Tenor or a Baritone? 5 Questions to Help you Decide

Do you know what the real definition of a lazy tenor is?
A very rich baritone!
Thomas Hampson

Note: I have edited this article slightly since it was first published, and I’ve changed one of the original five questions. I sing baritone now, and am very happy singing baritone. As I write this, I’m 30 years old, and my voice has grown into itself. My experiences singing as a tenor probably slowed down my career as a baritone somewhat, but those experiences also made me a much smarter singer. I feel a responsibility to keep this article current with what I believe about singing because it is – by far – the most read article on this site, and I don’t want to steer anybody wrong. Enjoy. – Ian, Aug. 30, 2013

In Spring 2009, I switched from baritone to tenor (and since then, I’ve happily switched back). Since I written about this struggle often, a lot of people have found this blog by asking the question via Google: Am I a tenor or a baritone?

The answer: it depends.

Fach IdentityIt's not everyday that you see Werther  sung by a baritone.

There is a lot of identity that goes with singing within a certain fach (voice type). One person’s personality may be attracted to one kind of character over another, but their voice may point them in a different direction.

Baritones tend to play more villains (Scarpia, Jago, Jud Fry, Javert, Klingsor) or dudes with questionable integrity (Count Almaviva, Oppenheimer, Escamillo, Don Giovanni, Wotan) than tenors. Baritones are often cast in comic roles (Figaro, Papageno). When they’re heroic, in opera, they can often have a fatal flaw (Valentin, Amfortas, Wolfram, Flying Dutchman, Athanaël).

Tenors tend to be lovers (Nemorino, Fenton, Rinuccio, Rodolfo, Alfredo, Faust) and heroes (Siegfried, Jean Valjean, Parsifal), and, at their worst, they can be jerks (Pinkerton) or creeps (Hermann), but they are rarely murderers (Don José). Tenor roles can be less dramatically complex and meaty than baritone roles, but musically – in my opinion – they tend to get the soaring tunes that folks tend to whistle afterwards.

If you are a baritone who wants to play primary protagonists all the time, your options may be limited in opera and more plentiful in musical theater (Curly, Lancelot, Marius) or operetta.

In my early struggles with being a baritone, I was hoping that I could be the next Thomas Hampson and get some of the rarely performed baritone versions of popular tenor roles tenor roles transposed (Werther ), but that was and remains unlikely.

Questions to Ask Yourself

None of these questions are fool-proof. Some baritones have high passaggi and some tenors have a hard time with high C’s, but these can get you thinking more clearly about who you are:

  1. Are you uncomfortable or in pain?

    If you feel sore when you sing, whether it’s high or low, then you may want to try something else. If A2 on the bass clef feels bad to you, then you may be a higher voice. But if E4 feels bad to you even after regular practice, then you may have a low voice.

  2. Where is your passaggio?

    Where is the most unstable area of your voice? That’s likely to be your passaggio. Usually, it is a good guide to help you decide whether you are a high or low voiced person.

    Normally, we speak of having two passaggio breaks: the first break (primo passaggio) and the second break (secondo passaggio) with a zone in between (zona di passaggio).

    For me, the zona di passaggio feels similar to singing on a tight rope where one wrong move will cause me voice to flip in and out of falsetto in a fluttery kind of way. It is also difficult to hear my own voice properly there.

    Here is the chart from Richard Miler’s The Structure of Singing laying out men’s passaggio points (with those in parentheses being alternates):

    Voice Typeprimo passaggiosecondo passaggio
    tenorinoF4Bb4
    tenore leggieroE4 (Eb4)A4 (Ab4)
    tenore liricoD4G4
    tenore spintoD4 (C#4)G (F#4)
    tenore robusto (tenore drammatico)C4 (C#4)F4 (F#4)
    baritono liricoB3E4
    baritono drammaticoBb3Eb4
    basso cantanteA3D4
    basso profondoAb3 (G3)Db4 (C4)

    Test out your voice by singing a truly pure “Ah” vowel beginning in your speaking voice area. As you ascend, you will reach a point where you have to tilt your jaw up if you continue to sing in the exact same manner as you began. That’s your primo passaggio. A fourth above is your secondo passaggio. This doesn’t work in 100% of cases, but it usually is helpful.

  3. What are the extremes of your range?

    I knew that I could sing C5 about 5 years ago when I listened to some tenors and concluded, “I can do that”. I would sing it, but for years I didn’t trust those high notes.
    Trust yours. If you have extremes on either side of your voice like extreme low notes or extreme high notes, then admit that they might be telling you something. They may not be developed and strong. But a tenor will not be able to sing B1. If you can, then perhaps you should avoid singing tenor rep. Baritones can’t sing Eb5 outside of falsetto. If you can…

    What is your most comfortable tessitura?

    I’m editing this question because I’ve changed my mind about it. The best guide to your range is where you’re happiest singing with good technique for an extended amount of time, or the tessitura. Even if you can manage to sing all the notes in a given tessitura, it must sound pretty easy for you, or the audience will have a kind of cognitive dissonance with your performance. You might be able to honk out a killer high note, but if you cannot actually sing in the tessitura required by a piece, then you aren’t actually that voice type.

    For me: I’m happiest singing in the baritone range. When I sang Nemorino, I did it, but it felt so incredibly difficult and stressful, while singing Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro felt great. This takes experience and lots of trial and error, but if singing stops being fun due to an incorrect choice, then it’s best to make a different choice.

  4. What is your reaction to other singers?This gives "Big Mouth Frog" exercises a whole new context

    If you listen to a singer and think “Yes, we can!”, then give it a shot and see. Try what they do. Don’t get attached because it might be wrong for you right now, but there’s nothing wrong in trying something out once. Your gut may be telling you something.

    If you feel inadequate after listening to a singer or a sense that it is totally beyond you, then maybe that repertoire is not right for you.

  5. Are you faking it?

    You may not feel any discomfort or pain when you sing, but you may be faking it. Examples of baritone fakery include a tongue shoved into your throat or an overly lengthened vocal tract by shoving your lips outward. You may be pulling your top lip down to darken your sound. You may be modifying your vowels too early to create an artificially low passaggio. You may sound incredibly loud to your own ears but small voiced to everyone else.

    Faking tenors may have a larynx that is pulled up into the backs of their throats. Or they may be shouting their high notes just to force them out. To give the appearance of a high passaggio, they may keep their voices spread instead of modifying their vowels appropriately. This sound may not sound like singing at all and may be highly unpleasant to listen to (though even the prettiest voice can sound unpleasant if it’s loud and in a small room).

    Try singing as simply as you can for awhile and forget all of your technique. Just intone some “Ah”s and try to avoid creating any tension in your throat. Record yourself. What do you hear?

Do I have a choice?Melchior made the switch. Should you?

For most people, the answer is ‘no’. For most people, they are clearly in one camp or the other, and there is very little they can do to alter that. The question becomes “What kind of (bass,baritone,tenor,alto,mezzo,soprano) am I?” That takes time to learn as well.

But for some others, they may have a choice. Lauritz Melchior sang as professional baritone before he switched up, and he must have been credible to audiences at the time. Thomas Hampson could probably have made a credible tenor, but he’s done ok for himself.

The choice to remain or change is a highly personal one. If you are toying with the idea then talk to your teacher (and maybe several; I got a second opinion with my teacher’s blessing) and take some time to play with it. There’s no harm in play.

[Have you made a change in your fach? What was the experience like? Was it easy, hard, in between?]

{“Si se puede” frog by artfulblogger.}

Comments

  1. Lee Brown says

    I am not really a singer but I find it fascinating. While trying to figure out if I was a Baritone or Tenor, I found this site. Based on the info from the chart it seems as if I am a dramatic tenor or either a high baritone. I can sing a C4 without straining or going over into head voice. The highest note I can get to is F4(maybe F#4) and then somewhere along here is when the “flip” happens.

  2. olru says

    The baritone version of Werther is by Massenet himself, written in 1902. But still your point stands, there aren't that many lyric baritone superstars like Hampson.

  3. says

    For not being a singer, you have a pretty good idea about how your voice works! I'm glad the chart was useful for you.

    I've found that passaggi points can also be different on different days depending on our health. So it very well may move back and forth between F and F#.

  4. Armando says

    Wow this is great! I love this! according to this I’m either a tenorino or a leggiero. I think I’ll have to wait until my voice heals from pharyngitis for me to know for sure though.

  5. Armando says

    Hehe. I’m almost 19 though. Do you think my voice will darken at least a semi-tone more or stay pretty much the same?

    • Ian Sidden says

      It might, but you never know for sure. Since I haven’t heard you, I won’t make a prediction beyond saying that in your 20′s and early 30′s, you’ll learn a lot about your voice and what is right for it. It might change dramatically or very little.

      For an example of a dramatic change, my most recent voice teacher began as a light lyric tenor who sang Donizetti and Rossini and was hoping to sing a lot of Britten roles. Then in his 30′s, he had a major change and he began singing heavier roles until he was singing the heaviest Wagner Heldentenor roles in Germany.

      On the other hand, Alfredo Kraus was always skeptical of singers whose voices dramatically changed over time. He sang the same repertoire from his early 20′s until the day he passed at age 70.

      You never know. Just pay attention to what feels right for your voice.

  6. ..... says

    I´m 23 y’o male and i always felt that i had an almost “alto” kind of voice (a very childish and very bright tone, by the way, and i still have it). I tested my voice with this site and the note when i change registers (the first one that sounds cracked, or when a crack happens) is F4. Am i doing this right?. The one that i must take in consideration is the last one of chest (E#4) of the first one of passaggio (F4)?. Does this makes me a high tenor?

    • Ian Sidden says

      @….. Not being able to hear you, it would be unwise for me to label you one of any type. I really suggest that you find a good voice teacher in your area and seek some outside guidance. However, to continue exploring your voice on your own you can:

      1. Look at your Adam’s apple and compare it to other singers’. It sounds simplistic, but men with long Adam’s apples tend to be lower voiced because it (the tip of the thyroid cartilage) can give you an idea of how long your vocal folds are. Just like a piano, longer thicker folds mean lower tones while shorter thinner folds mean higher tones. It’s not the whole story, but it can tell you something.

      2. Feel your larynx while you sing. If it yanks upwards toward the back of your mouth, then that can create a childish tone. But if it’s low and stable and you still find your voice to be high, then that may tell you that you are a higher voiced man.

      3. Compare where you speak with someone who has a clear high or low voice. Basses and baritones tend to speak at a lower general pitch range than their tenor counterparts. Find one of those guys and compare. It would be even better to find a piano and know exactly what pitch you tend to average while you speak. Then you can see how much higher you are.

      4. Play with passaggio strategies. Usually, to sing [a] up and down their voices, men need to modify their lip shapes to “aw” (at the beginning of the passaggio) then “oh” then “oo” (this is right at the top) then begin to open again to “uoh” (like “book”) then “uh”. Really exaggerate your lip shapes and find what vowel shapes work best at certain pitches. By changing the shape of your mouth, some notes will become a lot easier. Find those shapes and notes and that will tell you a lot about your voice.

      5. Monitor yourself. If you have a camera or a mirror watch yourself like crazy. See what strategies you use to sing higher notes. Then go to Youtube and watch other singers and compare. You can learn a lot about yourself this way.

      Hope this helps. Sorry for the slow response, I’ve been on a long road trip.

  7. ... says

    Thanks for your response. Answering items:

    1.-Adam’s apple: Small but it’s there.
    2.-Larynx: It seems to disappear completely after F4 and up.
    3.-Piano: The lowest note c3, the highest round E5 +/- F5.

  8. ... says

    2.-Larynx: It seems to disappear completely after F4 and up.

    Explaining point 2: At F4 my adam’s apple goes up (seems to disappear). Lower than that seems fine.

    • Ian Sidden says

      @… All of your responses suggest that you’re a tenor and most likely a high one. However, I still suggest that you find a teacher to work with you. Your description of your larynx disappearing suggests that you have some technical challenges to overcome. One’s larynx ought to remain stable – and somewhat low – throughout his voice, and that takes time to work out.

  9. says

    Hello Mr Ian. You’ve got an interesting article. Thanks for sharing! :) Well actually I need someone to clarify my vocal timbre. I could go down Db2 up to D5 most of the time. On random days after vocal warm up it’s just weird that I could reach high F5 with mix chest.

    But to be honest, my most comfortable range falls within A2 to A4. Sometimes, Bb4. (I can’t sing B4 coz it sounds shaky and hard to control)

    Questions:

    Is Db2 considered normal for a tenor to sing?

    I don’t find it easy to go on singing with falsetto. Why?

    I heard that tenors could go beyond C6 but for myself I’m stuck with headvoice, around Ab5 – B5. Is this really the maximum I could go?

    On bad days, I prefer to sing F4 because that I didn’t want to force my voice out. Do you find it reasonable?

    Here’s a link of me singing in legato.(not a good one though)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oODu7lIYZr0

    Thanks in advance! =)

  10. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Zamel,

    Thanks for contacting me!

    Your recording sounds like a tenor and most likely a lyric or lighter tenor. Heldentenor is a very specific voice type that is extremely rare, and your voice – at least from that recording – certainly does not sound like a Heldentenor.

    Db2 is very low, but I wonder what you sound like when you make that note. Is it loud? Are you using vocal fry?

    Video of Vocal Fry

    Vocal fry is not considered a healthy technique, and it shouldn’t be used to gauge your range. And sometimes we can make a healthy tone without vocal fry on a very low note, but I bet that it’s not a usable note in your case just because your voice sounds naturally high.

    As for your high range: C6 is soprano range. Most men never have to sing that high. Freddie Mercury of Queen might have at some point, but usually only male sopranos (counter tenors) sing that high in classical repertoire. Even then it’s rare. Unless you want to sing soprano repertoire, then it’s not worth worrying about singing those notes.

    Falsetto takes some time to train. If you aren’t using your falsetto well, then it can tire you out just as quickly as using your normal voice. Breath support and an open throat apply to singing in falsetto just as they do for the rest of our singing. It took me years to learn how to produce healthy falsetto tones, so be sure to take your time with it.

    If you can find a voice teacher in your location that you can trust, then that is your best bet to learn about your voice. You sound like a tenor, but a teacher can really help you maximize your capabilities.

  11. Zamel says

    Thank you Mr Ian Sidden for your reply. Well at least by now I already know my limit. There was once where my voice got strained cause of singing lower notes. Hmmm..Yup! I guess I need to find a good voice teacher along the way. Thanks once again. :)

  12. Singer says

    Hi Mr Sidden.

    My range starts at b2
    (frying it i can reach a2).
    I can sing b3 very well
    but c4 is a little bit
    problematic, another change
    goes at f4 and at b4 there’s
    another change where my voice
    adquires a very sharp tone
    that goes till d5.

    So… Hendel, Drammatico?

    A few years ago i couldn’t even
    reach a c3
    (my lowest were a d#3).

  13. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Singer,

    Your high range suggests tenor. Some baritones don’t have a great a2 either, but they normally don’t go as high as you do. You don’t say how comfortable those high notes are for you, so I’m assuming they’re not uncomfortable.

    Are there any recordings available of you online? If you’re not comfortable being too public, then you can do a quick recording, upload it to Youtube and then set it to “Unlisted”. That will mean that you can share a link for some people to hear it, but no one will be able to search for it and stumble upon it from the Youtube site. I’m very curious what the “sharp tone” is that enters your voice and how you move through your registers.

    I can’t tell if somebody has a dramatic voice without hearing them. Singing dramatic music without a dramatic voice can be very damaging. Regardless of passaggio, a dramatic singer must be able to cut through the thickest of orchestrations for extended periods. I don’t know how old you are, but people usually do not sing fully dramatic music until they are in the mid to late 30′s. It’s a grownup voice type.

