The human voice is capable of going lower than any note on the piano and higher than any human can actually perceive. Vocal ranges are often broken down into four voice types in choral settings: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass.
In operatic music settings, the breakdown involves 6 (sometimes 7) different voice types. I classify myself as an alto singer, but I can often hit high notes in the soprano range, depending on the genre of music. Where does your voice fit in it all?
As you may already know, the term soprano is used to describe the highest general voice range for singers.
Several different types of sopranos fall under the general term, but most people just stick with calling a singer a soprano if they sing high.
Most will say that a soprano's range usually spans from C4 to C6. Some sopranos can sing much lower than this, but this doesn't mean that they lose the title of a soprano. Others can sing way higher, like in the video above!
Sopranos often get the song's melody, making their parts stand out and easier to grasp as new singers. This rings especially true for singers that are reading music while singing.
Sopranos often have parts that shine really well, so it's no wonder everyone wants to be "on top". Singing beautifully and high at the same time just hits differently.
Read More: All About The Soprano Vocal Range
As an alto singer, I pride myself on having the best of two worlds when it comes to vocal range. On the one hand, I can sing some sweet angelic high notes in my head voice.
And on the other, I can give strong, thick, powerful belts in my lower range. Think of singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Adele, who are simply unmatched when it comes to singing with intense emotional inflection and rich tone. The alto range is where it's at!
Many will say that the range of an alto is usually from F3 to F5, but I like to think of it closer to F3 to D5, especially when we're talking about belting range in the style of pop or musical theatre.
Some altos like Sade prefer to sing softly and smoothly, while others can be powerhouses like Adele. While most sing beautifully in the mid-range, altos can often hit high notes with their head voice.
Read More: All About The Alto Vocal Range
Who's that powerful and bright male vocal part that is piercing through the entire choir? It's probably a tenor's voice.
I like to rag on tenors for always being loud and sometimes being obnoxious, but the truth is that a true tenor's voice amazingly shines like no other vocal part. The tenor vocal range has so much magic that other voice parts often envy.
A common vocal range for tenors in music is C3 to C5. Some people lower the top-end range to a B4 instead of C5 because it's such a challenge for guys to hit a high C in their chest voice.
Either way, the tenor range is pretty small compared to other ranges. This doesn't mean that tenors are limited to notes in this range only. They often have lower notes than these (especially if it's secretly a baritone posing as a tenor
Read More: All About The Tenor Vocal Range
Men with the lowest vocal ranges known to humans are also known as bass vocalists. Rich and full of beautiful darkness, a bass vocal tone can send chills right down your spine.
These chills are why bass singers are often cast as the villain in musicals and operas when they have such deep voices to match a character's storyline with.
A bass can usually sing from the range of E2 to E4, right above middle C. The bass clef comes in handy for this range since the notes found on the clef are where basses find their most comfortable singing range in.
It is also common to find basses that prefer not to sing above middle C. Basses sometimes have the gift of a lovely falsetto, but this is more commonly found in baritone and tenor singers.
Read More: All About The Bass Vocal Range
When it comes to voice types in the opera world, they are more commonly broken down into six voice types: Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Contralto, Tenor, Baritone, and Bass.
Sopranos can usually sing C4 to C6 or higher. Mezzo-Sopranos have a range of A3 to A5.
Contraltos have a range between F3 and E5. Tenors can closely sing between B2 and A4.
A bass singer has a range that falls within E2 to E4, just like the four voice type classification.
A 7th type, which is a contralto or high tenor singer, has a range between E3 and E5.
Understanding your vocal range can help you pick songs that really suit your voice and allow you to sing healthily and comfortably without damaging your voice.
Not sure about what voice type you fit in? Find a piano or digital instrument and start pitch matching by singing the phrase "la"! Go down the scale and mark the lowest note you feel comfortable singing.
Do the same for the highest note and refer to the bold ranges I highlighted above to see what best fits yours.
If you can, try to have a witness or two there with you who has a good ear for music to make sure you match the pitch correctly.
Around 2-5% of people in the world are tone-deaf, which means they aren't able to interpret pitches well and mimic what they hear correctly.
Related Post: Can You Learn To Sing At Any Age? Here's The Truth
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page. As an Amazon Associate, Yona Marie earns from qualifying purchases. Amazon and other affiliate products are recommended to genuinely help readers and keep this site up and running as well.