If you’re new to singing or haven’t explored the technical aspects of it, you may not be familiar with your vocal register. Would you like to know what kind of a voice you have and how high – or low – you can go?
Find out how to do a vocal range test. This can be performed either by using technology like apps or with an instrument such as a keyboard or piano. Then, once your range is identified, you’ll be able to determine your vocal type.
In this article, we’ll explain the terminology involved in singing and music relating to the voice, as well as explaining how to test your range and the tools you can use to help you improve it.
How to do a vocal range test
As a singer, you’ll need to know your vocal range. Not only does this help you track your progress and plot goals, but it enables you to identify your voice type. In vocal groups – including bands who sing harmonies and choirs – you’ll be chosen or grouped according to your voice type.
This doesn’t refer to your style of singing, but rather the range in which you are most comfortable. It’s also a shorthand in the music world, to understanding which songs are likely to suit you best.
But to determine your own vocal type, you first need to test and find out your vocal range. There are several ways to do this.
An experienced vocal coach or singing teacher will probably be able to identify your voice type just by listening to you. But you may want to test your range yourself in any case and keep a note. Or you may not have a vocal coach to help you.
Part of the purpose of practising singing and doing exercises is to extend your voice higher and lower, giving more versatility and prowess. It will help to keep track of your work and improvement. It will also help you to identify any changes in your voice, especially as you age.
Carrying out a vocal range test online
To figure out your vocal range, you’ll need to sing through some scales. This can be done manually or by using some specialised technology to record the results for you. Some online methods provide a vague response, while others give a more accurate result. The most reliable way to test your vocal range is to play up and down a scale on a piano or keyboard, and see which of the notes you can comfortably hit.
Have someone else with you who can give an honest, unbiased opinion. Just because you can hit a note, doesn’t mean it’s comfortably within your range. Only include notes in your range that sound good and are not screeched or growled. Middle C can be a good place to start.
First work up or down the scale, then the other way. Being able to sing very high in particular, will help to wow an audience. Can you sing very high notes? Use this vocal range finder tool to find out.
Doing a singing test with a microphone
Playback FM offers a singing test and even matches you with a famous singer. You can do this with or without a microphone. A mic doesn’t enable you to sing more notes, but it does amplify your vocals.
If you’re tuning isn’t the best, you can even get a microphone that adjusts it for you. And when working in the studio, computers will be recording your pitch as well as the notes you’re hitting. So do ask your producer for feedback on your range and voice type.
Everyone is different. Vocal range is determined by nature, as well as nurture, so you may have been born with a naturally large range, or a small one. Whether you even need a big range will depend on the kind of music you sing.
If you write your own songs or perform as a gigging solo singer then you have far more control over the notes required. Whereas those auditioning for musical theatre, opera or bands who sing harmony, may need to be more flexible. An average range will depend on whether you are trained or untrained.
Vocal range test online with microphone
Once you know your vocal range, you can use this website to find out how it correlates to your voice type.
Enter the highest and lowest notes you can sing and it will also match you with famous artists of a similar voice type. This could help you with ideas when looking to add to your repertoire – the chances are you’ll sound great singing their songs.
Once you’ve tested your vocal range, keep a record. Then test it again sometime later – you can even get creative by making a chart or graph of your progress. Many factors can affect and alter it such as pregnancy and sickness. If you understand your voice and range, you can make adaptations when needed.
So, have some songs in your repertoire that push the limits, but also very comfy numbers you know are safe bets for days when your range isn’t at its fullest. A vocal coach will help keep you on track with range work, as well as assisting with song selection to best compliment your voice type.
Vocal range test app
Apps are very useful for musicians and can help with any number of activities. This includes judging your vocal range and your tuning. There’s always a chance the app won’t hear accurately, but generally, they’re pretty on point. Use a vocal range app, such as one of these, to test your range and pitching.
- Vocal Range Vocaberry
- Nail the Pitch – Vocal Pitch Monitor
- Note Recognizer
- Voice Pitch Analyzer
- Pitch Perfect (Digital Pitch Pipe)
What is my vocal range quiz
A quiz, by definition, will ask questions. And you can’t determine your exact vocal range through questioning. If you want to do a quiz anyway, it can be fun and give you a rough idea of where your register sits. Here’s one you might like to try.
It’s easy to filter songs once you know your range. Many backing tracks are grouped into voice types and a quick google will return which songs and singers that’ll match it too.
Do use songs a little out of your range to practice and stretch your voice. But never strain and don’t oversing notes that are out of your natural reach, or you may experience vocal damage. When you’re sick, you’ll likely need to lower the range of the songs you’re singing to protect your voice. You may even find your ranges varies through the day, depending on how warm your voice is.
Voice type test
Your type is indicated by where your voice sits on the musical spectrum, from low to high. Knowing this aids in song choice, placement in choirs and in musical theatre and opera casting.
There are six types of voice, split between males and females. Women can be altos, mezzo-sopranos or sopranos. While men can be basses, baritones or tenors. It’s possible to move between these categories in your lifetime, as you age and practice. All voice types are on a spectrum, so you could be a high alto or a low soprano for example. Here are the notes that each voice type can usually manage. Test yourself on these notes and establish which voice type you fit with.
Bass – E2 to E4
Baritone – A2 to A4
Tenor – C3 to C5
Alto – F3 to F5
Mezzo soprano – A3 and A5
Soprano – C4 and C6
Note that these are a median average typical of these voices. It’s not an exact science. You can be one of these voice types and be comfortable with less or more of the notes we’ve listed. It’s about finding the closest match.
Ask yourself which songs you find the most comfortable to sing and then identify what voice type the original singer has. Or use one of the apps and tools we’ve listed in this article, to match up the notes you can sing with voice types.
Vocal range finder tool
Some voice types are more common than others. A bass voice is much rarer than a tenor, which is why choirs are often found to be seeking bass singers. There tends to be a more even spread across female voice types, although altos are slightly less prolific than the soprano and mezzo singers. This is why most pop songs tend to suit soprano and mezzo ranges.
And bear in mind that if you’re growing, your voice may not have fully matured yet. This means you may not have your full range just now. As we get older we usually develop more low notes.
Many artists become known for their impressive vocal range. While being able to sing a large number of notes won’t get you famous it does help you to stand out from the crowd. Particularly when performing live on stage in a competition.
- How do I know what note I’m singing?
Try playing notes on the piano until you find the one that matches the one you’re singing. You can also use a tuning app to tell you what you’re singing. Or find someone with perfect pitch to tell you.
- How do you hit a high note?
Open your mouth and throat so the sound can flow out and release any tension in your jaw. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm to support the note. Imagine the note coming out from your forehead and think low rather than high.
- Which singer has the most octaves?
It’s widely reported that Axl Rose – lead vocalist of the band Guns N Roses – is the singer with the most octaves. Mike Patton of Faith No More is also often cited to be the singer with the largest range.
Have you done a vocal range test? Were you surprised by the results? Let us know your results in the comments below.