When Our Brain's Expectations Fool Us

This video from one of the relatively small category of male sopranos creates a bit of dissonance at first.  We have certain expectations of male and female vocal ranges.  The automatically functioning parts of my brain keep telling me "lip sync" when it is not the case.  From this article

Of course this guy got some similar grief, though via a different set of assumptions:


  1. A friend:

    Wow, the first ever above the board Rick roll!

  2. David in Michigan:

    Apparently a modern Farinelli. Beautiful voice. Article said he was interested in the history of "castrados" but didn't say if he was castrated. And yes, we expect men to have a lower pitch voice and women to have a higher one. That's because it's the norm.

  3. randian:

    Unfortunately we don't hear Crowe's speaking voice to compare. Astley clearly doesn't have an unusually high vocal range.

  4. Jody:

    Interview available here: http://artery.wbur.org/2014/05/14/male-soprano-robert-crowe-boston

    You can hear Crowe's speaking voice in an interview. It's quite high and somewhat Edward Norton-esque.

  5. TJSawyer:

    Couldn't stomach more than a few seconds of that first one but the Astley song has a good beat and you can dance to it. I'd give it an 85.

  6. MNHawk:

    Jon Anderson didn't exactly have the pipes to cover Mr. Bassman.

  7. sch:

    The proper term is countertenor, and there is extensive literature for countertenors in the operatic literature prior to cerca 1800. What is somewhat jarring is
    seeing a soprano sing the countertenor part when you expect a countertenor. But opera is stuffed full of cross dressers as well as "cross singers".