Official Vocals Thread
Welcome to the Vocal Thread. Here is where discussions about vocal abilities, the technical aspects of singing and singing in general are held. You can ask any questions about any VOCALIST/SINGERS' vocal abilities in a technical standpoint, vocal performances technical assessment, anything about vocal pedagogy, or request for vocal analysis of any legit, serious or main vocalists (please provide videos since we might not be familiar with the vocalist in question).
(Note that there is a reason why we mainly discuss the technical aspects of singing in this thread. Because it is mostly objective, hence it is a more proper and valid way to judge a certain vocalist or performance without getting biased or personal. HOWEVER, this does NOT mean there can't be any discussions related to the non-technical aspects of singing, such as emotions, the tone of one's voice, the musical interpretation, delivery, creativity of a performance, etc.)
PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING!! YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE IGNORED IF YOU:
- ASK ABOUT NON-VOCALISTS' VOCAL ABILITIES (DON'T BOTHER ASKING IF EVERYONE KNOWS THE NON-VOCALIST IN QUESTION CAN'T SING WELL)
- ASK ABOUT TECHNICAL ASSESSMENT ON PERFORMANCES THAT ARE NOT VOCALLY CENTERED OR CHALLENGING (E.G SNSD'S OH! LIVE. WHAT IS THERE TO ANALYZE?)
- ASK ABOUT RANKINGS (IF THE PURPOSE IS FOR US TO CONFIRM THAT YOUR BIAS IS SUPERIOR TO ANOTHER VOCALLY, THEN ALL THE MORE FOR YOU TO SIT DOWN WITH THIS KIND OF QUESTION) BECAUSE IT IS USELESS AS VOCALISTS CAN IMPROVE OR DETERIORATE THROUGH TIME, SO RANKINGS ARE ALWAYS CHANGEABLE.
- REPEAT QUESTIONS THAT ARE ALREADY ANSWERED (USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION), UNLESS, IF IT IS ABOUT A VOCALIST, YOU TRULY THINK THE ANSWER WE'VE PREVIOUSLY PROVIDED NEEDS TO BE UPDATED WITH NEW EVIDENCES. THE POINT OF THIS THREAD IS TO LEARN. IF YOU CONSTANTLY ASK THE SAME STUFF OVER AND OVER AGAIN, YOU WILL BE IGNORED.
- CONSTANTLY NAG US TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS. YOU ARE NOT CUSTOMERS AND WE ARE NOT SLAVES. WE WILL GET THEM ANSWERED WHEN WE CAN AND IF WE CAN.
NOTICE: RELIABLE/CREDIBLE USERS OF THIS THREAD: ZHX, AKISAME, _gangstaer, Jiyul, Ahmin, Niki.
Please be aware of untrustworthy users listed below:
- Kongwee (at times)
What is Singing?
Singing is a physical manifestation of our increased emotional expression, state and personality, through the production of musical sounds, a larger and sustained form of speech. The act of singing consists of three components:
- Body: Skillful use of the body parts in order to sing properly, also known as vocal techniques
- Mind: Consciousness, habit, concentration/focus, musical creativity and intelligence, muscle memory(e.g vocal direction, sense of pitch)
- Emotions (or soul): motivation, desire, interest, joy and passion in the act of singing, emotional release or total confidence, as well as the portrayal or delivery of a certain character's emotional state.
All three components MUST be stimulated and used at their full potential for a vocal activity or performance to be perfect (this does NOT mean you are not allowed to like any performances or to find any performance perfect for you). If the body part is not used properly, one cannot express their emotions through singing properly, without messing up the production of some notes, having voice crack, vocal instability, pitch issues, etc. If the mind part is not fully used, one cannot concentrate, hence mess up a vocal performance even if their technique is spot on. They will not know what line they must sing next or what note they must be hitting afterwards. They might lose the sense of pitch at a certain point and mess up the performance in terms of pitch. It might very well affect the emotional delivery of a performance. Their musicianship (explained below) or their own interpretation of a song will be sloppy. Without the emotions part stimulated, one will sound lifeless, boring, dull, nervous, shaky, etc while singing because they do not have the emotional stimulus of doing it properly. If, for example, a singer lacks of confidence and has some emotional struggle/tension while singing, they will sound shaky even if they possess good technique. Confidence affects the quality of your voice. e.g lack of confidence makes your tone airy and shaky. Note that the emotions component is SUBJECTIVE. In conclusion, you can tell that these three components are related and correlated with each other. One cannot work well without the other working well either.
