About & Our Criteria

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Vocal Analyses

THE TEAM PAGE HERE

FUTURE ANALYSES HERE

This blog was made with the intent to share knowledge and share vocal analyses from different vocalists in K-pop. Nobody in the blog is a hater or an anti-fan. The analyses give positive and negative points and are all constructive criticism, nobody is telling you to hate or not listen to your favorite idol vocalist. We’re only letting you know what their vocal skill based on what vocal technique and music theory is from a musically professional standpoint. If you’re confused about rankings, categories and such, click the about and our criteria page. This post will also include the information existing in that page if you’re unwilling to click through just click read more. Otherwise click About & Our Criteria and most questions should be answered. We try to back up all our points with substantial evidence from the singers’ performances, we thoroughly listen to their performances from past and present. No one in this blog claims to be an expert, we’re all learning and everyday we learn more and more, just as we respect your opinions, please respect ours, which were influenced by the knowledge we have and the way we’ve been taught. Thank you.

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This blog is dedicated to compile vocal analyses done by our contributors in order to satisfy everyone’s curiosity regarding their idols’ vocal. The analysis will be based solely on VOCAL TECHNIQUE, not tone, timbre, emotions, stage presence, etc.

The analysis might change according to their latest performance.

If you would like your idol to be analyzed feel free to drop the question in the comment box. If you feel that the analysis is not accurate, you could suggest a video or recording and give us the reasoning behind your disagreement. We will gladly alter the vocal analysis page of the respective idol if your reasoning behind it is proven.

Comments will be moderated. Constructive discussion are welcome. Bashful and hateful comments will be deleted. Every idol mentioned here are talented in their own way. Even so, we are focusing solely on their vocal capabilities and we try our best to give an objective analysis regarding the matters.

So far, we will use this system as our judging criteria. We will elaborate more once it’s established. It goes from best to worst.

TERMINOLOGY

Tones/Semitones/Notes/Key
A key of a song means within the key signature of the song. There are 12 notes in total, C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B and back to C, completing one full octave. A tone is from a note up two semitones, so the distance between C and C#/Db is a semitone, whereas C and D are a full note apart. A major Key will follow a tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone pattern, so C major is C D E F G A B C. Although there are no sharps or flats between E and F or B and C, they’re a semitone apart. # stands for sharp and b stands for flat and whether or not you name a note sharp or flat depends on the key, i.e. C# major and Db major are the same key with different names, C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C# and Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db, on a piano the same notes are played, just with different names.

Intonation
Being able to stay in pitch and in key. Good intonation means not going sharp, flat or singing a note that isn’t within the chord progression and/or key of the song. Going sharp means slightly above the pitch but not really hitting a note above, so like a note in between C and C#, and flat means a note that’s slightly below pitch, so a note in between C and B, for example.

Larynx Position/High Larynx/Low Larynx/Neutral Larynx
The larynx is the part of the body where the vocal cords are located. The vocal cords are very small and are divided into two parts that vibrate against one another in order to create sound. The speed of the vibration generally determines the pitch someone sings in. Much like tuning a guitar, the more stretched the vocal cords are and thinner they become, the higher the pitch and the thicker they are, the lower the pitch is. In order for a note to be hit, one should have a relaxed opened sound in the larynx, without any restrictions from the throat muscles. If the larynx is pushed down, it creates a froggy and fake “soulful” tone, if it’s pulled up, it creates a thinner, squeezed and tight quality to the voice. The natural state of the larynx is being neutral when it’s relaxed, if it’s forced either up or down, that means the muscles in the throat are creating tension and the larynx is trying to reposition itself in an uncomfortable and unnatural position to hit notes that are not within the individual’s supported range. 

Tonality/Tone Production
The way tone and sound is produced through good support. The voice comes out stable, without any laryngeal restriction nor tension, tone is clean and has the true sound of the individual’s voice type, without an uncentered pitch, excessive breathiness, nasality and tension.

Vibrato
The shift between two notes rapidly within, normally, a sustained note. The difference between the notes is usually less than a semitone. A forced throaty vibrato is usually produced artificially by using the throat, instead of the natural vibrato that comes out once the vocal cords are relaxed with good breath support.

Stability
The stability of the voice, meaning it’s not off pitch and it doesn’t sound wobbly, shaky and unsupported.

Registers
Chest voice, lowest range. Head voice, highest range. Mixed voice, the belting area of the voice.

Support
How the individual vocalist uses their correct breathing technique with the diaphragm to better support, project and hold their voice together.

