How to Identify Your Vocal Range

by Steven J. Miller
Use a piano to aid in determining vocal range.

Use a piano to aid in determining vocal range.

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Vocalists will spend a good part of their early career attempting to identify their vocal range. Sometimes, the range in which we sing is not apparent until she has become a more competent singer. Some vocalists may be on the verge of one vocal register and capable of singing in more than one register. However, the way to determine your voice classification is through the timbre of your voice, range and technical ability.

Items you will need

  • Piano
Step 1

Play a middle C on the piano if you are a woman, or play a fifth lower if you are a man. Middle C is the white key next to the set of two black keys in the middle of the piano. For men, just count down to the fifth white key below middle C.

Step 2

Match pitch with your starting note and begin to play up the piano moving by half step. You can move by half step by alternating between white and black keys. Continue to sing up to the highest comfortable pitch.

Step 3

Listen for where your register seems to change. As you sing up the chromatic scale, you will notice that your voice changes between a feeling of resonance in your chest and one that feels in your throat or head. Note the place where this change occurs. The white keys appear alphabetically from C to G. The black keys are C-sharp, D-sharp, F-sharp, G-sharp and A-sharp. Write down the exact pitch where your voice and tone quality changes.

Step 4

Continue singing to the highest pitch you can sing comfortable. Then starting at your starting pitch again, since down to the lowest note you can sing. Write both of these pitches down. This is your practical singing range.

Step 5

Analyze your results by determining where your passagio lies -- the point in which your voice changes. If your passagio occurs on E-flat or higher for the female voice, and you can sing comfortably above the staff to an A, then you are a soprano. If your passagio appears below E-flat, then you are likely a mezzo-soprano or alto. For men, the passagio occurs between C-sharp and E for tenors. If your passagio occurs a third lower than that, you are a baritone. If it is even lower, you are a bass.

About the Author

Steven Miller graduated with a master's degree in 2010. He writes for several companies including Lowe's and IBM. He also works with local schools to create community gardens and learn environmentally responsible gardening. An avid gardener for 15 years, his experience includes organic gardening, ornamental plants and do-it-yourself home projects.

Photo Credits

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