Voice Classification

THE FACH SYSTEM: The bass voice

With the possible exception of the Baßbuffo, there is no such thing as a lyric or dramatic classification for the bass voice. The true Italian buffo, the German Spielbaß, has a somewhat lighter voice than the other basses but still must produce a considerable amount of sound as he sings the lowest voice in ensembles… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The baritone voice

Singers of the baritone Fach are divided into four categories with characters ranging from the light and agile friend and companion to kings and gods. The sheer versatility of the baritone voice makes the baritone a very busy man in any opera house. Follow the links to both sound examples and an extensive listing of typical roles… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The tenor voice

Although we often see a division in the Lyric Tenor Fach, there are technically only five Fächer for the tenor voice. Here they are presented in the two main divisions, the Spiel- and Charakterfächer and the Seriöserfächer. Follow the links to both sound examples and an extensive listing of typical roles and audition arias.    Part… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The lower female voices

There are four vocal categories for the lower female voice in the Fach system. Here they are separated into the Seriöserfächer and the Spiel- and Charakterfächer. Follow the links to an extensive listing of typical roles and audition arias.   Part one: Spiel- und (and) Charakterfach: [ʃpi:l ʊnt ka.’ʁak.tɐ  ‘fax] Spielalt (Lyrischer Mezzosopran) [‘ʃpi:l.’alt  ‘ly:.ʁɪ.ʃɐ.’mɛd.zo.so.’pʁan] (f–b”):… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The Soprano Voice, part two

There are eight different categories for the soprano voice in the Fach system separated into two main divisions, the Spiel- and Charakterfächer and the Seriöserfächer. Follow the links to both sound examples and an extensive listing of typical roles and audition arias.  Part two: Seriöser Fächer [ze.ʁi.’ø:.zɐ ‘fɛ:.çɐ] Lyrischer (Hoher) Sopran [‘ly:.ʁɪ.ʃɐ  ‘ho:.ɐ  so.’pʁa:n] (c’-c”‘): A supple… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The Soprano Voice, part one

There are eight different categories for the soprano voice in the Fach system separated into two main divisions, the Spiel- and Charakterfächer and the Seriöserfächer. Follow the links to both sound examples and an extensive listing of typical roles and audition arias. Part one: Spiel- and Charakterfächer: [ʃpi:l ʊnt ka.’ʁak.tɐ  ‘fɛ:.çɐ] Spielsopran (Deutsche Soubrette) [‘ʃpi:l.so.’pʁa:n  ‘dɔ:ʏ.ʧə  zu.’brɛ.tə]… Read More

THE FACH SYSTEM: The Soloists

The basic categories of the singing voice, soprano, alto, tenor and bass with their intermediate categories of mezzo-soprano and baritone are the basis of the vocal ranges in the German Fach system. In practice, the voices types are further defined according to quality, range, volume, acting demands, and physical appearance. The first division separates each… Read More