Thanks Deke for the great points, and Binks, thanks for your gracious concession.
That being said, from my own perspective and from running three years of auditions at a school that almost has an Asian plurality (yay for no group even having a majority!), the Asian (Mongoloid), non-trained (and even some trained!) voice does in fact produce a darker, more "back-of-throat" tone. Even for myself, I usually can't reproduce the forward, edgier tone that the Caucasian (Caucasoid) members of the group can even though I try and work at clarifying my tone.
In a way, and again, not to be offensive, I've found that those of African (Africoid/Negroid, depending on which Anthro book you've picked up) descent also have more forward, sharp/edgy tone. An easy way to hear these differences is to listen to recordings of tribal African music and compare that to those of say, Tahiti/Polynesia, the natives of who are classified as Mongoloids. Even when comparing similar style pieces (large a cappella choirs in songs of celebration, etc.), there's a fundamental differnce in the tone quality.
Such observations could definitely lend credence to genetic dispositions towards different builds of vocal cords. Maybe we have a biological anthropologist here? I'm racking my brain trying to think of a possible biocultural evolution explanation, but seeing as it's nearly 2am, I'm drawing a blank. Perhaps something to do with needs to communicate vocally over great distances? A darker tone may resonate better in mountains, which are rather prevalent in Asia, while a brighter tone carries farther over plains? Just throwing out ideas.
But as a result, as Deke and Matt mentioned, there are ways to turn these to an advantage. Although my group was composed of Asians and "Whites" while I was there, we usually ended up giving mellower, ballad-like solos to someone of Asian descent while some of the more energetic, pop/rock songs went to the white folk. Granted, this wasn't always the case (like every situation, there are exceptions), but looking back over solo assignments, it did end up this way.[/i]
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