    This is not to discourage you if you are a dramatic singer, of course.

    Some dramatic tenors are Mario del Monaco, Franco Corelli, Lauritz Melchior, and Kurt Baum. Listening to them can give you some context in case you hadn’t listened to them before.

  14. Singer says

    Hi. Can you give me your email?.
    I think i can send ‘u something
    since i’m a total amateur
    at singing.

  15. Aidan says

    Can you help me decide where I fit?
    I talk with some vocal fry in my voice at about B2 (the fact there is vocal fry in my voice when I talk must mean I talk lower than I should). If there wasn’t vocal fry in that part of my voice I’d say definate baritone.
    My singing range extremes are: G2 (really the lowest I can possibly go by forcing my larynx down as if imitating a bass) and about D5 in what I think is head voice. My falsetto can take me to G5 but I only know how to get into falsetto with excess strain that I don’t use on the rest of my voice.
    I can take chest voice to Eb4 although I’m not sure if I’m almost shouting it or not.
    On a hum or singing “ah” if I just let a chest voice sound out it seems to always be Eb3.
    After listening to Zamel’s recording of him singing I sound deeper in comparison.
    I believe everything points to me being a lyric baritone so far but after listening to other lyric baritones sing, my voice seems somehow different. I guess the difference is if I sing the same note my voice sounds higher and sometimes has edge to it.

    I don’t exactly struggle singing along to my favourite contemporary music singers, like Nevershoutnever but he does sing in such a way that I can sing it at a slightly lower volume and hit every note he does. One thing I might be doing is using mix voice to hit the notes he hits in high chest voice though.

    I think I’m a lyric baritone which sort of disappoints me seeing as modern contemporary music is full of tenors. If I am a lyric baritone is there anyway of taking it even a step up to dramatic tenor?
    As a lyric baritone belting out Eb4 in full chest voice is it possible for me to belt out mix voice to A4?

  16. Aid says

    Hey.
    I was wondering if there was anyway you could help me to decide which of these types of singers I fit into.
    I’m only 18 at the moment and 19 in january so they don’t really apply BUT I would love to know where I stand at the moment.

    I don’t really sing opera but on speech level (just incase that changes where passagio points are).
    My absoloute lowest note is G2 if I force my larynx down trying to sound like a bass (it clearly isnt bass though in any sense of the word). My highest note to date without strain is G5 (maybe could of gone to A5 or higher.
    Depending on how loud I am singing my passagio points change.
    When singing at a comfortable volume (which may be quite quiet in comparison to other singers) I can comfortably sing from C3 to about E4 where I either have my first passagio or my second. I’m not sure which because if it’s my second passagio then I have completely smoothed over my first one and have no idea where it is. The thing is upon using a 5 tone tenor scale to find my passagio points I have only found one passagio and it has been E4 and recently it seemed to be about G4 too (creating the same sort of quality) however when I switched at G4 I was easily able to hit a G5 and only stopped due to it being late and not wanting to wake my young sister up. When switching to head voice or mix (whichever it is) at E4 my voice reached D5 at most and only then at higher intensities than the rest of my range.

    I’m pretty sure I hit the G5 without falsetto because I could feel my cords stretched further than I’ve felt before but without strain AND it had very much a ringing quality to it. I doubt I’d ever use it to sing contemporary music like I want to but knowing its there is really nice.

    My natural speaking pitch however is B2 which actually weirdly includes some vocal fry in it without me trying. This might be due to me wanting a deeper voice before puberty and faking it until it became easy to talk down there and natural too. Do baritones usually have vocal fry in their average speaking voice?
    It’s worth noting that talking at E3 when I actually think about the pitch of my voice is easy. Does this mean I should be talking around that note really but have developed talking low until it became my natural voice?

    Do you think maybe that the reason My passagio changes is due to how much weight I have in my voice at the certain time?
    I do keep alot of weight in my voice trying to keep it sounding even in quality (and also singing with more volume) which will make it harder and harder to go higher and eventually at about B3/C4 I just cant go higher and any notes after that are lighter so much more free (yet after today I realise they still kept a slight amount of tension).

    I watched Zamel’s video to see what a lyric tenor sounded like and I was amazed at how high is voice is even on the low notes of his range. It sounded like he had some level of head voice in the whole of his range which was purely beautiful and smooth to listen to.
    It was only after watching his video that I began to question my own voice type so much.
    It was also after listening to him sing that I somehow miraculously expanded my top note from D5 to G5.

    Would a baritone be able to hit G5 with ringing in his voice if he thinned it out enough?
    If so then that may be what I did and I may be a lyric baritone.

    What do you think?
    If need be I could record a rough version of me vocalising my range and link it but would rather not at this stage in my development XD

  17. Aid says

    Can I ask what is the last note Zamel hits? (the low one)
    When I’m singing it with him he starts on Eb4 goes to C#5 and down to C#4. If I’m correct that is.
    That would explain why it seemed so high even on his low notes XD.
    in that case what he sings is easy and infact if C#5 is his highest note I have no problem going higher to F5 and G5 with ease.
    Infact its easier for me to hit Eb5 than C5 or C#5 because I can take my mix voice to D5 at higher intensity and thus sometimes accidentally use that instead of head voice.
    Head voice is so new to me and I can guarantee I have never used it before today. I was either using a high mix or some weak breathy sound to reach C5 and D5 (not strained though).
    So I guess my last post is irrelevant now as we’ve found my first passagio is E4 and my second is about A4 according to your table above (although at this stage in my use of head voice the lowest I’ve taken it is B4 so far so I might be a little higher than you said).
    This being said my head voice feels stronger and easier to navigate than my mix or chest voice already and I’ve been using mix voice for a couple of months or so but only using proper chest voice since today.(Always used too much weight in my voice and thought I was baritone which made me mentally feel I had to change to mix at B3 thus making it extremely hard to blend voices properly).

    Also since discovering real head voice I can now reach Eb6 in what might be the early stages of whistle voice coming in. (Maybe just the extreme high note of head – I don’t know)

    I am so thankful to this site and Zamel for finally discovering my true vocal fach and proper head voice. Thank you both so much.
    Now I just need to work on my real voice to make it as strong as it can be XD
    Once again thank you SO much.

  18. Ian Sidden says

    Aidan,

    There’s a lot of really interesting information here.

    It sounds like you have a light lyric baritone voice. Many baritones don’t have extended low ranges like basses do. But many tenors can’t vocalise where you do at all.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a baritone. There’s great music out there for you to sing if you find it. A lot of contemporary singers sing very high, but that will give you the chance to be different. Different is good. Emphasize your strengths.

    I wouldn’t advise trying to push to dramatic tenor. That’s a whole new ballgame and it’s dangerous, especially for someone your age.

    G5 is very high for a man to sing. Do you mean G4? The numbers are based on the C below it. So C4 is “middle C” on the piano. The G above that is G4. G4 is considered a baritone high note. G5 is soprano and mezzo soprano range, and men almost never need to sing it unless they are professional male sopranos or mezzos or some hair band singers. If you do sing it, then I’m certain that it’s in falsetto. I’ll be curious what this extended range sounds like in a few years as your voice matures more. One never knows.

    It’s hard to discuss an individual’s passaggio without hearing you in person. I believe that the sensation of passaggio can change based on the amount of vocal weight in the voice. Therefore, what’s more important is to figure out where you feel most comfortable singing and how much weight is just right for your particular voice so that you can be heard but not exhaust yourself.

    Your description of having vocal fry in your speaking voice is troubling. I hear a lot of people speak with vocal fry (from all voice types including women), but it usually sounds timid and reserved and comes from a lack of breath support and speaking too low. I would work to eliminate that by speaking a little higher and louder (when appropriate, of course) and taking a larger breath before you speak. You’ll immediately sound more confident, healthy and alert.

    Finding a teacher would be very good for you if there are any in your area. They can answer many of these questions very quickly because they’ll be able to hear you and ask you questions in real time. It’s worth it if you’re interested in improving.

    Thanks for writing, and best of luck.

  19. Aid says

    Sorry for only just replying, I wanted to test out what you said before I rejected or accepted it. Thank you for your advice, it has probably saved me from vocal damage. I think in actual fact I am definately not a leggiero tenor at all and only thought I was because I had learnt accidentally how to adduct my cords effectively in falsetto to give it a full voiced sound. I was also being too quiet which allowed me to connect the reinforced falsetto to the rest of my voice (leading me to believe it was part of my range).

    After reading your reply I tried out the tests in this blog again starting from scratch and just letting my voice go where it wants.
    I found out I was using the wrong “ah” vowel to test my chest voice and upon correcting it I tried again. The result veried depending on how loud I let myself be but the top note I could reproduce time and time again without shouting was C4/C4# so I concluded that was my real first passagio (I’ve never really understood if your passagio point is the last note you CAN hit or the first note you CAN’T hit). Ofcourse I didn’t count any notes which had strain on them at all. The lowest note comfortable was C3 while using the “ah” vowel and this leads me to believe I am not producing the G2 to B2 in a correct or healthy way.

    The D4, Eb4 and E4 notes cause me trouble all the time. I just cant fathom how to make a noise on this area which isn’t breathy, weak and broken. That should mean its within my passagio I believe.

    If I start in head voice and work my way down I can make a noise on the notes D4, Eb4 and E4 and it feels as if it vibrates in both my head and chest so I guess thats mix voice but its certainly not strong. It still sounds weak and uncontrolled and too breathy and quiet.

    My head voice starts at F4 (I believe) and I have no problem taking it to C5 and have actually attempted to go a little higher to E5. It became breathy aha. C5 is definately in my range though and sounds full and confident.
    I think I will start working on my head voice properly again so I can develop it as much as I have chest voice.

    I have begun speaking comfortably higher and louder and so far I speak generally around C#3 but within the next few months I might find it easier to speak a little higher.
    You were right about sounding instantly more confident, healthy and alert. Even to myself I sound more enthusiatic about things.

    “Do you know what the real definition of a lazy tenor is?
    A very rich baritone!”
    This is what I believe was my case. I believe the vocal fry in my speaking voice was the result of my voice becoming lazy.

    I am glad you took the time to reply to me and also that you were critical but supportive. Thanks for everything and good luck with everything in life =)

  20. Jason says

    High I’m having trouble deciding if I am a lyric baritone or just maybe a spinto tenor my range is G2-b4 but I don’t sing any notes under A3 notes under there take a whole lot of breath. I sing all the time from A3-F4 tessitura here is a sample of my voice the video is how I sing comfortable the audio is low for me link:http://www.myspace.com/thatexclusivegemini/videos/video/63244787

    :page link with audio cover:http://www.myspace.com/lillblessed thank you for your help

  21. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Jason! thanks for sharing the recordings.

    It’s hard to tell from your recording. You could go either way. You have a nice warm timbre, but I can see that you could go higher.

    If I were your teacher, I would probably start you as a light baritone and go from there. With more training your voice would reveal itself over time.

    But I would caution you to stay away from really heavy low stuff. Sometimes people hear “baritone” but think “bass” and try to use that person in a choir to sing really low things. That’s definitely not right for you if you’re ever in choral situations.

  22. Ian Sidden says

    Why are you afraid of ruining your voice? Is it something you’re doing with your singing technique or is there a situation coming up where you’ll need to declare your voice type?

    I really want to understand your concern.

  23. Jason says

    someone told me if you continously sing in a fach that is to high and your a lower voice type you might ruin your voice thats why I was so concerned but I dont feel comfortable singing baritone roles I like to sing continously around Ae with alot of f4′s in the mix

  24. Ian Sidden says

    Do you sing classical music or musical theater at all? Or do you want to apply this to the music you’re singing in the videos that you sent?

  25. Jason says

    More to the music I was singing in the videos I sent,but I was interested in some musical theater as well.

  26. Ian Sidden says

    Spinto is a voice type that describes a type of opera singer. Guys who sing spinto tenor are crazy loud but can also sing very high. As an example, here’s Franco Corelli:

    Franco Corelli

    In musical theatre, they might find themselves in the baritenor category where they don’t fall into either camp. Musical theater rarely asks men to sing in the operatic style so it’s harder to tell whether those folks are true spintos or lyric baritones.

    With you, it’s equally difficult to tell. You have some technique work to do so that you don’t “pull up” your voice. You’re pulling up your voice where a lower voiced tenor might pull up his voice. Your timbre also reminds me of a tenor. It’s very possible that you’re a tenor. You might just as easily be a baritone who’s cutting of the warmth of his voice though. It’s very hard to tell over the internet without working with you in person.

    If you advertise yourself as a tenor, then people will expect things of your voice that you are not currently capable of (based purely on the videos you sent). You will need to learn how to move into your higher voice much more easily. Check out Roderick Dickson for an excellent example.

    If I were you, I’d work on the middle of my voice because I do think you could find an easier way to move up. It would be a very good idea to find a voice teacher. That person can work with you to answer any questions in real time. Though it will cost up front, it will save you so much time.

  27. Ben Cole says

    I have been taking voice lessons for a year now. I have problems with all notes under Eb4. From Eb4 all the way up to Bb5 I am in my happy zone. I dont have to strain at all and I am able to sing in a legitimate head voice with cord closure. If I try to sing past a Eb4 I feel like I am in inhaling my voice. As I go higher the sounds becomes lighter and brighter. I have a lift at B5/C6 where I go into the Whistle register I can go to a D7 comfortably. I have a very low Baritonal Quality chest voice but it reaches Eb4 down to a comfortable A2/B2. Normally I bottom at C3. Can you tell me what my voice is based on that.

  28. Ben Cole says

    I am asking beacuse my Voice teacher who is an Operatic Spinto Soprano claims that I have a break at G#4/A4ish. I am incredibly confused on what type voice I have. I play with the timbre alot and like to darken my voice alot to sing like a Spinto Tenor. I am leaning towards a Leggiero Tenor after reading Alan Lindquest’s article on Voiceteacher. com. To give you an idea of how light my voice is, I can sing in the Eb4-Bb5 range in the moring right when I wake up and still have a good quality of sound to it. My teacher believes that I am a Lyric Baritone because of my thin physique with a swimmer’s body type. I am not training to be a singer I am just curious.

  29. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Ben,

    I would really need to hear you. I would be very curious what your timbre sounds like when you sing as high as you say you can.

    Are you sure that you mean B5 and D7? Remember that the new number begins at C and not at A (which is – admittedly – counterintuitive). D7 is the D above the D (D6) above high C (C6) for sopranos. I don’t think women can sing that high let alone men. Though you might prove me wrong.

    Please let me know. I’ll be happy to discuss this more with you with a little more info.

  30. Ben Cole says

    Yes I do mean a B5 as in Soprano B5. I have have several points at which my voice shifts up (at least thats what I think)They are first one occuring at C#5 second at G5 and last at D6. The Timbre of my voice is incredibly light I can sing a Bb5 any day. The only problem is I sing from my throat when I sing from my diaphragm I have no breaks. Like I said at below Eb4 my voice feels weak and tired. Timbre sounds like a bell when I reach G5 and yes I mean Soprano G5. When I belt from C#5-F#5 it sounds very whiny but incredibly powerful and it does not take any effort to give you an idea of my voice.

  31. Ben Cole says

    I dont why but I talk pretty high too around Bb3/C4. I don’t know what any of this stuff means. But I am very curious.

  32. Ben Cole says

    When I said that I can sing a D7 I mean I can hit it not sit on it for hours I can sing it some days when my voice is fully warmed up but I cant sing it with power and yes I do mean the D7 above Soprano High C (C6). When I say Whoo after watching a football game I usually hit a C6/C#6 sometimes D6/Eb6/E6/F6.I can sing quietly and find it uncomfortable to be loud in any register except the (C#5-F#5/G5ish region).

