QUOTE(Inacka @ Oct 10 2011, 05:37 PM)
I was wondering what makes a voice "good"? So many people seem to say that a person might have a decent voice, but not one for a career on stage, which seems to imply that there's more than just technique involved. Does it depend on the genre (i.e. for opera, you probably need to be built in a way that you have a lot of natural resonance)? There must be some subjective aspects, but if there are objective ones, I'd be really interested in knowing what they are.
P.S. This question is ignoring other aspects of performance/musicality that someone must have or develop, since obviously just having a "good voice" isn't enough!
As the one who brought this up in another thread, I'd like to say that when it comes to the stage career, it's exactly those points you mentioned in your P.S. that are the icing one the cake, and they usually set apart the decent singer from the successful stage performer.
If, of course, the instrument doesn't have what is considered 'industry standard' in the first place, you can be as much of a stage animal as you like, you still won't get there. There are differences regarding this in different musical styles though, and they are not as subjective as people might think.
Opera is the most restrictive one: Impeccable tuning (this doesn't mean that Opera singers don't have bad days!), good projection, singing with the correct technique/set-up, vocal flexibility (even in dramatic singers), enough range and an even tone throughout to name just a few. Listen to Opera singers, and find what they have in common. If you like an individual singer's tonal colour is a different subject - that's entirely subjective. They all have common ground though, and that's quite objective actually.
The next one down is probably Musical Theatre. You have more room for "vocal tics", but it is still very restricted as to what you have to be able to do, and what voice qualities are preferred. These days, you can't be an MT singer anymore without being able to switch between Legit, Belt and
Pop qualities, and that's very demanding vocally (not to mention having to be a triple threat).
For Legit singing, you need almost the same abilities as an Opera singer (slightly toned down).
As a Belter, you need to be able to sing Broadway (or West End) Belt, which is a distinctly different quality from Pop Belt, and in an audition, you will be immediately out the door if you e.g. use a Pop Belt when they want to hear a Broadway Belt.
If you know you have problems producing all MT qualities, you might still get jobs (there are quite a few Ingenue type Sopranos around who don't/can't belt, and you also get Belters who can't do anything but), but you will always be restricted, and it will be much harder to make a living.
The 'softer' styles (with regard to what is allowed) are the Popular styles (Pop, Rock, even Jazz and Latin). It's not so much about the good voice here, it's more about style. What one person considers a good voice might not be considered a good voice by someone else. In fact, a lot of Pop and Rock voices would be considered 'bad' voices in the Opera world, because they don't fulfill the criteria (sometimes not a single one): They don't project without microphone, they are inflexible, don't have enough range, are pitchy and so on.
If you like a voice or not is subjective. If it is right for a certain musical style most of the time isn't (especially not in classical and MT singing).
Just my opinion of course, but backed by years of work in theatres (both classical and MT).