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WikiProject Opera (Rated B-class)
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"Fach" as German for "subject"[edit]

I have only an elementary grasp of German, but isn't "Fach" highly polysemous, like "Zug"? It seems that if we're going to translate it in the intro, we may as well pick "compartment", which both makes more sense as regards the vocal "Fach", and also is less polysemous than "subject", which itself can mean a citizen in a kingdom, the nominative noun phrase in a clause, an element in a fugue, a topic, etc. --Atemperman (talk) 19:27, 7 April 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I just had the same thought. I'm not quite sure what the meaning is that the metaphorical extension was originally based on. Perhaps "specialised profession" as in Fachmann "expert", as the term Fach indicates a highly specialised type of singer. Check this for a list of possible translations. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:21, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
For example, Fachrichtung is a translation for "specialisation". I believe this is the most apt way to render the idea. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 21:27, 25 October 2010 (UTC)
Well, given what a vocal Fach is, and that Fach itself changes meaning depending on context, compartment (or anything along these lines such as partition, shelf or department) wouldn't work, because that's more for storage. The other meaning of it by itself is like subject, speciality, etc as a type of advanced or specific classification (because of the context). The thing to remember about German is that, unlike with English, it is much more specific in certain ways (due to inflection, declination, and noun/pronoun/verb case). There's actually not a very clear way to translate the meaning to English. See, it's not really a specialization. Granted, it takes proper training to be an opera singer, but very few vocal Fächer can actually transition to another Fach, it is pretty much basically not something you can choose, it depends on your actual voice. It is also not a profession (in this context) or a study. It would be closest to "type" or "style" but not in those senses of the word - sort of how Klage is a lamentation, but not in the sense of "sorrowful regret" but rather as in a grievance. Klage doesn't have a direct English translation. For many German words, you cannot translate a single word as a single word, but you have to qualify it with a phrase or statement. Take as another example, in German, "Diatribe von Menschheit" and "Diatribe der Menschheit" both directly translate to English as "Diatribe of Mankind", however each one means something totally different. In English, you can take "diatribe of mankind" in two different ways (either about mankind or from mankind), so you have to qualify it further, but in German, "Diatribe von Menschheit" can ONLY mean "Diatribe of (from, by) Mankind" and "Diatribe der Menschheit" can ONLY mean "Diatribe of (about, on) Mankind". In other words, the best possible translation is more like "specific vocal type". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anathematized one (talkcontribs) 06:10, 29 December 2011 (UTC)

Jugendlicher Bass?[edit]

First, if this voice type refers to young male characters, then Varlaam needs to be deleted, since that character is explicitly stated to be 50 years old. And the age of Leporello is never given, and there's no reason it can't be an older man, so why is it listed here? Frankly, I don't understand why this is its own category at all, since all of these roles can be covered by the other fachs. There's no difference in actual voice type between a Colline and a Don Basilio.

The voice type does not refer to young characters, but refers to characters who have a voice that is similar to a younger male (just after or around puberty after the voice changes). So yes, a 50 year old character could have a voice that is similar to that of a 16 year old boy. Have you ever heard Andreas Scholl? He's a very very high countertenor, there's tons of videos of him on YouTube. Now, the way the article is currently written, it doesn't mention that countertenor and contralto are essentially the same voice (from a range standpoint), just that countertenor is male and contralto is female. If you listen to Andreas Scholl sing, he sounds nothing like an adult male. If you hear anything sung by castrati (countertenors who were castrated during or just before puberty to arrest male hormone development and development of the vocal chords, causing a much higher pitched male voice). The timbre is obviously different for countertenor and contralto. These need to be separated, but honestly, translated from German, Jugenlicher Bass is not "young male (adjective describing lyrical) lyrical (adjective describing bass) bass [singer] (noun)", it is "young-boy-like (adverb describing lyrical) lyrical (adjective describing bass) bass [singer]. It also cannot be covered by other Fächer (that is the plural of Fach, not "Fachs") because the other Fächer don't have the right timbre for it.
Basically what you're saying is that a baritone who sings in a falsetto and can hit a F5 using falsetto is the same as a tenor singing an F5? No, the sound is VERY different (timbre). Sardonicus (talk) 07:36, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Regarding Varlaam, it should be noted that if he is really 50 in the opera (he first appears in the opera in 1603), then he cannot have been at the Siege of Kazan in 1552 that he so enthusiastically sings about. His age is not even stated by himself, only assessed by Grigory when he substitutes Varlaam's description for his own, so it would be more plausible that he is older than he looks and is really around 70 – if we accept the absurdity of debating the "real" age of fictional characters. The original Don Giovanni was 21, which would make one wonder how he managed to accumulate 2065 conquests in five countries so quickly. Double sharp (talk) 07:15, 22 January 2017 (UTC)

Tons of Missing Information[edit]

