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Trying To Find My Vocal Range

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goldy
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Just finally starting to learn to sing, I still am trying to figure out what range I'm most comfortable in. I've noticed a lot of people on here talking about singing high notes and the damage it can cause, and actually singing 6 octives???? Ridiculous I say! I'm lucky to be able to sing in 1. here's 2 articles that I think a lot of you would be interested in reading. Let me know what you think.

http://ezinearticles.com/?Vocal-Ranges---Coach-Has-Tips-for-High-Notes&id=6763128

http://ezinearticles.com/?Range---Vocal-Coach-Offers-Four-Tips&id=6736378

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If you can sing one octave so far, then you haven't probably found your vocal range and it might be premature to worry about it.

The only thing I'd loosely say, based on personal experience and in a non scientific way, if you go to your absolute lowest note with no tricks (no extreme twang, vocal fry, none of that) and you pull that up two octaves. That's 'about' what most people who train a whole lot will get out of their modal voice. That's close to what I had when I trained hard.

When you want to go above or below that with a fuller voice you need more advanced tricks that like you said, could be potentially damaging especially if done incorrectly. I gained at least 2 notes on the low end just by twanging really hard and for the high end there are plenty of tricks that have less long term research on vocal health.

Most importantly, it's not that important! A good portion of my favorite singers had about two octaves, give or take a couple of notes and some of them had a lot less. It's more important to get a good, comfortable tone, and develop expressive mobility than it is to get range. In fact, getting greedy about range can either cause you to sacrifice tone, or risk injury. So take it slow, Goldy. You'll get where you want to go.

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If you can only sing one octave so far, then you haven't probably found your vocal range and it's just premature.

The only thing I'd loosely say, based on personal experience and in a non scientific way, if you go to your absolute lowest note with no tricks (no extreme twang, vocal fry, none of that) and you pull that up two octaves. That's 'about' what most people who train a whole lot will get out of their modal voice. That's close to what I had when I trained hard.

When you want to go above or below that you need more advanced tricks that like you said, could be potentially damaging. I gained at least 2 notes on the low end just by twanging really hard and for the high end there are plenty of tricks that have less long term research on vocal health.

Most importantly, it's not that important! A good portion of my favorite singers had about two octaves, give or take a couple of notes and some of them had a lot less. It's more important to get a good, comfortable tone, and develop expressive mobility than it is to get range. In fact, getting greedy about range can either cause you to sacrifice tone, or risk injury. So take it slow, Goldy. You'll get where you want to go.

Thanks Killer, that makes a lot of sense to me!

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The only thing I'd loosely say, based on personal experience and in a non scientific way, if you go to your absolute lowest note with no tricks (no extreme twang, vocal fry, none of that) and you pull that up two octaves. That's 'about' what most people who train a whole lot will get out of their modal voice. That's close to what I had when I trained hard.

If that's true, then I'm stuck below F4 and will never be able to sing a tenor song well. It gels with my experience, but contradicts the popular train of thought here.

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When I first started singing, all I wanted was to increase my upper range ... And for the first year, before I found this forum, I got nowhere. In the last six months I shot from an almost 2 octave range to an almost 3 octave range just doing normal excersizes (and not really worrying about range) don't shoot yourself in the foot like i did. The range will come.

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Egg, I think he just means that 2 octaves is what you can get just by banging away at the voice with no formal training. That third octave is accessible, but you have to do some fancy junk to get there.

Hi raphaels: Yeah, fancy junk. Put another way, most guys can get the lower 2/3 of their voice to respond with almost no technique. But, to get the top 3rd, we have to change the approach to the whole voice in a way that allows that upper range to function. Like, learning not to overpressure.

As you say, fancy junk.

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My usable stage volume, no mic and singing over instruments, is from about E3 to Bb5. Below E3 is lower in volume but with mic placement, I can still be heard. When I first get up and haven't cleared my throat, I can probably grumble an A2. At G2, my voice is in fry, at a very low volume. F#2, the folds have separated and are no longer adducting. So, I think I have a functioning 2.5 to almost 3 octaves (if I include a slightly forced C3.) That's good enough for me, even if it means I am not doing enough with my voice. Most of the songs I want to song are in the 4th and 5th octave. I don't think I will have 4, 5, or 6 octaves. And I am okay with that. As long as the 2.5 + that I do have is solid and not straining me.