However, if we are only talking about 'how to sing well' in a technical sense (NOT, in a sense of interpretation, delivery...just how to sing well in terms of hitting the high/low notes, holding long notes, singing powerfully, etc), then in that case, singing is 98% mental and the rest is physical and emotional. This will be explained below as well.
Can everyone learn to sing well? (Talent vs Training)
Yes, everyone can be taught to sing well simply because everyone possesses vocal cords. Our vocal cords all produce the musical sounds the same way. Being able to sing well means you are capable of adjusting your vocal cords at their best position during vocalization, or in other words, sing with power. Voice lessons can help you achieve that. So in a physiologic sense, anyone, whether they have vocal talent or not, can learn to sing well.
Singing is 98% mental. The rest is physical and emotional. You need to apply the correct technique every time you sing. You need to make it a habit every time you vocalize. Your brain needs to remember every sensation and muscle memory that happens when you sing. This is why singing is mostly a mental/habitual process. Training the mental part of singing highly affects your vocal consistency, which is the most essential aspect for a good vocalist.
If a singer is known for straining (e.g Christina Anguilera, Park Bom, mediocre kpop vocalists, etc), it’s not due to specific performances. It’s a habitual/mental process for them. Their brains have learnt to use the incorrect technique through the years. Raising their larynx and not lifting the soft palate (sounding nasal) has become a habit for them. This is why we mainly judge on vocalists’ consistency to tell how good they are vocally…it tells us how habitual singing well or badly for them is.
It’s better to learn the proper vocal techniques at a young age. That way, the habitual process will be much easier. Past a certain age (around 30), you won’t be able to make proper singing a habit any more. Think of this as a bad habit you’ve been doing for a long time. Changing your singing technique after years of habituating with an improper technique is just as hard as changing a bad habit that you’ve been using for years. This is why idols need to change their technique as early as they can before it’s too late.
Now, the question is, can anyone learn to sing well in the level of outstanding virtuoso vocalists such as Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé? No. In order to be an amazing vocalist, you NEED a significant amount of talent and train that talent in order to become a great vocalist. But what exactly is "talent" in singing? A lot of people think it's just the tone of one's voice, that if your tone itself sounds amazing, then you have talent. This is false, because the pleasantness of one's tone itself is subjective. Tone is a gift. Gifts such as tone, vocal range and vocal size that are all unique and different from each person, when developed, properly controlled through proper training and combined, will LEAD to "noticeable trained talent". When fully trained, talent is something miraculous, special that a vocalist has developed in their voice, unique to them. For instance, what was special about Whitney Houston was her resonance, her clarity, her evenness scale and her vocal dynamics. What was miraculous about Mariah was her extensive range and her amazing agility. What was unique about Beyonce's vocals is the different vocal qualities in each of her vocal registers. You cannot determine whether someone has talent during pre-training or not. It's only after training that you can hear the results of the trained voice and determine if they've become phenomenal, amazing enough to consider them having significant amount of talent in singing. Another way to determine the presence of talent in singing is the speed of vocal learning. Talented people in a field tend to learn the skill in question faster than others. Talent is basically superficial.
Regardless of whether one has talent of not, it does not change the fact that everyone needs to be vocally trained in order to sing well. A raw talent NEEDS to be trained. Talented singers such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Beyoncé all had vocal training to develop their talent and become virtuoso singers.
Differences between a Vocalist vs Singer:
- Vocalist: Someone who has COMPLETE control, manipulation and authority over their voice, similar to an instrumentalist. Hence, they are judged by vocal technique and consistency.
- Singer: Someone who uses their voice to deliver a message musically and convey emotions. They are partly judged by technique, but mostly subjectively judged by sense of interpretation wit, musical and vocal delivery, musicianship, musical and vocal creativity.
