By: Laura Kennedy
I was sited with my niece a few weeks ago and she asked me, “What is the average vocal range for a man and a woman?” Perhaps the reason she asked me that question is because she has been showing interest in music lately. Being someone who loves music as well, I saw it as a good question and an interesting subject to explore. So, I decided to do my research on it.
After doing my research, i came to the conclusion that the average vocal range for a man and a woman are different, and they are dependent on one’s voice type. If you are new to music, it’s good to know that there are different voice types for both men and women. Therefore, for you to identify your vocal range, you should first know your voice type.
Simply put, vocal range is the extent to which a singer can go between the highest and lowest notes. Actually, music is not as complicated as some people might think it is. It’s just a matter of understanding some basic principles and you will begin to love it as well. Well, it might not be as easy as ABC, but it’s not as hard as a rock either. I must admit that with practice, it’s possible for a singer to improve his or her vocal range. Let’s dive into understanding the vocal ranges for a man and woman.
The average vocal range for a man lies mostly between 1.4 to 2 octaves. A point that you should note here, though, is that most untrained male singers will fall into this category. For males who have been practicing or have been doing music for quite some time, they can have a vocal range of around 1.7 to 2.4 octaves. In fact, in some cases, the vocal range can even go higher. Generally, as you already know, practice makes perfect. So, if a male singer is determined to increase his vocal range, it can significantly improve, with time. Normally, there are three male voices including: Tenor, Baritone, and Bass.
The tenor voice is the highest in the male category. That also means that the vocal range of a tenor voice is the highest among the male voices. It’s for this reason than tenors have a much better ability to control their head voice, therefore enabling them to sing notes than enter into the female category quite easily. A man with the tenor voice can have a vocal range of around 1.7-2 octaves.
Baritone is the male middle voice. It is between the highest and the lowest male voices. It’s the most common voice type among men. The average vocal range of a baritone singer is around 1.4-2 octaves. You will find most men being comfortable at the 1.4 range than at the 2 octaves range. That is why a man with a baritone voice sings lower than the one with a tenor voice.
Bass is the lowest male voice. This translates to having a low vocal range as well. In other words, the vocal range of a man who sings bass is way lower than that of one who sings baritone or tenor.
In order to understand the average vocal range of a woman, the first place you have to begin is to know the three types of female voices. The three female voices are: Soprano, Mezzo soprano, and Contralto.
Soprano is the highest female voice. It’s a voice that is familiar with many people. Am sure this is not the first time you’re hearing about it, right? Many women who sing this voice are able to hit high notes that those with other voice types find it difficult to hit. Generally, a person who sings soprano has an average vocal range from the A note to the F or G note. What this means is that such a person has a vocal range of 2-3 octaves. While this is not the vocal range that all sopranos can sing at, it’s the average, meaning that most of them are able to sing at that level. It’s because of a soprano’s ability to register a high vocal range that she’s able to hit high notes and sustain them at a higher pitch compared to the other voice types.
Now coming to the mezzo soprano, this is where a majority of females fall into. I actually think my niece has a mezzo soprano voice. It’s the most common ladies’ voice of the three. Basically, it’s the middle voice between soprano and contralto. Coming to the vocal range of females who sing mezzo soprano, it mostly lies between the G note to the C note. This makes it a vocal range of, to some extent, more than 2 octaves.
The one thing that you will notice for most women who have this type of voice and vocal range is that they have a strong middle voice but the head voice is weaker compared to those who do soprano. Again, based on the vocal range of such a person, you will realize that the voice is deeper compared to a soprano.
After having gone through the highest and middle female voices, it’s now the turn for the lowest one. This is arguably the most unique voice among women because most of them have either the soprano or the mezzo soprano. What this means is that even the vocal range of a female singing with a contralto voice is unique. Do you know what makes it distinctive?
It’s because it’s closer to highest male voice. This sounds very interesting, right? The average vocal range of this voice type will be around the E note and the G note. Given that it’s the lowest female voice, a woman who can sing at this vocal range can comfortably do the songs that men sing. One thing that is special with this vocal range is that it’s deeper and richer than the mezzo soprano. In other words, if you are a contralto singer, you can sing lower notes better than a mezzo soprano.
It’s clear that the voice range of a man and a woman vary greatly. What comes out quite evidently is that for you to know your vocal range, you should first know the voice type that you are comfortable singing. That is where it all starts.
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