Voice Test: How To Find Your Vocal Range
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Understanding your voice before starting music is the most essential. As a beginner, knowing and understanding your vocal range enables you to sing correctly and effectively. Several experienced vocalists and musicians work hard to know and improve their vocal range. Although the vocal range isn’t so related to singing, it does help in understanding the notes you can take. Many experienced and famous singers don’t have a wide vocal range but they do sing really well.
The shape and structure of vocal folds determine your vocal range and it’s difficult to sing beyond your vocal range. But you can always train to improve the notes at the edge of your range. Most training focuses on enhancing the quality of notes at the highest and lowest of your range. Practicing like this would help you to sing in a wider range with a clear and natural voice, and that’s what will make you an experienced singer.
So, if you’re wondering how to find your vocal range, then we have you covered. We have collected all information about the vocal range and ‘how to find your vocal range’ to help you so that you can continue your training with full dedication. But to find your vocal range, you must have complete knowledge of what do the vocal range really means. So, let’s begin with that
What Does Vocal Range Mean?
You need to know some basics of music to understand the vocal range. Consider a piano and you’ll see seven notes A to G repeated over and over again. So, every time there is one repetition, it’s called an octave; that means from A to next A is one octave. To identify which octave you stand, numbers are assigned, which means the lowest note will be AO then goes further like A1 and so on.
Now, you must know the commonly used vocal ranges, going from high to low.
- Soprano B3 to G6: This is typically the highest range for a female voice and the highest note is somewhere between C6 and G6. And that’s really high! Singers like Celine Dion have this range.
- Mezzo-Soprano G3 to A5 (alto): A step down from Soprano, this is the mid-range in the female range. Famous singers having this range are Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and Christina Aguilera.
- Contralto F3 to F5: It’s the lowest range in the female voice, which is uncommon. Famous contralto singers are Adele and Cher have this vocal range.
- Tenor C3 to B4: It’s the highest range in a male voice, but some can go lower while some higher also. Prominent tenor singers are Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, and Steven Tyler.
- Baritone G2 to G4: The commonest male voice range but equally beautiful. Elvis Presley, John Lennon, John Mayer are some of the known baritone singers.
- Bass D2 to E4: Bass singers like Johnny Cash, Louis Armstrong, and Larry Graham have the lowest range possible even lower than what a cello can play.
Now that you know the common vocal ranges, try listening to each note or the music of the singers having different ranges. It will surely help you understand the range and help you sing the notes correctly. Identifying your vocal range is a must so that your vocal training is nothing but perfect!
So here are the steps to find your vocal range.
How to Find Your Vocal Range?
With knowledge of the common vocal ranges, let’s find yours too. Follow these steps to find the range you fall.
- Observe Your Natural Speaking Tone: As a beginner, have you ever thought that even while speaking, we use notes. There is a range in our voice. Obviously, most of you haven’t thought about it. Well, vocal notes while speaking in a normal tone is true and important too. Start the process of knowing your vocal range by first observing your natural speaking tone. Just say a few words in your normal speaking tone and observe the notes you use. By doing this you’ll know which is your comfortable middle note.
- Go Higher From Your Middle Note: As you pick your middle note, your real exercise to identify your vocal range begins. This little exercise might seem silly to you but trust the process and enjoy it. So now, the middle note you have identified, start going higher from that middle point as much as you can until your voice sounds shrill and extremely high-pitched. It’s just like going little by little higher until you sense discomfort and feel you can’t go higher. Just keep in mind if your voice breaks, you’re going higher than your range, so you need to stop there. However, the maximum higher your voice goes up to without breaking is your upper vocal range.
- Go Lower From Middle Note: Just like how you did to find the higher range, follow the same process to find the lower note. Just move your voice up and down, a little lower than earlier. Once you see the voice is going to break or is sounding really heavy, that’s your lowest vocal range. Well, you must try this with a piano for better understanding.
- Try Vowel Sounds: Well, testing your range isn’t just limited to going higher and lower. You can also try using vowel sounds in this same exercise. Here you have to use vowel sounds ‘ah’, ‘ee’, and ‘oo’. So begin humming your notes with an ‘ah’ sound from your middle range. Go higher slowly using the same humming and after a few notes change the sound from ‘ah’ to ‘ee’. Continue going a few notes higher with the ‘ee’ sound and then change to the ‘oo’ sound to reach your highest note.
On reaching the highest range, try alternating with these 3-vowel sounds to identify at which point you find it difficult to continue. And that’s your highest vocal range. Start over again the same process and try for the lower range. Just keep in mind that you have to stop once you hear sounds something shrill like a police siren. Above all, this method is quite accurate in finding your vocal range, so if you are a beginner, you should try this exercise before you start your rigorous vocal training. And in any case, you find identifying the notes is a little difficult, you can always use a piano or a piano app for guidance.
- Identify the Notes You Sing: Once you know the highest and lowest points of your voice, you have to identify what notes those points are. So, the best and easiest way to do this is to record and test it using a piano or piano app. Well, using a piano app is much better, if you are completely new to this. However, just make sure that octaves are numbered in the app.
- Pick a Voice Type: Your vocal range is the one between the highest and lowest notes. But that doesn’t determine your voice type. As we mentioned earlier about the common vocal ranges, your voice must also fall under one of those categories. Depending on your vocal range, the category closest to your range is your voice type. So, you can be a baritone or tenor, depending on the category majority of your range falls into. And that’s how it’s done! No need to worry if you find it difficult to identify, try the exercise twice or thrice to identify it accurately. Besides, always remember each individual’s vocal range is different even if it falls in the same category.
Now that you know how to find your vocal range, start your training with this exercise, else practice around it to improve the range. Many tools are also available; you can always resort to such tools to get help in identifying and understanding the notes. Besides, you can train harder to expand your vocal range. However, it’s possible only to a certain extent, so always work on this with proper expert guidance only. Needless to say, knowing your vocal range is a great way to practice and improve your singing.
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