How to Find Your Vocal Range and Voice Type

Learn how to figure out where your voice can naturally go

Last Updated: July 2020

As an aspiring singer, it’s essential to know your vocal range – the range of notes your voice can naturally hit without strain or cracking.

In this article we’ll show you exactly how to find your current vocal range, so you’ll know your voice type and where you can comfortably sing. It’ll help you choose/write songs you can perform comfortably and confidently.

Let’s get it…

Voice Types

How to Find Your Vocal Range

There are several different voice types that span the range of “singable” pitches in music.

Finding our vocal range will help us figure out what type of singing voice we have.

From highest to lowest (in terms of pitch), these types are:

  • Soprano
  • Mezzo Soprano
  • Alto
  • Countertenor
  • Tenor
  • Baritone
  • Bass

Beyond that, there are a few different “vocal registers” you can sing in, no matter what voice type above you are. These registers all have a different timbre – or sound quality/character – and singing in different registers produces different actions in your vocal cords.

The different vocal registers are:

  • Modal/Chest Voice
  • Head Voice and Falsetto
  • Vocal Fry
  • Whistle Voice

You can probably imagine what each of those sound like simply by their names. For example, the whistle register is an extremely high register that produces an almost “whistling” style of singing.

You can read more about these various voice types in our how to sing guide. If you want to improve your voice check out the best online singing lessons.

Primer on Music Notes and Pitches

Before we get into actually how to find your vocal range, you need to know how much works – specifically music notes.

We’ve got a full guide on basic music theory if you’re a complete beginner, but here’s a quick overview of what you need to know:

Octaves

Pitches (how high or low musical notes are) are denoted in groups by the letters A-G. The different groupings are denoted by numbers. So you can have a note called A1 and a note called E4, etc.

An octave is the same note as another note, just higher or lower in pitch. So A1 is an octave below A2. A4 is an octave above A3.

Go look at a piano and you’ll see that the keyboard is made up of the same grouping of 12 notes (5 black notes, and 6 white notes) over and over again. Those are different octaves of the same note.

Piano Notes for Finding Your Singing Range

The keyboard ranges from

Middle C

If you look in the very center of the keyboard, you’ll see the middle C note. This is denoted as C3.

If you move to the left of the keyboard, the number goes DOWN. If you move to the right, it goes UP.

Why is all this important? Because it’ll help you know exactly which notes your natural voice falls in.

Steps to Finding Your Singing Voice’s Range

Here’s exactly how to find your vocal range, step-by-step.

So now that you know how this whole “vocal range” thing works, let’s get started with figuring things out.

You’re going to be finding your highest and lowest “natural” notes and notes that sound “breathy” when you try to sing them.

When you’re singing these notes, use a vowel sound like “ah,” “ee,” “ooh,” “oh,” or “uh.”

IMPORTANT: Remember one thing, you can ONLY sing a note if you hit the pitch comfortably, naturally and without any vocal strain, cracking, croaking, and without any scratchiness or breathiness. If you notice any of that, you CAN’T sing that note (yet…).

1) Find Your Lowest Note

The first thing you need to do is find the lowest note you can naturally sing.

Go to your keyboard/piano or download a free piano app on your phone/tablet/computer. Hit the middle C note and try to match the sound/pitch with your voice.

Finding the lower range of your voice

Now, move down one half step on the keyboard (the note directly to the left of the middle C) and try matching that pitch with your voice.

Easy? Good – keep going.

Move down one half step at a time (i.e. note by note) seeing which notes your voice can match naturally without strain.

Keep moving down the keyboard until you hit a note you notice you’re singing with a “breathy” quality. NOT CROAKY! If your voice is croaking when you try to hit the note, you’ve gone too far.

Now, write down the absolute lowest note you can hit naturally – without being “breathy” – (ex/ A2) and write down the note right below it that you can hit, but only with a “breathy” voice.

That’s your lower range.

2) Find Your Highest Note

Next up, you’re going to do the exact same thing as above, but in the opposite direction.

So, go back to middle C, and start singing each note while moving one half step to the right. Move up the keyboard one note at a time, and match the pitch of the piano with your voice.

Again, you should be able to sing the high note normally. You shouldn’t have to go into a falsetto voice (which is in a higher register than your normal voice, hence the “false” in falsetto).

Your voice also shouldn’t crack or be breathy.

If your voice goes into falsetto, starts to crack or becomes breathy, you can’t sing that note naturally.

Similar to the last step, write down the highest note you can hit naturally (ex/ E4) and the note where you voice starts to become breathy or switches to falsetto.

That is the higher range of your voice.

3) Plug Notes Into This Formula

Now that you have a few note boundaries, take all 4 of the note numbers you wrote down and fill in this formula:

(lowest breathy note) lowest normal note – highest normal note (highest falsetto note)

That is your vocal range.

Figure Out Vocal Range and Register

So for example, you might have something that looks like this: (C2) D3 – G5 (A6)

The outer numbers are your FULL vocal range, while the inner notes are your tessitura (i.e. your normal/comfortable singing range)

That means you have a vocal range between the D3 pitch and the G5 pitch. You can easily, naturally and comfortably sing any of the notes in that range without strain/crack/breathiness and without going into a different vocal register like falsetto.

But beyond that, you can also sing lower if you use a really breathy voice – all the way down to C2. And if you use a falsetto voice you can hit all the way up to A6.

Now that’s just a random example (and an unnaturally wide range), but you should have something that looks similar.

Count Your Octaves

Next, count the number of notes between the outer numbers in your formula. But only white notes on the keyboard – no sharps/flats.

Then take that number and divide it by 8 to find how many octaves your vocal range spans.

You should end up with a number or a fraction (ex/ 1.5). That means you can sing within a total of 1.5 or 2 (or whatever) octaves on the keyboard.

4) Translate That Vocal Range to a Voice Type

You may not need to do this last step, but it’s always a good idea to know this information.

If you sing in choir or plan on being a more professional singer, it’s an important piece of info you’ll be asked at some point.

We’re going to use your general FULL vocal range to determine what kind of singing voice you have.

Here’s that list we saw above, with ranges included this time:

  • Soprano: B3 – G6
  • Mezzo-Soprano: G3 – A5
  • Alto: E3 – F5
  • Countertenor: G3 – C6
  • Tenor: C3 – B4
  • Baritone: G2 – G4
  • Bass: D2 – E4

It’s important to know that your actual range won’t fall exactly within these categories. That’s ok, just choose the category you think best fits your actual vocal singing range.

Finally, if your full vocal range (using the outer numbers in the formula above) extends between MANY different voice types then only use the inner numbers (your tessitura) to help you clarify your voice type.

Singing Voice Types and Vocal Ranges
Image via SoundFly.com

What Next?

There you have it – you now have a better idea of your true vocal range and voice type.

There are a few ways you can extend your vocal range to hit higher and lower notes, but it’s an advanced thing. The first thing YOU want to focus on, though, is hitting those pitches within your vocal range correctly.

You may be able to hit those notes generally without strain, but it doesn’t mean it’s pitch perfect.

Another important thing to focus on is how to sing louder and singing from your diaphragm.

Learn how to sing better in our complete guide to get ideas on improving your pitch or learn how to write and sing harmonies. Also be sure to download the free vocal exercises and practice plan to become a better singer quickly.

If you’re looking for a set of structured, proven singing lessons that will take your voice to another level we recommend 30 Day Singer. Check out our full 30 Day Singer review for a complete overview on what we think is the best program for vocalists out right now.

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