…of the regulars at forums like The Range Place, there is something that I am strongly against.
It’s trying to classify non-classical music singers according to operatic Fach. It just wasn’t meant to be done, period.
These attempts just lead to holy wars an’stuff.
Of course, maybe holy wars are exactly what they all are after… but – you’re only a “tenor” or a “mezzo”, let alone a “countertenor” or a “lyrical contralto”, if you sing classical music. Because a Fach is not a random combination of range/tessitura/timbre, it also means very specific technique that is gained from very specific training and leads to very specific sound. Everything’s codified in the world of opera.
There is a related “SATB” classification of choir parts. Soprano/alto/tenor/bass. It’s closer to what “pop culture” means when bandying these terms around (this time, it’s more about ranges than anything else), but still. It’s a different thing, again.
Natural languages are bad enough as they are, ambiguity an’stuff. Terms, well… let them be a safe haven.