In [[TheMusical modern musical theatre]], just as in {{Opera}} before it, certain types of roles are commonly associated with certain vocal ranges. While these vocal range cliches differ depending on the style of the show (more rock- or pop-oriented musicals lean toward tenors and alto/mezzo belters across the board), these generally seem to hold up pretty strong. Most of these associations do indeed stem from similar associations in opera, and especially in operetta, which is where American musicals developed from in the first place.

NOTE: Under notable roles, try to limit entries to roles that are generally agreed to be said voice parts. Roles with very contested ranges should be kept to a minimum.

'''Sopranos''' are almost always TheIngenue and/or SatelliteLoveInterest and/or PurityPersonified (''[[IThoughtItMeant not]]'' characters from [[TheSopranos the series of the same name]]). When they're not, they're still more often than not the romantic lead, and commonly also a DefrostingIceQueen like Sarah Brown in ''Theatre/GuysAndDolls'' or Marion Paroo in ''Theatre/TheMusicMan''. It should be noted that this does not apply to opera wherein most female roles, of any type, are written for sopranos. Sopranos are also much rarer in rock musicals, because most rock music is not written for soprano vocalists.

Other notable soprano roles:
* Christine Daae, in both musical adaptations of ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera''.
** Carlotta is a soprano too, though more of the Viking-helmet opera type.
* Johanna in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
* Maria from ''Theatre/WestSideStory''
* Rapunzel and Cinderella in ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''
* Cosette in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''
* Anne Egerman in ''Theatre/ALittleNightMusic''
* Rosa Bud in ''Theatre/{{Drood}}''
* Julie Jordan and Carrie in ''Theatre/{{Carousel}}''
* Philia in ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''
* Hope Cladwell in ''Theatre/{{Urinetown}}''
* Guido's mother in ''Theatre/{{Nine}}''
* Glinda in ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''. KristinChenoweth (who originated the role) specializes in high-pitched singing with her "Cheno Notes".
* Laurey in ''[[Theatre/{{Oklahoma}} Oklahoma!]]''. Ado Annie can be played by one as well, but she can also be a mezzo.
* Miss Dorothy in ''Film/ThoroughlyModernMillie''.
* As mentioned above, Sarah in ''Theatre/GuysAndDolls'' and Marian in ''Theatre/TheMusicMan''.
* Beth in ''Merrily We Roll Along''.
* Sarah in ''Literature/{{Ragtime}}''.
* Cinderella in ''Film/{{Cinderella}}''. Although the role has been transposed lower for "pop" style voices, it was originated by and intended for a soprano, both in film and on-stage in its 2013 Broadway adaptation.
* Phoebe (coloratura soprano) in ''Theatre/AGentlemansGuideToLoveAndMurder''.
* Ariel in ''Disney/TheLittleMermaid''
* Amalia Balash in ''Theatre/SheLovesMe''.
* Rosabella in ''Theatre/TheMostHappyFella''.

'''Mezzo-sopranos''', being in the most common vocal register for women, come in a wide variety of types. They can be a wide range of ages, although female characters over fifty tend to be altos more often than mezzos. The majority of mezzo singing, especially nowadays, is belting, and as such mezzos are especially common in pop- or rock-oriented musicals. Just as the leads in most operas are sopranos, the secondary female characters (commonly referred to as "witches, bitches and britches (cross-dressing roles)") are generally mezzos; this is not uncommon in modern musicals, where frequently the soprano will be the main love interest, and the mezzo her best friend or rival, a la Cosette and Eponine in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''. Also referred to in many productions as a "Belt" voice, for someone who can strongly sing passages in the middle and high register in her chest voice (rather than the soprano's lighter head voice.) Elphaba from ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' is prime example of this.

