How to Find Your Vocal Range

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Determining your vocal range can be done quickly by a good choral music director or another well-trained vocalist. It can be accomplished by yourself if you have basic music skills or access to a qualified pianist.

Things You'll Need

  • Pianos
  • Vocal Sheet Music
  • Pianists
  • Use an accompanist & a recently tuned piano to identify the top & bottom pitches.

  • Sing the first five notes of the D-major scale going up and down, using the words, "one-two-three-four-five-four-three-two-one."

  • Breathe deeply and be relaxed. Sing the same pitches on "me-oh-my-oh-meee-oh-my-oh-meeee." Hold the top and the final pitch. Be at ease.

  • Have the pianist change the scale by moving up one half-step and playing the E-flat major scale.

  • Repeat steps 3 and 4 in this new key. Continue moving up scales a half-step at a time, using a relaxed jaw and tongue. Avoid any strain or tension in the throat or neck.

  • Produce the top note of this exercise in F major. The pitch is C. If this pitch is at your highest comfort level, C is the top of your vocal range.

  • Continue your ascent as your comfort allows without pinching the sound. The pianist can identify the uppermost notes and the degree of ease you exhibit.

  • Start on the note G and reverse this exercise by singing "five-four-three-two-one-two-three-four-five" in the key of C major.

  • Identify your lowest note in the same manner. The lowest note must resonate and be clear. Your vocal range will grow slowly with wise guidance, regular practice and care.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sopranos and tenors have nearly the same range, an octave apart - C up an octave through G is standard.
  • The same is true for altos and basses - F up an octave through C or D is standard for an alto or bass.
  • The quality of the vocal sound you produce is more important than your range.
  • Choose music that lies within the "tessitura" of your voice. This is the easy range of your voice.
  • Check with your local community college for recommendations of good directors and good vocal teachers.
  • Join a good choral organization within your community or a church.
  • Listen to CDs featuring quality vocalists and choral organizations.
  • Attend concerts and performances where musical excellence abounds.
  • Avoid straining your voice by putting extreme range demands on it.

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