Your range is the highest and lowest notes you can sing comfortably. Most of us have a feel for where we can sing best but may not know what the range is called.
Vocal ranges overlap a lot, as you can see by the chart, yet all ranges span roughly the same number of notes.
- Soprano – the highest-pitched range, usually female.
- Mezzo-soprano – many women sing in this range.
- Alto – somewhat lower than soprano. Altos can’t usually hit the higher soprano range; conversely, sopranos have trouble with the middle to low alto range. Usually female, but some men can sing a low alto part.
- Tenor – the highest men’s range. Few men are true high tenors.
- Baritone – overlaps the bass and tenor ranges. This is the commonest men’s range.
- Bass – the lowest common men’s range. Few men are true low basses.
Want to find your range? There’s a handy tool at https://playback.fm/vocal-range that can get you started. Or just ask your accompanist before practice one day.
Your voice has a distinct point at which it changes from one tone to another, often towards the top of your range. As you sing a rising scale, you’ll feel the change; you make your sound in a slightly different way. Singing across your change takes practice and work, so many singers opt to sing either down or up an octave to avoid it. That can push you out of your range, though, with unpleasant consequences for the sound of the song. The best bet is to practise singing over your change, until you can sing above, below and through it with ease. Try some of the Warmup tips like the Arpeggios, Solfège Ladders or Sirens.