Singing Guide: Todd Duncan
Vocal technique, exercises, tips and relevant resources
Todd Duncan was an American baritone and actor, best known for originating the role of Don José in the musical Carmen Jones. He was also the first actor to play the titular character in Leonard Bernstein's opera Trouble in Tahiti. In this article, we will explore Todd Duncan's vocal technique and how aspiring singers can learn from it.
Todd Duncan had a velvety-smooth baritone voice that was characterized by warmth, richness, and great depth. He was a master of phrasing and knew how to emotionally engage with his audience. One of his unique vocal techniques was his use of vibrato. Duncan was known for his smooth and controlled vibrato, which he used to add warmth and depth to his voice. Singers looking to emulate Duncan’s smooth sound should focus on gentle vibrato when working on their own vocal control. The Beggars Bounce video gives excellent exercises on how to create and control vibrato (link in the resources section).
Duncan was also renowned for his ability to quickly transition through registers, which is essential in the vocal timbre. He could skillfully blend his chest voice and head voice, allowing him to sing notes in his upper range effortlessly. Singing Carrots' "Voice Break" video (link in the resources section) provides a detailed guide on how to develop this skill and move smoothly through registers.
As for music, one of Duncan's most recognizable song choices is "Unchained Melody," which showcases both the depth and range of his voice. Singers aiming for a similar vocal style to Duncan should focus on songs that highlight their strengths and give them the opportunity to connect with their audience emotionally. Singing Carrots' "Search songs by vocal range" tool (link in the resource section) is an excellent resource for finding songs that match a singer's vocal range, difficulty, and genre preference.
Singing is as much about technique as it is about emotion. Todd Duncan expertly blended both in his performances, creating a connection between him and his audiences. Singers striving for a similar level of emotional expression should practice emoting during performances, whether it be on stage or in private lessons. Singing Carrots' "Relaxing Breath" video (link in the resources section) is a great tool for helping singers learn techniques to relax and perform confidently.
In conclusion, Todd Duncan’s unique vocal technique and emotive performances made him one of the most memorable male singers in history. Singers looking to emulate his singing style should focus on developing their smooth vibrato, seamlessly moving through registers and choosing songs that showcase their strengths. Practical tools like Singing Carrots’ singing range test (link), pitch accuracy test (link), and breath support articles (link) can help aspiring singers develop and refine their vocal techniques.