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Determining vocal-type of young singer V.2.

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Lavishous
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This is a response to the original thread I had made about my vocal range and how to determine what vocal "type" I'd be classified as. Once again, I'm 17 yrs old and have been singing in choir for 1 yr with recreational singing/bass-guitar playing on the side. I took the advice of some of the previous commenters and worked on raising my larynx into higher position for the upper range. Any tips or analysis of my singing, vocal type, ect. would be greatly appreciated. Here's the new video

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Well the usual question applies: why do you want to be classified?

If you sing opera, you need to have the range (and colour) of the part, but if you sing in a choir the other singers will cover up if you can't hit the notes, if you sing in a cover band, you can transpose the song, and if you sing original pop or rock music no one cares.

But let's get to the point. Since you are very young and somewhat new to singing there's not a lot to analyse yet. You're cracking at C#4 which is sort of early and indicates a lower voice type, but then I was doing the same at 17 and 12 years later the top end has developed so much faster than the bottom that I'm barely able to consider myself a potential baritone anymore.

Also listen to the power of your voice on the low notes. Basically any note below C3 is lower than speaking voice in terms of volume. For choral purposes, you probably have a useful Eb2/D2 with potential to extend below, but from a real bass we expect f-ing booming G2's (like Samuel Ramey.

Here's a challenge. Start at a comfortable high note. B3 or whatever. Sing it loud. Not forced but just a good, comfortable loud. Sing a downward scale to your lowest possible note. Record the whole thing and listen to the playback. I'm guessing you'll be surprised how high you lowest note is when you set standards for tonal quality and volume. Personally I have about half an octave of useless low notes that resonate clearly inside my head but don't project more than a few feet.

So I'm basically saying too soon to call and it probably won't ever be relevant. Unless you're wondering if you belong in the tenor section of the choir. If so I'd say stick with bass :) (although sopranist is always a fun challenge...)

Just keep learning how to use the voice and having fun with it. And if you get to singing opera you'll meet some qualified people who'll tell you what your voice can and cannot do.

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In my amateur opinion, you are a dramatic baritone who could fake basso with a mic. We could do a show on the road. You play Caiaphas and I play Judas, though I can also sing the title role and give me a dress, I can sing Mary of Magdalene. :lol:

I absolutely love your voice. Especially how you did "Deep."

And curses on you for singing my favorite RHCP song, "City of Angels," the place where I was born.

And yet, you can make notes near the top of my full voice range. Probably more important than getting the B5 or even the C6 I can get, is how you can handle A4, which is prevalent in a lot of pop and rock music. I mean, you can do it, if you want. Your voice, though more clear, reminds me a little of the speaking voice of Phillip Anselmo.

You can sing whatever you want. Just accept that you are baritone or basso-baritone who can sing high notes when you want to. It's an awesome thing, really.

edited to add: of course, you don't have Phil's cajun accent but hey, no one's perfect. :D

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Not useful tp be classified at that age just stupid.

I have three friends who where classified at that age.

Case 1. Classified as bass baritone at 17 ... Now hired as a fulltime tenor

Case.2. Classified as baritone at 20 ... Hired as the main role in we will rock you spain(teeennor)

Case 3. Baritone at 17... Now belts high c' like it's nothing

The thing is why people at young age want to know what their fach is because of...

1. Wants a vocal personality something to relate to, but the voice doesnt work in that way in young age.

2. Wants to feel special

I was like that when i was 17, i desperatly wanted to be a tenor. Five diffrent coaches FIVE said i was a baritone and that id never sing highnotes.

Thats bullshit! Complete bullshit! Train your voice for 10 years then we can put a stamp on you, otherwise go fo what you want... It's there if you can feel it

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I still want to do a JC Superstar road show, regardless of how Lavis ends up describing himself. Excellent tone in his voice.

"Ah, gentlemen. You know why we are here. We've not much time and quite a problem here."

"At last, all too well, I can see where we all soon will be. If you strip away the myth from the man you will see where we all soon will be."

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Not useful tp be classified at that age just stupid.

