Knowing one’s vocal range is essential to the ability to sing properly. Sometimes, it enhances your confidence to sing a certain piece with great dexterity. Specifically, the voice range of individuals is varying and persona.
What is a Vocal Range?
The vocal range is the highest and lowest note a singer can hit and sing with. To be able to sing a note is not that important than the ability to sing a note with comfort. So, you should know where you can sing with absolute comfort and where your notes sound great. Thus we can also say that the vocal range is the distance between the lowest and highest notes a singer can comfortably sing without straining their voice.
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Obviously, some singers are absolutely blessed with a wide range while some with less range. Some singers can cover four octaves effectively while some will just be able to cover less. It is very rare to have a wide range that is up to four octaves. Majorly, the vocal range of most singers lies between one and a half to two and a half in their modal (or natural) voice and like one additional octave in their registers.
Finding Your Vocal Range
With little knowledge of the keyboard layout, you will find it easier to find out your vocal range. Then you can confidently place yourself in one of the seven voice types (e.g. soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, countertenor, tenor, baritone, or bass.) that we have. With this in mind, know that the International Standards Organization (ISO) system for register designations assigns “C4” to middle C (the first ledger line below the staff in treble clef). Also, a commonly found British standard assigns “c1” to middle C.
Furthermore, each range is represented by a piano number system such as C4 to C6. The letter C (represent pitch alphabets) identifies the note, and the number (e.g. 4 and 6) identifies the octave they belong to.
Ways to Identify Your Vocal Range
The vocal range of every individual is determined by finding the lowest and highest notes one can sing comfortably. There are different ways we can employ to identify our vocal range. But all depend on a tuned instrument that can sound simultaneously with our voice while we project notes or sing. These include digital tools like apps for vocal range, virtual piano, and some other online tools and videos. Nerveless, the task to find your vocal range will not be easy if you are clueless. However, it is always easy with a piano and knowledge of the keyboard layout.
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To actually identify your vocal range, you will need to trail on three processes. These are finding the lowest notes and highest notes you are also comfortable with. The third and last process is to compare the lowest and highest note you have together.
I How to find the lowest notes
This is the process of finding the deep end of the voice. That is the lowest note you can reach and project comfortably without cracking or croaking your voice. Vowel sound like “ee“, “oo“, or “ah” should use for this exercise. Also, females should start at the middle C (i.e. C4) and male at C below the middle C (i.e. C3). Hit your first C (i.e. C4 or C3) on the piano, match your voice with it, and tone down the scale until you reach the last comfortable note you can sing. Sustain the note and ensure it does not have a scratch or breathy sound before you pen it down in scientific pitch notation format.
II How to Find the Highest Notes
This is the same process as the one we have above but with a different goal. That is to find the top end of the voice. In order to achieve this, we will employ different vowel sounds and use “ee”, “oo”, or “ah” as well. Females should start at the middle C (i.e. C4) and male at C below the middle C (i.e. C3). Play your first note (i.e C4 for female and C3 for male), match your voice with it, and go up the scale until you hit the highest note possible without alteration to your natural tone quality.
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However, you have to put yourself up at a point and breakthrough to falsetto from your modal register without cracking or straining your voice. some female singers can go beyond falsetto and climb the whistles register. Above all, ensure you do not strain or crack your voice and are able to sustain the highest note. Pen the highest note you reached down in scientific pitch notation format.
III Establish your Vocal Range
Once you have identified your lowest and highest note you can hit without comfortably with your voice, you can establish your vocal range. Let assume you have your lowest note as D2 and the highest as A4 then your vocal range will be D2-A4. That means you can sing comfortably between D2 and A4.
Knowing the range, you can also determine the number of octaves you have in your range. Remember that eight notes represent one octave. And the last note of the first octave starts the second octave. From our vocal range example, D2 – A4, we have two and a half octaves. The half octave is four more notes that we have within the range.
Why You Need to Know Your Vocal Range
Finding and knowing your vocal range is one of the essential things for every singer or vocalist. It will not only help you to have knowledge of how high or low your voice is but also let you know more about your weak spot. Also, it will help you to measure your progress in developing your technique and voice training. Lastly, knowing your vocal range is one of the tools you will employ when you are selecting your voice type and choosing the piece you want to perform.
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