The Countertenor Voice: An Online Journal

By  | November 23, 2010 | 0 Comments | Filed under: The Editor's Desk

Welcome to The Countertenor Voice – by Countertenors, for Countertenors

Our inaugural post…

You can feel it, right… that ‘tingle on the back of your neck’ sense that something big is about to happen in the countertenor world?  Perhaps you are an aspiring countertenor looking for appropriate repertory, technical resources, or an online community to help answer your questions?  You might be a voice teacher trying to understand how to work with a countertenor, or maybe like us, you are a professional performer in search of a curious community.  There is certainly a good deal of misinformation out there about what countertenors do and how they do it, and we are here to be a source of clarity and information for all.

This online magazine will bring you articles and interviews, share online resources, offer reviews of recordings and concerts, and bring you the latest studies from relevant scientific journals.  Our publishing house, Counterpoints Publishing, will offer clean new editions of countertenor appropriate repertory complete with translations, scene descriptions (for opera arias), and blank ossia staves for your baroque ornaments.  It is our mission to not only observe and comment on the current countertenor revival, but to aid in the development of and raise the standard for subsequent generations of singers.

We believe

1.  The countertenor voice is a legitimate choice within the classical music voice categorization system.  It is capable of beauty, expressivity, and longevity similar to any other classical voice type.

2.  Countertenors are neither exclusively born nor made; any man can learn to better his countertenor voice.

3.  Though there are currently more high-quality countertenors than at any other time in modern history, much work needs to be done to raise both the quality level of countertenors and audience awareness of what a high-quality countertenor is.  Countertenors should not receive a ‘free pass’ to perform poorly because of the diminished expectations associated with the voice type.

4.  While there are many similarities between general optimal voice technique and optimal countertenor technique, there are some specific differences that must be examined.

5.  We believe in illuminating what the human voice is capable of, not just what has been done in the past.  This is the standard we will apply when reviewing scientific studies and pedagogy books.

6.  Words matter; we hope to help standardize the terminology used to describe a healthy technical approach to singing as a countertenor.

In conclusion

We are so glad that you have joined us!  Please add us to your favorite RSS reader, share us with your friends and colleagues, and spread the word!  The first issue of this monthly journal will go online January 1st 2011.  We are confident that what we have to offer will fill a much needed gap in the current understanding of and conversation about the countertenor voice.

-Counterpoints Publishing LLC

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Ian Howell is a countertenor based in Boston, Massachusetts. He regularly performs as a concert and operatic soloist all across North America and writes from time to time. He was educated at Yale and Capital Universities, sang with Chanticleer from 2000-04, and is currently a Doctor of Musical Arts student at the New England Conservatory of Music. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.