At the beginning of the article, it starts off pretty good with describing the actual timbre of the voice type, but very quickly gets really slack and lazy, almost non-existent by the time it gets to mezzo-soprano, and then no more descriptions really after that. I want to go in and fix a lot of these problems, and it's all information I already know, but I don't have an actual degree in music (though I have been studying music theory for over 10 years, been into classical for 15, sing classical vocals (Dramatic Seriöser Bass/dramatic basso profundo). The other problem is that this article has a huge lack of cited sources, and I don't know where to find reputable ones. This type of information typically isn't that easy to find (especially on-line) because of its highly esoteric nature. I can suggest some changes and descriptions of voice types and see what the community thinks if anyone is interested. --Sardonicus (talk) 07:42, 20 December 2011 (UTC)

Agreed; the article starts out well, but once it hits specifics get murky. I doubt a citation could be found for all but a few of the singers listed, so I think they should be deleted - it's one person's opinion. -- kosboot (talk) 22:05, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that some of it is not an opinion, the scores actually call specifically for certain a certain Fach, such as the statue in Mozart's "Don Giovoni". The other problem is that it is almost never documented or written down as who is what type of Fach, unless you contact the singer's opera company and get their list. Though in the realm of opera, a lot of these are understood as true. Some of them, I agree, could go. Sardonicus (talk) 05:49, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
  • See also this discusion at WikiProject Opera for background. I have suggested there that further discussion of improvements and any overhauling of the article should take place here on the Fach talk page. Voceditenore (talk) 07:23, 29 December 2011 (UTC)
To assist folks, I've scanned the relevant pages from the latest edition of the Kloiber book. If someone has Acrobat, they can trim and OCR it - and then run through Google Translate (if you don't understand German). -- kosboot (talk) 15:35, 29 December 2011 (UTC) Here is the link to download the file:
The content is also similar to that found at and that website's related pages.4meter4 (talk) 05:30, 30 December 2011 (UTC)
I've replaced the original pdf with one that's trimmed and OCRed. -- kosboot (talk) 12:40, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Incorrect Clef in Tenor staves[edit]

Shouldn't this be a bass clef in the diagrams in the tenor section? Anurag Garg (talk) 11:10, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Hi there, Anurag Garg - welcome to the talk page. It's customary to add new notes to the bottom of the page, but I was able to find yours. Since the Renaissance, it's always been customary that music written for the tenor voice uses the treble clef. More recently (since at least the 19th century), this clef has been distinguished by a small subscript "8" placed under the clef, to indicate that the notes the tenor sing are an octave below where they are written. -- kosboot (talk) 16:06, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, for some time it was customary to use the tenor clef. I'm not sure when this practice became obsolete, though. Double sharp (talk) 13:47, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
I'd like tenor clef too, but--with the exception of cellists--few people can read tenor clef. -- kosboot (talk) 14:38, 21 May 2014 (UTC)
And the full application of this idea (each voice gets written in the eponymous clef) is not likely to happen again, now that the soprano clef is pretty dead. :-( Again, though, I am not quite sure when exactly this practice died. It was definitely still around at the end of the 18th century.
I guess a form of this idea can be found in the clefs used for the trombones (alto trombone in alto clef, tenor trombone in tenor or bass clef, and bass trombone in bass clef). Double sharp (talk) 11:08, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

People documented as belonging to various Fachs[edit]

As it now stands, each Fach is listed as having a number of representative voices of historical and current singers. I believe this is mostly opinion and does not belong in Wikipedia. A person should be listed only if it can be documented that the person has been identified with a particular Fach. Therefore most of those singers should be removed from the article. -- kosboot (talk) 12:04, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

I broadly concur. A case for inclusion may exist if the singer's article mentions such a Fach – even without citation as it may be common knowledge (e.g. Callas as dramatischer Koloratursopran). If such culling of the lists in this article should lead to very short lists, they present little value and should be omitted altogether. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 12:17, 5 October 2012 (UTC)
I've removed all names (I need to find the statement that a person never belongs to a Fach, only roles do). Should anyone try to include names, they should be removed unless the person can supply a source. -- kosboot (talk) 07:22, 14 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree. These kinds of lists are utterly useless without reliable sourcing. I could argue that they're useless even with sourcing, because virtually all these people have sung roles in several of these "fachs". Voceditenore (talk) 07:31, 14 October 2012 (UTC)

Fach vs. range[edit]

As I'm working on supplying citations for this article, I note a problem. The article seems to conflate Fach with vocal range. The information about the ranges should really be in that article. One would need to find literature that distinguishes between Fach and just regular vocal ranges. -- kosboot (talk) 05:48, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Edit warring[edit]

I seem to be getting into an edit war with ‎User: Since they don't register there's no way to communicate with them. They are changing information without sources, adding citations where none exist - which would made proofreading this article very difficult. If you are user ‎, please register so we can communicate and so you don't make alterations that have no sources. -- kosboot (talk) 22:32, 23 December 2012 (UTC)

Trefer alt[edit]

Image from c3 to Eb5 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:04, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

