I have to say that I love Pitch Perfect for having its main character be an alto and not a soprano for once
Because in every musical/opera/Glee ever, the main female is a soprano and the main male is a tenor (or sometimes a high baritone), which kind of sucks for altos and basses everywhere trying to sing melodies a full fifth above their comfortable range
There are good reasons for this: highest note over either male or female voice is the easiest to hear, their carry well, sopranos often have good enough lower registers to occasionally venture down below an F, high notes carry well in large spaces, etc.
But this movie is different, because they make it very clear that Beca is an alto: she sings the lower part in ‘Titanium’, ‘Cups’ doesn’t go much higher than a B, she’s assigned as an alto in the Bellas, she often has one of the lowest harmonies in all their arrangements. (Though I was confused about either Beca or Amy getting Chloe’s solo, since Chloe is quite obviously a soprano, and having an alto take over a soprano part is just kind of stupid)
Altos are all about harmony. They rarely get the melody for more than 2 bars at a time and have to sing convoluted lines to keep everyone on pitch and also fill out every chord with its weird minor thirds and dominant sevenths and augmented fifth while the soprano, bass and tenor get to wail away on the root and fifth and whatnot. Altos have to listen to all the other parts because if there’s any dissonance, it’s probably coming from them. They also have to be willing to basically never get the spotlight, because that’s reserved for the melody.
And Beca isn’t very harmonious at the beginning of the film. She argues with Aubrey and laughs at the songlist and choreography. She’s the dissonance.
But sometimes a chord needs that dominant seventh clashing with the root in order to resolve to the tonic. Sometimes that last bar needs the suspension to add a little bit of flair.
I don’t know where I’m going with this, it just started as being thankful for an alto lead.
Which I really, really am.