How To Define One’s Voice Type?

In classical singing and in choir music it is typical to define one’s voice type. It is used for deciding which roles are most fitting for the voice. The role means here the voice type role in the scale of brightness – darkness and the most suitable singing range.

Voice Type Categories

Voice types are often categorised as followed:

Female Voice Types From High To Low

Male Voice Types From High To Low

There are some examples of these voice types at the end of this article.

Voice Type As Voice Color

Voice color – the brightness or the darkness among other things – is one of the factors that defines the voice type. Brighter voice types usually sing more comfortably and more stably at a higher range than darker voice types.

Voice Type As Singing Range

The voice type can be defined by the strenghts of the voice which means the range in which the voice works and sounds the best (definitions for the best vary!).

In choirs a singer’s singing range is taken into account when deciding which part to sing. Singers for the highest (highest sopranos and tenors) and the lowest parts (lowest basses and contraltos) are most difficult to find. So some singers may sing different voices’ parts even though their own voice color belongs to another voice type just because they can produce more demanding pitches or they can’t produce the pitches typical to their voice color type.

Voice Type Can Change

The voice type can change due to age, experience, education and improvement of the skills. Therefore it’s common that one’s own voice type cannot be defined at the beginning of singing studies or a choir career.

Examples

Famous aria for coloratura soprano: the aria of the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s Magic Flute
High choir soprano solo (around 2 minutes)
Famous mezzosoprano Marylin Horne
Fascinating Aida’a contralto soloist
Sopranistas are heard as highest parts in male ensembles
Early music is a typical music style in which counter tenors are heard
Tenors have often heroic roles in opera
Tenors sing highest parts in male choirs
Famous baryton Dmitri Hvorostovsky
Famous bass aaria from Mozart’s opera the Magic Flute
This song starts with second basses solo