Other famous mezzo-soprano roles:
* The eponymous role in ''Music/{{Evita}}''
* Fantine, Madame Thenardier, and as previously mentioned, Eponine in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''
* The Baker's Wife, The Witch, Little Red (and the rest of the female cast, except for Cinderella and Rapunzel) in ''Theatre/IntoTheWoods''
* Florence Vassey and Svetlana Sergievsky in ''[[Theatre/{{Chess}} Chess]]''
* Elphaba in ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}''
* Penelope Pennywise and Little Sally in ''{{Urinetown}}''
* Dot/Marie in ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge''
* Kim and Ellen in ''MissSaigon''
* Carla Albanese and Lilliane la Fleur in ''[[Theatre/{{Nine}} Nine]]''
* Mary and Gussie in ''MerrilyWeRollAlong''
* The [[GenderBender eponymous role]] in ''Theatre/{{Drood}}''
* Petra and Charlotte in ''ALittleNightMusic''
* Lucille Frank in ''Theatre/{{Parade}}''
* Diana and Natalie in ''NextToNormal''
* Aldonza in ''ManOfLaMancha''
* Madame Giry and Meg Giry in ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera''
* Both Sarah and Magda in ''TanzDerVampire'', though both have been played by sopranos.
* Rosemary, Hedy, Smitty and pretty much all of the girls in ''HowToSucceedInBusinessWithoutReallyTrying''.
* The girls in ''{{Rent}}'': Mimi, Maureen, and Joanne.
* Adelaide in ''Theatre/GuysAndDolls''
* Millie in ''ThoroughlyModernMillie''.
* Fanny Brice in ''FunnyGirl''
* Belle in ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast''
* Mrs. Lovett in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
* Oolie/Donna, Alaura/Carla, and Mallory/Avril in ''Theatre/CityOfAngels''.
* Mother, Emma Goldman in ''{{Ragtime}}''.
* Nettie in ''{{Carousel}}''.
* Sibella in ''Theatre/AGentlemansGuideToLoveAndMurder''.
* Mary Poppins in ''Film/MaryPoppins'' but the role can and has been played by a Soprano, as it goes up to a high C.

'''Altos''' or '''Contraltos''' are the lowest female singers commonly heard. Unlike their male counterparts the basses, however, roles for altos are a bit more common, especially in rock musicals. In more traditional pieces, altos are frequently middle-aged leading women, though some of those are mezzos as well. The only role demographic altos have a firm hold over is for women over sixty - which in most shows means grandmothers like Mme. Armfeldt in ''ALittleNightMusic'' or Gran in ''BillyElliot''. In the rare case that there is a female villain in a show, [[EvilSoundsDeep she will probably be]] [[AltoVillainess an alto.]]

Other famous alto roles:
* Sally Bowles ''and'' Fraulein Schneider in ''{{Cabaret}}''
* Mama Rose in ''{{Gypsy}}''
* Dolly Gallagher Levi in ''HelloDolly'' Dolly sings so low that it is often joked that the role was written for a basso profundo.
* The female cast of ''PassingStrange''
* Luisa Contini and Sarraghina in ''[[Theatre/{{Nine}} Nine]]''
* Ilse in ''SpringAwakening''
* Mrs. Johnstone in ''[[Theatre/BloodBrothers Blood Brothers]]''
* Princess Puffer in ''Theatre/{{Drood}}''
* Rebecca in ''TanzDerVampire''.
* In addition to Mme Armfeldt, Desiree in ''ALittleNightMusic''.
* Joanne in ''{{Company}}''
* Mrs. Meers and Muzzy in ''ThoroughlyModernMillie''.
* Aunt Eller in ''{{Oklahoma}}'' verges on female tenor, which is strikingly rare in any choral type but especially so in musical theater.
* Vera Charles in Mame
* ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'': If a woman plays Pirelli and Sweeney Todd, she falls in the contralto/female tenor range. Also, as stated above, Mrs. Lovett is usually a Mezzo (such as when played by original actress Angela Lansbury), but she can also be an Alto (the most noticeable example being when she was played by Main/HelenaBonhamCarter).
* Madame Morrible from ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' is a contralto, and in "Thank Goodness" gets a ''very'' low note.
* Mary Magdalene in ''JesusChristSuperstar''.
* Bobbi/Gabby in ''Theatre/CityOfAngels''. One of the few love-interest contralto roles (she has a low d-flat on the cast recording!)
* [[SilenceOfTheLambs Agent Clarice Starling]] from [[SilenceTheMusical Silence! The Musical]]
* Nabalungi in ''[[Theatre.TheBookOfMormon The Book of Mormon]].''

'''Counter-Tenors''', also known as falsettists, are men who sing in their falsetto register, allowing them to enter the rarefied pitch-sphere normally reserved for women singers. Counter-tenor roles are rare outside of gospel and classical European opera-- most operatic counter-tenor roles were originally sung by '''castrati''' but are now performed by counter-tenors, women, or the very rare male sopranos, also known as sopranists (such as Michael Maniaci). Castrati were in fact not counter-tenors because they sang in the modal voice rather than the falsetto. For the same reason, prepubescent boys who sing in a high range are not called countertenors, but rather boy sopranos or trebles.

