Very few studies on the connection between your singing voice and your genetic makeup are available to us now. However, you can still follow certain music history patterns that give you a general idea of how much both are related.
Genetics plays, at the very least, a small role, along with many other factors that can determine what you are able to do with your singing voice.
Your vocal range is one of the key elements that is impacted by genetics. Our genetics play a role in our range when it comes to our vocal cord size in particular.
Larger vocal cords have lower ranges, while smaller ones have higher ones.
An undeniable connection between genetics and range can be seen with males having lower voices (larger vocal cords) and women having higher ranges (smaller vocal cords).
We can begin to infer that if smaller vocal cords run in your family, you may be inclined to have a higher vocal range.
Related Post: All About Vocal Singing Ranges
Your vocal talent abilities may and may not be affected by genetics.
On the one hand, your vocal tone, also known as timbre, can also be traced back to how your vocal cords and larynx muscles are shaped, with each person having a unique voice box that could be influenced by genetics.
Due to their timbre, you often hear family members who have a gift for singing that sound somewhat alike. This rings true for me as a professional singer and my sister, who people often think sounds alike due to our tone.
On the other hand, the tone of your voice can be largely influenced by your surroundings as you grow and as you learn your preferences in your vocal style when singing over time.
Your talent levels will almost completely rely on your ability to be consistent with your singing practice and learn tips and tricks from professional voice teachers and performers.
Your ear for music is likely to be influenced by your environment but may also have genetic influences.
Studies show that children exposed to music education earlier in life have an easier time when it comes to ear training in music theory and performance classes.
But psychological professor Diana Deutsch says that physiology may be the cause of pitch accuracy, more specifically, perfect pitch (the ability to identify any pitch without an instrument).
Her research study states, "perfect pitch is associated with an unusually large memory span for speech sounds."
The language we speak can also have an effect on our singing voices, but more specifically, our talking voices.
Studies on Cantonese speakers found that the native language of a person affects the way they recognize and reproduce vocal sounds.
For instance, people who speak Cantonese are better able to produce tones commonly found in Cantonese than people who speak Mandarin.
This study suggests that our native language plays a huge role in the way we use our vocal cords.
Age is another big factor when it comes to your singing voice. The muscles that surround your vocal cords lose elasticity over time, which can take away from the power and accuracy of your voice.
The weakening of your vocal muscles can also cause you to have vocal fatigue much more quickly than a younger voice. This is why you often hear older singers who sing more quietly and less controlled than they may have done in their earlier years.
Contrary to popular belief, most people have the basics needed in order to become good singers.
Sean Hutchins, director of research for the Royal Conservatory, said to The Guardian, "Only around 2 percent of the human population doesn't possess the skills needed to determine the right pitch to perform a song."
When you think about it, most people do seem to be able to carry a tune. Have you ever tried to sing a simple song like Happy Birthday in a large crowd? Notice how only a few people will be way out of tune.
You may be wondering, if 98% of the population in the world has the ability to become a great singer, then why are there prodigies and certain few people that are referred to as the greatest of all time?
It really boils down to how smartly they trained their skills and how many hours they dedicated to their craft.
If you are taking lessons and studying music effectively in addition to practicing consistently, you can be one of the next people that the world will place among the greatest singers of all time.
Related Post: Why Can't I Sing Well? 5 Reasons You May Struggle
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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