I tried to connect my singing voice to my guitar and my guitar to my singing voice. Like the two was talking to one another - B.B. King
A singing teacher can help you identify your voice type. The latter is what constitutes a group of voices that have the same or similar vocal ranges. A particular voice type is able to sing in a similar tessitura and with similar vocal transition points called passaggi. If you have paid attention to your music lessons, you would know that this type of vocal classification can be traced back to the history of European classical music. Vocal pedagogy uses different voice types and voice classification systems. But there are primarily seven categories of voice types, which are discussed in detail in this article. There is, however, an eight term, called the treble that is applied while considering the pre-pubescent voice.
Your singing classes will teach you to sing over a range of one and a half to more than two octaves. The voice types of most singers fall somewhere between groups of voice types and they can perform some parts of either type. Not knowing your voice type or misclassification can be risky, and even dangerous. It can lead to a damage of the vocal cords, which can considerably cut short your singing career. Some of the effects are more long-term like vocal pathology which can stem from singing at the extremes of a range. This is where the significance of proper music training kicks in.
Which Voice Ranges are Taught in Music Training?
Music students would typically come across eight main voice types. Ask your singing teacher for a detailed understanding of each with a dedicated lesson.
Male Voice Types
This is the lowest male voice type, which is characterized by a low and rich rumble sound, accompanied with plenty of vocal weight.
Another common male voice type, baritones have a weight with a tessitura of A2 to A4.
This is a slightly lighter voice type than the baritone which is again common in men.
This is a rare male vocal type. It the highest pitch that male singers can hit.
There are four different female voice types, namely -
The Three Different Female Voice Types
As part of your teaching, you should understand the difference between voice type and vocal range. While the latter refers to the range of notes that your voice can expand to, voice type represents the different kinds of voices that are classified according to a set of parameters that include -
- register transition points,
- vocal timbre, and
- vocal tone.
Decoding the Three Different Female Voice Types
When you sign up for online music lessons or physical music classes near me, your singing teacher will train you on three different female voice types:
- Soprano - It is the highest of all female voices, with a typical range between A3 and the F6 or G6. The soprano tessitura is higher than other female voice types and has a bright tone. Sopranos also have a relatively weaker middle voice, but a strong head voice.
- Mezzo Soprano - Most female singers possess this voice type, making it the most common female vocal range. The typical range for this type lies between G3 and C6. It has a stronger middle voice and a relatively weaker head voice. It is also the most comfortable voice type preferred by singers.
- Contralto - This is the lowest voice type among all female voice types. It is also very unique ad quite rare. Contrary to popular understanding, contralto is what you use to refer to this voice type and not alto, which is more representative of the range or notes, and is not a voice type. The vocal range for this type lies between G4 and D5.
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What are the Factors that Determine Voice Type?
And in singing, what my voice lacked in quality it made up for it in volume - Hedda Hopper
Singing classes can really help you identify your voice type, which is otherwise not a very easy thing to do. Whether you are taking music lessons in London or online, you must be able to identify your voice type in order to get better at singing.
The Main Determinants of Your Voice Type
There are eight primary factors that contribute to shaping your voice type -
- Range: It is the range of notes that your voice can produce from the lowest to the highest.
- Weight: It determines how heavy or light your voice is and is the power behind the sound that you can produce to sing.
- Tessitura: This is the voice range that you are most comfortable with, which means that it include the low and high notes that you can reach without straining your voice.
- Bridge Location: This is the place where your voice transitions between various vocal registers, and is similar in all singers.
- Vocal Timbre: Timbre is what separate sopranos from mezzo-sopranos and is a critical indicator of your voice range.
- Vocal Registers: The range of tones produced by the vibrations in your vocal folds are called registers. The main vocal registers include the chest, modal, falsetto, and head.
- Speaking Voice: Your speaking voice and chest voice also determine your singing power. And they are similar in most females.
- Anatomy: The overall body size, vocal tract, and the size of the vocal folds also determine the type of your voice.
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How Do I Identify My Voice Type?
A singing coach can help you identify and use your voice type effectively. And singing classes can help you with ways to identify the same.
4-Step Process to Identify Your Voice Type
Step 1: Warm Up
There is no singing without a proper vocal warm up. You do this to avoid any damages to your vocal cords, which produce the sound of music. There are some very basic warm up techniques like humming or sirening that you can try out.
Step 2: Identify Your Lowest Note
You can use a piano to identify your lowest note. It is the one that you can sing comfortably without your voice breaking or croaking.
Step 3: Identify Your Highest Note
Just like step 2, you can use a piano to find your highest note. It is the one that marks the higher end of your vocal range. If you find yourself pushing or straining, do not sing past that note.
Step 4: Mark Your Range
Once your lowest and highest notes are identified, you can check the range for different voice types, using these markers -
- Bass - E2 to E5
- Baritone - G2 to G4
- Tenor - C3 to C5
- Contralto - F3 to F5
- Soprano - C4 to C6
- Mezzo Soprano - A3 to A5
Your vocal range should ideally fall between any of these ranges. And would give you your voice type.
Find Music Classes Near Me for Voice Training
Finding a good singing teacher has been made easy in recent times, thanks to the availability of online singing classes. But don't wait for music teachers to get started on music training. It can start right now with working on your vocal health and hygiene. You can try out these useful vocal exercises and routine to keep your voice healthy -
- Listen carefully to your own voice while singing. Look out for hoarseness or other uncommon signs that may indicate allergies or other serious issues of the throat.
- Quit smoking as tobacco, nicotine, and other chemicals are slow killers.
- Stay hydrated and keep your vocal cords lubricated.
- Avoid alcohol and too much caffeine.
- Speak in a low voice as much as possible, and avoid yelling or screaming.
- Never skip warm up exercises before singing.
- Get acid refluxes checked.
- Do not force or strain your voice. Voice abuse or overuse is a primary concern for voice damage in most singers.
- Avoid frequent clearing of the throat. Instead drink water to fight the urge.
- Give your voice sufficient amounts of rest in between singing. And do not underestimate the power of sleep.
Whether you are a singer or not, your voice is a very important asset. And you must do your bit to not let it come to any harm.
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