The future of music

Vocal Range: How to Find Yours Right Now

March 8, 2023
Vocal range

If you want to improve your voice, one of the first things you should do is find your vocal range.

That’s the only way to do vocal exercises and practice songs in a safe and efficient way.

But knowing your vocal range is also fun – it will allow you to feel good and confident while singing.

So today, we’ll show you how to measure your vocal range in a quick and easy way!

How to Find Your Vocal Range

Every person has a unique vocal range.

And finding yours will help you in so many ways.

First of all, you’ll be able to choose songs suitable for your vocal range. 

Did you ever try to sing Mariah Carey’s or Michael Jackson’s tune and something didn’t feel right?

That’s perhaps because the notes you were trying to sing were way out of your vocal range.

And that’s fine! Most people have a 2-octave vocal range.

But maybe you can reach really high or low notes, and your voice is a gem waiting to be polished.

Well, it’s time to find out!

blue microphone

What is Vocal Range?

Vocal range is defined as a measurement of the distance from the lowest note to the highest note that a person can sing. 

So your vocal range encompasses the notes you can produce, from low to high. 

Therefore, the vocal range is usually written as two notes: the lowest note and the highest note.

For example, a very common male vocal range is C3-C5. And a common range for women is from A3-A5.

So, the average male vocal range is about 1.5 to 2 octaves, while the average female vocal range is about 2 to 3 octaves.

If you can sing from A3-A5, you can go from an A in the 3rd octave up to the A in the 5th octave.

Of course, some professional singers have a vocal range of over 4 octaves. Some of the most impressive vocal ranges of famous singers include: 

  • Mariah Carey: F2 – G7 (more than 5 octaves)
  • Ariana Grande: D3 – E7 (more than 4 octaves)
  • Michael Jackson: Eb2 – F#6 (more than 4 octaves)
  • Beyonce: A2 – E6 (more than 4 octaves)

Generally, a 2-octave vocal range means that you can comfortably sing across 2 octaves of vocal range. 

The word comfortably is very important here. The thing is, you can sing out of your vocal range, but it won’t feel right. 

If you sing outside of your vocal range, you tend to force more air through the throat. That can jam up your vocal cords or restrict air flow, and the result will be a breathy sound. 

So, can you sing out of your vocal range?

The answer is yes, but those notes will be hard to obtain. And if you’re a beginner, it’s crucial to stick to your vocal range first – that way you won’t hurt your vocals. 

guy singing with smoke background

Every successful singer you know worked on getting the best out of their natural voice. 

And once you feel fully comfortable and confident in your own vocal range, you can start working on extending it.

Is it really possible to expand your vocal range?

Yes, it is – with proper vocal training.

And it’s actually not that hard. We’ll tell you how to do it in a moment.

But for now, it’s important for you to find your specific vocal range and work on your natural tone. 

And What About Voice Types?

Although your vocal range is specific to your voice, vocal ranges are normally categorized into 8 common voice types.

And vocal range is one of the most important factors that determine your voice type. 

The 8 singing voice types include:

  • male voice types: bass, baritone, tenor, and countertenor
  • female voice types: alto, contralto, mezzo-soprano, and soprano

Each voice type has specific abilities and tones.  

For example, the bass is dark and heavy, with a vocal range of around E2-E4, and countertenor (the highest male vocal type) usually has a vocal range of E3-E5 and a lighter vocal weight than other male voice types.

Bass and countertenor voice types are rare (like female contralto), while you’ll hear male tenors and female sopranos quite often.

A mezzo-soprano voice type is also common in popular music. Some of the famous mezzo-soprano voices in the music industry include Madonna, Lady Gaga, Adele, and Beyoncé.

Understanding different voice types will ultimately help you figure out what you need to do to improve your voice. 

It will also allow you to choose songs that fit your voice perfectly.

But in order to find your voice type, you need to find your vocal range.

Easy Steps to Find Your Vocal Range 

Finding your vocal range is actually quite easy.

