Baritone

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Male voices

Baritone (or barytone) is a type of male singing voice that lies between the bass and tenor voices. It is the most common male voice.[1] Originally from the Greek βαρύτονος, meaning 'deep (or heavy) sounding', music for this voice is typically written in the range from the second F below middle C to the F above middle C (i.e. F2–F4) in choral music, and from the second G below middle C to the G above middle C (G2 to G4) in operatic music, but can be extended at either end.

Contents

History

The first use of the term "baritone" emerged as baritonans late in the 15th century,[2] usually in French sacred polyphonic music. At this early stage it was frequently used as the lowest of the voices (including the bass), but in 17th century Italy the term was all-encompassing and used to describe the average male choral voice.

Baritones took roughly the range we know today at the beginning of the 18th century but they were still lumped in with their bass colleagues until well into the 19th century. Indeed, many operatic works of the 18th century have roles marked as bass that in reality are low baritone roles (or bass-baritone parts in modern parlance). Examples of this are to be found, for instance, in the operas and oratorios of George Frideric Handel. The greatest and most enduring parts for baritones in 18th-century operatic music were composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. They include Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Papageno in The Magic Flute and the Don in Don Giovanni.[3]

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