Let’s talk voice classification.
Many new singers wonder where their voices fall in terms of voice classification. A common question found in singers’ forums is: “What is my voice type?” Sooner or later, every singer should know what type of voice he or she possesses. I am sure that you have heard the terms soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Do you know where your voice fits?
This voice classification was developed in regards to classical singing (operatic voices). When classifying voice in this way, not only vocal range and pitch abilities are considered but also passagio (the point where your vocal quality changes from one register to another), voice quality (timbre) and most comfortable range (tessitura). When these terms are used for non-classical singing voices, they are used more loosely. As your singing technique develops, classification of your voice may change too – you develop a wider range and a better voice quality.
Here is a simple breakdown of different types of singing voices:
Female voices are soprano, mezzo soprano and alto.
Soprano voice classification
Typical soprano range: C4 – C6
Comfortable range: G4 – G5
Passagio: D5 flat – G5 flat
Strength: strong head voice
Soprano singers (click on the name to see a YouTube video): Mariah Carey, Julie Andrews, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Doris Day, Dolly Parton, Jackie Evancho, Diana Ross, Idina Menzel and many more
Typical mezzo soprano range: A3 – A5
Comfortable range: F4 – F5
Passagio: C5 – F5
Strength: strong middle voice
Mezzo soprano singers (click on the name to see a YouTube video): Beyonce, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Susan Boyle, Sheryl Crow, Serena Ryder, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and many more
Typical alto range: G3 – G5
Comfortable range: E4 flat – E5 flat
Passagio: B4 – E5
Strength: chest voice
Alto singers (click on the name to see a YouTube video): Adele, Annie Lenox, Lady Gaga, Toni Braxton, Cher, Patsy Cline, Miley Cyrus, Judy Garland, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall, Lorde, Katy Perry, Pink, Rihanna, Shakira, Tina Turner and many more
Male voices are tenor, baritone and bass:
Typical tenor range: C3 – C5
Comfortable range: F3 – F4
Passagio: C4 sharp – F4 sharp
Strength: head voice
Tenor singers (click on the name to see a YouTube video): Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Bono, Michael Jackson, Cee Lo Green, Adam Lambert, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Sting, Phil Collins, Freddie Mercury, Bruno Mars, Usher as well as Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and many more
Typical baritone range: G2 – A4
Comfortable range: C3 – E4
Passagio: B4 – E4
Baritone singers (click on the name to see a YouTube video): David Bowie, John Lennon, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Buble, Elvis Presley, Josh Groban, and many others
Typical bass range: E2 – E4
Comfortable range: B2 flat – B3 flat
Passagio: A3 flat – D4 flat
Strength: chest voice
Bass singer (click on the name to see a YouTube video): Barry White
Do you know where your voice fits?