Female Vocal Range and
There are many vocal ranges and voice types for females, and this section will discuss about the 3 main types of female voices, their respective note ranges, as well as how their tessituras or most comfortable voice ranges differ from each other.
One point to note: There is a difference between the 2 terms – Vocal Range and Voice Type; The Range of our Voice refers to the range of notes that the voice can reach or produce a sound at, whereas Voice Type 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 learn how to find the full range of your voice, as well as understand more about the various voice classification criteria and learn how to determine your own voice type!
Now, the 3 main types of female voices are as follows:
2. Mezzo Soprano
Let us look at each of these voices in more detail:
As many of us would know, the Soprano voice is the highest of the female voices, and many of us would be familiar with this voice type. I am sure many ladies out there would be envious of their Soprano friends who seem to be able to hit the high notes with such ease!
A typical Soprano vocal range would probably be from the A note below middle C (A3) to the F or G note 2 octaves above (F6 or G6), making it a range of 2 plus to 3 octaves. Of course, this is not to be taken as an exact measurement but more as a rough guideline for soprano voices, and proper breath support must be used when measuring vocal ranges during singing.
The Soprano Tessitura is also usually higher than the other female voice types, considering that the overall vocal range is the highest among the female voices.
A Soprano would also probably transition out of her chest voice around the E flat note above middle C (E4) and shift into her head voice around the F sharp note one octave above the middle C (F5).
The soprano voice usually has a bright tone, and she would usually have a strong head voice, but a relatively weaker middle voice. Sopranos are also able to sing more high notes and sustain at a high pitch better than a mezzo soprano can, and they are also most often the lead role for operas or shows.
2. MEZZO SOPRANO
For most ladies out there, you would probably belong to this voice type as the Mezzo Soprano voice is the most common female voice type out of the 3 main types, and it lies between the higher Soprano voice and the lower Contralto voice.
The vocal range for the Mezzo Soprano voice would be likely between the G note below middle C (G3) to the C note more than 2 octaves above (C6), making it also a range of around slightly more than 2 octaves. The Mezzo Soprano Tessitura or most comfortable vocal range lies somewhere between the Soprano Tessitura and the Contralto Tessitura.
The Mezzo would probably transition out of chest voice around the E note just above middle C (E4) and shift into head voice around the E note one octave above the middle C octave (E5). Be sure to avoid the common singing problem of head raising when you are measuring your register transitions.
The Mezzo Soprano has a stronger middle voice and a weaker head voice as compared to the Soprano. Also, the tone of the Mezzo Soprano’s voice is darker or deeper than the Soprano’s.
The Contralto voice is the lowest among the female voices, and it is certainly more unique among females, as the typical female voices would probably either be the Soprano or Mezzo Soprano voices.
Also, a common misconception would be to use the term ‘Alto’ instead of ‘Contralto’ to refer to female voices with this low range of notes. We should use the term ‘Contralto’ to refer to this low female voice type, as ‘Alto’ more commonly refers to the range or notes to be sung and is not exactly a voice type. The term ‘Alto’ is commonly used in choral singing to refer to the vocal parts to be sung by singers doing the Alto section.
The vocal range for the Contralto voice would lie somewhere between the E note below middle C (E3) to the 2nd G note above middle C (G5). This would mean that the Contralto voice would be very close to the male tenor voice, having a similar range in vocals, and would thus be able to handle most of the songs that men may sing too!
The Contralto would probably transition out of chest voice around the G above middle C (G4) and shift into head voice around the D note an octave above middle C (D5).
Also, the tone of the Contralto’s voice would be darker and richer than the Mezzo Soprano, and she would be totally comfortable in the lower part of her voice.
Understanding more about the 3 main female 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. This will help us to determine the various keys or pitches with which to do our vocal exercises and vocal warmups !