I believe the importance of alto singers in a group cannot be overstated. They make the sound of a choir full, contribute to the melody, and have the best ears when it comes to female voices. After examining the Soprano’s in my last blog, I wanted to explore what the Alto’s are all about.
Altos Singers Make the Sound “Full”
While sopranos generally carry the melody in a group, the altos supply the harmony, which gives the choir a full rich sound. The harmony is vital to the overall sound that a choir or ensemble has. The harmony is like the finishing touch; the icing on the cake, gilding the lily, if you will. Harmony fills and completes the chord and gives dimension to the sound of a group.
Altos Contribute On Melody
Occasionally, alto singers do get the chance to carry the melody. It gives the group as a whole, a completely different sound since the dominant melody is coming from the lower voices. The tone of a lower voice is different, warmer, not as bright, so this gives a different feel to the song and group. It makes for a nice change of pace from what is usually the sound and how a chord is stacked. When the altos take over the melody, sopranos usually fill a harmony above the melody line, kind of like an inverted chord. It also is a great chance for sopranos to practicing harmonizing-something they don’t often get a chance to do. Speaking of…
Altos Singers Naturally Develop a Great Ear
Since harmonizing is left to the alto section the majority of the time, you quickly pick up the ability to harmonize; hear the other notes in a chord, or find a note that will go along with the melody. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood just came out with a brand new duet. Sounds awesome-guess what? They aren’t both singing the same note the whole song. One is singing the melody and one is on the harmony. Harmonizing is as basic as music itself. It sounds so awesome. It is a great thing to master, and being a good alto will mean developing the ear to harmonize.
Alto’s And Soprano Are A Team
Sopranos and Altos go great together. They complement each other and round out the sound of a group. Find the voicing and type of singing you are most comfortable in and pursue it! Adding the harmony to a beautiful melody is a reward like no other!