Like snowflakes, no two singers are alike. Every singer has their own unique voice, and knowing how to use that voice is the first step to learning how to sing like a pro. While we’d all love to be able to hit high notes like Ariana Grande or belt out ballades like Adele, and sing any song we wanted, the fact is most of us have a set vocal range.
In music, vocal range refers to a span of notes that can be sung easily without straining the voice. Said another way, it is the range of notes from the highest to the lowest pitch that a voice can produce. There are six different types of vocal ranges and musically useful pitches the human voice is capable of producing. If you’ve taken voice lessons or choir before, chances are you’re already familiar with the different types of vocal ranges. For those of you who need a refresher, below are the various voice types.
Female Voice Types
Soprano: a high female voice; typically classified by the ability to sing notes B3 to G6
Mezzo-soprano: the most common female voice type which falls in between soprano and contralto; typically classified by the ability to sing notes G3 to A5
Contralto: a low female voice; typically classified by the ability to sing notes F3 – F5
Male Voice Types
Tenor: the highest adult male voice; typically classified by the ability to sing notes C3 to B4
Baritone: a male voice that falls in between tenor and bass; typically classified by the ability to sing notes G2 to G4
Bass: a low adult male voice; typically classified by the ability to sing notes D2 to E4
Why is vocal range important?
Knowing your vocal range is important because it allows you to judge which songs you can comfortably and confidently sing. Choosing songs fit for your voice and singing range will prevent you from straining or injuring your voice. And as all experienced singers know, keeping your voice in tip-top shape is a must!
How To Find Your Vocal Range
There are a variety of ways to find your vocal range. From apps to online tools and vocal lessons, finding your vocal range has never been easier. One of the simplest methods for determining your singing range (and a favorite method used by the voice lesson instructors at Scottsdale Music Academy) is by singing along to notes on a piano.
Start on middle C or C4 on a piano as this is a note that most people can sing. Try to sing that note with a vowel sound, such as “ah,” then work your way up and down from that note, matching your vocals to the notes until you are no longer able to do so. You’ll know when you can’t hit a note because not only will it sound off, your voice will likely crack or you’ll feel as if you’re straining to reach the note. The lowest and highest notes you can comfortable hit determines your vocal range. Once you find those notes, write them down and compare them to the voice types above to find out your range.
While vocal range is a significant factor in characterizing a singer’s voice and vocal abilities, it’s not the only factor that should be considered. Other vocal elements, like timbre, sound characteristics, and tessitura are all important traits a singer should be aware of. To learn more about vocal range and to see what your voice is really capable of, contact Scottsdale Music Academy. Our vocal lessons are designed to help you hone your voice so you can show it off (and have fun in the process)!