'''Tenors''' are mostly good guys, and mostly leading men or ingenues--hence the TenorBoy trope. There are a couple of villainous tenors, such as Pirelli in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet'' and John Jasper in ''Theatre/{{Drood}}''. There are also a few character tenors, such as Sancho in ''ManOfLaMancha'' and Nicely-Nicely Johnson in ''Theatre/GuysAndDolls''. Because most people's voices deepen as they age, there are few tenor roles for men over forty, although Jean Valjean from ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', one of the rangiest tenor roles in popular musical canon, is usually played by a middle-aged man.

Other famous tenor roles:
* The eponymous role in 'Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'' The [[AndrewLloydWebber Webber]] version and Raoul
* Frederick Trumper in ''[[Theatre/{{Chess}} Chess]]''
* Tony in ''Theatre/WestSideStory''
* Quasimodo in the ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', ''even more'' so in the stage version
* Frankie Epps, Jim Conley, Britt Craig, and generally half the cast of ''Theatre/{{Parade}}''
* Bobby Strong in ''{{Urinetown}}''
* Roger and Angel in ''{{Rent}}''
* Gabe Goodman in NextToNormal
* The eponymous character in ''{{Pippin}}''
* Henrik Egerman in ''ALittleNightMusic''
* George(s) in ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge''
* In addition to Pirelli, Tobias and the Beadle in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''.
* Jonathan Harker in any and all musical adaptations of ''{{Dracula}}''
* Moritz, Georg, and Otto in SpringAwakening
* Che in ''{{Evita}}''
* Chris, Thuy, and John in ''MissSaigon''
* The Padre from ''ManOfLaMancha''
* C.B. in ''StarlightExpress''. Starts off appearing to fit the male-ingenue standard, but that impression quickly, um, [[PsychoForHire fades]].
* Jesus in ''JesusChristSuperstar'' and ''{{Theatre/Godspell}}'', unsurprisingly. Judas in JCS, surprisingly.
** Not so surprising. ''JCS'' is a ''rock'' opera, and the vast majority of male rock soloists are tenors. It's just what happens in rock now.
* Giuseppe Zangara and the Balladeer in ''Theatre/{{Assassins}}''
* Jimmy in ''ThoroughlyModernMillie''.
* Elders Price, Cunningham, and [=McKinley=] in ''[[Theatre.TheBookOfMormon The Book of Mormon]].''
* Jimmy Powers in ''Theatre/CityOfAngels''

'''Baritones''', like their female counterpart, the mezzos, come in all shapes and sizes. They are common for leading men, villains, and character parts. There are even a few ingenues, or at least roles for young men, in the baritone range, such as Arpad in ''She Loves Me'', and Anthony in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''. Because it is range shared by many singers, there are many subtypes of baritone roles. Villains and leading men in heavier pieces are frequently dramatic baritones, whereas character types are comic baritones, and younger characters or characters in lighter shows are lyric baritones. Because it is the most common male vocal register, the voice can also have an "everyman" implication, and such roles are frequently baritones.

Other famous baritone roles:
* Don Quixote in ''ManOfLaMancha''
* The eponymous role in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
* InspectorJavert and Thenardier in ''Theatre/LesMiserables''
* The eponymous role in the Yeston/Kopit version of ''Franchise/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', and ironically also Raoul can be played by one usually a Lyric Baritone
* Billy Bigelow in ''{{Carousel}}''
* The male leads of ''Disney/BeautyAndTheBeast'' prove how diverse baritone roles can be (Beast, Gaston, Lumiere, Maurice, etc.)
* Ditto the the male leads of ''IntoTheWoods'' (The Baker, The Princes, The Narrator/Mysterious Man)
* Graf von Krolock in ''TanzDerVampire'' is the dramatic type; Chagal in the same show is a character baritone. Krolock's son Herbert is a low tenor/high baritone in the Webber!Phantom range.
* Tevye in ''FiddlerOnTheRoof''
* Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit in ''Theatre/GuysAndDolls''
* Pseudolus in ''AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum''
* Mark from {{Rent}}, although he does break into the tenor range occasionally.
** Same with Benny and Collins. All three could be described as baritenors.
* Much like Mark from Rent, Melchior from SpringAwakening is mostly a baritone that occasionally breaks into the tenor range, such as in his solo in "Mirror-Blue Night."
** Hanschen is a straight-up baritone, though.
* Coalhouse Walker Jr. in ''{{Ragtime}}''
* The Emcee in ''{{Cabaret}}'', though this one can go all over the place.
* Henry Higgins in ''MyFairLady'', which can also vary because Henry Higgins' lines can be spoken as easily as sung.
* Anatoly Sergievsky in ''[[Theatre/{{Chess}} Chess]]''
* Mr. Graydon in ''ThoroughlyModernMillie''.
* Guido Contini in ''[[Theatre/{{Nine}} Nine]]''
* Billy Flynn in ''Theatre/{{Chicago}}''.
* Stine (high baritone), Stone, Buddy/Irwin, and Munoz/Pancho in ''Theatre/CityOfAngels''
* Citizen Chauvelin in ''Theatre/TheScarletPimpernel''.
* Monty (high baritone) in ''Theatre/AGentlemansGuideToLoveAndMurder''.
* The Prince in ''Film/{{Cinderella}}''
* Mafala Hatimbi in ''[[Theatre.TheBookOfMormon The Book of Mormon]].''