  33. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Ben,

    It sounds like you have an impressive falsetto extension, and in that case you might seriously consider looking at counter tenor repertoire. You might listen to a singer like Philipe Jaroussky to see if you have any affinity for music like that.

    Usually counter tenors sing in choral groups (like Chanticleer) as male sopranos and mezzo sopranos and in solo music of the Baroque (Handel, Vivaldi and such). It might sound strange at first, but this is a totally legitimate style and can be extremely beautiful. Good counter tenors are rare.

    I would still be interested in hearing your voice. And of course, to be safe you should seek out and consult a teacher that you can trust.

  34. Ben Cole says

    I do not use falsetto, I use the legitimate head voice like a woman would and it sounds like a Soprano rather than a countertenor. It is not breathy and my voice teacher says it has cord closure.Falsetto is not a voice it is a tone of sound produced.I sing in the modal voice in the upper registers. I do not sound like a countertenor me and my voice teacher have recorded my voice before and she even said it sounded like a legitimate Soprano. What is the falsetto you are referring to because I do not use it.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Ben,

      I really don’t want to get too much into register talk because people have a lot of disagreements about it.

      That said, it does sound like you have some confusion about what falsetto is. Falsetto is a register that is produced by the cricothyroid muscles completely taking over from the vocalis muscles and stretching the folds to the point where only the outer edge of the fold enters into oscillation. This produces a weaker spectrum of harmonics than modal voice and sounds similar to a woman’s head voice. Falsetto has full closure just like modal and needn’t sound weak or breathy. It is a legitimate register but is often avoided by male singers for various reasons.

      Countertenors can sound like women altos and sopranos using falsetto. Their voices can be very powerful, and when listening blind it can be easy to confuse a good countertenor with a woman.

      I would be very surprised if you weren’t using falsetto, but I suppose that anything is possible. Of course, not having worked with you or heard you, I can’t say anything with absolute certainty.

  35. Ben says

    Brett Manning from Singing Success Clearly states that both men and women possess the legitimate head voice where there is cord closure and the vocal muscles are moving correctly. Check him out at Youtube Brett Manning Head Voice vs. Falsetto. He explains that falsetto is the false cord closure and is harmful to the voice. He also says that head voice can be come quiet and soft without whipsering and falsetto struggles with reaching high notes past C#5-F#5 some even sooner. He even sings a High C (C6) when working with a student. I do not mean to argue but this where I have learned the correct head voice rather than the strengthened falsetto. Also I am not training for Opera.

  36. Ian Sidden says

    What follows is a lot more information than you asked for, but I felt compelled after watching some of his videos.

    Falsetto is neither inherently unhealthy nor breathy. Most people just do not spend any energy developing their falsetto. Yes, it will be breathy if you bring it too low, but that’s because you’ve created a register violation by using an inappropriate register strategy. It will also be breathy if you’re just bad at it.

    And that seems to be his definition. In one video I watched, he calls a breathy production falsetto and a clear production head voice. Both are falsetto. He tunes his vowels to have less hootiness to the sound, but it’s falsetto nevertheless. At other times, he is doing what some teachers would call head voice (keeping some thyroarytenoid muscle contraction while the cricothyroid muscle is dominant and creating a resonance space that has little sub-glottal resonance), but it’s inconsistent, and it seems that’s what he’s calling “mixed”.

    I watched some of his videos where he demonstrates his range. Yes, he creates sounds at certain pitches that seem impressive. However, he is using falsetto (with some vocal fold dampening to reduce their length most likely – which you might call whistle) at the top and vocal fry at the bottom.

    If you want to actually make music, then that’s completely irrelevant. What piece calls for notes that are at the far right of the piano? What piece calls for vocal fry?

    By the way, he’s also mostly incorrect in his statements on vocal fry. He says that we just hear the individual collisions of the folds because they’ve slowed down so much. He’s partially correct on that (it’s hard to hear pitch below a certain point), but there’s more to it. Vocal fry is a non-periodic sound that is caused by the folds colliding at inconsistent intervals. The resulting sound – if it really is total vocal fry – has no pitch because pitch requires a periodic vibration (that is, they open and close at a steady rate over time). If you listen to his vocal fry examples, you’ll see that they have no pitch and he changes the sound by adjusting his vowel tuning. All that does is change the timbre, but because fry has no discernible pitch to begin with then no pitch change can occur.

    This is test-able with spectrum analysis equipment. Regular voice has clear harmonics emanating from a fundamental frequency. Vocal fry looks like noise.

    The thing is, Brett Manning and his teachers appear to have credibility for a few reasons. They actually have very nice voices. And in some of his lessons he gives some decent advice, especially for real pop singers. They throw around vague but impressive sounding terms like “pharyngeal” and “resonance”. And the videos have really nice production values.

    But they have gaps in their understanding that can cause confusion.

    If you are interested in learning reliable information (based off of peer reviewed science), then please read books by Johan Sundberg, Ingo Titze, Donald Miller, Berton Coffin, and Richard Miller. Yes, they all focus on opera singers, but our voices operate the same regardless of genre. These books won’t teach you how to sing, but they will present you with facts about how the voice works.

  37. Ian Sidden says

    As for your situation, Ben, you might find that if you take some time off from the very high singing and practice solely in a more regular male tessitura that your lower range gets easier. It is possible that you are training your folds to behave in a certain way by singing so high, which can make it more difficult to adjust to a lower range. You probably won’t be a bass or baritone, but you should be able to phonate easily in a standard tenor range. Best of luck.

  38. Matt says

    Hello Ian,
    I am also trying to find out what my vocal range is. I believe I am a baritone, but I have the ability to sing up to Ab4, and I think I can sort of eek out a C5 in head voice. I also can move into F5, and maybe a F#5 (maybe G5, haven’t tested it) in falsetto. I also can sing down to a E2. I’m new to all of this vocal notation, and such, but I can provide you with a bit of singing if need be. I also don’t understand the passagio breaks. Any help would be appreciated

  39. Ian Sidden says

    Hi Matt,

    I think your intuition is correct. Ab4 is commonly sung by baritones. Tonio’s aria from Pagliacci is an example, John’s aria from Little Women is another. High A’s are commonly sung in “Largo al factotum” from Il barbiere di Sviglia.

    Baritones just tend to not hang as high – relatively speaking – in their voices as tenors do, so there’s less emphasis placed on that difficult high voice negotiation. Baritones are more valued for the warmth and beauty of their tone in their middle voice whilst tenors tend to abandon a certain amount of color in their middle and lower voices to excel in the highest ranges.

    Passaggio is a difficult thing to understand because there just isn’t much useful information out there beyond personal testimony. There seems to be two things happening: a change of vibration style at the vocal folds and a change of resonance strategies to tune different harmonics at different pitches. If that previous sentence meant nothing to you, then that’s fine. I’ve been struggling with a way to explain it that doesn’t melt into such a technical sounding mess.

    Here’s a try: the feeling of the upper extension (or head voice) feels like it’s still got the power of chest voice but it has less weight underneath it. This takes time to discover. It should never feel like shouting, and it shouldn’t feel much more strenuous than your lower voice. That’s not to say that it doesn’t take any effort at all or energy. Often it feels like tight-rope walking that’s regulated by your vowel choices and your breath support.

    The moment you switch from one feeling to the other is the passaggio. Over time, you’ll find where that is for your voice, and it will be half your choice and half predetermined by your vocal structure.

    I have to run and teach a lesson. If you have any other questions, then let me know!

  40. Singer says

    Hi ben and ian.

    If u wanna hear a REAL MALE
    SOPRANO singing pop, you
    must search for
    “rudy la Scala” at youtube.
    He is a venezuelan singer
    and composer and his speaking
    voice is far away from common.

  41. Singer says

    Man, his vocals (and the rarity of his tone)
    at his song “cree”
    (I think its at youtube too) are stunning!.
    And i’m saying again
    MALE SOPRANO (pop) singing modal, not falsetto.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi, Singer. Thanks for chiming in.

      I listened to a few of his songs(including Cree), and I’m a little confused. Nothing I heard was in a soprano range. He sounds like a light tenor singing in a tenor range. His voice is so light that it sounds higher than it is, but it’s not all that high pitch-wise.

      Yes, he is singing in modal voice.

      Do you have any other examples?

  42. Singer says

    Why do you say confused?….
    What was his range?

    Now other thing…I’ve been hearing some voices of the type
    “haute-contre”, and i get a little bit curious.
    What are the characteristics of that voices (passaggi, tone)
    are they technique created or are they natural?.

  43. Singer says

    If what youre saying is correct,
    then there was some morons
    labeling him as with an
    “Unique soprano voice”.
    Hehe!…. That’s why i havent
    search for vocal instructors
    round here.
    (The tone was pretty tricking heh?)

    By the way. Do you know some
    vocal courses ala “brett manning”
    that really works?. (It’s for avoid screwing me
    up karaoking).

    • Ian Sidden says

      He’s not a soprano. He’s a high tenor singing in a pop style (based on the videos that I saw). I could sing the notes he sings in modal voice, but it wouldn’t sound right because I’m a heavier voice than he is. I would probably get tired faster as well for the same reason.

      Haute-contre refers to a particular style of tenor singing. I do not claim to be an expert in this style, but it seems to be different from counter-tenors in that counter tenors sing in a typical range for a woman by using mostly falsetto while haute-contre tenors sing mostly in modal voice (using a lot of voix mixe production) and mix in a few falsetto tones for the top. It’s a specific style for French Baroque music.

      Both are legitimate styles with legitimate techniques. They just apply to a very particular type of music.

  44. Ben Cole says

    The reason I said I use head voice is because I am 13 years old and when I sing anything above a F#5/G5 my voice teacher thinks I am in falsetto. My lowest comfortable note is a G3. My teacher just told me today that I never have been able to sing lower than a G3 and even that is a stretch. Anything below that she told me I am frying my voice or growling which is very unhealthy. When a guy has not undergone puberty yet does this mean that he still has a head voice or is it still head voice. When will I lose my head voice or modal voice in the upper ranges and develope the false voice.

  45. Ian Sidden says

    Hi, Ben.

    I had no idea that you were 13. I should have asked because that would have explained a lot. Instead, I assumed because of your writing style that you were older. Sorry for that.

    You seem concerned about the terms that you’ve learned for your vocal registers and are concerned that you are doing something incorrectly. You also seem to be concerned that your teacher isn’t using the correct terms for your voice. Is that right?

  46. Ben Cole says

    Yes, my voice teacher tells me I am using falsetto but I feel that I am using head voice because I have not gained singable notes lower than a G3. So am I using middle voice for notes (Eb4-F#5)and head voice for notes (G5-C#6) or am I using falsetto.

  47. Ian Sidden says

    I see. Thank you for clarifying.

    Personally, I wouldn’t call what you do falsetto now that I know that your voice hasn’t changed. I would refer to your high voice as “upper” and your lower voice as “lower”, and I would leave it at that. “Falsetto” for a man is used as a contrast to “modal” or “chest”, and I just don’t see that same level of contrast in someone your age.

    I’m sorry that I cannot give you an answer more definitively that that.

    There just isn’t any definitive answer on some singing topics. Register theory is one of them, which is why I’m hesitant to go into it. This is especially true for people of your age. Some authors say that boys have no falsetto register at your age, and some suggest otherwise. My personal feeling is that the mechanism for falsetto that is weak in a grown man is the dominant state for a boy, and that modal voice is limited in a boy’s voice.

    But I say that humbly and without a lot of certainty.

    For your singing, it doesn’t matter. You do not need to know what is exactly going on in your throat to be a good singer. No one knows everything that is going on in your throat, which is why I believe that your teacher knows what she’s doing despite the limitations of her knowledge of what is happening with your vocal registers.

    It just doesn’t matter what you call your registers as long as you can sing, if singing is your end goal. People have been learning to sing well for centuries without hard science to guide them.

    If however, you are very interested in voice science, then I do suggest that you keep asking these questions and pursuing them. Do well in your physics classes and begin studying vocal anatomy.

    Just know, that the science is incomplete at this moment for subtle register shifts. It’s frustrating to everybody, but it gets a little better all the time.

    If you are interested in learning more about the science as well as the controversies surrounding registers, then I suggest that you go to the National Center for Voice and Speech and read the articles about how the voice is produced as well as the section Science for Singers. Here’s the website:

    http://www.ncvs.org

    and

    http://www.ncvs.org/e-learning/science4singers.html

  48. scott kennedy says

    i am 14 years old and have been into pueberty for a year now. My voice teacher tells me that i am not done changing, but right now it looks like i am taking a turn for baritone. Is there still a chance i could be tenor? Or does your voice not usually make drastic changes like that. I ask this mostly because i really want to be a tenor. I know that the range of the instrument doesn’t matter its the quality of it that really matters, dosens of singers have told me that, and i know its true. I’m just curious. Thank you in advance for the help

    • Ian Sidden says

      Especially at your age, what’s best for your voice is whatever feels best. If singing baritone repertoire feels best then that’s what you should work on. It’s possible that your voice might move to tenor later, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      Instead, focus on what you have now and be the best you can be in the present moment.

  49. Michael says

    I am 15 and my voice has “dropped” a long time ago and it’s really stable (no unexpected voice cracks, for example). I am confused about my voice type because my vocal coach thinks I’m a tenor but I don’t agree. My lowest “acceptable” note, without straining, is an F#/G2. It’s very comfortable for me to sing in the C3 area, and C3 doesn’t “feel” like a low note. Straining, I can hit F2. Anyways, I am also confused about my passagios, but I know I can sing an F4 in full chest and sustain it (without vibrato, which probably means that I’m not very relaxed). I can hit a G4 but it’s mostly yelling and and while it doesn’t hurt, I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding it. In my falsetto/headvoice, I can go as high as D6. With what I think is mixed voice, my highest note is E5 (but I can only do it very quietly). I would never dream of hitting a C5 in full chest. Could you help me? Thanks in advance.

    • Ian Sidden says

      I’m hesitant to disagree with your teacher because I haven’t heard you. That said, your descriptions sound like a baritone voice, and maybe even a bass baritone.

      Why does your teacher think you’re a tenor?

      • Michael says

        He probably thinks I’m a tenor because my vocal “qualities”, except for range, are much closer to those of a tenor than to those of a baritone. My voice is not heavy, I have a hard time projecting it, and it doesn’t sound low like the voice of a baritone. If you were to hear me speaking you would think I would hit much higher than what I really can. When I sing low notes, they just sound like a light voice going really low, as opposed to sounding like a deep voice. That’s one of the reasons I’m confused, it’s as if I had a tenor voice mixed with baritone range. He never told me directly that he thinks I’m a tenor, but he probably does, because when we have “concerts” he always gives me the highest songs, and in the “choir” he put me in the tenor section (but then again that’s not saying much considering there wasn’t a baritone section).

        • Ian Sidden says

          Well, it makes sense that you’d sound like you have a high voice brought down. You’re 15. Your voice will add size and warmth as you get older. In no way do I sound the same now as I did when I was 15, and this is consistent across singers.

          If you’re uncomfortable singing as high as your teacher asks you to sing, then you might bring it up and simply let him know. I’d be surprised if he really put up resistance if you state clearly that singing at those high ranges feels bad to you.

          Likewise, be careful that you don’t try to sound older and “deeper” than you naturally sound to prove that you’re lower voiced. As I said above, your voice will reveal itself over time, and the most important thing is to just let yourself sound the way you naturally would (with good breath support, diction, and all that of course) and have fun.

