This thing about high-pitched singing for womens voices....

July 20, 2005

When I listen to Indian singing, the thing that really grabs my attention is the importance given to the height of the pitch for women singers. Whether it is film music or classical, the higher the pitch, the better the woman’s voice is supposed to be. I cannot understand this. In old movies, we even had MEN singers singing at 5 kattai (G) and being much praised for it…when it generally sounded to me as if they were singing under a lot of strain, like Kittappa, TR Mahalingam, etc.

But nowadays, the male singers sing at their normal pitch and the female singer is made to sing an octave above that..the voices are so falsetto and shrill and seem to be in danger of going off the audible scale altogether.

Why can’t women sing in their normal pitch and be appreciated for that, instead of this craze for high pitch? I have had too many compliments, not for the way I sing or even the sweetness of my voice, but for being able to sing at 5and a half kattai (G sharp). What’s the big deal about it? I personally think that now, as my voice has mellowed, and I sing at a lower pitch, my voice carries more weight and sounds better!