Vocal Pedagogy (Vocal Technique or the Art and Science of the Voice & Singing)
Vocal Pedagogy (vocal technique): The study of the science and art of singing. Since vocal technique is related to science, it is a good way to use it to judge a vocalist or a performance accurately and objectively. Vocal pedagogy consists of the following:
- Physiology of singing
- Breathing in singing
- Tone Production
- Vocal Articulations
- Vocal Diction
- Vocal registrations
- Vocal Health
- Vocal Styles
- Voice Classifications
Physiology of Singing
Physiology of singing refers to the body parts involved in the sound production. There are three components:
- Vibrator: Vocal cords/folds located inside the larynx fully come in contact and vibrate together in order to make vocal sounds
- Activator: The breath/air pressure from our lungs and various muscles of our body is responsible to vibrate the vocal cords in order to make sounds.
- Resonator: The Pharynx amplifies the vibrations from the vocal cords.
Breathing in Singing
Breathing is the fundamental of singing. Without good breathing, one cannot sing well. So how should a vocalist breathe properly? First, they should inhale from their diaphragm, which will allow more air to enter their body. A good way to determine whether or not they are breathing with their diaphragm is by watching their shoulders. If their shoulders move upwards during inhalation, then they are not breathing from the diaphragm. Your shoulders should always stay still and relaxed. Then, they need to "support" the air by contracting their abdominal, back and side muscles in order to have FULL control during exhalation, of the amount of air that is supposed to go out of their body while they phonate/vocalize. During inhalation, your diaphragm expands, contracts and goes downward. During exhalation, your diaphragm SLOWLY returns to its initial position, by going upward, in a relaxed way.
Because what you want is to breathe out as slowly as you can. Why? If you push the air out as you sing, you will create an airy, weak tone. You will not have enough air for your vocal cords to hit more complex lines or notes. If you don't have control over the amount of air to use, you will most likely strain. This is why supporting your voice is extremely important in singing and this is what distinguishes from skilled and untrained/amateur singers. The less air you use, the more powerful your voice will sound as you sing. This is done by practicing the contraction of the muscles to have full control over the air taken so that the exhalation happens as slowly as possible. That is the whole point of singing properly. To create an optimal and healthy sound. Good breathing --> good output sound. In other words, there are two aspects in breathing:
- Breath Support: The interactions between various muscles in order to control the air used to vibrate the vocal folds
- Breath Control: The regulation and coordination of the airflow ABOVE the vocal cords.
Note that breath support happens UNDER the vocal cords, having to do with muscles, diaphragm and breath control happens ABOVE the vocal cords, having to do with the steadiness, coordination and regulation of the air going out of the body. Proper tone production, vocal power, the ability to hit very low and high notes properly, belting properly have to do with breath support. The sustaining of complex notes, handle complex vocal lines, do vocal melismas, sing in different vocal dynamics (levels of volume) and play with them, sing in legato or staccato and produce healthy and proper vibrato, have to do with breath control. Basically, breath support and breath control are correlated.
An example of how to breathe & support properly
Posture in Singing
When you are just learning how to support the notes right with the right breathing technique, it is also very important to pay attention to your singing posture. Great breath control is useless if the air doesn't have a place to go.
Your shoulders should always be relaxed and down; if they move up and down as you breathe you can’t have enough air to support your notes right, plus it creates tension to your whole upper body (shoulders, neck, throat) which means you will strain.
Keep your jaw also relaxed. When the jaw is relaxed the tongue stays out of your throat and your larynx stays neutral. So pushing your jaw forwards a.k.a opening your mouth as wide as possible is not needed when you are singing notes with more volume. Larynx should always be relaxed and down. Notice that pushing larynx down with your tongue is not the right way but it should go there naturally. Larynx will stay at the ideal position if you breathe right, so if you do have larynx issues you are breathing wrong.
Hold you head up; not too high, not too low. This will allow your throat to open. Your head is in ideal position when your jaw is just a little over the horizontal. Lifting your head higher (when singing high notes) or lowering your head (while singing low notes) will not help with hitting notes.
Keep your back and shoulders in a straight line a.k.a. do not slouch. If you have a chance to stand while singing, do stand because it is the best position for vocalist. Always remember to keep a straight posture regardless if you are sitting or standing. However, staying completely still is not required; you can walk around, jam to the beat, do whatever you want as long as your posture is good and your movements don't interfere with your breath control.
