Imagine being a member of a football team and then without any warning, you are sent into the pitch and asked to just play. How would you feel? What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? It’s simply “what do i do”? That’s the same thing most singers face when they try to sing but have no idea what their vocal range is or simply “what voice type am I?”
Now this can be really confusing and frustrating because you do not know if what you are singing is actually the right thing or you are just wasting your time.
In this article, we will be looking at the different types of voice types, a simple way that you can use to easily determine your voice type and how to determine your vocal range.
Caution! Some word of advice
Before you run off and begin classifying your vocal type, there are a few things you need to take note of.
- First you need to make sure that you understand the basics of singing and you are very comfortable with it. This is because if you make a mistake and choose a wrong vocal type, you may have a hard time coming back from that.
- Also you want to make sure that you do not rush into this. You need to give your voice some time to “mature”.
- Finally if you are a vocal teacher, then you should avoid trying to force a student into learning or using a vocal type, that they are not familiar with. In the long run, this will cause more harm than good.
Why you need to classify your voice
Before we look at the various voice types, let us quickly address a pressing issue and look at some of the reasons why you need to classify your voice.
It helps you determine which roles you will be cast for and which you can perform comfortably. This is especially true for classical singers and those who perform in broadway shows.
It helps you to sing comfortably and without straining your voice.
It helps prevents your voice and vocal cords from damage
By understanding a little about your voice, it helps you be a better song writer and improve your writing skills.
Factors used to classify voice
There are so many factors that are used when classifying your voice.
Some of them are basic and normal while others are a little more complex and require some advanced knowledge.
Your vocal range. This simply means the kind of notes your body can produce.
Your weight. This has to do with whether you have light voices which includes bright and agile or whether it is heavy making it powerful, rich and dark
Your tessitura. This is the part of your vocal range which is most comfortable for you to sing in.
Your timbre. This is the unique feature of your voice that has to do with the quality and the texture.
The transition points. These are the points where you move from your chest to the middle and then to the head registers.
Your speech level. This is simply how well and articulate you are using your speech range.
And finally your physical characteristics.
These are the factors that are considered when classifying your voice.
Take note that a factor such as physical characteristics comes to play when you are trying to audition for a show or a concert.
The major voice types
This is the highest and most common female voice type.
It has different sub types like the coloratura soprano, the lyric soprano and the soubrette which can be differentiated by their weight, timbre, vocal agility and quality.
A typical sopranos range is between B3 and C6 although some coloratura can go a little higher without straining their voice.
2. Mezzo Soprano
This is usually the second highest female vocal type.
People that have this vocal type usually sing along with the sopranos and are commonly called sopranos II
They are very comfortable singing the lower melody as her timbre is darker and her tessitura usually lower than the sopranos.
A typical mezzo soprano range is from G3 to A5.
This is the third lowest female vocal type.
They are commonly called altos and are very comfortable singing the supporting melody for the sopranos.
While most people do not appreciate altos, the truth is that they are some of the hardest vocal types to find.
Also a true alto has a higher chance of singing solo than anyone else.
A typical alto range is from E3 to F5 although if they have a lower tessitura then they become more valuable.
This is one of the rarest and most difficult vocal type to find.
A countertenor can sing as high as a soprano or mezzo soprano and still have a natural head resonance.
A good countertenor can sing as high as C6 without straining their vocals.
This is the highest male vocal type you can find in most choirs and operas.
They are the most sought after in choirs simply because they have a unique timbre quality.
A typical tenor range is from C3 to B4
They have a high tessitura usually above C4 and can easily blend their resonance and falsetto.
This is the most common male vocal type.
Due to the weight and power associated with this type, it has a very masculine feel and is notable among generals and noblemen.
They usually have a high tessitura and can sing between the G2 and G4 range.
This is the lowest male voice type and as such sings the lowest notes humanly possible.
Most bass singers are very comfortable singing in the D2 to E4 range.
How to find your vocal range in one minute
Now we know all about the the various vocal types, let us look at how you can get started finding your vocal range.
Here is a video showing you what to do
- Using a keyboard or piano, sing down the scale until you can’t go any lower.
- Find the lowest note you can comfortably sing and write it down. Do not strain your voice and try to go slower if you feel it will help you
- Now find the highest note you can sing comfortably without any strain on your vocal cords
- When you find it, write it down
- Now you have an idea where your vocal range starts and ends.
- Now all you need to do is to compare it with the image below to figure out your vocal range.
This is a simple i minute exercise that you can use to easily find and determine your vocal range.
If you want something more in depth, then here is an article explaining it.
Your voice type determines the kind of songs you can sing and also helps you sing comfortably.
This is one of the basics that you need to know if you want to become a better singer.
In this article, we have shown you the different types of voice types and a simple one minute exercise on how you can easily determine your vocal range.
If you have any comments or questions leave them in the box below