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Broadway Belters Hit Your B Spot

July 23rd, 2012

Sutton Foster in "Anything Goes". Photo by Joan Marcus.

“Belting (or vocal belting) is a specific technique of singing by which a singer produces a loud sound in the upper middle of the pitch range.” Wikipedia

Sure, that’s the technical definition. But theater types know belting as that spine tingling, vocal chord busting, earsplitting, sometimes heartbreaking sound that makes grown men weep and every little girl wish she were Annie. Love it or hate it, belting is the sound of modern Broadway and the holy miracle that creates diva worshippers as devoted as any Delphic priestess. (Personally, I’m a mix man but that’s for another day…)

Need a little belt booster shot? Watch this hysterical/awe-inspiring video compilation of some of the best belters ever, followed by some choice quotes from the diva’s themselves about their voices…

Barbara Streisand on her destiny: “I knew that with a mouth like mine, I just had to be a star or something.”

Patti LuPone on her vocal style: “I’ve always just opened up my mouth and sang. I’m a huge fan of Edith Piaf. She always sounded as though she was singing from her absolute being. Always. And so she’s my real heroine.”

Julia Murney on the kind of songs she’s asked to sing: “Would you please take out your uterus and slap it on the ground.”

Stephanie Mills on her signature song: “When I walk onstage, they start screaming for ‘Home.’ I always say, ‘Well, if I sing that song, the show is over. Because that’s what you guys really came to hear.’”

Linda Eder on singing around the piano: “Of course, singing in front of audiences became easier but I am still very shy about singing casually in front of friends to this day.  It’s weird, I know.”

Judy Garland on a being “commanded” to perform for Princess Margaret: “Tell her I’ll sing if she christens a ship first.”


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