“As long as we live, there is never enough singing.” - Martin Luther
Singing attracts far more people than you may think. Our voice allows us to express different emotions through our intonation, which we can manage through our breathing. Your voice also allows you to sing, giving rise to some incredible talent. There are plenty of conservatories and music schools looking to find these talents.
If you want to discover your talents, you need to work out what your voice is capable of, whether or not you can hit the high notes, etc.
There are different factors that can affect your voice: vocal cords, warm-ups, etc.
So how can you work out what type of voice you have? Can you become a vocal coach without knowing your own tessitura?
This is what we’re going to have a look at in this article!
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The Different Types of Voices
Firstly, when it comes to classifying voices, you first need to classify them by male and female voices. Biology plays a role when it comes to your voice type or tessitura.
There are four main types of female voice:
- Sopranos. The most common type of female voices is also the type covering the highest range of notes.
- Mezzo-sopranos. Many children also fall into this voice range. This is the higher end of the mid-range voices.
- Altos. This is a deeper female voice.
- Contraltos. This is quite rare and the deepest female voices.
There are four main types of male voices, too:
- Countertenor. The highest male voice.
- Tenor. This is a high-pitched chest voice.
- Baritone. This voice type is common among men.
- Bass. This is the deepest of all voice types.
You Can’t Choose Your Voice Type
You can’t choose your voice type. You’re born with it and it’ll change over time. It’s your instrument and reflects your character, desires, and ambition.
A singer’s voice is affected by several criteria including your breathing, your voice box, etc. For example, a deep voice is often due to larger and thicker vocal cords. The power of your lungs and the capacity of your nasopharynx will also affect the type of voice you’ll have.
Rather than trying to change your voice, you should try and own it, work on it, and fine-tune it. Of all the ways to do this, these are some of the best:
- Adopt a good posture so that you can breathe more easily.
- Breathe with your diaphragm. This takes some work so make sure your stomach pushes out when you breathe in and tenses as you breathe out.
- Articulate each consonant and vowel.
In addition to determining your voice type, you also need to own it so that you can master it. Of course, every voice is different and they won’t fit perfectly into the classifications. There are a lot of different types.
Learn to Adapt to Your Tessitura
“Singing is a way of escaping. It's another world. I'm no longer on earth.” - Edith Piaf
You may be tempted to define your own voice but there are tools out there to help you work out your tessitura. Tessitura is the range of notes that a singer can sing comfortably.
In short, if you can comfortably sing a song from start to finish, it’ll mean that the song is for your tessitura. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to adapt or find a new song. The world of music is unwavering. Your voice is the fertile earth from which a musical flower can bloom. As you’ve seen the different types (alto, bass, countertenor, etc.), you need to know exactly what yours is.
There are tools you can use to work out what your vocal range is. If you’ve got a computer and a microphone, you’re all set. Once you know your range, you’ll know what your voice type is. If you still can’t work it out, you might want to get in touch with a singing teacher. You can do this through a test session.
Working out your vocal range is easy, isn’t it?
Just get in touch with a tutor from Superprof. In the space of an hour, you’ll know what your voice type is and the type of songs you should be singing. Go for it! Improvising is good, but knowing what you’re working with will save you a lot of time. Don’t forget that your voice will be with you your entire life.
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Tame Your Voice Type
We mentioned it earlier, but once you know your voice type, you can start owning and taming it.
It’s essential that you work on it. It’s a good idea to record yourself to learn what your voice is capable of. Additionally, you’ll be able to work out your vocal strengths and weaknesses.
Listen several times and work on the parts you’re struggling with.
This will also help you choose what songs to sing.
Find singers who have the same tessitura as you.
If you’re a contralto, for example, here are some singers with the same voice type:
- Nina Simone
- Alicia Keys
- Amy Winehouse
If you’re a tenor, you can choose from the following:
- Freddie Mercury
- Just Timberlake
- Paul McCartney
Singing these stars’ songs are a good way to practise and enjoy using your voice. You can also listen to songs you like and see what your voice type is.
You might love Mariah Carey and find singing her songs quite easy. Maybe you love Elvis Presley and never struggle singing along to The King.
In the first case, you’re probably a soprano and in the second case, you’re probably a baritone. This is a simple and effective way to work out your voice type.
Working out your voice type is quite easy, mastering it is a different kettle of fish, especially if you’re joining a choir or auditioning for a musical. Your tessitura is yours and yours alone so make the most of it.
Everyone's vocal folds are different and while vocal ranges can be broadened through vocal exercises, a voice teacher can only do so much. Your vocal training and voice lessons will focus on getting the most out of your voice type, be it a mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone, or tenor voice.
You can also learn more about registers from a singing coach or tutor. They can even show you artists with the same tessitura as you. Again, a tutor can help you work out the best repertoire. If you'd like to learn more about singing, consider getting help from one of the talented tutors on Superprof. There are three main types of singing tutorial and voice coaching and each type has several advantages and disadvantages so what's right for one student may not be right for another.
In face-to-face tutorials, there's just you and the tutor. This means that the tutor can focus on helping you to improve your voice and will put together a bespoke programme for you to follow. These are usually the most costly type of private tutorials since you're paying for all the tutor's time both in and out of class but they're also the most cost-effective.
There are also online tutorials where the student is taught via webcam. With the tutor not having to travel to their lessons and being able to schedule more lessons per week, these tend to cost less per hour than face-to-face tutorials. Since the tutor isn't in the room there with you, these tutorials are better for academic subjects rather than vocational ones. If you both have a good microphone and a good internet connection, online tutorials are a great option for those wanting to learn to sing on a budget.
Finally, there are also tutors offering group tutorials. If you and a group of friends are interested in learning how to sing, you could hire a tutor together and divide the cost of the tutor's time. Of course, you won't get as much individual attention from your singing coach as you would in the other types of tutorials but you will pay less per hour per student.
No matter which type of singing coach you go for, they'll be able to help you work out your voice type, plan lessons that can help you improve your voice, and suggest songs and activities that work best with your tessitura.
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