Friday, December 29, 2006


In western history women and girls have been restricted from the professions of singing and acting. Soprano voices came from boys and castrati.

The idea that the ruling class could castrate boys to enhance their (the ruling class’) musical experience is abhorrent to us civilized people. According to this article, a successful castrato was nobody’s slave.

Now that women and girls can participate equally, what use is there for boy sopranos? Probably none. The differences in singing skills between boys and grownup female sopranos are chasmatic.

Given today’s child protective laws there is not enough time between when a boy becomes trainable and when his voice changes, to teach a boy to sing arias. Intonation is iffy. Phrasing tends to be rote. They can’t support low notes. All this evidenced in the video below, and this kid is one of the best. According to the blurb, he was in his last few months of sopranohood. (First we hear how a trained female sings the aria.)

Boy sopranos are appropriate for talent shows, not for high ticket concert halls, as evidenced by lack of audience demand. Today, frequently, we find female sopranos performing boy’s roles.

Boy choirs, however, seem to remain useful.

The skills needed for choral work are considerably less. A well trained boy choir can hold it’s own technically. And the sound is distinctive.

There are differences between boys and girls in the development of the vocal apparatus that accounts for the different sound.

A boy’s voice is like a calliope, wild, inaccurate, shrill, and thrillingly optimistic. A good director can smooth over the wild, inaccurate, and shrill, leaving only the heart lifting optimism.

Here’s an internet radio station where you can get your fill of trebbies.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for share........