          • Michael says

            Ok. Anyways, I was just curious, because I know that’s it’s not really important to know your voice type (unless you’re singing opera). I will avoid straining and forcing my high notes. Thanks!

  50. says

    Hi Ian,
    I actually have some doubt about what voice category I really am. As I think I am in the “gray area” for my voice.
    I am a musical theater singer, but I learn the classical technique to sing. I am now 27, started my voice training in 23 with no voice training background before. My voice teacher thinks that I am a tenor for now, but she said I might be a lyric baritone as well. Most of the times I sing baritone roles for musical theater. And I was actually placed as a baritone in a pretty big local chorus 3 years ago after they heard me sing and do some vocalizing tests. I can hold a note down to Low F-sharp (recently starting be able to reach to low F and even to Low E when just wake up), can hold a note up to a High B-flat (and can vocalize to High B), even though not very strong tone in both ends. But I can’t sustain in tenor tessitura, blending with a head voice is a must to me start around E4 (passaggio?), otherwise my voice would strain and very easy to get flat, and my voice feels most comfortable when I sing the high baritone materials.

    And recently I read another article from a voice teacher that talks about distinguishing the lyric baritone and the tenor voice:
    http://www.voiceteacher.com/vocal_fach.html
    I emailed him as well, and he said that I am definitely a lyric baritone because of my timbre. And he mentioned about “lyric baritone can sound tenorish if their larynx is slightly high or release the support”, I actually do have a slightly high larynx when I sing and I don’t think I support my voice that proficiently yet. And I also emailed to opera singer and voice teacher Joseph Shore, he thinks I’m a light lyric baritone base on my recordings.
    My voice teacher also introduced me to a chiropractor in order for me to reduce tension in my body to get to the upper range easier, even though I do think it helps a bit for that, I think it comes to me way more obvious is that my voice is getting even fuller and juicier in the low and middle range. Hence this further make me think that I might be actually a lyric baritone, but I am not sure whether I am right or not.

    Here are 4 of my audio samples, one is more traditional, one is more contemporary songs, and two are pop style using more “tenorish” sound:
    Fiddler on the Roof song: http://www.4shared.com/audio/9gfAO5Sq/Tevje_DEMO.html
    Letting you go: http://www.4shared.com/audio/GJ6acLti/LettingYouGo_DEMO.html
    Mi Morena: http://www.4shared.com/audio/3RofXSCg/MiMorena_Demo.html
    Chinese song: http://www.4shared.com/audio/JBFo8Vg5/sevenHundred_c_.html
    The first two recordings are after starting chiropractic work, and the 3rd and 4th recordings are before that. But the 1st recording link is the timbre that I use most of the time on stage.

    It would be very helpful me if you have time to listen to my demos and reply my email. I want to know whether I am a lyric baritone that hasn’t achieve the full baritone timbre by properly lowering the larynx, or a tenor that hasn’t learned to sustain in tenor tessitura. Thank you very much.

    • Ian Sidden says

      I agree with the other people that you’ve asked. You sound like a baritone to me. A lyric to be sure, so you should be careful of singing anything that’s too “bassy”.

      It does sound like you’re coming off your breath support in places, and that will cause your larynx to rise and give a brighter tenor-ish quality. That will take some work that’s away from songs where you can just concentrate on your voice without any of the demands of actual music.

      I also hear a fair amount of tongue tension, which is resulting in what I call a “knoedel” (German word for dumpling). The best example of an extreme knoedel is Kermit the Frog and Yoda. You are nowhere near that bad, but it’s something to pay attention to. In my experience, tongue tension is directly tied to lack of breath support; it’s like a crutch to use when you don’t have your breath worked out.

      You should read Mr. Jones’ other articles. He has some excellent exercises for navigating the primo passaggio, which is where you need to concentrate.

      Otherwise, you’re doing some nice expressive work, and you have a fundamentally pleasant sound at your core. Once you get your breath worked out and that tongue tension settles, I think you’ll hear even more warmth come in.

      • says

        Thanks for the reply. Yeah I feel like I never experienced the “attack of complete relax sound” by properly lowering the larynx with sufficient breath support, most of the time my larynx already runs slightly up when I just start a note. Is there some exercise that can help with it? My voice teacher also mentioned about she’s guessing I have some tension or sth that’s in the way of taking a full breath, I guess that’s the case. And it’s interesting and good to know that tongue tension is also related to breath support.

        One more question, I feel like my timbre resembles a bit of Fischer-Dieskau: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NF9DrUXowBo
        especially compare to my recording of Fiddler on the roof song:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJPiQ4rXxcI
        except that I don’t have the same warmth and roundness of him as he is way superior to me in breath control. And like his case, I’ve heard people saying I’m baritone and I’m a tenor before. So do you think if my voice keep maturing and getting better technique, my true singing voice would eventually turn into something like his? I’m not saying I want to sound exactly as him as everybody’s voice is different and we can’t force that, but want to have some idea about what kind of timbre I would have when I keep the progress going.

  51. Wei says

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your great article,and i also read all the comments,actually i also got the same problem,which vocal type i really am.I am 19 years old and recently i have the singing lesson for few weeks,the teacher told me that i am a tenor,but actually i don’t think so.I know it is difficult to determine that the vocal type,it depends vocal range and timbre etc.My teacher said,my passggio is between C and D,and my timbre is also a little brighter,but he said,i am still young,my voice will become more darker few years after,so it is also possible that i become a baritone.

    When i was Senior,i could sing E2 even E-flat,but not very easily,and i could sing till only E4 and is impossible that sing higher notes.Now i can sing F2 if i warm-up and i can hit the F4/G4 even A4,but with loudly and with many tension,and is also hard for me to hold it so long,because it could be hurt if i do that.If i want to sing my high notes quietly,i have to change from D4/E4 into head voice,and i can hit E5 with head voice.But the problem is,when i sing A3,my larynx is already to prepare to go higher and higher,also a bit tension.That’s why i’m confused about that.I’m not sure where really my Passaggio is.Thank you so much

    • Ian Sidden says

      You’re very welcome. :)

      You should sing what feels comfortable to you. If you don’t feel like tenor repertoire fits you, then it’s safest to avoid it. Of course, I’ve never heard you or worked with you, so I can’t be certain about what you are. If it hurts to sing high, then you really should back off and wait until your technique is more solid. It’s better to let your voice crack (flip in and out of falsetto) than it is to put so much effort behind your voice that you hurt yourself.

      Hope this helps!

  52. Daniel says

    Ian

    I have been confounded by the baritone/tenor fach for years.

    After I warm up and am using proper support my passaggi usually move up about a semi-tone. Before warm up I transition from middle c to c# and f to f#. When warmed up it is usually c# to d and f# to g. Is this typical?

    I trained as a lyric baritone (studied vocal performance) but my last teacher insisted that I am a tenor. Once or twice in lessons she would hear a substantial shift in vocal color between F#4 and G4 which she believed evidenced my being a tenor. Is transition uncommonly high for a baritone?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Those sound like typical tenor passaggi to me. But it’s not the only consideration to have. You have to feel comfortable singing up there for extended periods.

  53. Malcolm says

    Hey, Ian

    I’m also pretty confused with my voice type. I have a very low speaking voice and when people hear me sing they’re usually surprised that my voice doesn’t sound deeper. I was told once that I’m a tenor by a music teacher but I’m beginning to doubt it.
    I know I can sing and support up to an F4 or so, after that it becomes a bit strained. And after G4 I have no choice but to mix in head voice. I also feel like I need to be singing at the top of my range to get out a C5 in head voice.
    This made me think that I might not be a tenor after all. But despite this, I feel most comfortable singing between B3 and F4, usually higher in that range.
    Although I believe I can go down to around A2/B2, I don’t think this part of my voice and a bit above it sound as pleasing as my upper register.
    When singing above that middle C my voice also sounds very different to when I’m singing below it. Below it it’s deep but not too dark and above it it sounds much lighter in comparison and emotive.
    So could you help me out? Perhaps I’d need to send a recording in an email, but I’m just confused. I feel comfortable singing D4-E4 for a good part of a song.

    • Ian Sidden says

      It’s really hard to tell from just this information. I have two hypotheses:

      That you speak too low to begin with and that your “true” voice is what you use to sing. The feeling you have while singing sounds potentially like a tenor. Singing above an F4 requires actual skill, and you might not be developed enough to do it well yet. You might need to slow down and work out each note above F4. I’m also not sure what definition you’re using for ‘head voice’. Do you mean falsetto?

      That you pull up your larynx while you sing and that’s how you sound tenor-ish. The description of your timbre above middle C suggests that while singing you pull up your larynx. That would give you an artificial tenor quality. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a baritone, however. It just means that you need to work out that range from C to F.

      As I said, it’s hard to give any solid answers based on what you gave me. Any more details would help.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Yes. Nice voice!

      I’m still uncertain. For now, I would probably stick with baritone because you’re still having some difficulty getting to the top of your range. Plus you have some nice warmth to your sound, which may be an indicator.

      But who knows. You’re young. Work with a teacher for a few years, and you might open up at the top in a way that lets you go up more easily. For now, I’d advise you to stick with what’s easy and slowly work your way up.

  54. Malcolm says

    Thanks a lot, Ian.

    I’ll stick with baritone for now, then. Just one more curious question. If it’s baritone, what kind is it?

  55. Glen Heinsohn says

    I am so flustered with all the information needed to sing well. I am in a choir and am part time cantor at my church. I get many compliments but know I am a novice as I just started singing two years ago. Anyway, to make a long story short, I take lessons (3x so far) My teacher is world class and is a professor at a nearby school. I honestly cannot tell you if a note is a C or a b etc. I know a little about music theory and know 1/2 notes, rests etc as well as knowing when a not is to be a higher pitch.
    My teacher says I am a tenor although my voice seems rather baritone. She says I hit E something (forgot what it was) I do want to be a better singer for the glory of my church ministry but am afraid I cannot grasp all the “in’s and out’s” of voice-Is it ok for me to just do as she says (I record our sessions) or must I learn it all?
    Thanks

    • Ian Sidden says

      It depends. If you only want to sing in your church ministry, and you trust your teacher completely, then you can just do what she says.

      Here’s the thing: if you ever want to teach other people to sing, then you do need to learn as many ins and outs as will fit in your brain. It’s irresponsible not too.

      Also there will come a day when your teacher will not be there to guide you. Should you run into vocal trouble it’s important to know methods to fix it. Knowing details about how the voice works will greatly help you in times like those.

      And I would encourage you to learn to read music. You’ll feel much more confident when you can read.

      Hope this helps!

  56. Ifeanyi says

    I am also a bit skeptical about which vocal classification I fall into. I’m 17 and I originally thought I was a tenor but now I’m having doubts. I’m not very versatile with the music lingo but I do know that the lowest i can comfortably go is G2. In the 3rd octave my voice is very strong and powerful. When I get to D4 I notice that my voice, while still strong sounds different than it did below that particular key. When I get to G4 I switch to head voice. The highest I can hit after that is E5(on a good day) normally C5, but this is with head voice (or falsetto? I don’t really know the difference between the two). My music teacher says I’m a bass-baritone, but sometimes I feel like I’m pushing my voice downwards. I think I’m a tenor I’m but not quite sure. Help please!

    • Ian Sidden says

      I am hesitant to disagree with your teacher because I’ve never heard you.

      Falsetto is a the sound we make when we yodel (yodel – AY – EE -OO) with the capital letters to show what’s normally in falsetto. Head voice is a middle point between total falsetto and our regular speaking voice. At the top of our range, it feels much closer to falsetto but not totally there yet.

      Baritones often don’t have great low notes. Listen to Leonard Warren who was a true baritone but didn’t have very powerful low notes. I just watched Donald McIntyre sing Wotan (on DVD) and his bottom notes are not especially powerful. But he’s as baritone as a baritone gets. Baritones and bass – baritones are different than real basses. A bass is an entirely different animal, and you mustn’t compare yourself to that.

      If you inherently feel like a tenor, then I would encourage you to talk with you teacher about it, and test the waters a little. There’s no need to rush into much higher repertoire. Try things that are slightly higher for your voice and see how they feel. If that works, then try slightly higher music from that. Going to fast can just leave you frustrated.

  57. Nathan says

    okay, so i’m new to my school’s choir and not sure what voice part i am. i’m 15 years old (about to be 16 in a few months) and i’ve never been classically trained or taught how to sing. right now i am singing baritone, which i have no trouble with singing other than the lowest notes in the range. I don’t have to strain myself to hit the lower notes, but it does feel a little throaty to me. On the other hand, I’m able to hit a D5 or even #D5. I have to sing a bit louder to be able to do this, but i can do it. I know for sure that my voice isn’t done changing (i crack on notes sometimes, and it’s kinda embarrassing). so i’m wondering if i fit in the baritone section or the tenor 2 section of my choir. It’d be great if you could help me out! thanks!

    Oh, and my voice isn’t getting any lower. At least i don’t think so, it’s already deepened a lot from puberty. But I guess my voice just hasn’t really finished up with the changes.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hard to tell. I’d need to hear those D5′s to make sure they’re not pure falsetto. If you want to try tenor, then talk to your choir teacher about it. I just listened to a lot of All State choir auditions, and I was surprised how many young men were singing as basses who really ought to have been singing tenor. So if you can sing tenor, then try it out.

      Final note: being 15, your voice may still drop, so try not to get attached to anything about your voice. You’re going to have to test it out every day to see how you’re maturing.

  58. Yvon says

    Hello,

    very nice write up you have here. I just have a question. I had struggled with the idea of being a baritone or tenor for a long time, but have basically figured out my passagio. It starts at C4 but I’m not sure if it ends at F4 or F#4 it does more like F#4 but would that be accurate?

    thanks

    • Ian Sidden says

      Try experimenting with a few different places until you find the overall range where you can make the flip. The chart that I provided is a general recommendation, but I’ve heard of people who’ve had distances greater than a fourth between the primo and the secondo. So your experience in not an impossible one.

      What I’ve found is that there are a range of possible choices for your passaggio. It’s not entirely fixed to one place. There seems to be a range of about a minor third where you can decide to make the passaggio move.

      For example, mine is around F#, but I can keep pushing up to G if I absolutely feel I must and I can bring the flip down a half step to F if that is the best place.

  59. Billy says

    Hi Ian,

    This is Billy again. I recently feel like my voice got a bit more warmth compare to my voice about half year ago after continuing on practicing the breath support and dropping unnecessary vocal weight.

    Here is my recent recording:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fsbFChouF-w

    Compare to my recordings half year ago:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJPiQ4rXxcI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VZQTYXHEt8

    What I heard is that the recent recording has a bit more legato, less push and a smoother approach from the beginning to the end of each phrase, where the recordings half year ago sounded a bit more choppy and did not sound as “big & full” as the recent recording. Even though the recent recording maybe not as artistically perfect. But I am not sure whether I am correct on what I am hearing, so would you mind to let me know what you think? Thank you very much and have a great day.

    Billy

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Billy,

      Yes, that does sound a bit better. Good work.

      You’re not totally getting your breath engaged. That’s especially apparent to me on the Erlkonig recording. Take in more air and use your body a bit more. I could actually stand a bit more push from your voice as long as it comes from your breath.

      • Billy says

        Yeah thanks a lot for the reply. I know I still have to work on my breath but just want to know whether I am really making progress or not. “Take in more air and use your body a bit more” is in fact exactly what my teacher is directing me to do. The reason I practice on lieder is also because I can hear the flaws more obviously as non-classical songs can use some “tricks” to hide the flaws more. Again thanks a lot and have a great day.