I have three friends who where classified at that age.

Case 1. Classified as bass baritone at 17 ... Now hired as a fulltime tenor

Case.2. Classified as baritone at 20 ... Hired as the main role in we will rock you spain(teeennor)

Case 3. Baritone at 17... Now belts high c' like it's nothing

The thing is why people at young age want to know what their fach is because of...

1. Wants a vocal personality something to relate to, but the voice doesnt work in that way in young age.

2. Wants to feel special

I was like that when i was 17, i desperatly wanted to be a tenor. Five diffrent coaches FIVE said i was a baritone and that id never sing highnotes.

Thats bullshit! Complete bullshit! Train your voice for 10 years then we can put a stamp on you, otherwise go fo what you want... It's there if you can feel it

ABSOLUTELY GREAT post, Jens !

Screw those classifications.... As you said > bullshit !

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Well the usual question applies: why do you want to be classified?

If you sing opera, you need to have the range (and colour) of the part, but if you sing in a choir the other singers will cover up if you can't hit the notes, if you sing in a cover band, you can transpose the song, and if you sing original pop or rock music no one cares.

But let's get to the point. Since you are very young and somewhat new to singing there's not a lot to analyse yet. You're cracking at C#4 which is sort of early and indicates a lower voice type, but then I was doing the same at 17 and 12 years later the top end has developed so much faster than the bottom that I'm barely able to consider myself a potential baritone anymore.

Also listen to the power of your voice on the low notes. Basically any note below C3 is lower than speaking voice in terms of volume. For choral purposes, you probably have a useful Eb2/D2 with potential to extend below, but from a real bass we expect f-ing booming G2's (like Samuel Ramey.

Here's a challenge. Start at a comfortable high note. B3 or whatever. Sing it loud. Not forced but just a good, comfortable loud. Sing a downward scale to your lowest possible note. Record the whole thing and listen to the playback. I'm guessing you'll be surprised how high you lowest note is when you set standards for tonal quality and volume. Personally I have about half an octave of useless low notes that resonate clearly inside my head but don't project more than a few feet.

So I'm basically saying too soon to call and it probably won't ever be relevant. Unless you're wondering if you belong in the tenor section of the choir. If so I'd say stick with bass :) (although sopranist is always a fun challenge...)

Just keep learning how to use the voice and having fun with it. And if you get to singing opera you'll meet some qualified people who'll tell you what your voice can and cannot do.

Its always seems that the supposed choral standards for bass range (E2-E4) are significantly higher than what a "real" bass is considered to be on vocal forums, articles, ect. It just seems odd that despite being able to hit notes a few whole steps below that E2 and struggling with the chest voice notes near E4, I'd be considered a baritone not a bass. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, just having trouble understanding. Also, any vocal tips from you guys based on the video I posted would be greatly appreciated!

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Its always seems that the supposed choral standards for bass range (E2-E4) are significantly higher than what a "real" bass is considered to be on vocal forums, articles, ect. It just seems odd that despite being able to hit notes a few whole steps below that E2 and struggling with the chest voice notes near E4, I'd be considered a baritone not a bass. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, just having trouble understanding. Also, any vocal tips from you guys based on the video I posted would be greatly appreciated!

If the choral definition of bass was the same as the operatic definition, very few choirs would have a bass section. Singing the bass part in choir does not make you a bass. Self-classification based on the part you sing is ubiquitous in choir culture, believe me I've been there. It's also very limiting and detrimental to any ambitions you might have as a solo vocalist. Alto isn't even a voice classification but I can't count the number of women who say "I'm an alto" rather than "I sing the alto part in choir".

If you read the comments on this (admittedly hilarious) video, you'll see that the creator is fully convinced that Idina Menzel must have extraordinary vocal folds to be a low voice type and be able to hit an Eb5 without going into falsetto.

I guess this dude must have REALLY extraordinary vocal folds since umm he's a dude and he can sing this in the same key as Idina without going into falsetto...