What is your citation for this? -- kosboot (talk) 22:45, 12 January 2014 (UTC)
That is the typical trefer alt range — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 15 January 2014 (UTC)
Do you mean tiefer alt? Also, Wikipedia is about verifiable information. You may believe that the "trefer alt" has a particular register, but unless you can find that printed in a reliable source, it does not belong in Wikipedia. See WP:V -- kosboot (talk) 03:17, 16 January 2014 (UTC)

Fach names are in German, why not in English?[edit]

This article is for readers of English. It seems that no-one has bothered to translate the German headings for all the voice types. I am no singer, but I have written and edited concert programmes for years. I have observed that in England the common practice is that the voice type descriptions in concert programmes and singers websites are mostly in English (or rather Italian absorbed into the English language), and only occasionally in German; but I am not going to fall into a pit of my own making and suggest that I am bothered by the various descriptions of their own voices that singers like on the CVs and concert programmes - that is something else - but in my opinion it would be better if English equivalents became the section sub-headings and the German equivalents appeared below, e.g. like

Coloratura soprano or lyric coloratura soprano

  • German equivalent Lyrischer Koloraturasopran / Koloraturasoubrette
  • Range . . .
  • etc. P0mbal (talk) 12:24, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
The word Fach is German and so are the various Fächer and this article attempts to describe them. I think it's only helpful to use ther German terms as section headers and then provide an approximate English equivalent. Doing it the other way round would be counterproductive, particulary because here is not a one-to-one nomenclature. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 13:03, 7 April 2014 (UTC)
Not only the words but the entire systematization of voice types is a German phenomenon. Although some adopt the the Fach-temization in the English-language world, there are plenty of singers who disagree with the system. -- kosboot (talk) 13:43, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for taking the time to clarify, and it might help others who think of it as something to change. P0mbal (talk) 13:49, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

"Low C", "High C"[edit]

I have no musical education, so my apologies in advance if the following comment can be simply explained away as lack of knowledge on my part. This article seems to call "low C" the C one octave below middle C, and "high C" the one one octave above. Unfortunately this is not consistent with the Wikipedia article on C (musical note),, which calls those same notes "Bass C" and "Treble C" (among others), reserving "Low C" for the C *two* octaves below middle C, and "High C" for the one *two* octaves above middle C. This has made my understanding of both articles (but especially this one on "Fach") harder than necessary, esp. at first read. Is it possible to "standardize" both articles on a common convention, or would that be a no-no for reasons known only to the initiated? If impossible, can some sort of clarification be added so that a casual reader such as myself can easily "translate" between the two conventions? As it is, I am still unsure as to what the "true" range of the facher is supposed to be ... Thanks! (talk) 23:14, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

The table you refer to has more than just two naming systems, and I don't think we can call 'other names' by as strong a name as a convention. If you look at the text preceding you'll notice that unreferenced bits have been challenged. As far as my experience goes, "soprano c" is a made-up term without much currency outside of WP.
As far as this article is concerned, there is a little inconsistency between the unambiguous "Tiefer Alt Range: From about the E below middle C to the E two octaves above" and the barely intelligible "Spieltenor. Range: From about low C to the B an octave above middle C". I think no one has complained before because we have the ranges notated on a staff. Maybe you have a point about that being little use to non-musicreaders. I'm fascinated though that such a reader would find the subject of Fach to be of interest! Sparafucil (talk) 01:22, 17 December 2014 (UTC)

Citation needed -- from December 2012[edit]

I see that I inserted the citation needed template in December 2012 for all those roles that have no source. I think it's time to delete all those entries. Does anyone have objections? -- kosboot (talk) 00:19, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

This points out a problem with the article as a whole, which seems to be based on a single source. Did you make an effort to find citations yourself? If the roles are deleted, many Fächer including all 4 bass-baritone types will be empty, and we have no reference that those categories in fact exist… Sparafucil (talk) 07:53, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
If there are no references, then maybe the Fach category really doesn't exist and it's just a fabrication of passionate opera fans. ;) I'll spend a week or two trying to find some more recent discussion of Fächer (particularly in German) to see what I find. And if you @Sparafucil: finds a source, let me know of it. - kosboot (talk) 11:41, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
I don't know how this article got a "B" rating, frankly. It's very confusing and inconsistent in places, does not cover the history of the term/concept itself, and as Sparafucil points out, is largely dependent on a single source. On top of that, that source is in German and not available online, which makes verification of the problematic assertions very difficult. Kosboot, I'd suggest consulting the following sources, all of which have extensive previews (at least in the UK):
Also these two dissertations with potentially useful bibliographies:
Voceditenore (talk) 15:06, 28 April 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for that list, VdT - I'll refrain from quick deletion of portions and hopefully enhance the article with more recent research. - kosboot (talk) 15:46, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

I once jotted down a few ideas in my old uppercase Sandbox. Berg's full description of the voices required for his roles are lengthy and very interesting and need to be added to those articles.