      • Billy says

        Hi Ian is Billy again. On Wednesday I did some exercises with my voice teacher that tries to drive the air more consistently by my body, I felt really good on my voice in the lesson and recorded the vowel practice of “Fischerweise” after I got home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vImZk1g3ePA

        I personally think the sound come out is beyond the level of my “Yesterday” and “Erlkonig” recordings, even the softer part of this new recording sounds warmer, fuller, and bigger than the louder part of those two recordings to me. May I know is that true for what I notice?

        • Ian Sidden says

          Hi Billy,

          Yes, that’s even better. More importantly, you and your teacher are doing the right things. Those vowel combinations will help loosen tongue tension. The breath flow exercises have warmed up your sound.

          Good work.

  60. Harri says

    Hello Ian!

    I’ve never took any singing classes, and thats why i’m lost with my voice type. And i read your passaggio board, and got confused even more. I think that i’m pure Baritone, but your passaggio board makes me think that i would be “tenorino” or something like that, becouse Bb (below high C) is the last note, that i actually could go for until my voice cracks/flip IF i don’t lighten it up and do this so called passagio thing. i have a link for you, so you can listen. (i still think, that i’m baritone)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88R684cf_Ek

    • Ian Sidden says

      It’s hard to tell from that recording what you are. I could see it either way really, and if you prefer singing baritone, then stick with that. The passaggio charts are primarily for classical singers and people who sing in a somewhat classical style.

  61. Henry says

    Hey Ian,

    I’m also 14 and my voice is still unstable. Can you please help me identify if I’m either a bass, baritone, or tenor? My lowest note is a low E and highest note is a high C. I think I am a tenor judging by the range I sing in, but I’m not quite sure.

    • Ian Sidden says

      You probably won’t know for certain for a few years. Your voice is in a transition phase, so it’s best not to get too attached to any one voice type just yet.

    • Elie A. says

      Tysm for responding, i had a few voice teachers that told me i was a baritone and others said i was a tenor, thats why i was mostly confused.

    • Ian Sidden says

      It’s safe to assume lyric with a voice like yours. But it only really matters if you want to sing classical music and opera in particular.

      Of course, this is all slightly speculative on my part since I’ve only heard the one clip of you singing.

  62. Elie A. says

    well depending on the day i can go lower but tysm for ur help, u clarified a lot and i can always sing more if ud like :-)

  63. Aidan says

    Hey I’m back again, aha.

    I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m a tenor of some sort.
    I have drastically improved my technique since the last time I posted but I am no where near perfect. I still find my high notes lack oomph short of shouting them out. I’m 20 this month for the record.

    Updates I’ve found:
    My voice is much more comfortable singing lightly. I prefer to sing above C4. I prefer singing lightly rather than powerfully.
    I notice a slight change in timbre above D4/Eb4/E4 (breath support changes where exactly but it’s always around those notes) and another acoustical change and timbre change around G4.
    The most unstable part of my voice also falls between the notes E4 and A4.

    Using this easily produced way of singing the lowest note I can reach is A2 before I have no choice but to use vocal fry. I start sounding baritonish on my low notes.

    I can sound like a lyric baritone and possess a similar range if I use only chest (like I would talking) but this is difficult for me and requires me to shout the upper notes of G4 and A4. It also hurts my throat to “sing” like this. I would describe this as feeling like every note is difficult in it’s own way (low notes feel forced down and upper notes feel forced out)

    I keep falling in to believing I’m a lyric baritone and then changing my mind and believing a tenor. I read things about both baritones and tenors and I honestly could be either.
    I’m tall and thin. Tall people are generally lower voices and my talking voice does not sound high which makes me believe I’m a baritone.
    I feel much more free in my throat as a tenor though.

    How can I decide for definite which I am?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Aidan,

      It is entirely possible that you are a tenor.

      You are still quite young – vocally speaking – and your voice is still in a slow state of transition. If you can, try to not worry about it too much. Are you working in choirs where you need to make a decision? If so, then sing whatever feels best. It sounds like that’s tenor from your most recent post.

      Height, yes, can be a kind of indicator, but it’s not as reliable as we’d like. How far does your Adam’s Apple extend? That’s more reliable because it gives some indication of the length of your vocal folds. But I’ve seen tenors with healthy sized Adam’s Apple’s, so that’s not perfect either.

      Baritone, yes, will feel bad if you really try to sound like a baritone. Again, you’re young, so you won’t sound particularly baritone-ish just yet even if you are.

      But it does sound like you prefer tenor, so go with that for awhile.

  64. Max says

    Hi Ian!
    I’m 18 years old and I started learning one year ago. I have quite low speaking voice although with very high vocal formanta (bright and feels like higher than actually is). I speak around G2 usually. That’s also the know where I feel that sound is best at bottom, although can get down to C#2 without any problems and at better days to A1 (of course it won’t sound that resonant).

    I feel like there’s something happening around B3 and I have to work more with my body to support it. For several months had problem with D4 and yesterday with new teacher I achieved F#4. It sounded like my maximum. Sound was consistent and strong as hell (I’ve got big voice) but I kinda couldn’t hear myself that mnuch when I was singing along with teacher. Voice felt placed very much on the top. It was very hard for me to support it and few more takes caused some muscular pain at abdominal area.

    Note which I find is my middle and feels best is C#-D3. Not much chance to be dramatic tenor, eh? I have rather dark timbre at bottom while singing, but it brightens up on top.

  65. Markus says

    Hi Ian,

    I read your article about baritone and tenor voice. I’m 25 years old and Im kind of confused about my type of voice. In the morning when I get up I can sing a G2 (from baritone range) but at the same time I can also perform effortless high B flats and high Bs right after getting up. I just recorded a bit of my voice and put it on youtube. The finale note of Tonio in “a mes amis” and some arpeggio stuff with a high d, also the beginning phrase of Taminos aria in e major. Would be great if you could listen to it and tell me whats your guess about my “fach”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtBiUTKrdfo

    Thanks man!

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Markus,

      Unless you’re doing something totally bizarre to give yourself that timbre, I’d say that you’re a tenor with no hesitation. Your timbre is very light, and your top notes sound pretty easy. You still have technique work to do, but it sounds like you’re gravitating towards the right material in the Donizetti and Mozart. Stay in the light lyric side of things. If you can work up the agility, then you might look at Rossini too later, but that will take a lot of work. All opera will.

      We can all wake up and sing pretty low notes, but they’ll likely go away throughout the day as we work the higher part of our voice.

      • Markus says

        Hello Ian,

        thanks for your last advise. I got a serious problem – and Im asking for your advise and help. Im currently enroled as a student at a conservatoire in classical singing in Austria. After every lesson I feel a certain tension in the area of my vocal cords. My teacher is forcing me to put much pressure on the vocal cords – especially in the middle register (from D4 to G4 and A4), also she wants me to carry up chest voice really high (she provoces me to sing “un aura amorosa” like a jugendlicher Heldentenor).

        I agree with you totally – Im a light voice, but it seems that she wants to make my voice bigger than its actually is. Do you know a good teacher in Austria?

  66. thomas says

    Ive got a question about voice to ask is it weird to be a tenor, then later become a bass/baritone? back in my 20s I could go as high as bflat above middle c I would always be placed on 2nd/low tenor a few times baritone but 90% of the time 2nd tenor. Iam almost 40 now, and now anything above F# above middle c on the piano I do in falsetto, I can go all the way down to C2? the c thats 2 legger lines below the bass clef,im classified now as a bass-baritone, is it weird to have that big of a voice difference?

    • Ian Sidden says

      That’s a pretty big change, but it’s not unheard of. Our voices reveal themselves over time, and in general they tend to go down after we stabilize our voices in post-adolescence until we’re elderly, where they often rise a bit (for men).

      It sounds like when you were a tenor you were a low one. Baritones can have a consistent Bb and can often sing as second tenor. Your voice just dropped naturally and moved you out of that higher type.

      • Thomas says

        Thanks for the reply, yes big change indeed, as my voice teacher puts it ive always really been a baritone, but with tenor extentions. Now that ive gotten older i’ve lost that tenor extention, and have even gotten a more full sound. My voice teacher has even said she would actually like to retrain me for bass rolls because she says my voice sounds better on a something like sarastro from queen of the night. the passaggio above helps explain some of it.

        I know theres a distinct feeling in the voice at A3 where if i dont change my tone i will be in falsetto, then at D#4-F#4 it needs to be atleast mezzo forte if not forte or again i’ll flip into falsetto without egnough volume.In a way its kinda sad for me to be singing in the bass section after used to being in the tenor section lol. My voice teacher says as time goes on i might even lose the bass-baritone classification and just be bass, not a big booming bass, but still out of the baritone range that will be really sad if that happens. Still thats not the end of the world, im sure there are tenors out there that would like to sing bass wouldnt it be nice if we could sing both bass and tenor!

  67. Patrick says

    Hey Ian Im very glad to come across this post, it has cleared a lot up but I have many questions about the voice.
    I just discovered the voice between my chest and head it feels like a light chest voice and it kind of resonates in my head, what are some exercises to help strengthen this register and how can I make it sound more chesty than heady.
    I want to set up a daily routine of practice because I am extremely determined to improve my voice, for the past two years I’ve just been practicing songs but I feel that I have a lot to gain from some operatic exercises, can you suggest exercises that I can practice daily for say 30 minutes?
    Lastly my greatest influences on voice and music in general are Jeff and Tim Buckley(kind of obsessed with them) and the versatility opand range of both of their voices is really discouraging sometimes because I can hardly ever produce a sound like them. I think it’s because my passaggio is lower is it still possible for a bass to belt in chest c 5? I can hit c6 in head voice with little strain. Sorry for the arrangment of these questions but I am eager for some answers. Thank you so much in advance. Patrick (16)

  68. Patrick says

    Hey Ian Im very glad to come across this post, it has cleared a lot up but I have many questions about the voice.
    I just discovered the voice between my chest and head it feels like a light chest voice and it kind of resonates in my head, what are some exercises to help strengthen this register and how can I make it sound more chesty than heady.
    I want to set up a daily routine of practice because I am extremely determined to improve my voice, for the past two years I’ve just been practicing songs but I feel that I have a lot to gain from some operatic exercises, can you suggest exercises that I can practice daily for say 30 minutes?
    Lastly my greatest influences on voice and music in general are Jeff and Tim Buckley(kind of obsessed with them) and the versatility and range of both of their voices is really discouraging sometimes because I can hardly ever produce a sound like them. I think it’s because my passaggio is lower is it still possible for a bass to belt in chest c 5? I can hit c6 in head voice with little strain. Sorry for the arrangement of these questions but I am eager for some answers. Thank you so much in advance. Patrick (16)

    • Ian Sidden says

      I’m not sure what you mean regarding making your head register sound more chesty. Proper male head voice (if we use that term) feels like a baby cry but sounds much louder. Start small and slowly work up.

      If you search for “vocalise” on this site, you’ll probably find plenty to work with.

      I’m not really familiar with Tim Buckley’s singing. But you should sing in whatever range is most comfortable. It’s possible that extreme high notes are a sign, but it’s not a guarantee that you should be singing higher. Find what you can sing for an extended time, and that’s your best range.

  69. Steven says

    I have some questions regarding vocal fach. I have been singing second bass since high school. However, my teacher discovered that I have the passaggio of a tenor. I went on singing tenor for a year and was in complete and utter pain no matter what I did. That said, I finally told her that NOTHING was making this easier and she retested my voice and said that I had been forcing out my high notes and that must have been what confused her regarding my passaggio. My range goes from and Eb below the bass clef (it’s a pretty loud Eb) to a high C (on a good day). I am completely confused as to what I should do at this point. Any tips?

    • Ian Sidden says

      If it hurts, then it’s not really part of your range yet. Sing in whatever range is most comfortable. As your technique improves, you may find that you have greater flexibility.

      The passaggio is primarily an acoustic phenomenon related to the size of the vocal tract. So it’s possible to have a high passaggio but the long vocal folds of a lower voice type.

  70. peter jones says

    I’m convinced that I’m a baritone. I couldn’t sing Michael Bolton or Air Supply without discomfort, but I’m comfortable with Barry Manilow songs. Then again, I could also sing high in falsetto. But I would like to know your professional opinion. Here are some of my covers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcYNLQnFL3Y
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4unLdUYbWo

    This one is a clip I uploaded just now for reference.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYn3B6MDrnk&feature=youtu.be

    My questions are:
    1. Am I a baritone really or possibly a tenor or a countertenor?
    2. Can I sing low songs and high (female) songs, or should I remain singing songs in my male voice?
    3. Does frequent singing in falsetto harm the voice?

    Thank you!

  71. Ian Sidden says

    1. I hear a tenor voice, but it’s hard to be 100% certain in the genres you sing. Countertenor is a choice that some men make who have excellent falsettos.
    2. Pop music tenor is different than classical tenor. Pop singers extend the range by doing things that classical singers wouldn’t do. That can lead to discomfort.
    3. No. Not that I’ve found.

  72. Roger says

    I am 14 turning 15. My voice is relatively stable and started cracking a year or two ago. In choir I sing tenor. I can easily hit the C below middle C and can hit the G/G sharp and sometime A above middle C. When I sing those higher notes, they sound HIGH (if that makes any sense). What I was wondering was, am I a tenor or baritone, and if I’m a baritone is there anything I can do to change that? For example, singing lessons, or exercises? I have never had singing lessons and don’t like to sing in public, so really the first time I’ve ever sung was all the singing I’ve done in my school choir.

    • Roger says

      When I say HIGH, I mean that the sound isn’t a deep sound, like most operatic baritones I listen to.

    • Ian Sidden says

      You aren’t going to sound like any operatic baritones or even tenors. You’re just too young.

      For now, try to not worry about whether you’re a tenor or baritone because your voice may still be changing and settling. Just keep singing what actually feels comfortable. If you’re comfortable singing tenor right now, then just stick with that. Your voice may continue to change downward, or it may not. It’s hard to tell at your age.

      For most people, they can’t change what their voice is. Our voices are primarily determined by the length of our vocal folds, and there’s nothing that can change that.

      • Roger says

        Thank you for the reply. Theoretically, if I sang in the higher register of my voice will it possibly help in making me a tenor?
        I am actually really confused as to what I am, because when I sing, my lower register sounds airy and lacks strength, but when I sing higher my voice feels quite comfortable. It’s almost as if I only sort of start sounding good on about C4 up, otherwise my notes lack much strength and are rather airy. What could that mean?

        • Ian Sidden says

          You’re voice sounds like it’s still changing, and that’s why it’s breathy in parts. It takes years, and it won’t settle for a while. When it does, your voice type will slowly become more obvious. Please try not to be worried about that: you will be what you will be. No amount of exercises can dramatically change your voice type.

          Sing whatever feels comfortable for you right now, and leave your future voice to another day.

  73. Billy says

    Hi Ian,

    This is Billy again. Recently I have recorded the song “Fever” two times. One was recorded last week when I was not in a good vocal condition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvpXPjdF5bo
    One was recorded yesterday with a way better vocal condition:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51thGvpDHSE

    I feel like the 1st recording while it sounds pretty good, the voice sounds a bit “squeezed” and more like “half-voiced singing”. The 2nd recording has a much richer/fuller sound and closer to a “supported sound”. May I know is that true for what I heard?

  74. Nick says

    Hi, I hope my question doesn’t stump you. I’ve been to three different credible vocal coaches. Two of them say I’m a tenor, but the other one said that I am definitely a baritone. When I wake up in the morning I can go from an F2 up to a D4. As the day progresses I can go from a Bb2 up to an A4, without going into falsetto. With all these variables in mind, what would you consider my vocal range to be, Baritone, or Tenor?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Uncertain. How old are you? Just from this info I’d say baritone. Baritones have high A’s when they’re warmed up. But there are other variables to consider.

