Hello singers! In this article, you’ll learn how to choose songs that compliment your voice… so you can avoid the embarrassment of singing songs that are unflattering to you… like a pair of jeans that are too tight!
The way to do this is to first define what type of voice you have, and then determine what your natural vocal style is. Some people are very obviously country singers, while others are pop, some are metal, etc. Once you know these two things, it’ll be easy for you to narrow down what types of songs you should choose to sing, or what kinds of songs you should write and in what keys, so you know when you sing them that they’ll sound amazing.
The first step is to define your vocal classification. This is a label that tells what range your voice sounds best in. In men, the lowest vocal range and corresponding classification is a bass, a then a baritone and the highest is a tenor. In women, you can be called an alto, a mezzo soprano or a soprano, from lowest to highest ranges respectively. Vocal classification is NOT a reflection of usable range, but more on how thick, full and colorful your voice sounds in these ranges. The classifications span over groups of notes and here are the guidelines, starting with the men. Remember – these are only guidelines!
“Note – Middle C is equal to C and C below middle C is equal to C minus 1, C below that is C minus 2, C above middle C is C plus 1, etc.”
Bass – Starting at C minus 2, ending at D above middle C.
Baritone – Starting at A minus 2, ending at C plus 1
Tenor – Starting at C minus 1, ending at D plus 1
Alto – Starting at G minus 1 ending at B above middle C
Mezzo Soprano – Starting at A minus 1 ending at A plus 1
Soprano – Starting at C, ending at F plus 2
Remember that these are ONLY guidelines and not limits by any means! They don’t mean that you are limited to singing in these notes by any means, it’s just a way to measure where your voice will sound best. Many people that would be classified as bass males can sing female soprano notes! But that doesn’t mean they are sopranos; just because they can sing that high. If their voices sound best singing bass notes, they’ll be classified as basses. So choose songs with notes in and around your classification and you’ll sound fantastic.
The next step is to define your style.
This is something that largely comes from within you. Ask yourself some questions… what styles of music do you like the best? What do you enjoy singing the best? What do people compliment you on the most?
For example, if you’re from the deep south living in the USA, it’s likely that you’ll sing country well because you may have that “southern twang” to your voice naturally. Whereas someone like me, from Canada probably wouldn’t as well because my voice doesn’t have that accent. The trick to figuring this out is some soul searching… ask yourself what kind of music strikes a personal note with you. What kind of music can you really “feel” and connect with emotionally the best? That’s a great place to start. That’s important… make sure you are choosing something that you connect with emotionally or you’ll end up sounding like you’re not into it. It’ll just be lyrics and words unless you can connect with it.
Now try some songs out from your chosen genres and see how well you do with them! Record yourself, get people to give you feedback, sing them at karaoke, or out in public with your band if you have one, post them online and see what sort of responses you get. Ask some honest friends for their opinions on what you could do better. Or, send them into a singing teacher who will critique them for you for a small fee. Sing Like A Pro is launching a critiquing service soon, email us for more info. That’s it for now, that’s all there is to it! Good luck!