Resonance is the amplification, enlargement, enhancement, improvement, intensification of sound. In other words, during vocal resonance, the vibrations of vocal cords are amplified with the help of the vocal resonators, in which the air are filled, before the air passes on its way outside. Vocal resonance equates to good voice projection and vocal power. Please do not confuse resonance with loudness. Resonance = power, BUT resonance =/= loudness =/= power. Just because a note is loud does not mean it is powerful or resonant. Plus, resonance can completely drown out loudness and every other sounds. The easiest way to put it, resonance consists of producing the maximum amount of sound using the minimum amount of effort. Resonance is achieved through the ideal shaping and manipulation of the vocal tract (see definition below) ALONG with using complete proper breath support. Another way to define the ideal shaping or manipulation of the vocal tract is to keep an open-throat. Open-throat refers to the ideal increase of pharyngeal space in order to maximize the use of resonated chambers and space. Open-throat involves a lifted soft-palate, which means no nasality, a neutral larynx, a well-positioned and shaped tongue, mouth, lips, jaw and facial muscles. A person MUST open their throat in order to resonate or belt powerfully.
In the video put under spoiler, Pavarotti talks about the "covered sound", or what we usually call it "open-throat". He also demonstrates the difference of sound output when one goes loud vs resonant.
Resonance is also a spectrum, so there are different levels of resonance. Ring or The Singer's Formant refers to the maximum level of resonance achieved, or in other words, optimal resonance.
In order to identify resonance, one must train their ears to distinguish between a good note, an okay note and a bad note. A resonant note has that reverberating sound, enveloped or "covered" sound, free, rounded, full sound. There are different qualities of resonance depending on the resonators (level of formants) one uses and manipulates in order to resonate.
So basically, good technique produces resonance. When a vocalist can resonate often, we refer to them as having a good technique (resonance is a main indicator that distinguishes between a well-trained vocalist and an untrained amateur singer)
For more info about resonance, watch the following videos under the spoiler.
Good Tone Production
The ideal tone is balanced between all resonated chambers, free from tension and strain, resonant and supported. The words referring to an ideal tone of a note can be, "fullness", "depth",
"roundness", "focus", "ping", "ring", etc. By ideal tone, I do not mean the unique tone of one's voice because it's subjective, so there's no "ideal" tone when it comes to everyone's voice. By ideal tone, I mean what your initial tone produced and enhanced should sound like with good technique.
Placement refers to areas in which one feels the resonance, vibrations when they vocalize. Singers are often asked to "place" their voice in a certain area. The ideal area where one must "place" their voice or rather feel vibrations is in the mask, which consists of the sinus cavities. This will give you an ideal forward, well-projected and resonantly balanced sound. Placement is an imaginative process, not a physical one. It's merely about where one feels the vibration when they phonate.
Here are some undesirable tone productions:
Nasality is the quality of the voice being nasal. Singers with nasal tone are Celine Dion, SNSD Jessica, BoA, etc. Pinch your nose while singing. That is a nasal tone. If your nasal bones are vibrating as you sing, then it means you are using a nasal placement (so singing with a nasal tone). Nasality is not a natural tone someone possesses. Your vocal cords do not produce the nasality. It is how the breath passes from your vocal cords to your mouth that determines whether you will sound nasal or not. Nasality is produced when MOST the breath and sound enters the nasal cavity (space behind and above the nose). By lifting your soft palate (try to lift your uvula), breath and sound will be MOSTLY blocked from entering the nasal cavity, therefore, eliminating the nasal tone, producing a fuller and more projected sound.
Nasality is actually a technical fault. It affects resonance and good tone production. It can also be due to the singer not using the correct diaphragmatic breathing. However, when it is done purposely and when one knows how to turn it off, there's no problem with it. For K-pop (or Asian Music in general), we will be less harsh on singers being nasal and accept it since it is common there.
