What's Your Vocal Range and Voice Type?
Are you struggling to figure out your range and voice type to include on your Spotlight profile? Here's our introduction to get you started!
By Hannah Brent
Casting professionals will often search for singers whose vocal range and voice type suits a particular role. Clearly indicating this fantastic skill on your CV is integral to landing that perfect job. All that musical terminology can be confusing, and you may wonder how to begin defining your voice on paper. Have no fear, this quick guide to the basics has got you covered.
Finding your vocal range
Vocal range refers to how high and low a performer can comfortably sing. You will need to add both the lowest and the highest note on your CV.
To find your current vocal range, all you’ll need to do is:
- Get your hands on a piano. There are plenty of free apps for smartphones which give you a digital version right at your fingertips.
- Locate middle C which is C4 in Scientific Pitch Notation as shown in the picture below.
- Follow the keys downwards and sing along until you reach the lowest note that is comfortable to produce.
- From middle C again, reach the highest note in the same fashion.
Top tip: Make sure that you are not straining your voice. As a muscle, your voice can stretch with the right training and practice. Your current range may not include that money note in your favourite song, but, in time, you’ll get there.
Once you have found your range, check out our FAQs for how best to display this on Spotlight.
Identifying your voice type
Every voice is an individual instrument with a unique sound. Within each group below, however, there are a few distinct similarities. Take a look to see which voice type is best suited to you.
This is the highest female voice type with a typical range of C4 to C6. A soprano’s voice is light and bright. They are most at home in the heavens of their vocal range like Christine in Phantom of the Opera. Famous sopranos include Dolly Parton and Ellie Goulding.
With a usual range of G3 to A5, mezzo-sopranos can also have similar ranges to sopranos. They will normally sing along with them in choirs. The difference is that ‘mezzos’ will sound deeper and more mature in quality, feeling most at ease in the middle of their range. Mezzo-sopranos are often great belters, such as Elphaba in Wicked or Barbara Streisand.
Altos are usually mezzo-sopranos with a lower range of E3 to F5 and are used mostly in choral music. A famous alto role to think of would be Sally Bowles in Cabaret.
A true alto, in operatic singing, would be classed as a contralto. This very rare voice type is the lowest female voice. Their low notes are luscious and full of volume. Singers in this group can have an androgynous, distinctive sound. Think of memorable performers such as Amy Winehouse, Annie Lennox, or Cher.
As the highest male voice type, tenors usually have a range of C3 to B4. Famous tenor roles include Tony from West Side Story and Elder Price from the Book of Mormon. Like sopranos, tenors find it easy to sing high notes and have a brightness to their voice. Famous singers in this category include Frankie Valli and Stevie Wonder.
A note on tenors: If you think you have an even higher male voice than this, and your sound is similar to a soprano or mezzo-soprano, you could be a countertenor. This group has a range of around G3 to C6.
The comfortable range for a baritone will sit between a tenor and bass from G2 to G4. Baritones are quite common and have a weightiness to their sound. A good example of the deep power of a baritone is Julian Marsh from 42nd Street. In popular music, you may wish to listen to the likes of George Ezra or even Elvis Presley.
Basses are the lowest male voice type and, like contraltos, are a rarity. You will have a bold, booming voice that can reach an average low of D2 and a high of E4. Singers such as Louis Armstrong and Leonard Cohen are both classified as basses. In operatic music, singers with this voice type are often portrayed as dark characters to compliment the sound of the performer’s voice.
All sorted? If you are still uncertain about which vocal type suits you, there are plenty of professional singing teachers who will be happy to help you unlock the mysteries of your voice. You may wish to look at our Contacts Listings to find teachers located near you. In the meantime, keep practicing and happy singing!
Any other questions? Drop us an email at [email protected]