  75. James says

    Hi Ian,

    I’m 16 years old and I need to know how drastically can my voice change between now and adult hood. At the moment I am an accepted Lyric Baritone.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Your voice can change drastically in timbre, power, and stamina from the time adolescent voice change is over to what one might call vocal adulthood. Oftentimes there is a gradual shifting downward of pitch range. Part of this is technique, but part of this is just our slow maturation process. As I approach 30, I am continually surprised at how my voice is changing. And it will continue to change throughout my life, as it will for you.

      With that in mind, I would be surprised if you were a true lyric baritone in the operatic sense because you’re just not an adult yet. Adult lyric baritones who sing operatic repertoire professionally are just in a different place vocally than any teenager can be. Of course you should sing “lyrically”, but be careful of comparing yourself to adult baritones.

  76. Ed says

    Hi Ian,

    I am 14 years old, my voice is breaking and I am wishing like no tomorrow that when my voice is fully broken I am going to be a Tenor.

    Until recenlty, (more like 6 months ago), I had a reasonably extensive vocal range that I could exert some considerable power into.

    Now, my vocal range is from G2 (probably A2 realistically speaking) to Middle C. Anything above middle C, my voice falters and goes quite airy and/or cracks, but with no disscomfort. To hit anything above middle C, I have to use my “head” voice, and that only goes about 2 notes higher. With Anything Below G2, my voice does crack and with discomfort.

    Please could you give me a few tips on how to strengthen my diaphragm voice and extend my vocal range, and any thoughts on what type of voice I will end up having?

    Many Thanks,
    Ed

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Ed,

      It sounds like your voice is still changing, so hang tight. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to make your voice turn one way or the other. Your true voice will reveal itself over time. For now, focus on what you can sing comfortably.

      • Harry says

        Hey Ian. I turned 17 a couple days ago, and I’ve been working with my voice teacher for 2 years. She classified me as more of a lyric tenor. I sing classical songs and can sing songs like o del amato ben, and on Broadway, Bring Him Home with the best sound utilizing my vibrato. I sing a low Bb2 most comfortably, but require strain to an A2 sometimes. For example, in music of the night, when the phantom sings night TIME, I can’t hit the low Ab4. I sing high G4 in chest comfortably without strain. My highest note before straining, however, is an A4 which is also in chest. I can’t sing the word”Will” at an Ab4 with comfort, but other vowels are comfortable singing at an A4. So I could sing at and Ah vowel comfortably at an A4. I crack at B4, which my voice teacher says is especially high. My falsetto is actually terrible though, and requires strain past G4, similar to my chest voice. So when I crack into my falsetto it sounds breathy, unpleasent and uncomfortable. I can sing C5 in falsetto but nothing past that. I don’t know how to find my passagio though. And I don’t know how to tap into my mixed voice yet. My bass friends can easily sing past me in falsetto. What would you classify me as? How do I tap into my mixed voice and work on my falsetto?

        Thanks,
        Harry

  77. Mirnes says

    Hi Ian,

    I’m 19 and a rock singer with clean vocals. I started doing some excercises about 5 months ago, but irregulary and extended my vocal range. I can hit F5 on live performance without going into falsetto and hold Eb with vibrato. My practice range is E2 – G5 (strained) (Bb5 with falsetto). I can hold high notes, but sometimes I have a hard time singing in passaggio zone, because of voice cracks. I’ve never had a professional training, but I do vocal excercises at home. Sometimes I have voice cracks when I speak. My voice lacks depth in lower notes and my comfortable range is about C3 – A4, anything lower lacks depth and is a bit shaky ,but people keep telling me that I will get my real voice when I reach 23. What is your suggestion? What should I do to get stronger voice?

    Thanks a lot,
    Mirnes

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Mirnes,

      19 is still young. It’s not that you’ll get a “real” voice when you’re 19. Instead you’ll get a different voice, and it will change slightly forever. Over time it will become much more stable, and your range will solidify.

      For now, it’s best to do what’s comfortable. F5 is pretty extreme in any case as is Eb5. The voice cracks you speak of might be residual voice change, or you might be hurting your voice in your concerts and the cracking might be symptoms of exhaustion and/or damage. Having never heard you, I can’t be certain, but it’s something to consider. Of course, the extreme high range may also be left over voice change, and it may just vanish one day.

      So find your most comfortable range. What does comfortable mean? Watch yourself in a mirror and see if you’re contorting your body, neck, head, jaw, mouth, tongue to sing extreme notes. If you are, then find an easier way to sing them or work in a different part of your range. Your voice will grow more stable over time, but this kind of work can help you learn about your voice as it is right now and help you learn what is best for it.

  78. Mirnes says

    Oh and if you could tell me what excercises to do to add vocal fry to my higher notes. Thanks again.

  79. John says

    Hey there, I am 18 years old and it’s been one year and a half since I started taking opera lessons.My primo passaggio is at E4 and the secondo at G4(yes I know it’s significantly shorter than in most people).I used to be able to go down to E2 easily (it has become strenuous lately though) and I’ve hit up to B4(although it wasn’t very good) during training in full head voice (E6 in falsetto) and I’ve sung a few counter tenor arias quite efficiently.I have a metallic timbre and my very low notes sound dark and manly.Plus I’ve pull off the tenor tessitura and the high A natural of a duet from Tosca without much trouble.So.. Based on the above mentioned facts, why do you think my teacher still refuses to admit that I’m a tenor?she says that my voice looks like it’s going to get deeper in the future.But the thing is, I hit puberty roughly five years ago.Personally I doupt there is chance that my vocal chords have that much of developement ahead so that my passaggios drop down at least a minor third to much those of a baritone.I’m 90% sure that I’m a spinto tenor.What do you think?

  80. Duconi says

    Hi Ian,i just turned 14,and my vocal range is from e2(d2) to a4(bb4) which i can use in a songs,but in vocal exercises i go to b4,or sometimes c5.But i can’t stay on a4.I did vocal exercises.I start being uncomfortable above f#4,it’hard for me to sing there.I am most comfortable in a baritone range now.Three months ago i could sing just to e4.Can you tell me which vocal exercises should i do,and what can my voice type be in future?I want to be a tenor,so is there any chance to be it ?I would like to send you video to tell me what do you think.Sorry,for my English.

  81. Raaheim Brooks says

    Hi Ian, I think I am a leggerio tenor but I am not sure. I experience a lightness at eb4 and cannot use chest voice past g#4/a4. I have begun mixing and my mix is so light above a4. Also, when I deep beyond eb3 I heavily use vocal fry. I am confused lol? Am i a leggerio tenor a tenor at all?

  82. Seybin says

    Hello Ian,

    I’m a 23 years old signer, trained as an operatic baritone. My vocal range is between A2 and A4-Bb4. I’m intrigued about my passaggio’s because, the first p. begins with Bb3 and the second one with F#4, and sometimes I can sing the G4 without covering. In my singing it’s involved a lot of ring and really unsuficient deph for a good baritone. So I’m thinking that I could be another mediocre baritone at the beggining at the road, or that there is the possibility that after a period of growth I might be having a stronger upper register. I used to fake my timbre, making it a lot more darker than it actually was, but I got by and now I feel a lot better singing with my whole mouth, I feel connected with the voice and singing higher easier makes me happy

    So, what’s this about?

    • Ian Sidden says

      23 is still somewhat young. As I’ve gotten older, my passaggi have become much clearer and closer to that perfect fourth interval. The passaggio is primarily derived acoustically from the vocal tract, and that continues to mature. Remember, this whole discussion of passaggio is based on grown and mature opera singers. It’s entirely possible that it doesn’t apply as clearly to younger singers.

      It’s also possible that you’re raising your larynx as you approach those higher notes. That would shorten your vocal tract and raise your passaggio. I’m not saying that you necessarily are, but it is possible.

      I do mean to write more about this, but remember this: the passaggio is a guidepost for when to change vowel tuning strategies. It is entirely possible to maintain one strategy through and above the passaggio (in your case, singing open up to a G). It’s just that by allowing the passage to happen, it sounds less effortful and requires less manipulation of your primary resonators. Of course “allowing the passage to happen” implies that this is easy, which it isn’t at first.

      Final thought: your upper range will almost certainly become more stable and louder as you get older. Keep it healthy for now and aim for ease and beauty rather than sheer power.

  83. Seybin says

    Yep, for now, the passaggio needs more sustain than before, singing brighter seems eliberating, but it needs much more effort. So I will be looking for a good vocal balance meanwhile. Thanks, Ian

  84. Donald says

    I just thought I would get your opinion. I got a voice teacher and says I will never be a tenor iam 45. my voice range is from D2, a legger line 1/2 down the g on bass clef, but I can go to a Ab/g# above middle c.

    My voice teacher says ive got a distinct passagio at Bb3-Eb3 at my age and because my passagio is so low that i will always be a baritone and perhaps bass as i get into my 50s.

    To my ears though I sound like a tenor at the high end, though perhaps I should trust my voice teacher. can a bass have f’s and g’s above middle c? i always thought a bass was someone with a range of c2 to middle c.

    I know I would also be laughed at if I tried osmins aria i have the low d but it would be too weak. is it possible that i will gain a couple low notes? hope Ive not asked too many questions.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi Donald,

      I think we should give your teacher the benefit of the doubt. If he/she believes that you’re a baritone with the possibility that you’ll become a bass, then let’s just trust them on that. Your range and the description of your passaggio also suggest a lower voice.

      As for the high range, if it’s shaky right now then it will sound lighter than it will when you’re operating at maximum skill. The high range also feels and sounds more empty to us than it does to the outside world in general. That’s one reason we need other people to listen to us.

      Osmin is big stuff. It’s ok to stick with songs until you’re very certain about your voice.

      Basses can certainly sing F and G above middle C.

  85. Donald says

    I so wish i could be a tenor but as my voice teacher says, thats never going to happen, its hard to believe that the voice could even go lower again as i age. my voice teacher though says i would be good for lyric bass rolls in opera the passaggio is of a dramatic baritone but i dont have that tone quality i didnt even know there was 2 different types of basses. anyways, thanks ian.

    • Ian Sidden says

      My first inclination is that you’re a baritone or lower. I don’t hear anything that suggests to me that you’re a tenor. But your best bet is to find a solid teacher to work with you in person.

  86. Matt says

    I am almost 20 years old, and I am still trying to decide whether I would be classified as a low tenor or baritone. On my low extreme I can go to the 2nd F below middle C (though very faintly) yet on the high extreme, I can hit an f sharp above high C in full voice when I am fully warmed up (as in the song “Communication Breakdown”). I don’t feel like I have a very tenorish timbre yet I can easily hit high Bs, Cs, and even Es on an average vocal day. How can I know for sure what type I am?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Being able to “hit” notes is not the same as being able to sustain a high tessitura. A song like “Communication Breakdown” is awesome, but it doesn’t fall into the classical mould of consistent timbre through the vocal range. If you have to distort your face or raise your larynx to sing those notes, then they’re not really part of your usable range in the classical sense.

      If you were to work on classical singing, it would probably become apparent quickly what you should sing because singing outside of your safest tessitura will quickly fatigue you. Finding a teacher is probably your best bet if you really want to know what vocal type you are.

  87. Mark says

    Hi Ian,

    I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article you wrote up, it is very informative. However, after reading it I am still uncertain as to which vocal fach I would and should be placed in.

    I am only 14 years old (turning 15 soon) but my voice is relatively stable (no voice cracks or noticeable changes recently whatsoever). My current primo passaggio is about D or E4, and my secondo passagio is around G4. I can comfortably sing down to an F2 on any day, E2 fairly reliably, and D2 with strain and vocal fry kicking in. To the other extreme, my head voice extends up to E or F5 very consistently and G5 fairly consistently, but rarely A5 (when I do hit it, the sound is strained). I am certain that this is my head voice and not falsetto as I can feel the closure and the quality is light put pure, not airy like falsetto.

    So that is my predicament, my range I feel could go either way to baritone or tenor, I am not sure. I apologize for not providing a sound clip, I don’t have a decent mic on hand. Any clarifications would be much appreciated.

    • Ian Sidden says

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading it, Mark. Thank you.

      It’s really hard to tell from this description what you are. Those are some wild extremes, so it’s best to focus on what feels comfortable. At your age – and even without big vocal cracks – you’re going through some intense vocal changes, and it’s really worth it to get to know what range feels best and sing music that consistently lies in that part of your voice. It is likely that your voice will reveal itself much more in the next 5-6 years.

      • Mark says

        Yeah, I feel like it could go either way given my passaggios. If it indicates anything, I feel most comfortable between A2 and B4. Thank you for replying so quickly, I wasn’t expecting a response so soon after I posted.

        I don’t mean to get into another “head voice vs. falsetto” war by asking this, but what do you consider to be “full voice”? I have seen varying definitions online and I don’t know which to consider valid.

        • Ian Sidden says

          You’re welcome. :)

          I haven’t waded into the head voice/falsetto difference before (if I’m remembering correctly), but I’ll try to sum it up as I see it.

          “Head voice” is a convenient term that covers a variety of phenomena that happen more or less concurrently. One event is the change from first formant (F1) tracking of the second harmonic (H2) to second formant (F2) tracking of the third (H3) or fourth (H4) harmonic. This takes the shout-like edge out of the voice as it ascends, and since the second formant is determined primarily in the upper areas of the vocal tract, it shifts a person’s perception of their own voice to the head. Likewise, the sub-glottal resonance of the chest that we feel when we speak also vanishes, enhancing the sense that resonance is happening higher. This shift is often called the “secondo passaggio”.

          The second event is the gradual relaxing of the thyroarytenoid muscle (TA) and the greater reliance on the cricothyroid muscle (CT) as the voice gets higher. The TA shortens and thickens the folds while the CT lengthens and thins the folds. Both muscles work at the same time normally, the only difference is in what proportion.

          “Falsetto” is the somewhat derogatory name for what happens when the CT completely takes over from the TA. The fold becomes elongated and stiff and only the outer edges come into contact, thus creating a simpler tonal spectrum. “Falsetto” is most perceivable in men because men’s vocal folds are disproportionately longer and thicker than women’s and children’s while the vocal tract itself is generally proportional. Presumably, it does exist in some form with women and children, but it’s not nearly as obvious. With children especially, the TA muscle is so small as to render falsetto the near normal mode of speaking. It’s in adolescence that boys experience shifts between their new “chest” voice and their old child voice, now called “falsetto”, because the TA muscle grows and changes the shape of the glottis.

          I would consider “full” voice to be whatever is most appropriate to the style of music you’re making. If you’re a modern opera singer, then full most likely means balance between chest and head voice and rare use of falsetto. However, if you’re a countertenor, then falsetto is perfectly acceptable. If you’re singing modern musical theatre, then “belting” is an acceptable alternative. Healthy belting lets the folds get thinner – like in head voice – but keeps the lower style of resonance – like in chest voice. The result sounds like very high speaking on pitch and natural.

          In popular music, normally chest voice going into belt voice is the way to go, but all variations are used.

          If none of this makes much sense right now, then that’s ok. You can see however why it’s hard to discuss this subject.

          Hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

          • Mark says

            Thank you for the detailed description :) I appreciate your explanation but I am not sure I understood all of it, I’m fairly new to the technical aspect of singing since I’m only 14. I normally don’t use falsetto, so I guess that’s a good thing given that I am not a countertenor. However, I do have a couple of questions for you.

            I know this is an extremely common question for beginning singers, but I am having MASSIVE problems singing in my zona di passaggio and bringing chest resonances up into my upper register. I can sing in chest, and I can sing in head; however, my upper register feels restrained somehow. My “head voice” is such a different sound compared to my chest, and I don’t know how to blend it with my chest, so I just don’t sing in that register.