'''Basses''' are very rare in modern musical theatre, chiefly because there are few vocalists who have sufficient volume at those low registers. Because of the unique qualities of the sound, most bass roles are [[EvilSoundsDeep villains]] and/or authority figures, and in either case older men. The most notable exceptions to this are Emile de Becque of ''SouthPacific'', who is the romantic lead (though still middle-aged), and Joe of ''Show Boat'', who is the [[MagicalNegro wise old black man]]. Otherwise, bass roles are few and far between, and it is more likely to find bass soloists from the ensemble rather than bass leads. BassoProfundo is when someone has a very low voice ''even when compared to other basses''.

Other famous bass roles:
* Officer Lockstock in ''{{Urinetown}}''
* Judge Turpin in ''Theatre/SweeneyToddTheDemonBarberOfFleetStreet''
* Caiaphas in ''JesusChristSuperstar''
* Leon Czolgosz and the Proprietor in ''Theatre/{{Assassins}}''
* Michael in ''I Do! I Do!''
* The Innkeeper in ''ManOfLaMancha''
* Alexander Molokov (arguable bass-baritone) and Walter de Courcey in ''[[Theatre/{{Chess}} Chess]]''
* MackSennett in ''MackAndMabel''
* The Boatman from ''Theatre/SundayInTheParkWithGeorge''
* Frollo in ''The Hunchback of Notre Dame''

There are many who also use the term '''bass-baritone''' to describe a vocalist with a firm, resonant bass who can sing comfortably in a baritonal tessitura. Several of the roles listed above, such as Sweeney Todd, are frequently categorized as such. The phrase ''baritenor'' has come into less formal use to describe the high baritone roles that are increasingly common in modern musical theatre, such as Marius and Enjolras in ''Theatre/LesMiserables'', Bobby in ''{{Company}}'', or The Phantom and Raoul in ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera''.

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!!'''Usage outside standard musical theatre''':

* The opera sequence from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' features two male characters: the heroic tenor Draco and the villainous [[EvilSoundsDeep bass]] Prince Ralse.
* The four basic voices (sop, alt, ten, bas) are also used to organize and classify singers in just about any genre where singing happens, but rarely involve any personality associations ("How many tenors does it take to [[TroperTales/LightbulbJoke change a lightbulb]]" jokes notwithstanding). Also, this organization only matters when multiple singers will be singing at once; the tenor/bass division is important in a {{Boy Band}}, for instance, but BritneySpears' voice part[[note]]Alto, from the sound of things[[/note]] is irrelevant because she's a solo act.
* The characters in Music/TheDecemberists album ''The Hazards of Love'' have voice types that match up very well to their roles in the story. Of the female parts, Margaret (Becky Stark), the sweet LoveInterest, is a soprano; the villainous Queen (Shara Worden) has a much deeper alto. The parts of William and the Rake are both sung by Colin Meloy, but he tends to sing heroic William's parts higher than the Rake (most evident in "The Rake's Song," where Meloy's voice takes on a much rougher aspect than is featured in the rest of the album).
* The song "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLdWmq0W0KM&feature=related Alto's Lament]]" is about [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin an alto lamenting]] the fact that she always gets stuck singing the harmony in big, show-stopping musical numbers instead of the livelier and much more recognizable melody.
* On ''{{Glee}}'', Rachel is a mezzosoprano and Santana is an alto. Most of the boys are in the tenor range, with the exception of Kurt (Chris Colfer), who is a true countertenor and does ''not'' use falsetto.
* MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic fanfic''{{Fanfic/Pagliacci}}'' has a group of characters known as [[GangOfHats the Choir Boys]] who are all named after different vocal types. But since they're all vicious killers, [[BrownNote their songs]] [[YourHeadAsplode shouldn't be listened to]] unless you have a deathwish!
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