There are different types of singing ranges. As a singer, it is important to find your vocal range. In fact, it is even more important than finding what your voice type is!
In this article, we are going to find out what the vocal range is, why you should find what your vocal range is, how to do it and how you can improve it.
What Is Vocal Range
First, we have to know what the vocal range is.
Simple, the vocal range refers to the lowest up to the highest note an individual can produce. Each individual’s range is different, some people are blessed with a low vocal range that makes their voices rich and deep while some people are blessed with the airy and light sound of a high vocal range. Some, however, are blessed with a voice that can sing both low and high. Most of us can too, with proper training!
Vocal coaches often equate the vocal range to the lowest up to the highest note a singer can use for a performance. The reason for this is that just because a person can sing a high note, does not mean they can sing it well.
What Are the Factors That Can Affect Your Vocal Range?
There are different factors that can affect your range. Depending on these factors, it might feel more comfortable singing in a specific range. Here are the factors that can affect your vocal range:
The vocal weight usually refers to the lightness or heaviness of a voice. People who can sing high notes and use their higher vocal registers like the head voice are often associated with sounding light and agile. People who have a deep, rich voice, like people who use their chest voice are often described as heavy and dramatic.
Tessitura is also known as the Prima Voce, where a singer sings most comfortably and where their voice sounds the best. This is the part of the voice where the singer does not put a strain in their vocal cords as they sing and as a result, their voice sounds sweet or rich.
The bridge location or Passagio is a term used for the transition point between your vocal registers.
The timbre now refers to the vocal quality, the notes that a singer can sing well. It is also what makes you a unique singer. It is the factor that distinguishes you from another singer.
The vocal registers are different parts of your body where your voice can come from. Your vocal registers are a result of the different vibrations produced by your vocal cords. While it is known that humans can produce four types of vibrations, not everyone can do all of them at the same time.
The quality of our voice can also be affected by how well the vocal cords and the muscles that support it can produce vibrations, and control the airflow as we sing. The strength of our anatomy is extremely important to your voice type.
What Are The Different Vocal Ranges or Vocal Registers?
Your vocal folds can produce different vibratory patterns. With each pattern, the sounds that it creates have different pitch, timbres and characteristics. Here are the four types of vocal registers:
The vocal fry is the lowest vocal register. When your vocal folds are compressed tightly, it becomes slack. During this time you can make a low, rattling or popping sound as your vocal cords vibrate irregularly as air is pushed through.
The modal voice is the voice we use most often. It is often referred to as our normal speaking voice. This is the voice produced when our vocal cords are functioning at its most comfortable. There is no strain when using this voice whether in singing or speaking,
The falsetto is the vocal register right above the modal voice. Often, this register is higher by one octave and is produced by the vibration of the ligaments on the edges of the vocal cords. This type of vocal register is often described as having a softer, more airy sound. However, on rare occasions, some people have developed their falsetto to be more powerful.
The whistle register is the highest of all the registers. This register sits above the falsetto and is named after the similarity of the sound it makes to that of a whistle. This is the hardest register to work and the most dangerous without proper training. The sound produced by this register can be created by using only the back of the vocal cords.
Why Should I Find Out My Vocal Range?
There are many reasons why finding your vocal range should be at the top of your list especially as a beginner!
- Finding your range early on can help you track your improvement. At the beginning of your vocal training, it is very likely that your voice does not stray too far from your modal voice. If you find your vocal range immediately, you can use it as a standard to see how much you have improved during your training.
- It can help you find the right songs to sing. If you like watching singing shows on the television, you probably have heard judges comment on how “this song is not for you”. Finding your vocal range, especially your tessitura or prima voce can help you avoid this situation. It will definitely make it easier for you to find songs that are within your comfortable range.
- If you plan to sing in a choral group or plan to sing classical it will make it easier for you to find your voice classification. In classical and choir specifically, being able to tell your voice type is extremely important. It helps you find out which parts suit your voice best and in a choir, it helps you know which voice group you should belong to.
How To Know Your Vocal Range?
Finding your vocal range is extremely easy!
- Go to a piano and find the middle C or C4
2. Singing “Ah”, make your way down the scale, pressing each key and singing “Ah” to match the sound your piano makes.
3. On a piece of paper, mark the lowest note you can sing with comfort. This would be the lowest part of your tessitura or prima voce.
4. Continue singing lower down the scale until you cannot anymore.
5. Mark the lowest note you can sing. The lowest note you can sing would be the lowest note of your vocal range.
6. Next, go back up to the middle C or C4.
10. From there sing your way up the scale, pressing each key as you make your way up and singing the “Ah” sound to make the same sound from your piano.
11. Mark the highest note you can sing with ease. This will be the highest point of your tessitura or prima voce.
12. Continue going up the scale one key at a time and sing along with it until you cannot anymore.
13. Mark the highest note you can sing, this will be the highest note of your vocal range.
You can then use these results to find which voice type you fit in! If you do not have a piano, there is no need to worry. Here is a useful link to Christina Aguilera’s Masterclass website (1) where they have a nifty vocal range test tool that you can use!
How To Increase Vocal Range?
Improving your range is every singer’s goal. However, it is extremely important to do it properly or else we might run the risk of ruining our voice.
- The first step is to know your vocal range. Knowing your vocal range gives you a starting point.
- It is important to take care of your voice. Eating the right food, warming up and cooling down and avoiding food you should not eat as well as taking care not to overwork yourself is always more important than improving your vocal range.
- As with anything else, there is a proper technique to follow if you want to improve your vocal range. It is far safer to find a professional to help you through these techniques rather than play a guessing game on your own. There is a high risk of ruining your voice if you do not do these techniques properly. If you do not have access to a vocal coach near you, consider signing up for singing lessons online. On this website, we have articles that might help you decide which one is a perfect fit for your needs.
- Do not forego your warm-ups and cooldowns. This is extremely important to avoid straining your vocal cords. Here is an article I wrote about easy warm-ups, cooldowns and stretches that you can do daily to keep your voice in top shape.
- You must keep in mind that improving your voice does not happen overnight. You must not let the lack of immediate results disappoint you and stop you from training. Remember that all good things come to those who wait. Keep practicing and soon you will see improvements in your voice as a whole.
- Remember to set realistic goals and take it one step at a time. You can be the singer you want to be but you have to understand that there are processes that we have to go through in order to achieve our dreams and desires.
There are different types of singing voices and every voice is unique, we have the entire vocal range chart to play on. With proper training, a constant effort to improve and keep yourself healthy, you can definitely achieve your vocal goals!
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