            So here is my question; how would you go about developing your middle voice or zona di passaggio? I can pull my chest voice up and my head voice down, but I don’t know how to produce both resonances at the same time. Are there any exercises that you know of that could help me discover or develop this section of my voice? If you have a solution to this problem that would be fantastic.

          • Ian Sidden says

            Hi Mark,

            Yes, it’s a complicated process re: head voice/falsetto.

            Two things you need to keep in mind while developing your voice.

            1) You’re 14, and that’s going to limit you. Even if you aren’t “breaking”, you’re still going through changes that will feel limiting. Only time can work that out.

            2) Your best bet is to work with a teacher (I’m making the assumption that you don’t have a teacher). I know that you’re probably not totally in charge of what activities you do, but the best way to grow is to work with someone who’s better than you one on one.

            Barring that, to extend your range, you really want to take it slowly. Stick to the comfortable area of your voice and slowly add notes. Be careful of your larynx rising or any discomfort. I don’t use really complicated scales in my own practice. Normally, I’ll do simple major scales but move very carefully from one note to the next. What you’re training first is awareness and concentration. Even if your voice drops, by becoming aware of your voice you can adjust much more quickly.

            I think it’s great that you’re so interested in singing at your age. I can’t emphasize having a voice teacher enough if you want to improve. They will hear things that you can’t hear and help you develop much more quickly. Even a choir teacher at school can help, but the best is that one on one experience.

  88. Aaron says

    I read your article, I found it very informative!

    I was just curious about my vocal type, but I was told I was a baritone once before.
    I can comfortably sing down to a low G1, and I break at the F3. On a good day, I can comfortably
    sing up to a C4 ( and higher, reaching an E4) on the tenor scale and sustain the note.
    My talking voice is deep, I’m usually talking on an F1 on the baritone scale, and I’m 21 of that helps. I’m usually not in pain when I sing higher notes; in fact when sing a high C on a bad day, it sounds like a squealing pig. I sound like I’m wailing. But I know that’s where the note is, it’s just not coming out! And this happens often! I also seem to be trapped in my speaking voice, and I suppose that’s why I don’t get the range I want most of the time.
    Im just a little confused, because I don’t feel I’m a full baritone. Would this be classified as a baritone-tenor?

  89. Aaron says

    I apologize.
    I’m not a bass at all.
    What I meant was, I speak around the low C2 area.
    I break at the F3, and sometimes when I sing pass the high C, I sound like a squealing pig.
    It doesnt hurt when I try to sing higher; I feel that’s where the note(s) is supposed to be, but they don’t come out half the time.

    • Ian Sidden says

      I think you mean, C3, F4 and the high C is C5.

      Still, it’s hard to tell. High C’s can sound like a squealing pig without much training, and it says something that you can even produce a full tone up there at all.

      But the F break, sounds like a baritone. At the same time, 21 is still fairly young, and your passaggi will probably shift in the next ten years or so.

      So … I’m not sure. Sorry I can’t be anymore clear than that. :)

      If you have time; what is your timbre like? Dark or bright? Make sure your larynx isn’t going up and that your tongue isn’t yanked into your throat. Also what part of your voice is most comfortable? That will tell you a lot.

  90. Mark says

    Thanks for all the tips and advice :) I’m actually not even a part of our school choir, I’m pretty focused on band (I’m going for principal clarinetist in our best band next year) and I take clarinet lessons that are somewhat expensive so getting my parents to allow me to take lessons would take a lot of work. Plus I don’t really know where to find a reliable teacher; I live about an hour away from Chicago in Lake Zurich if you by chance know of any good teachers in my area.

    I’m really not concerned about expanding my range, more just strengthening my zona di passaggio and head voice as those are the parts of my voice that really need a lot of work. I think I’ve been rushing through exercises a bit, if I slow them down I hope I’ll become more aware of my voice.

    Thanks again for the help,
    Mark

  91. Rab says

    I’m confused. I’m 14, 15 in November and my voice has deepened (my larynx has grown, is visible and sticks out) but I do get the odd voice crack from time to time.
    My vocal range is from G2 to Eb5.
    My passaggio’s are at C4/ C#4 and around F4 – G4. It sounds really heady after the zona di passaggio and anything inbetween it is weak. I could pull up in chest but it wouldn’t be comfortable.
    I can connect to a Tenor High C but it’s not comfortable for me or pleasent to hear (I can get B4 comfortably inconsistently). Anything after C5 is head voice or falsetto (I don’t really know the difference).
    So my question is, would I be a tenor or baritone; I doubt I’m a dramatic tenor because I’m young but don’t know if I’m a baritone because my range covers baritone and tenor.
    Should I just wait till I’m 15 and my voice doesn’t oddly crack or do what ever you suggest because I do like singing (I’m not interested in classical music but would like to know my voice). Thanks,

    • Rab says

      I should also add that I can connect to D5, Eb5, sometimes to E5, but is very heady and if it isn’t heady it isn’t comfortable. However some days I can get higher than that.

    • Ian Sidden says

      Yes. Since you’re young, it’s just so hard to determine your voice type. It sounds like you could go either way, so just stick with what’s comfortable, and your voice will slowly reveal itself over the next few years.

  92. Brian says

    I’m confused as well. I’m about 16 and a half. My own passagios are at D4 and G4- after that I get into head voice, can climb up to E5 in a vocal slide fairly comfortably, F5 is uneasy, and G5 is rare. Past Db5/E5 my tone sounds squeezed. I normally talk in the G3 range, but my lowest note is A2- and I’m comfortable starting there, but going down from high is a challenge- it’s much easier for me to go up to the high notes then down to the low notes. Though when I go down to chest voice from head voice, I still have that annoying “clunk” unless I’m singing very soft and light.

    • Ian Sidden says

      It sounds like your voice still has maturing to do. From this it’s hard for me to gauge your voice type since you’re displaying access to both high and low parts of your voice.

      And yes, it’s easy for me as well to move into falsetto from below rather than moving into chest voice from falsetto while descending. It’s a fun exercise (if you’re a vocal masochist) to really practice trying to smooth this transition.

  93. Terry says

    I think that I’m a high bass. I say that because I was singing along to Barry White and If I’m not mistaken, he is a baritone. His voice is heavier than mine but I begin to struggle a bit as he went up the scale. I can get up to a solid E4 without feeling any straining. F4 is pushing it but I can “hit it” sometimes. I was thinking about taking lessons but I’m 29 and think its a bit late to start singing.

    Question: I was wondering you could tell me the voice type of singer Brian McKnight. I can tell that he is a tenor but if he were a classical tenor what kind would he be? Here is a video of him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdRKikxwNv4

    • Ian Sidden says

      Barry White was a bass. I can sing along with him as well, but I don’t sound like him. If you sing along with him and also sound like him, then you are potentially a real bass.

      A high bass could mean basso cantante or a bass baritone. Your description makes me think that you’re closer to the low baritone side of things. It sounds like you may have an E/F split, which falls into the baritone realm. A teacher could work with you on that.

      29 isn’t too late to start taking lessons. You might not want to pursue a career unless you get a lot of positive feedback, but there are plenty of other ways to sing publicly if that’s important to you. YOLO, so why not give it a shot?

      Brian McKnight sounds like a tenor to me.

  94. Ryan says

    Hello I’m sorry to bother but I’m 15 years old and I’m a young tenor I’m not sure specifically but perhaps you can help if I describe well enough, I have a light timbre and my range is between A2-G#4 I was put a tenor 1 my first year in my high school choir (the only in my grade :)) and well I’d like to know more or less about development of the tenor voice and even though it’s very early if I can categorize as a Leggiero, lyric, dramatic, spinto or Heldentenor. I am pretty good at singin runs and can do well on leaps but trills don’t come to naturally. Thank you very much for your time :)

    • Ian Sidden says

      Big question.

      I’ll say this: don’t categorize yourself as any type of tenor yet. Just sing what feels good, and in your twenties it will become clear what kind of rep you should sing within the broader tenor category.

      Also, trills take practice. Though they’re usually less necessary for men to have than women who sing primarily lyric repertoire.

  95. John says

    Hi there Ian,

    I sing tenor in a chapel choir at university (tenor one), but I’ve been relatively insecure about whether my voice should reasonably be considered tenor or light baritone… As a 20 year old, I’d imagine morphological and physiological fluctuations with regards to vocal anatomy have since ceased (I’m noooo expert)? I’ve got a voice clip (just me poorly ascending a scale) and would appreciate it if you’d care to listen. Things get veryyy wobblyish around a G. Get in touch to facilitate the necessary file transfer,

    All Best
    J

  96. Ryan says

    Could someone perhaps answer my question? I’m sorry if I seem impatient but it has been 10 days now

    • Ian Sidden says

      Sorry for the slow response. It’s only me here answering questions, and I often take my time. That’s especially true when I’m traveling, which is what I’ve been doing this summer.

  97. James says

    I am 21 years old and i was wondering how to mask my passagi. I don’t have a vocal teacher currently but I know for a fact that for now I am a lyric baritone. Do you know of any type of vocalises to help with resonance. i have an opera singer that is at my church and she said take a song an just take it phrase by phrase and sing on the vowels a e i o u. When I tried to sing for her i got so nervous that my voice cracked. I’ve been doing what she says and singing caro mio ben phrase by phrase on a e i o u while cresendoing and the decrescendoing on the last note, I go up by half steps all the way to E flat4. What i am asking is would that help at all.

  98. bob says

    I guess you could say that im a little confused as well. Some say im baritone while others say im a tenor. i can get to c5 but people say its too shouty/yawnish.i would say b3-e4 is my trouble zone.i can go down to c2 but full voice doesnt start till g2 but A2-A4 is most comfortable. I can sing Bb4-C5 but i’ll have a sore throat in the morning but if I keep to A2-A4 i’ll be fine. im 31, voice teachers have said my voice is done maturing now so high b’s and c’s while i have them will never sound good. what do you think?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Your voice never really stops maturing. Your body will continue to change as will your voice. And with increased practice comes – ideally – an improvement. Technical breakthroughs can feel like maturing even if the capability was always there in a dormant state.

      So don’t think you’re stuck.

      I write the following with the complete admission that I’ve never heard you and might change my mind if I did:

      A shouty C is still a C. It’s just not elegant. I’m not sure what “yawny” means for a high C. And an A4 is nothing to sneer at if you sing it well.

      To me, it sounds like your technique needs to improve. If you’re getting sore throats then you’re putting to much weight in the sound. You’ll have to learn to ascend with a thinner feeling. That doesn’t mean soft, mind you. Try singing on an “ng” sound and through straws to help find a safer feeling in your top range.

      Now, you might still best function as a baritone with a solid top. That’s up to you and what tessitura feels best to you. Even with the high notes, if you have a really hard time lingering around F and G, then stick with baritone. But if you can manage a higher tessitura, then improve your technique with the goal of singing tenor rep.

  99. bob says

    Wow fast reply. I guess to me when a bass singer goes up to f’s g’s it sounds like yawning. But because of that yawning persay my voice teacher said thats what bass’s/baritones use to get high notes. I did sing bass in high school i was one of the few that could go lower than f2. but c2-f2 would be drowned out in the opera scene. I do have that e/f split where f seems an arm away from e. without forte-double forte e is all i can go. but with forte i can go to A4 but Bb4-C5 feels like my eyes are going to pop out lol.

    • Ian Sidden says

      “I do have that e/f split where f seems an arm away from e.”

      That sounds like a baritone split to me. And the low notes you describe sound like a lower voice.

      “but with forte i can go to A4 but Bb4-C5 feels like my eyes are going to pop out lol.”

      That sounds like vocal weight. Perhaps A4 is your safest top, in which case baritone is your best bet.

  100. gz says

    Hi, I think my voice will throw you for a loop. Well Im 18 And I think I’m A Baritone, my chest voice is really my biggest issue, my lowest note is Ab2 i can sing that comfortably and my highest chest is E4 (THATS KINDA PUSHED) my chest voice is heavy to me and not that lending to register changes.,i Hear other male singer sing up to a C5 in what sounds like chest and i know i can sing it just not that way or can i With Training?… that leads me into my mixed voice which extends to a G5 and its very bright and metallic… its usable for the style of music i sing but my biggest issue is getting it to blend with my lower registers since they are so different sounding, i try to add as much chest coloring to it as i can but it still sounds young too me therefore i cant use it that much in live performing… But after that i get into a weird place in my voice which is what i call a true head voice that carries me into my whistle extending up to Eb6 but ive hit a Bb6, these notes aren’t straining of course they take effort but im not killing myself to sing them either… My Thinking Is If I can even touch those notes let alone sustain them and make it musical i cant be a Baritone it makes me think im just a impaired tenor with heavy chest voice! so my ulitmate goal is to stop pushing chest and get into higher ranges seamlessly or should i not sing anything above a E4?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Hi gz,

      Hmm. Any voice type can push any note that they can conceivably sing, so you pushing E4 tells me that you need technical work. If the pushing begins there, then that suggests an inelegant passaggio transition, which suggests baritone to me.

      As your your extreme upper range, it doesn’t suggest much to me since you admit it sounds so different in tone (“young” to be exact). That change sounds like your larynx rising. And there are ways to make ones voice extend to extreme heights regardless of voice type.

      Being 18, your voice may also not be done changing. You may still have some top notes that will vanish over time.

      For classical singing, a goal is to sound consistent throughout ones range. Even if you can make higher or lower notes, if you can’t make them sound consistent, then they’re musically useless to a classical singer.

      If you’re interested in classical singing, begin in your natural voice area and work around it. It will become clear what feels best.

  101. JB says

    I had a few questions, first I will start letting you know that I don’t quite understand the notes.,G4-Eb# nor do I read music.However I have lately been interested in singing classical music,I sing gospel,rnb,soul.I have learned to belt,and can sing in a chest voice, similar to power-singers like whitney houston,Andrea Borcelli, when it comes sound, high,and chesty,
    my head voice is loud, I hate to say this” feminine”though I am comfortable singing low. Which would you think I might be?

    • Ian Sidden says

      Really don’t know. I aimed this towards classical singers who have a very specific set of priorities, which don’t often match up with other styles. And without the pitch descriptions it makes my making a guess totally speculative.

      If you’re interested in singing classical music, you’re first step should be to find a voice teacher you trust. Barring that, take any kind of music lessons (piano is useful) to learn how to read notation.

  102. Nicolas says

    Hi there, so i am a little confused about what type of voice i have, i can hit a G#2 comfortably and on a good day i can hit down to a C2, on the upper register i can hit a G4 (full voice) and sustain it, and i start mixing up to a E5, and with my head voice i can go up comfortably to a F6 and on a good day a B6, no strain…i tend to strain more on the lows than on the high notes….my vocal teacher says that im a tenor but im not sure, i dont know if this is enough info. i appreciate the help

    • Ian Sidden says

      I don’t know. Really. What does your timbre sound like? What are you most comfortable singing? How old are you? Since you have a teacher, what rep are you currently singing?

