Musical Theatre Songs For Altos: 9 Song Examples and Interesting Details
Musical theatre offers a wide range of songs that cater to different vocal ranges, and altos are no exception. Altos possess a rich and warm tone, allowing them to bring depth and emotion to their performances. Whether you’re preparing for an audition or simply looking for new songs to add to your repertoire, here are nine musical theatre songs for altos to consider in the year 2024, along with interesting details about each.
1. “I’m Here” from The Color Purple (2005)
Written by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, “I’m Here” is a powerful ballad that showcases the strength and resilience of the character Celie. This song allows altos to display their vocal range and emotional depth, making it a perfect choice for auditions or performances.
2. “As Long as He Needs Me” from Oliver! (1960)
This timeless classic, composed by Lionel Bart, is a staple in musical theatre. Altos can shine in this song as they bring out the vulnerability and love the character Nancy feels towards Bill Sikes. The emotional journey within the song captivates audiences and showcases the alto’s ability to convey complex emotions.
3. “Back to Before” from Ragtime (1996)
Composed by Stephen Flaherty and written by Lynn Ahrens, “Back to Before” is a poignant song that explores the themes of nostalgia and change. Altos can emphasize the bittersweet longing in this song and showcase their ability to convey deep emotions through their vocal performance.
4. “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables (1980)
One of the most iconic songs in musical theatre, “I Dreamed a Dream” is a heart-wrenching ballad that highlights the struggles and hopes of Fantine. As an alto, you can truly bring out the raw emotion and vulnerability of this character, making it a powerful choice for auditions and performances.
5. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl (1964)
This show-stopping number, composed by Jule Styne and written by Bob Merrill, is a perfect choice for altos looking to show off their vocal power and charisma. With its upbeat tempo and empowering lyrics, this song allows altos to display their range and stage presence.
6. “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret (1966)
Written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, “Maybe This Time” is a beautiful and introspective song that showcases the vulnerability and hope of the character Sally Bowles. Altos can convey the emotional depth of this song, making it a memorable choice for auditions and performances.
7. “All That Jazz” from Chicago (1975)
Composed by John Kander and written by Fred Ebb, “All That Jazz” is a high-energy song that allows altos to showcase their vocal agility and stage presence. With its iconic melody and catchy lyrics, this song is a crowd-pleaser that will leave a lasting impression.
8. “Mama Who Bore Me” from Spring Awakening (2006)
This hauntingly beautiful song, composed by Duncan Sheik and written by Steven Sater, captures the confusion and angst of adolescence. Altos can bring out the raw emotion and vulnerability of this song, making it a compelling choice for auditions or performances.
9. “I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray (2002)
Written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, “I Know Where I’ve Been” is a powerful anthem that addresses themes of unity and resilience. Altos can showcase their vocal range and emotional depth in this song, making it a perfect choice for auditions or performances.
17 Common Questions About Musical Theatre Songs for Altos:
1. How do I determine my vocal range as an alto?
An easy way to determine your vocal range is by working with a vocal coach or using online resources that provide vocal range exercises.
2. Are there specific musical theatre roles that are ideal for altos?
Altos are often cast in roles that require a rich and warm vocal tone, such as maternal or authoritative characters.
3. Can altos sing soprano songs?
While altos may be able to sing soprano songs, it is essential to choose songs that suit your vocal range and showcase your strengths as an alto.
4. How can I improve my vocal range as an alto?
Regular vocal exercises and working with a vocal coach can help expand your vocal range as an alto.
5. Are there any recent musical theatre songs suitable for altos?
Absolutely! The musical theatre repertoire is constantly evolving, and there are always new songs being written that cater to altos.
6. Can I transpose songs to fit my vocal range as an alto?
Transposing songs is a common practice, and it can be done to accommodate your vocal range as an alto.
7. Are there any famous alto singers in the musical theatre industry?
Many famous musical theatre performers, such as Audra McDonald and Heather Headley, are known for their incredible alto voices.
8. How can I find sheet music for alto songs?
Online sheet music platforms and music stores are great resources for finding sheet music specifically for altos.
9. Can I modify a soprano song to suit my alto voice?
Modifying a soprano song to fit your alto voice is possible, but it’s important to ensure that the modified version still preserves the essence of the original song.
10. Are there any musical theatre songs that specifically showcase the lower range of an alto voice?
“As Long as He Needs Me” from Oliver! and “I’m Here” from The Color Purple are excellent examples that showcase the lower range of an alto voice.
11. Are there any musical theatre songs that require belting for altos?
“Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl and “All That Jazz” from Chicago are both songs that often require belting, making them ideal for altos with that ability.
12. How can I develop my stage presence as an alto performer?
Taking acting and performance classes, as well as gaining stage experience, can greatly help in developing your stage presence as an alto performer.
13. Are there any famous alto solos in ensemble songs?
“I Know Where I’ve Been” from Hairspray is an example of a famous alto solo within an ensemble song.
14. Can I use musical theatre songs for auditions outside of the theatre industry?
Absolutely! Musical theatre songs can be adapted for auditions in various industries, such as film, television, or even corporate events.
15. Are there any contemporary musical theatre songs suitable for altos?
“I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables and “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret are examples of contemporary musical theatre songs that are suitable for altos.
16. How can I add my own interpretation to a musical theatre song as an alto?
Adding your own interpretation to a musical theatre song involves understanding the character’s emotions and motivations and infusing them into your performance.
17. Can I find backing tracks for musical theatre songs for altos?
Yes, there are various resources online, such as karaoke tracks and instrumental versions, that provide backing tracks for musical theatre songs.
In conclusion, altos have a vast array of musical theatre songs to choose from, allowing them to showcase their vocal range and emotional depth. Whether it’s a powerful ballad or an upbeat show-stopper, altos can find songs that suit their unique abilities. Remember to choose songs that highlight your strengths and resonate with you personally. With the right song and your own interpretation, you can captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. So go ahead, explore these nine song examples, and let your alto voice shine on the musical theatre stage in the year 2024 and beyond.
As an alto, you possess a unique vocal quality that can bring depth and emotion to any musical theatre song. Don’t be afraid to explore different genres and eras of musical theatre to find the perfect songs that showcase your voice. Remember to choose songs that resonate with you personally and allow you to connect with the character’s emotions. With dedication, practice, and a love for the art form, you can continue to grow as a performer and make your mark in the world of musical theatre. So embrace your alto voice and let it soar on the stage in the year 2024 and beyond.