An airy/breathy tone is caused by lack of proper support and lack of vocal approximation. As previously explained, when a person does not breathe properly, they use more air to sing than needed, which causes the sound produced to be airy or breathy. Additionally, when the vocal cords are not fully coming in contact with each other, a lot of unnecessary air escape through the vocal cords, making the vibrations of vocal cords inadequate, hence producing an airy tone. This is a technical fault because a breathy or airy tone causes the sound to be weak. Airy tone can be used stylistically, however, with conscience. Too much use of breathy vocals can cause damage to one's voice.
A throaty tone is caused by the lack of proper support, pharyngeal constrictors and excessive open-throat (or pushing down the larynx). When someone lacks of proper support and are not breathing correctly, they tend to push all the air out in order to hit the desirable note, leading to using their throat to do the action and forcing it, causing a throaty and strained tone. When a tone is not properly supported, it becomes throaty. Singers need also to place their voice in the "mask" (comprises of the pharynx, mouth and sinus cavities) to avoid throaty-ness. During singing, the process of pharyngeal constrictors need to be OUT of the way, otherwise the tone will be throaty, restricted and tense. Jaw, neck, tongue need to be free from tension to avoid throaty-ness. Opening your throat too much, which means excessive jaw dropping and pushing down the larynx contributes to a throaty tone as vocal tension arises.
Vibrato is the quick repeated variation between two pitches close from each other. The cause of vibrato is related to "the result from the neuromuscular excitation of the laryngeal mechanism". It is caused by the balance of interactions between muscles (for breath support) during phonation. Vibrato is basically the reflection of the continued energy of muscles health from supporting the voice, through alternating pulse. The pulsation of the larynx (vibrato) is the response from tension and subglottic pressure from the abdominal, back and side muscles and breath energy used during phonation. Think of when you need to lift something heavy for a long time, you experience constant and periodic shakiness of the muscles. This is a similar process in the production of vibrato. Therefore, vibrato is natural process. Everyone has a natural vibrato. Good technique produces a healthy and proper vibrato, which is a free oscillation and proper variation between two close pitches at an even desirable rate of speed. There are various common types of faulty vibratos that are mostly caused by the lack of proper breathing and presence of strain:
- Vocal Wobble: overly wide, slow and unstable vibrato caused by the lack of proper breath support, lack of proper cords closure, a shaking diaphragm, a pushed down larynx and a too weighty or chesty tone in the middle register (will be explained later). Most vocal students who start off voice lessons have wobbles. Most main vocalists in Kpop have wobble as well.
- Tremolo or an overly fast vibrato: rapid repetition of a single note or very rapid alternation between two pitches caused by pressure at the root of the tongue, improper onset attack, lack of proper vocal cords closure and too much "support" or breath energy causing tension in the subglottic area while assisting the vibrato.
- Diaphragmatic Vibrato: Fake vibrato developed by the movement of the abdominal muscles.
- Vocal Trill Vibrato: Fake vibrato developed by the practice of moving your voice up and down of a pitch slowly and then gradually in a rapid way.
- Laryngeal Vibrato: Moving the larynx up and down rapidly to create a fake vibrato.
- Jaw vibrato (Gospel vibrato): Rapid shaking of the jaw and tongue in order to create a fake vibrato. Please keep in mind that just because a singer's jaw is moving does not mean they are using a jaw vibrato technique. The jaw needs to move to a little degree, showing that the singer is vocalizing in a relaxed manner. Moving the jaw TOO much and hearing the tension in their voice due to that is, in this case, considered as using a jaw vibrato technique.
- Caprino: Goat vibrato, similar to an overly fast vibrato, or a reduplication of a single note. It is caused by lack of breath focus, inadequate breathing technique and other reasons similar to the causes of an overly fast vibrato.
Series of tones of the human voice. Each register has its own vibratory pattern, pitch area and sound. The registers consist of the vocal fry register, modal voice, falsetto register and whistle register.
Vocal Fry Register: Lowest register of the human voice. It has that “frying”, sizzling or rattling sound. This register is however useless in singing and it cannot be counted as part of one’s vocal range. Plus, using this register too often and bringing up to relatively higher notes can be very damaging to the singing voice.
Chest Voice: Known as normal or natural voice. It is the core of the voice. Most people speak within this register. In general, everyone’s chest voice stops past F#4.
