Singing Voice Types – Are They Important?
Singing Voice Types – what do they mean, and are they really that important? Are singing voice types relevant when it comes to contemporary singing such as Rock or Pop? And most importantly, do certain voice types come with a physical limitation to the potential range that you can build? Let’s find out.
Voice types, or the Vocal Fach System, was designed as a way to allocate pieces of music to singers who could achieve the tonal quality required for a specific character or part. In a classical sense, voice type really refers to a specific tonal quality in a particular range rather than ability to sing specific notes. In a contemporary sense, Male voice types are often simplified into “Low Voice = Baritone” and “High Voice = Tenor”, which really isn’t correct. Many times, a singer is unable to sing high notes simply because they lack the technique, not due to their voice type – but it’s often easier to simply say “I’m a Baritone” than it is to say “I need help with my voice!”.
How To Sing High Notes
The most important key to singing higher notes is the way that you sing your vowel sounds. Vowel in speech often means something quite different to “vowel” in singing. Singing a vowel correctly requires you to shape the vowel with the tongue as well as match the resonant space in the vocal tract to the range and style you are singing. Where pronunciation creates your speaking voice and native accent, singing requires you to create resonance and articulate your sounds in a secondary manner – so, your speaking voice really isn’t related to the powerful voice that you can build by developing proper vocal technique.
Voice Type is actually something that develops over time in a classical singer. So, the only time voice type is really relevant is if you pursue a career in classical or Opera singing, and also when your voice has matured after many years training.
A baritone voice type is no more of an obstacle to your progress as a contemporary singer as a tenor voice type is a ‘good’ voice type – remember, voice type has more to do with natural tonal quality and ability to ‘play a character’ than it does your ability to develop and grow your range and style as a singer.
How To Sing Better
The first step to developing a powerful singing voice – regardless of your voice type, is to set up a rock solid vocal foundation of healthy vocal technique and the right approach. Foundation in singing includes each base element of the voice, from diaphragmatic breathing, mixed voice, balanced onsets, connecting chest and head voice, releasing strain and tension and setting up your voice for a healthy and long life.
The best place to start building a great vocal foundation is our Foundation 101 Singing Course which will show you how to;
- Support your voice
- Develop mixed resonance
- Connect chest and head voice
- Form your vowels properly
- Manage resonant space
- Balance your onset
- Warm up your voice effectively (over 60 minutes of video tutorials and interactive warmups)
- Develop each base element of the voice
By first developing your vocal foundation, this sets your voice up for continued and ongoing progress proportional to the time and effort your invest in your voice.
If you have any questions about developing your vocal foundation, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.