the new genre.
Today, partly due to my own educational background, I want to talk about the underappreciated genre of musical theatre.
There are actually many different sub-genres within musical theatre. Musicals like, Phantom of the Opera or The Sound of Music are more classical in nature. The vibrato is quick and heavy and you hear more of it in sustained notes.
Listen to: “Think of Me”
Musicals like Carousel or The Music Man are more show tune in style. The
vibrato is still quick and very common in sustained notes but we lose the
heaviness because we are moving away from the classical sound. Words are
still cleanly enunciated but the delivery is slightly more conversational.
Listen to: “Marian the Librarian” or “If I Loved You”
Shows like Chicago or Evita are a little more contemporary and have a jazz/art deco vibe. The vibrato sounds more poppy because there’s less of it but the consonants aren’t as tough as in pop music.
Listen to: “Cell Block Tango” or “Another Suitcase, Another Hall”
The new trend in musical theatre has a strong pop influence. The first
composer to turn the trend was Stephen Sondheim. Musicals like Company are
perfect examples of this. These were the musicals that introduced a very
conversational quality in their songs, which is totally a pop styling. More contemporary composers like Jason Robert Brown and the new sensation, Pasek and Paul are prime examples of pop musical theatre. These, not surprisingly, are the shows young musical theatre performers want to be in. They are more of a reflection of this generation of pop music. The vibrato is used sparingly and more attention is paid to consonants than vowels.
Listen to: “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” or “Out of My Head”
The thing I love about musical theatre is that it’s always a reflection of
the times and the music of the day. It’s nearly always pop when hanging against the backdrop of the generation it was written alongside of.
Do you have a favorite musical? What is it?
To book a lesson with Shelby Rollins, contact [email protected] or 615-866-1099.