I’ve been identified by various people both ways. I’m 19.
Answer: An appropriate question! There are several components to the answer, and these are directly related to the area of voice classification. A couple of generalities can be made instantly. Lyric baritones generally have a higher range than bass-baritones. Lyric baritones have a higher tessitura than bass-baritones. The timbre of lyric baritones also tends to be lighter and brighter than bass-baritones.
A developed lyric baritone is comfortable between the A above middle C and down two octaves. This would be his normal, usual and useful solo-singing range. He may be able to vocalize to a B-flat or B-natural (on the high side), or descend to A-flat or G (below his lowest useful note) but sounds weak down there. He may perhaps access even lower notes with the use of the fry register [I know the baritone who posed this question]. However, for all normal solo singing, one considers full-cord action as the only proper means of phonation. A lyric baritone often finds himself singing around middle C – on both sides with complete comfort and ease. It is not unusual for a lyric baritone to be called on to sing Tenor 2 in choral situations. This happens, in part, because, beside the range capabilty, the timbre of his voice is similar to that of tenor choral singers.
A bass-baritone’s comfortable solo-singing range is somewhat lower than the lyric baritone, F to F, about a third lower than the lyric baritone. Bass-baritone is also a more general designation of voice classification than “lyric” baritone because it does not indicate the “quality” or “timbre” of the voice. Again, the bass-baritone may be able to vocalize higher than the useful F, and vocalize a third or fourth lower than his useful low F, but without much power on the low end. The bass-baritone’s tessitura – the area of the range in which he is most comfortable – will often be well below middle C – approximately the A-to-A octave that marks the lower half of the lyric baritone’s useful range.
The designation of the terms “lyric” “dramatic” “spinto” “coloratura” etc. are usually saved for singers in their maturity – late twenties and older. The German system of voice classification attempts to “pigeon hole” every kind of voice so as to clarify for the singer what kind of literature (opera especially) s/he should be singing. This is called the “fach” system.
With few exceptions, all young (college-age) singers are “lyric”. This is because voices are in their major developmental period, after which they gain qualities of maturity peculiar to the person and instrument. It is a great boon to a young singer to have a good idea what the appropriate classification of his or her voice is by the time college graduation comes around, so your question is well taken. However, don’t fret! Just “know thyself.” Getting to know your own voice’s capabilities will help to guide you in your choices of literature – so that you are singing within the capabilities and expressive qualities of your own voice.
At age 19 or 20, there is the distinct probability of your range and timbre continuing to develop and change.
Examples of mature singers in these voice classifications can be found in recordings of: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Thomas Hampson (as a younger singer) – lyric baritones; Samuel Ramey – bass-baritone.
I hope this was helpful.