definitions

The Belt Book allows you to select from various criteria to search for music.

The following descriptions and definitions are provided to assist you in making the right selections. They are based on commonly accepted terminology, Ann's own experience and that of her professional theatre colleagues and teaching professionals.



Here are descriptions of important terms and characteristics
that will help you choose a song that is best for you

Belt

A bright, chest-voice dominant sound with a lateral mouth shape that requires a significant amount of energy. A Belt song is one that can be sung completely in a belt style-usually intentions are strong and highly energized throughout the song (that is not to say that there should be no arc to the action of the song or that it should only be sung with one action/intention/tactic). Of course each singer has the opportunity to create a story for a particular song listed here as a belt song which also requires some mixing.

Range(Low Note/High Note)

For the most part the note range reflects the key from the original production or artist. In some cases, like Falling Out of Love Can Be Fun - a song has transcended it's placement in a musical and has become a standard - the key is the one that is most readily available from a published collection. In cases where there are several readily available keys and no score key easily available, I have chosen the key that feels most appropriate to the lyrics.For example,Ten Cents a Dance from Simple Simon: it's in B flat in Belters Hot Standards and in E flat in the Rodgers and Hart Anthology. The key of E flat is too high at the end to convey the character's disillusionment and irony, so the key B flat is referenced.

Character Types

UNDER 18

Youth:
Child,waif.

AGE 18-24

Ingenue:
Sweet young thing, could be the lead in the show.

Young Lead:
Has more fire in the belly than the ingenue, could also be the lead role.

Comic:
The comic side kick or the girl/boy next door, usually a foil for the ingenue or Lead.Think Ado Annie in Oklahoma, Penny in Hairspray. The young version of a 2nd Banana.

AGE 25-39

Lead:
The character around whom the action revolves, usually 25-39.

2nd Banana:
The comic side kick, usually a foil for the Lead. The young version of a Character.

OVER 40

Character:
Often comic character, usually over 40. Sometime an aging "grand-dame" type.

Belt Mix

A chest-voice dominant sound that has more head voice in it than the a belt, requires less physical energy to produce and could be less bright than that the belt. A Belt Mix is a song that demands a pont of view that has some gentleness, or has an action that is somewhat tender. Often a ballad or a power ballad will start in a belt-mix and move to a belt as the intention gets stronger and the stakes higher. In the belt mix category, tessitura (see below) is more subjective, as most tunes can take less weight in upper range of the tune.

Tessitura

This is where the majority of pitches in the song sit.That is not to say a "Low" song might not have several notes of short duration above that, it is simply that a good portion of the song lies in that tessitura or place.

Range: c1=middle C= C4 for classical singers

Female
Low: below a1 (a440)
Middle:between a1 and c2
High: above b1

Male
Low:below c1(middle c)
Middle: between c1 and f1
High: above e1

Character Name/Original Artist

The name of the performer and the character they played from the original production. In cases where there is no production history, I have referenced the artist on the published recording of the piece.

Year

The year in which the show first opened. Often songs from shows will have publication dates earlier than the show in which the song was included. Or movies are made, followed by Broadway production (e.g., Beauty and the Beast, Footloose)
Pre 1965/Post 1965: The standard era dividing line for auditions for college musical theatre programs.

The Belt Book is by Ann Evans, Founder and Consultant
Design: Eva Reese

© The Belt Book. All rights reserved.

THE BELT BOOK

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