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Identifying your voice type: a guide for beginner singers

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

If you're new to the world of singing, understanding the different voice types can seem a bit confusing. We will explore the six main vocal categories to help you identify your voice type. This article is written for singers who want to use the exercises provided on the website but don't know their vocal type yet.

1 - Your sex

Your biological sex plays a significant role in determining your vocal type. It will help you narrow down the options and make it easier for you to identify your vocal type.

For male voices: You can be a bass, baritone, or tenor.

For female voices: You can be an alto, mezzo-soprano, or soprano.

2 - Your comfort depending on the registers

To put it very simply, voices are categorized as follows:

Tableau des différents types de voix.

You will notice some correlations between male and female voices: basses and altos feel comfortable in the lower notes, baritones and mezzos in the middle range, and tenors and sopranos in the higher notes.

This doesn't mean that basses and altos are capable of singing the exact same notes. It means that basses and altos are more comfortable in the lower range compared to the potential vocal range based on biological sex (basically, men sing lower than women, and women sing higher than men).

Here is a diagram that will be more illustrative! It was established based on the average vocal ranges of my students according to their vocal types*.

The pitches ranges are provided as a reference. Vocal terminology enthusiasts would be delighted to explain to you that "normally, a classical soprano uses a vocal range extending from B3 to C6, and blablablablablabla".

But we don't care about that!

The purpose of this diagram is to show an average of the comfortable notes possible for each vocal type (across all styles) so that you can navigate and choose the types of exercises available on the website that match your voice.

(You can click to enlarge.)

Schéma des différents types de voix.

If you don't recognize the musical notes on the piano diagram above, that's absolutely fine: simply refer to the first table.

Here are a few more hints if you're still unsure about where you fit:

3 - Identifying your vocal range

Your vocal range refers to the range of notes in which your voice feels the most comfortable. Take a few minutes to softly sing at different pitches. You can do sirens (simple "whoooooos", like the sound of fire truck sirens) going up and down to get an idea. Take note of the notes where you feel comfortable.

4 - Consider the color of your voice

In addition to the vocal range, the timbre of your voice can also be an indicator of your vocal type. Lower voices generally have a deeper and richer sound. Baritones also have a lower tone, but with some brightness in the middle range. Tenors often have a bright and powerful voice in the high notes. Mezzo-soprano and alto voices have a warm and expressive quality, while sopranos often have a crystalline and bright voice in the highest notes.

Identifying your vocal type may seem intimidating at first, but with some practice and observation, you can start to understand the unique characteristics of your voice. Remember that the voice is a complex instrument, and categorization can vary from person to person. If you're truly passionate about singing, consider working with a vocal teacher who can guide you in exploring and developing your voice. Regardless, have fun and let your voice flourish!

*We use the Anglo-German notation and not the Latin notation. The "middle C" will be referred to as C4 (do 4, approx. 261 Hz).


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