And it’s even easier if you play the piano or guitar. 

Nevertheless, if you follow these easy steps, you will discover your vocal range within minutes.

And here’s how!

1. Use a piano or a piano app to find Middle C

First, go to a piano (or guitar, if you play guitar) or download an app and play the Middle C note. 

If you have a piano or a keyboard but you’re not familiar with the notes, look for the exact middle of the keyboard. More precisely, find the two black keys in the middle of the piano and press the white key on their left – that’s Middle C.

Now, sing an “Ah” vowel and match the note.

2. Write down the lowest note you can sing

Continue playing each note on the instrument moving downward while singing “Ah” on each note.

Do this until you hit your lowest note. This note will be the last note you can sing comfortably without croaking or breathing the note.

3. Mark the highest note you can sing 

Now repeat the process to find the highest note. Simply play the piano and sing upwards from middle C until you reach the highest note you can sing comfortably.

By the way, pay attention to cracking or croaking – some notes will be hard to sing because they’re probably your passaggio or “break” points. 

You should be able to hold your highest note consistently, without straining your voice. 

4. Write down your vocal range 

And that’s it! 

Your vocal range is a combination of the lowest note and the highest note you were able to sing. So it should look like this:

Lowest note (with the octave number) – Highest note (with the octave number)

woman recording song

What About Falsetto? 

Although the term vocal range refers to the full spectrum of notes your voice is able to produce, falsetto is usually not included in a singer’s full-voice range.

Falsetto is the upper register of the human voice, to be more precise. 

Every singer can sing in different registers, including: 

  • head voice
  • the mixed or middle register
  • chest register
vocal registers

So, the falsetto is basically a way of singing.

But as a beginner, you’ll first learn how to sing in head voice and chest voice. That’s because you feel more comfortable using your head voice and chest voice.

For instance, when you’re speaking, you’re using your chest voice – it’s the range of notes at the bottom of your voice. And the head voice allows you to reach higher notes.

And singing falsetto is a bit different. In falsetto, the vocal cords come slightly apart, and the sound that comes out is very light and airy.

Coming from the Italian word for “false”, falsetto means “artificial voice” – and it’s usually not included in the vocal range. 

Finding Your Voice Type 

As you already know, your vocal range determines your voice type. 

But besides vocal range, there are other factors that determine a singer’s voice type. 

For instance, you’ve probably heard of timbre.

Timbre is the quality that makes your voice unique – it’s the color of your voice. 

And tessitura refers to the range of your singing voice that feels comfortable.

Don’t confuse tessitura with your vocal range – a vocal range is a measure that determines your abilities, while tessitura determines the place your voice is fully comfortable.

In other words, it’s a range in which your voice produces its best quality. 

For instance, you may be able to hit a G5 but only sing comfortably up to a C5. So, a C5 would be your tessitura.

woman singing raising hands

Another term that every aspiring singer needs to understand is vocal weight.

Vocal weight is the lightness or heaviness of your voice. Your vocal weight determines how heavy (strong, powerful) or light (gentle, bright) you can sing certain parts. 

Finally, you need to become familiar with your bridge. It’s also called the passaggio, or the voice “break”, and it’s related to the location where your voice transitions between different vocal registers. 

Regardless of what voice type you have, singing through your bridge comfortably can be quite a challenge. 

Nevertheless, finding your voice type is very easy.

If you know your vocal range, you just need to find a category you fit in:

  • Bass – E2-E4
  • Baritone – A2-A4
  • Tenor – C3-C5 
  • Countertenor – E3 – E5
  • Contralto – E3 – F5
  • Alto – F3-F5 (or D5)
  • Mezzo-soprano – A3-A5
  • Soprano – C4-C6

And all of the deciding factors we mentioned earlier will help you understand your own voice a little better.

It’s something you were born with but that doesn’t mean you can’t extend your vocal range.

If you’re patient and persistent, you can improve your singing skills significantly.