I have a possibly unfounded theory that some people with 4 or 5 octaves might be basses that can sing really high. Like I said, just a theory. More than once, I have tried to sing the role of Caiaphas and I just can't do it.

In more than one book, including some of classical technique, the move is away from registers and, I think, if memory serves correctly, the fach or classifications of range are mainly applied in opera because of the range of the music written and the timbre desired for the singer. A baritone and a tenor can both sing a C5 but I have another theory that the note of each person will sound tonally different. I think Steven said as much as that, one time.

There is also plenty of popular music and even heavy metal these days, that is written and performed in the baritone to upper baritone range. And saving a few high squawks for accent. And, I absolutely love, love, love Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and I think he could not sing a C5 if his life depended on it. If he did, he never recorded it. And doesn't need to. He does what his voice can do and it is perfection.

Perhaps the reach for high notes is particular to this forum. Most of us are aging hippies, young and old, who are still appreciating the hard rock and heavy metal of our youth, which was sung by tenors and baritones with countertenor or strong falsetto ability. Even David Lee Roth, who could sing from upper bass through baritone, could howl a high note here and there.

Live performance is where it is at.

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getting more range in the higher areas takes time and a lot of discovery of the secrets of it per your particular voice. you have to be patient because it not about "getting the note." it's about the consistancy and quality of the note(s).

patience and a lot of practise builds the foundation, coordination, conditioning, and balance you need to sing at the higher (or lower) extremes of your range.

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Goldy - Renee has some great tips in those articles.

Your voice is capable of a huge range. Unless you can already sing high, you will have to work through the passagio to increase your range (which is true for most of us). This can take a long time, and you will have to practice daily with some specific exercises. It is conceivable to add an octave or more in relatively short period of time. This can all be done safely.

I would caution you that if you just do it on your own you could risk injury. If you can - make sure you follow a good workout.

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Thanks Killer, that makes a lot of sense to me!

Yo Killer, Renee (my voice coach) read this response, as well as some of the others, is very impressed by your knowledge of singing. She wanted me to let you know. Thanks for all your input.

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My usable stage volume, no mic and singing over instruments, is from about E3 to Bb5. Below E3 is lower in volume but with mic placement, I can still be heard. When I first get up and haven't cleared my throat, I can probably grumble an A2. At G2, my voice is in fry, at a very low volume. F#2, the folds have separated and are no longer adducting. So, I think I have a functioning 2.5 to almost 3 octaves (if I include a slightly forced C3.) That's good enough for me, even if it means I am not doing enough with my voice. Most of the songs I want to song are in the 4th and 5th octave. I don't think I will have 4, 5, or 6 octaves. And I am okay with that. As long as the 2.5 + that I do have is solid and not straining me.

I have a possibly unfounded theory that some people with 4 or 5 octaves might be basses that can sing really high. Like I said, just a theory. More than once, I have tried to sing the role of Caiaphas and I just can't do it.

In more than one book, including some of classical technique, the move is away from registers and, I think, if memory serves correctly, the fach or classifications of range are mainly applied in opera because of the range of the music written and the timbre desired for the singer. A baritone and a tenor can both sing a C5 but I have another theory that the note of each person will sound tonally different. I think Steven said as much as that, one time.

There is also plenty of popular music and even heavy metal these days, that is written and performed in the baritone to upper baritone range. And saving a few high squawks for accent. And, I absolutely love, love, love Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and I think he could not sing a C5 if his life depended on it. If he did, he never recorded it. And doesn't need to. He does what his voice can do and it is perfection.

Perhaps the reach for high notes is particular to this forum. Most of us are aging hippies, young and old, who are still appreciating the hard rock and heavy metal of our youth, which was sung by tenors and baritones with countertenor or strong falsetto ability. Even David Lee Roth, who could sing from upper bass through baritone, could howl a high note here and there.

Live performance is where it is at.

Classical singing is all about maintaining the character properties. The part of a Bass was writen thinking: "ok, I need this deep, powerfull and strong voice for this villain", then the author would write the melody fitting it in the tessitura of a Bass. Even if a Bass could sing higher or lower than the tessitura, it doesnt matter, because outside the tessitura the overal qualities of the voice change.

