Male Vocal Range
and Voice Types!
There are many vocal ranges and voice types for males, and this section will discuss the 4 main types of male voices, their respective pitch ranges, unique tonal characteristics, as well as how their tessituras or most comfortable voice ranges differ from each other.
One important point to note: These 2 terms – Vocal Range and Voice Type – are not to be confused with each other.
The Range of our Voice refers to the range of notes that our voice can reach or produce a sound at, whereas the Type of Voice refers to the various kinds of voices classified using certain criteria like range of vocals, tessituras, register transition points, vocal timbre or tone and so on.
Click on the links provided above to understand more about how to find your own vocal range, as well as how to determine your own voice type using the various criteria!
Now, the 4 main types of male voices are as follows:
Let us look at each of these male voices in more detail:
The Countertenor Voice may actually be unfamiliar to those of us not from the classical realm, as many of us would probably only have heard of the 3 main male voices – Tenor, Baritone and Bass.
The Countertenor voice is the highest of the adult male voice types, and has a vocal range that is similar to that of the Female Contralto Voice, the lowest of the female voice types! In the Mandarin pop scene, certain singers like Jeff Chang and the lead singer of popular pop rock band Soda Green would probably qualify as countertenor voices!
An approximate Countertenor Vocal Range would be from a G note below the middle C (G3) to a high F one octave above the middle C (F5). Be sure to support your voice well with your breath so as to get a more accurate representation of the range in your voice. Check out the section on ‘How to Find Your Singing Range and Voice Type’ to get some tips on finding your range on your own!
Also, the Tessitura or most comfortable singing range for Countertenors lies above that of the Tenor and other adult male voices. The Countertenor voice would usually be able to sing the high head voice notes with great ease and brightness in tone, and would often be confused by many listeners with regular female voices.
The Tenor Voice is the highest of the main male vocal types that most people would be familiar with, with the typical tenor vocal range lying between the C note one octave below middle C (C3) to the C note one octave above middle C (C5)! This means that it would lie just slightly below the Countertenor voice, but has similar characteristics in the sense that the Tenor would also be able to sing most high notes with ease and vocalize the head voice notes with strength and brightness!
The Tenor voice would probably transition into his middle voice around the D or E note above middle C (D4 or E4) and shift into head voice around the F sharp or G above middle C (F4 or G4). The tenor tessitura would lie between that of the Countertenor’s and the Baritone’s. Do make sure that we avoid certain common singing problems like jaw tightness when we attempt to find out where our vocal register transitions lie, as this will affect the notes at which we transition, affecting the voice type we may classify ourselves to be!
Famous Tenor voices include the 3 Tenors – Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo, as well as other classical singers like Enrico Caruso and pop singers like Elton John, Stevie Wonder. In the Mandarin pop scene, JJ Lin Junjie and Jay Chou would probably be considered Tenor voices too!
Most men would have a vocal range similar to that of a Baritone voice, as this is the most common of the male voice types! A typical Baritone Voice Range would be between the A flat note one octave below the middle C (A Flat 2) to the A flat note above the middle C (A Flat 4).
The Baritone Voice would transition into middle voice somewhere around the A or B note just below middle C (A3 or B3), and move into head voice somewhere at the D or E note just above middle C (D4 or E4). Also, the baritone tessitura would lie somewhere between the Tenor and the Bass tessituras, and the baritone voice would be strongest in the middle range pitches.
Famous Baritones include John Charles Thomas, Lawrence Tibbett, Leonard Warren and Robert Merrill. In the Mandarin pop scene, the iconic Andy Lau would qualify as a baritone singer.
The Bass Voice is the lowest of the male voice types. It is also quite rare to find a good bass voice, which means that bass singers will be very much in demand in choirs and also in A Cappella groups! Famous Bass singers include Barry White, James Morris and Samuel Ramey.
Bass singers would be strongest in their low voice, with a deep and dark booming quality to his voice, somewhat like how a sub woofer speaker may sound! The Bass voice would have a vocal range of between the F note 1 octave below the middle C (F2) to the E note just above middle C (E4). He would also have a tessitura or most comfortable voice range that is lower than the Baritone’s.
The Bass voice would probably transition from chest voice to middle voice somewhere around the A or A flat note just below the middle C (A3 or A Flat 3), and then shift into head voice somewhere around the D Flat note just above middle C (D Flat 4).
Understanding more about the 4 main male voice types and their vocal ranges helps us to be able to understand more about our own voice as well as which voice type we may belong to. Knowing our voice type will help us to determine the various keys or pitches with which to do our vocal warmups before we sing, so as to achieve maximum desired effect!