But if you want to do it effectively and safely, you need to approach your singing lessons in the right way.

Use Your Vocal Range 

During your singing lessons for beginners, you will first sing songs suitable for your vocal range.

And that’s the best thing you can do for yourself.

Knowing your vocal range and voice type can also help you find artists that sing in a similar range to you. 

That way, you’ll be able to pick songs to sing more easily.

For instance, if you’re a soprano and you have a vocal range from approximately C4 to A5, you can try singing songs by Ariana Grande, Hayley Williams, Kate Bush, or Diana Ross.

Of course, just because these singers have a certain voice type doesn’t mean they don’t sing higher or lower notes. That said, make sure that the song you choose is suitable for your skill level. 

Extending Your Vocal Range 

Once you feel comfortable with singing songs in your own vocal range and tessitura, you can slowly start working on extending your vocal range. 

How to Extend Your Vocal Range 

As a matter of fact, you’ve probably already started doing that.

A big part of expanding your vocal range entails vocal exercises.

If you integrate vocal warm-ups and exercises into your daily routine, you’re already on the right track. 

Lip thrills, vocal sirens, hissing, and humming will do just fine in the beginning.

There are some other things you should keep in mind if you want to improve your vocals though.

For instance, you should always maintain good posture while singing and practicing. 

The same goes for breathing – controlling your breath and singing from your diaphragm is very important, and every vocal coach knows this. 

woman with afro hair singing

When you’re ready to actively work on expanding your range, use a piano or a piano app to hit the lowest note you can comfortably sing.

Then move down one half-step. If you sound too breathy or off-key, practice until it feels more comfortable.

Use the same process for the highest note. Make sure you can sing that note without cracking, and then move up one half-step. 

When you’re able to sing these two notes naturally and smoothly, you can move on to the next note.

Useful Tips 

Now, let’s quickly summarize our tips and tricks: 

  • integrate vocal exercises into your daily routine
  • maintain good posture while singing
  • breathe with your diaphragm
  • practice singing high and low notes 

And remember – extending your vocal range takes time. You shouldn’t push yourself too hard. Take care of your voice.

Vocal health is an important part of every singer’s learning journey. 

You won’t get far if you seriously damage your vocal cords…

Therefore, be careful, and don’t sing out of your vocal range if it doesn’t feel right yet.

One of the things that might help you notice your limits is finding trouble spots in your voice. 

This problematic area is called the vocal break, and you can usually feel it because your voice cracks. You may also recognize it as a sudden shift in the tone of your voice.

Most men tend to break around an E4, while most women tend to break around an A4.

This generally happens when the vocal cords aren’t vibrating as strongly as you want, and it’s usually related to transitions between different vocal registers.

Eliminating Vocal Breaks 

There are some exercises you can incorporate into your daily practice if you want to eliminate vocal breaks. 

For example, you can do an exercise that will generally help you hit high notes.

Just follow these easy steps:

  • Say the word “Gee” at a moderate volume
  • Find a comfortable note at the bottom of your voice and sing the word “Gee” loudly
  • Sing an octave and a half scale where you replace each note of the melody with “Gee”

It’s a simple singing technique, but it will slowly get you where you want to be.

If you decide to take online singing lessons or hire a vocal coach, you’ll surely be introduced to many similar exercises.

And that’s why we recommend finding a good singing program. With clear guidance, proper tools, and effective methods, you’ll improve your singing voice sooner than you think. 

woman singing with guitar

When you improve your voice and expand your vocal range, you can start exploring new music genres and styles, learn new techniques, and so on.

Learning how to sing is an exciting and rewarding journey, and finding your vocal range is only the first step! 

Final Thoughts 

We hope this article helped you find your vocal range and determine your voice type.

Knowing your vocal range will open so many doors for you. 

Therefore, we encourage you to keep learning and improving your voice. 

With enough practice, you’ll be amazed by what your voice can do! 

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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