Head Voice: Used in upper notes. It has that “ringing” and bright sound. It is called “head voice” as the feeling of the resonance is in the head when singing.
Middle Register (Middle Voice, Mixed Voice or Upper Chest Register): It is the mixture and blending of the chest voice and head voice. It is used when singing high notes (not in falsetto or head voice). You can belt in a chest dominant-mix. You can belt with a balanced mix. You can hit high notes in a head-dominant mix.
Passagio: Place within the vocal range where the voice shifts into a different register. Each voice type has a different passagio, which is why the latter is a good indicator of what voice type you are.
Whistle Register: Highest register of the human voice. Think Mariah Carey’s whistles…
Falsetto (false voice): False, airy voice that makes the upper register (high notes) easier to access with this voice. To be more specific, it is a weaker, breathier extension of the head voice.
Head voice and falsetto differ from tone and technique (or production). Head voice is produced by thyroarytenoid muscles fully vibrating and coming in contact with each other, while falsetto is produced by only thin edges of the thyroarytenoid muscles vibrating and coming in contact with each other, which offers less resistance of the breath flow. In other words, in falsetto production, there is air passing through the vocal cords, as opposed to head voice production where no air is passing through it. This causes the tone to be airy and weak with lack of resonance. Falsetto is therefore a disconnected part of the voice, while head voice is a connected part of the voice (the whistle tone is however a disconnected part of the voice) We can also refer to falsetto as a "disconnected head voice". If the falsetto is unnaturally airier than usual, meaning that an extremely small portion of the vocal cords come in contact, then we can call this falsetto a "disconnected falsetto". When a head voice is resonant, we call it a "developed head voice".
Falsetto vs Head Voice in the MALE VOICE
In the male voice, falsetto and head voice sound/are somewhat different from the female voice. Most male voices cannot produce a pure head voice. Most of their so-called "head voice" are actually a very predominant heady mix (99% head, 1% chest, they have that trumpet sound). Why? Because male voices have thicker vocal cords (this also applies to SOME female contraltos), which does not allow them to produce a pure head voice, but a mix of both head and chest to a certain degree. However, certain male voices that are really light and thin are able to produce a head voice. Falsetto, when pushed/forced to have a fuller sound is called a "reinforced falsetto" or 'falsettone". It is indeed more resonant and supported type of falsetto, but is still not as powerful or truly connected as a head voice or heady mix.
To better understand these terms and differentiate between them, watch the videos under the spoiler.
Vocal Range: Series of notes that a singer is able to produce, starting from the lowest note to the highest note. Only notes that are musically “useful” are counted as part of a singer’s vocal range. Notes produced by squealing, screaming, shouting and etc are however not counted as part of one's vocal range as they cannot be used musically. A vocalist has full control over their instrument when they can produce a healthy and powerful sound in EVERY single note of their range.
One of the commonly used methods to name a note, is through the "Scientific Pitch Notation".
The musical notes consist of (in order), C, D, E, F, G, A, B. If you count the next C, it would be 1 octave. So one octave is 8 notes. The number next to the note is the octave. For example, C5 is the note C (from the piano) in the 5th octave.
b = flat = half-note lower than the note.
# = sharp = half-note higher than the note.
Musical notes in order (sharp and flat notes included): C, C#, D, Eb, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, Bb, B. For example, Taeyeon’s vocal range is D3 to C6. Therefore, she has 2 octaves and 6 notes of range. Everyone (untrained) has around 2 octave range. But as you master vocal techniques, your range will widen. Trained singers have around 3 octave ranges.
In order to identify notes, one must match the pitch of the note with the correct associating note in a piano, tuner, or whatever you use as a reference. It takes practice and ear training.
Voice Classification (fach system)
Vocal fach is a system used to identify opera singers' voice type. Although it is a mere speculation if applied to "pop singers" (keep in mind that opera singers use a completely superior technique as opposed to pop singers e.g 10x more breath support and an operatic placement), many people do believe there are undeniable components of the pop voice that could be associated to that of the opera voice, leading us to believe such pop singer has such voice type, or will have such voice type, if operatically trained. Voice classification is done by analyzing certain aspects of the voice, such as timbre, vocal weight, tessitura, passagi and vocal range. However, when it comes to pop voices, only timbre, vocal weight, passagi are useful in identifying their voice type. These aspects MUST be analyzed in a vocalist's MIDDLE VOICE, the most important part of the voice. The more well-trained the voice is, the more accurate the voice classification will be.