I also guess there's maybe 2 dozen or more guys regularly posting on this forum who have extraordinary vocal folds since they can also sing an Eb5 without going into falsetto. That's a lot of people with "extraordinary vocal folds" maybe there's a pattern here?

/End sarcasm

This dude has extraordinary vocal folds...

As does this dude...

Extraordinary vocal folds are great for setting world records and making super high squeaky sounds or pitches so low that they're inaudible to the human ear.

You're a mere mortal just like Anthony Kiedis, just like Adele, just like Idina Menzel, just like Caleb Hyles, and just like the rest of us. Your can use those mere mortal vocal folds to become a great f-ing singer with a great f-ing range and have total control of your instrument throughout the entire thing. Or you can be like the vast majority of choir singers and confine yourself to a very narrow range and spend the rest of the life envying those who discovered their potential.

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I don't claim to have "extraordinary vocal folds" or anything of the sort, just sucks to be in a position where I'm told that I lack the proper resonance and tone of a true bass but can barely reach beyond a forced D4 or Eb4 before flipping into either a light headvoice or full-on falsetto. Regardless, I appreciate everyone's honesty and will work to improve on these shortcomings.

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I wasn't implying that you were claiming that and you missed my point. EVERY GUY has trouble somewhere around D4-E4 when they first start singing, even the tenors. We ALL start out having to either force the notes right at that trouble spot or flip into falsetto, which is all but completely useless at that spot in the voice. Unfortunately, too many people believe that because they're basses, baritones or whatever, that there's absolutely nothing we can do to sing higher. Don't fall into the trap of believing that crap.

Learn how to navigate the passaggio and you will absolutely blow away your peers. They will all THINK you have extraordinary vocal folds.

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Its always seems that the supposed choral standards for bass range (E2-E4) are significantly higher than what a "real" bass is considered to be on vocal forums, articles, ect. It just seems odd that despite being able to hit notes a few whole steps below that E2 and struggling with the chest voice notes near E4, I'd be considered a baritone not a bass. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, just having trouble understanding. Also, any vocal tips from you guys based on the video I posted would be greatly appreciated!

Well in terms of classification, as Felipe is also saying, it's about quality and not range. Many of us start measuring our voices by what we hear in our heads which is completely different to what is heard in the room around us. (I still loathe hearing recordings of myself even though I'm starting to appreciate "the other voice" that other people hear). In choral music you're part of a group, so it drowns out.

I'm not pinning you as a baritone or ruling you out as a bass, I'm just saying your technique isn't good enough to make a qualified assessment of your potential. And as Remy is also saying, (almost) everyone struggles with accessíng those higher notes. The passagio supposedly sits in a slightly different place for basses, baritones and tenors, but it's pretty much the same. Yours starting a little early (if the C#4-thing is correct) could be an indication of a low voice when fully realised, but it's just speculation at this point.

As for practical advice I'd look into the terms 'support' and 'bridging'. Youtube is a decent enough place to learn, but a (good) teacher is always going to be better.

Support is about using the correct amount of air for a note, which helps the vocal folds compress and the tone stay "full". You'll hear stuff about singing from the diaphram. It's mainly about easing muscle in the throat area, which constricts your singing, and moving it the abdomen region, where the muscles are much more adept to handle the heavy lifting of singing. I seem to recall higher notes being physically smaller and needing less air, which runs counter to the typical male response of just pushing more and more air to go higher. The excess air makes you flip and crack (the vocal folds more or less get blown apart by too much air pressure).

Ideally proper support solves all your problems, but you might also need a few exercises to bridge to the high notes. Our patron at this wonderful place, Mr. Robert Lunte, does more than a few videos on youtube about that topic. Personally, I had a breakthrough after seeing (and hearing) this one by a guy named Tony O'Hora. The exercise in it is pretty standard stuff, so I can't give him too much credit :D Once the 'ng'-sounds was in place, I switched to 'ey'-sirens (one of Luntes tricks) and got up to about B4 in a matter of hours.