      • Nicolas says

        well i am more comfortably singing in the third octave up to E4, my timbre is sort of high without being too high, and i am 19 years old i mostly sing songs from singers like Bruno Mars and Mariah Carey…i hope that helps

  103. jamarcus says

    hi there im glade i found this site i know that most men are baritones and tenor’s are rare unlike all the other comments i have a very solid mixed voice with a range of F#2- F#5 3 octaves the difference is when i sing below C#3 i darken my tone on the lower notes then pass C#3 my voice lightens. If i don’t darken my tone i can’t sing lower then that. When I’m in the belting range i can mix and have a light tone from C5 to E5 but pass that when i hit the higher notes my voice becomes like a rock and roll singer really course and edgier then my mix but i dont stain only pass G#5 my head voice is very wide and for a guy im able to keep up with females in that voice i even have a whistle register believe it or not im just trying to learn how to fully type into it and run with it so my question is what type im i

  104. nmasterson says

    I’m also confused. I am almost 20 and have been taking lessons for just over a year now. My teacher tells me that I will easily have an A4 and maybe even a B4 someday. My issue isn’t that I don’t believe her, but it lies in the fact I have absolutely no idea where my passaggio is. I started taking lessons very early on in my history of singing (I only was singing for a year before starting lessons) so I soaked up technique like a sponge. What this means is that my transition from chest to voice is so even;y connected, I honestly have no idea where my passaggio is because there isn’t a sound difference. I can tell you that an E4 is DEFINITELY in my head voice. I believe that I am a bass-baritone, but if that is the case than I currently have my full usable range of singing, (I have good tone from F#2 – G4) but my teacher tells me I have more in my upper range. (I completely trust her, she has heard thousands of voices and performs all over the world. The reason I haven’t gone to her about this question is that she doesn’t have much time on her hands and I don’t want to waste precious lesson time.) Any thoughts?

  105. Dubiduwap says

    Hi everybody!
    I found this article really explanatory but I’m still a little confused about things I’ve read.
    - My chest voice goes from A2 to A4.
    - My passagio is between (depending the day) D4/E4 and G4#/A4
    For what I read it’s like everybody is able to sing above their secondo passagio but I didnt find the way to did it without strain or faking. Why?
    My second doubt is about that thing some people talked here called mixed voice. What’s that? How can I found it?
    Also, I know it’s really hard with the info I give you but… Any Idea of what am I?
    I’ve been taking vocal lessons for a year but still didn’t know what Iam yet.
    I forgot to say, I’m recently 20.
    Lots of thanks!

  106. lawrence says

    hello, :)
    my passagio is at g4 and b4. i think i might be a haute contre/tenorino/contraltino whatever. my range is from a bb2-b5 in full voice with no voix mixte/ falsettone(mixed voice) or pure falsetto. I can belt up to a b5 comfortably and my highest note in headvoice is also b5. although i have occasionally hit a full voice c6. but this is rare and im still a bit skeptical on that one. I can sing b5 comfortably in piano or forte. I struggle with anything lower than an e3 or d3. f3 is where i start to kind of get uncomfortable. my speaking pitch is an a3 and my middle voice can go up to e5. i normally sing in the range of f3-a5. with most of my singing pitch at a range of b3-g5. Do you think i would qualify as a haute contre? btw, some of the ranges of the people posting here don’t make much sense to me. for example how can jamarcus be able to hit an f#2 and yet be able to get a g#5 which im pretty sure is higher than a leggiero tenors top note (g5)? sounds like falsettone to me…but then again robert plant could get a g5 and an f2/e2 :)

  107. Dawon says

    Hi Ian my name is Dawon. I would love to get your opinion. I am in my thirties now and recently discovered through taking lesson, that I am what seems to be a tenor. I am not sure of what kind of tenor as of yet but I do have a high C in my range and can vocalise up to a high D but I also have a low bass C in my range and I am comfortable singing in the high baritone range for example empty chairs at empty tables and since I have discovered my head voice. I was carrying a heavy chest voice all the way to the top and after a few lesson involving placement change more in the mask, and lifting of the soft palate. I broke into head tones not falsetto but my head voice and my head tones are getting very strong and it is so much easier to sing. I don’t feel like I am straining at a high G or G sharp. I simply turn the voice over and it is so much easier. I am having some problem in the secondary passegio which is for me between f and G there is a big break. I am now working on learning Una furtiva lagrima, which is pretty comfortable range wise, also working on Vainement ma bien aimee which feels very comfortable. Because strength in my middle range I would love your opinion on what you feel my voice type and what type of tenor I possibly may be if you feel I am a tenor at all. Perhaps I am a high baritone with an extension but I would love to get your opinion as soon as possible. Thank you for you time and your consideration.

    P.S. I have a freak falsetto being that when I break into falsetto which happens at tenor high D I can sing a high F above a Soprano high C like in the queen of the night aria from the Magic Flute and just like a soprano and is really loud and strong. Again thank you for your opinion

  108. Dawon says

    Please excuse my misspelling of any word and my poor grammar from my current post. Again thank you

  109. Tawfik Abbas says

    Hello i am 18 years old. I was a sophomore when i started singing in choir as a bass. The next year when i continued singing, i was classified as a baritone and i remain so with a range from E2 to G4 (A4 on a good day). Is it possible that i could be a tenor?

  110. Gershom says

    Sorry… wrong email… the email of this one is the correct..
    ——

    My voice seems to like the “tenorino” points… (i can crack at f4 if i’m not careful) b4 is very comfortable but c5 isn’t (i don’t have any training). My timbre is clear, and some years ago i sent you a file with my voice and you said that it had a “pure” and childish sound attached to it… (no more falsetto by the way).

    Well, the question is this… if i choose a classical tenor training, according to the timbre of high tenors, how would i sound?… (I’m measuring the pros and cons here, to know if it worth it)

    Can you give me some examples (something fast and agile — rossini maybe–)?

  111. David says

    Hi I was wondering if you could help me finding my voice type.
    I’m 16 and my vocal range is F2-A4(I have hitted B4 and C5 sometimes but those notes just don’t sound good ) , I think my first passagio is either Eb4 or F4 and my second is A4.
    In my head voice I can easilly sustain A5 and D6 was the highest note I’ve hitted ( my head voice goes from F3 to D6 and I can sing the female parts of most Nightwish songs easilly ) so I have considered myself to be a countertenor but now I’m not so sure. So what I really wanted to know is if I’m a baritone , a tenor or a countertenor.

    ( oh and when I sing Starlight by Muse after a while the ” hold ” parts , wich are F4′s start to hurt a bit. The tone for my head voice can either be bright or very dramatic )
    PS: I know its very hard to tell my voice type by just reading what I wrote , but I don’t have a decent enough mic to do voice recordings. so just help me if you can .

  112. Steve Murray says

    Hi.

    Thank you for taking the time the post all this information.

    As a true vocal beginner it is really interesting.

    Do you have any advice re vocal lessons? I would love to see how far I could go with training as a tenor/baritone then try out for a part in an amateur production.

    Like most training I would assume finding a good teacher can be a hit or a miss, but any advice would be welcome. I’m inthe Edinburgh/ Glasgow area.

    Kind regards

    Steve Murray

  113. says

    Hello Ian,

    Thanks for your very helpful article. I am pretty frustrated with myself right now vocally. When i was in college I was classified and classically trained as a dramatic tenor. I am now and have been for 20 years a worship leader in the local church and have been very comfortable singing in the tenor range. Recently, however, our church has transitioned to two services, a traditional and a contemporary service and I am learning and teaching many more modern worship songs which are consistently higher range. Long story short, I am now doubting my range and have another team member who is a vocal coach suggesting that my singing voice has possibly lowered (i am now 40) as i have grown older and she thinks maybe i am now a baritone. I really need to know because i don’t want to continue to push very hard on my higher range if i am really a baritone (and risk damaging my singing voice). If am am still a tenor, i just need to get in better shape vocally :) All of our worship services and music are on our website. If its not too much trouble, would you give a short listen and let me know your thoughts? The web address is fccga.org. Here is a direct link to the media page:http://www.fccga.org/media.php?pageID=6 Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  114. says

    Cool post. Good explanation of the difference between head voice and falsetto in the comments, as well! I am 28 yo and have studied as a lyric baritone for the past 7 years… but have always heard the question, “are you sure you’re not a tenor?” Lately the top is getting crazy easy when I vocalize, but I’m not sure if it’s legit tenor or if I’m hiking the larynx up by keeping everything artificially open (since I am trying not to artificially impose the passaggio too low). Difficult to tell. But it’s exciting!

    I know this is a faux pas, but I have an article on my blog that some of you may find interesting. Recently wrote a research paper on just this topic. Check it out: http://belcantochronicle.blogspot.com/

    -Ben

  115. Crazy thing says

    This i wierd to me, because my speaking voice sound lower than voices of first 3 tenors on the list,but my first passaggio is d4,e4 second was before i start to sing was Ab4,but i alwas can sing A but was hard in that time,now i can easily go higher..also i can hit lower notes E2,D2,C#2.need help

  116. Timothy Seymour says

    I happened upon this post by chance, and I must say, I am relieved to see some intelligent and well-explained content on the internet regarding vocal classification. Since everyone else is pulling their’s out, I’m a 19-year-old lyric baritone, A/Ab2 to Ab/A4, commonly, with some classical training. I must say, the passagio settings seem spot-on. I had one curiosity I was wondering if you had any idea about: Could a lyric baritone safely hope to be able to sing a Bb4 with any fullness after some time? This is mainly for music theater, mind you, rather than classical music. Songs like “Till I Hear You Sing” and such. If it helps, the range in which I most commonly sing is from A2 to G4.

    Thanks,

    Tim Seymour

  117. Connors says

    I’m 12 and my teacher said by 2 months my voice should have changed to a baritone.

  118. Jay Marius says

    Hey guys, I’m 18 years old. I always loved singing ever since I was young but I was bad at it. I finally managed to join my school’s choir last year, after a long talk with the conductor. I was initially placed in the baritone section where I began to learn and develop the right vocal techniques. After about 3-4 months, I went down to the bass section and sang ‘ bass 2′ parts. At the end of the year, I wasn’t comfortable with hitting the low notes in bass and quite a few notes in the baritone parts that I was supposed to sing. So I was moved up to the tenor section and I am currently singing ‘tenor 2′ parts.
    I am quite comfortable and happy in the range of this section.

    So I have a few questions that could any kind soul help provide me an answer to!
    1) Will my voice continue to fluctuate between voice types (baritone to tenor)?
    2a) Is my voice getting higher? (I sound like a 14-15 year old in my natural speaking voice which is quite embarrassing, especially when all the guys in my family are bass/baritones)
    2b) How can I get a lower speaking voice like a rich baritone or bass, if that’s even possible. I don’t want to sound like I’m faking it (i sound like Patrick The starfish from sponge on)
    3) what kind of tenor am I? (Having seen and read multiple descriptions about each voice type, I believe that I am between a dramatic tenor and a tenor lirico. I have a dark sounding tone at the lower or mid range (g4 and below) and I can go up to a G5# in full chest voice (but not A5, since I’m scared of attempting that high note).

    Thanks guys!!

    • Joseph says

      I can say about the first question. You go through 5 stages of voice break, where your voice breaks, and stage 5 is the longest and last, where your voice will settle, so you’ll want to work on it.
      You might be at stage 5 where it’ll stop changing, but for tenors it lasts long and could take up to 29 to settle. Or you could be stage 4, so you’ll change slightly once more but stage 5 would be right around the corner.

  119. Marzh says

    Hi Ian.
    I like to read your article, especially this one. I have several things in my mind.
    I am 26 years old now and I still don’t know my voice type precisely. My lowest note is A2 as for the highest is C6 in full voice, D6 on a good day. I’ve ever hit G#6s, A6s, B6s, C#7 (once) and a E7 (once). My first passagio is around F4/F#4 and second is around B4/C5. In my opinion, my voice sounds like a child or woman whenever I sing from 4′th octave and above. As for mid to upper notes of 2′nd octave, I still can hit that note but not as clear as 3′rd or 4′th octave and up. I have a problem in singing low notes: I can not sustain it and I can have a poor breath control for that low notes.
    My questions:
    1. What is my voice type? I do think that I am a low tenor or mid tenor.
    2. Is there any solutions for me to hit low notes without any breathing problem?

  120. Joseph says

    Probably a bit late, but I think I’m a high tenor, and so does my friend.
    I’m 16, I haven’t had any training, I’ve been singing a couple months, I can sing a bit of a weak G2, up to Bb5 all in chest (head voice C5), which I’m ok with (I’m aiming for a strong C5 soon). My prime break is E4 at the moment, which is similar to my friend’s usual break (his range is like D or D# to E5 all rather comfortably and nice. He was Phantom, he has a swing, rock and opera voice. Falsetto extreme up to D6, which I can do normally :o).
    I’m most confident higher and my voice is quite light, although my speaking voice rather low. My vibrato’s coming in better for higher.
    Considering I was never that big on singing before 2 months ago, my voice is cool, I’m developing a rock voice somehow. And opera for Mr Bumble in Older.

  121. Ethan says

    Hi my name is Ethan and I’m fifteen and a half. I believe I have a high baritone/low tenor voice. My voice goes down to G2/F#2 depending on how much I warm up my lower voice, and can go up to a G4 in full voicemost frequently. But I can also on, most days after warming up my higher end, belt an A4. What am I exactly? But due to my falsetto I can go easy up to an F5. The range I have kind of sounds like most of John Lennon/John Fogerty/and the singer of the lumineers’ stuff. I know that my voice has yet to develop, but I just want to know what I am currently. As I am into musical theater and chorus.

  122. David shacklette says

    Hi my names David and I’ve been in vocal lessons for a while now and know I’m a true tenor( where as I cannot go below a c3 when warmed up) but in my higher register I can only solidly
    Hit a g in full voice but can get extremely high in head voice ( like Bb 5 ) but I cannot seem to be able to hit the higher register from an g# to a c and its bothering me, could it just be that I havnt developed a solid mixed voice yet and controlled my passagios or could it be something else.

  123. Wyatt Loethen says

    Hi there! I’m 16 years old and I was wondering If I’m a baritone or tenor… since I’ve been told both, never bass, nor do I think I could be. I haven’t had any vocal lessons, though I plan to soon sometime (if I persuade my parents). But I am in show choir, and I was a tenor for that. my range is about A4-C3 roughly…I have to go to my head voice about at C4/D4, (that’s called passagio, right?).
    I’m most comfortable in my middle range. I really, really, really rather be a tenor than I baritone, like you have no idea how much; like if I was a baritone (which I kind of suspect I am) I’ll probably cry for days and then abuse my voice till I am a tenor… I don’t even know why, but I want to be a tenor, so bad

    here’s me singing, if that helps

  124. Ethan says

    Hi I have a question, I to know what voice would you classify me because on my piano I can hit C4-C6, or I can go from C3-C5 easily but my voice color sound like a baritone, but I can sing as some mezzo range, I dont know if am a high baritone or tenor, I kow am not a tenor because I have a friend at my church and when we sing together his voice is bright and sound like tenor, but mine is not really bright so I really dont know what voice type I have.Please help.

  125. Ian Sidden says

    Hey all, I’m going to go ahead and close the comments for this particular article. I obviously can’t keep up with answering all of your particular questions.

    A few themes have popped up while answering your questions though:

    1. In general, the best solution to any vocal problem is to find a good teacher and work one on one. This is especially true if you are experiencing problems or phenomena that are clearly outside the range of whatever is normal. I know that can be difficult, but it’s the fastest way to get results.

    2. The article is aimed primarily at adult male classical singers.

    3. If you’re a teenager, especially a young teenager, your voice will still be developing. That makes it very hard to determine voice type, and you really mustn’t compare your voice to adult voices. Instead, just find the repertoire that feels best, and – if possible – find a teacher to help you work through the changes you’re experiencing.

    4. When I discuss ranges in this article, I’m leaving out falsetto range. Normally in classical music, the male falsetto is reserved for a special effect.

    I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer everyone individually, but nevertheless, I thank you for the questions and the supportive comments. I really appreciate it. If you really do want to contact me individually, there are several options under the Contact Page linked at the top.

    Happy singing!
    Ian

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