On the other side, a Bass singer is the one who has this timbre and the required tessitura, and he needs control of the full dynamic range on all of those notes. Even if a Tenor on a mic could reach the same notes on fry, it doesnt matter, it would not sound like a bass, it would not have the same projection over the other instruments and he would not be able to use dynamics as the author intended.

You could see it like this, in the classical realm, preserving the author's vision of the piece is MUCH more important than the choosen interpret. Although the singer will surelly add his own "thing" on the performance, he is just another instrument. A very important one, sure, but still an instrument.

Without concern for tessitura, you are right to a certain degree. Since there are no restrictions against the use of falsetto or change of overall characteristcs, and the mic is there to help us stay away from f and ff, you can use much more range than that as long as it fits into what you want from your voice. The falsetto of a baritone is prone to be much more interesting than that of a Tenor with a soft voice, for example. A Bass... I dont really know, those are rare dudes around here, must be cool to be one :D.

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This is a topic close to my heart as for years my limited vocal-range really burned my soul as I grew up listening to Maiden, Guns n Roses & Soundgarden. It wasnt until I discovered great lower-end singers like Mark Lanegan, Tom Waits and Howlin Wolf that I realised that the lower notes have a range of textures and sounds that are truly unique to the register and in the right song can be wonderfully expressive.

Kinda funny for me to find out that the trick I used to use for bringing out the "edge" and definition of lower tones is one of the very things that enable us to hit head notes with a fuller tone - twang! If only I'd been reading this forum 10 years ago, doh.

A Bass... I dont really know, those are rare dudes around here

That makes me curious, I know of the standard classical terms for vocal ranges but do these cross over to the more modern vocal approaches in any way ? I guess some of us might find it naturally easier to find a healthy resonant, well supported tone within certain ranges of notes or is it truly the case that the only limit is the amount of time and effort put into technique ?

Oddly enough I'm much less concerned about range these days and far more into finding expressive sounds. If you'd have asked me before I begun this fascinating adventure into the mystical land of singing technique what I really wanted from it, I'd have said "higher notes" and yet here I am praising the wealth of textures and options that technique gives you. That might just be the composer in me talkin tho.

Hope that was at least relevant in some way, I was just inspired by seeing you folks writing about the importance of expression - on a forum with as much technical wizardry zappin about as there is, it is great to see some remember why we do it in the first place. That's some balance that is!

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That makes me curious, I know of the standard classical terms for vocal ranges but do these cross over to the more modern vocal approaches in any way ? I guess some of us might find it naturally easier to find a healthy resonant, well supported tone within certain ranges of notes or is it truly the case that the only limit is the amount of time and effort put into technique ?

Oddly enough I'm much less concerned about range these days and far more into finding expressive sounds. If you'd have asked me before I begun this fascinating adventure into the mystical land of singing technique what I really wanted from it, I'd have said "higher notes" and yet here I am praising the wealth of textures and options that technique gives you. That might just be the composer in me talkin tho.

Hope that was at least relevant in some way, I was just inspired by seeing you folks writing about the importance of expression - on a forum with as much technical wizardry zappin about as there is, it is great to see some remember why we do it in the first place. That's some balance that is!

Well, outside the classical realm, it kinda looses the point to do classifications. In pop music we can use microphones, a woman can sing a song recorded by a man, a man can sing a song recorded by a woman, doesnt matter really. You can also change the key to a more confortable one, whatever.

Still, the tessitura will still be there, there will be this 2 octave range (and this can also vary) where your voice will work in its very best, where everything is connected and consistant, you can work dynamics freely and keep everything confortable. It doesnt means that outside that range you will not be able to sing, or that you should be limited to it. And it INCLUDES the passaggio and head voice, not falsetto.

As a general rule, the lower and deeper the timbre, the lower this tessitura will be found. Note that it doesnt mean lower like in depressed larynx round voice ok? Its the very timbre of the voice that is deeper. Think something like Christopher Lee speaking :P.

A very nice info for you to know on your voice, but it doesnt make any sense on untrainned voices.

Note that Im not proposing that you should only sing within it, nor that falsetto sux, or anything of this sort, ok?

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