But do be careful. You can hurt yourself by learning the wrong techniques - both physically and stylistically. I started playing around without a teacher or a clear goal and I have learnt some bad habits that I'll now probably have to deprogram (wrong vibrato technique and overly darkened tone/backwards placement). A teacher and a clear goal for your style will prevent that. Otherwise just take it as a journey and try to have fun backtracking. :)

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Its always seems that the supposed choral standards for bass range (E2-E4) are significantly higher than what a "real" bass is considered to be on vocal forums, articles, ect. It just seems odd that despite being able to hit notes a few whole steps below that E2 and struggling with the chest voice notes near E4, I'd be considered a baritone not a bass. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, just having trouble understanding. Also, any vocal tips from you guys based on the video I posted would be greatly appreciated!

Most points have already been made. "Real basses" are actually really rare. Something like 80% of the guys are within the medium baritone to low tenor range, which is why light baritone is always a good starting point for training. Passaggio will be around the D4 area in that case. Once you get some quality in your sound it will probably move a bit up or down, revealing your true voice type with time.

Given that basses are rare, in choral music, the bass section mostly consists of baritones with a decent low range. Actual sound quality of the single voice doesn't matter THAT much in that case.

Classification of individual singers is more than anything defined by a certain quality of the voice, not its range. In untrained singers that sort of quality is usually lacking completely and therefore untrained singers are usually neither basses, nor baritones, nor tenors.

The range of untrained singers is a different thing. In most cases it is quite random and has a lot to do with everyday speaking habits. You seem to have a habit to speak with a lowered larynx, which puts your speaking range below average and gives you easier access to the lower notes and more problems with high notes. This has nothing to do with voice type, though, this is just the current state of your voice. That said: ALL untrained singers, even tenors, struggle with the notes around the C4 area. When I started out myself, I could not sing anything beyond A3 with decent quality.

But guess what: I was singing with a dumped larynx, too, which moved my passagio down quite a bit. Once you find a more centered position of the larynx, your passaggio will be more in line with your actual voice type.

To learn centering all those buzzing exercises are usually a good start, so do buzzing on MMM, on NG or NNN for example.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the amazing advice everyone! I believe I've made some progress on accessing the upper range and using the abdominal area for supporting these notes. Here's an original track I recently recorded vocals over with my band Happily Almond. This was also my first attempt at recording screams (only beginning to try and implement them) but I'd love any opinions on my vocals, especially in reference to my difficulties with notes around the C4-D4 region.

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Hehe, cool. I just listened to Leprous' Coal before this and it almost seemed to flow naturally into this (if you happen to not know Leprous go to youtube NOW and listen. Bilateral is there in full length and Coal is there in playlist form. Einar Solberg rawks).

Sounds just fine, so keep up the good work. And keep in mind that your difficulties are transitory. You'll manage to get through them (like all you favorite singers have).

No advice on screaming or growling from me. Cookie monstering strains my throat after a few seconds and I've never written any songs where I felt it was needed, so I haven't practised it. (And if I do a growl-along, I usually do a distorted whisper.)

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Hehe, cool. I just listened to Leprous' Coal before this and it almost seemed to flow naturally into this (if you happen to not know Leprous go to youtube NOW and listen. Bilateral is there in full length and Coal is there in playlist form. Einar Solberg rawks).

Sounds just fine, so keep up the good work. And keep in mind that your difficulties are transitory. You'll manage to get through them (like all you favorite singers have).

No advice on screaming or growling from me. Cookie monstering strains my throat after a few seconds and I've never written any songs where I felt it was needed, so I haven't practised it. (And if I do a growl-along, I usually do a distorted whisper.)

I used to have a similar issue with screaming where I could emulate the sound but only using a whisper. I found that I developed the muscles controlling vocal fry production by focusing on maintaining extremely low pitches like F1 or E1 which carried over to my ability to do fry screams, although I'm still in the very early learning stages myself. I'm glad you enjoyed the song, my band and I are really trying to do some genre-blending and original composition, even though the main style we're going for is progressive metal/"djent" as we're all very influenced by bands like Tesseract, Periphery, Twelve Foot Ninja, ect.

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