A person’s timbre is the quality of their voice. Examples are bright, dark, cold, rich, soft, steely, metallic, mellow, warm, etc.
Vocal weight refers to the “lightness” or “Heaviness” of one’s voice. It is determined by the “thickness” of one’s vocal folds. Lighter voices are associated with the term “lyric”. Heavier voices are associated with the term “dramatic”. Lyric voices = thin, small and bright sound. Dramatic voices = huge, deep and dark sound. Lyric voices have more speed and better agility/flexibility than dramatic voices. Dramatic voices have more power and more volume output than lyric voices. Spinto voice refers to a voice with medium vocal weight. They have that "creamy", "rich", "womanly" and fuller sound than lyrics, but are not heavy or dark enough to be considered dramatics. The weight of certain voice types may be subcategorized into “full” or “light” (e.g light lyric soprano, full lyric soprano, etc). Light voices possess that “youthful”, "girlish" quality whereas full voices sound more mature, smooth.
Tessitura: Range where a singer is most comfortable singing and where their voice sounds the most pleasant.
List of known voice types in pop music and singers associated with these voice types:
- Lyric Coloratura Soprano: Mariah Carey during her prime
- Light Lyric Soprano: 98% of female idol vocalists in K-pop, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Lea Michele, Leona Lewis, etc.
- Full Lyric Soprano: Celine Dion, Lara Fabian, Seeya's Yeonji, Ock Joohyun, Big Mama's Young Hyun, CSJH's Lina, Apink's Eunji etc.
- Spinto Soprano: Sohyang, Whitney Houston during her prime
- Dramatic Soprano: Patti Labelle, Monica Naranjo
- Soprano Falcon: Vanessa Amorosi
- Lyric Coloratura Mezzo-Soprano: Beyonce
- Lyric Mezzo-Soprano: Barbra Streisand, Big Mama's Jiyoung, Lea Salonga, etc
- Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano: Anastasia
- Lyric Contralto: Cher
- Coloratura Contralto: Annie Lenox
- Leggiero Tenor: Michael Jackson, Ryeowook (underdeveloped leggiero tenor)
- Light Lyric Tenor: Most of male idol vocalists in K-pop, Chris Brown, Bruno Mars, Ne-Yo,
- Full Lyric Tenor: K.Will, Luther Vandross, Park Hyoshin
- Spinto Tenor: Michael Bolton
- Dramatic Tenor
- Lyric Baritone: Rain, Chanyeol, certain male rappers in K-pop
- Dramatic Baritone
- Lyric Bass
- Low Bass
For more information about some of these voice types, watch the videos under the spoiler.
Glottic shock: this is when the vocal cords are being held together with an over approximation of the vocal cords (the cords are too close together) and are then pushed apart with an explosion of breath pressure. This leads the vocal cords to smack together. This is very dangerous and can cause serious injury to the vocal cords. Jonghyun is an example of someone who sings with a hard glottal attack.
How do we judge a vocal performance?
A vocal performance is judged by focusing on:
- Primary aspects: Pitch, breath support and stability
- Secondary aspects: Musicality, Musicianship (explained below)
How good a performance is overall, is based on the amount of good vocal moments in comparison to the amount of bad vocal moments in the performance.
How do we judge a vocalist?
As mentioned earlier, a vocalist is judged based on their consistency in technique. Therefore, when judging and analyzing a vocalist, we mainly focus on their consistency, as in, how many times is this vocalist able to sing well? We also tend to analyze every part of their voice, which means lower register, middle and upper register and we determine their tessitura or comfort zone. Other aspects to look at are the following:
- Stability (vibrato)
- Breath Control
- Vocal Dynamics
What is Musicianship? What is Musicality?
- Musicality: Understanding of the music
- Musicianship: Personal interpretation of a song/performance by including their personal style, vocal dynamics, vocal phrasing, vocal runs, changing melodies, rhythm, pitches, etc.
The OP is not complete yet. Under construction.