Placement vs Resonance vs Projection
Resonance is the optimum sound a vocalist should focus on when singing. It is a full, clean and round sound that won’t sound thin, constricted or small. A vocalist who’s resonant will use different types of placements, i.e. their voice will be placed either in their chest, head or mask (cheekbones area, not nose) to project their voice, in each individual register. A vocalist may be able to be resonant in their mixed voice by normally placing their voice in their mask with chest resonance, or as they go higher, with head resonance. A resonant sound is always going to be a projected sound, now resonance doesn’t mean loud, because a loud sound may still be pushed and strained. You may project but still have tension, but in true resonance tension should not be present.

Vocal Range vs Supported Range vs Tessitura
Vocal range means the individual’s lowest singable note to the individual’s highest singable note.  A tessitura will depend on the individual’s voice type and where their voice sits most comfortably, shines the most and could project the best. A supported range includes notes outside the tessitura where the individual’s voice type may not be naturally inclined to project well in, however so due to the vocalist’s own ability, they’re able to still maintain tone production, support, projection and stability. e.g In classical music, sopranos’ tessituras are something in between A3/C4 to  A5/C6, however in contemporary music a soprano singing as high as C6 is very uncommon and unnecessary; a contemporary soprano, for an example Luna, is able to keep resonance consistently up until Eb5, which is almost ideal for a soprano who should be able to carry that resonance up until A5 without a problem. However so she’s also able to sing down to G3 with correct support, which although is outside her voice type’s natural tessitura, she’s still able to keep support and projection down there.

Musicianship/Musicality
Musicianship is the act of changing any song given to you and making it your own, usually on the spot. This includes melodic changes, rhythmic changes and added embellishments. Musicality is the act of interpreting music correctly according to each individual genre of music, by adding the correct use of vocal effects (e.g. raspiness, breathiness, growls, vocal runs, vibrato) and playing with the song musically by adding dynamics (e.g. singing softly, loudly, powerfully on the right moments of each song).

Passaggi/Vocal Bridges
A passaggio or a vocal bridge is an area of the voice where one’s voices transition naturally from one to the other in the modal register. Usually for males, the distance between the first passaggio, from chest voice to mixed voice, and the second passaggio, from mixed voice to head voice, is only about a 4th apart, whereas for females it’s about an octave apart. Passaggi are important for one to be able to tell what someone’s voice type is. A register break or the highest note you can sing in your chest/mixed voice before transitioning into head voice is NOT your first passaggio. The first passaggio is a note in your range where your voice naturally feels a switch of muscle coordination in your vocal cords. That doesn’t mean you can’t bring a chest dominant or balanced mixed voice above your first or even second passaggio. Lyric tenors usually have their passaggi around D4/Eb4 and G4/Ab4, whereas lyric baritones have their passaggi at B3 and E4. Lyric sopranos are usually at F4/F#4 and F5/F#5.

Legato/Staccato
A musical phrase usually will last a couple of bars. During a phrase, the melody may be played/sung smoothly connected without every note sounding chopped up, whereas staccato means emphasizing every single note separately with minor less than a second breaks in between every note. Legato is the most basic form of singing through correct breath control and support.

Agility
Vocal agility is an embellishment and it means, being able to sing many notes accurately and quickly, by separating each individual note while still being able to connect them within one sung vowel. Those are usually called melismas or vocal runs.

CRITERIA

Excellent Vocalist

  • All three registers are developed
  • Supported as close as possible from their highest to lowest extremities
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within C3 ~ E3 (or lower) and G5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within Bb2 ~ D3 (or lower) and F5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within F#2 ~ A2 (or lower) and C5/C#5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within D2 ~ F#2 (or lower) and A4/Bb4 (or higher)
  • Within their Voice Type’s tessitura they are consistently resonant
  • Complete support in the middle register and lower register
  • For females head voice must be completely resonant at will; for males head voice must be completely supported
  • Connection in the voice with no noticeable breaks when transitions are being made
  • Agility is present and pitch is controlled with good separation between individual note, potentially very complex runs are done from the bottom to the top of their ranges
  • Musicianship the ability to change a song and make it their own and Musicality having complete control over the voice in any given genre
  • Almost perfect intonation
  • Tonality is almost never lost

Great 

  • Developed registers, but one register may be lacking in development
  • Optimal resonance is achieved on a regular basis
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within F3/F#3 and F#5/G5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within Eb3/E3 and E5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within A2/Bb2 and B4/C5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within F#2/G2 and G#4/A4
  • Support is present in all registers, but maybe not to their lowest and highest extremes
  • Within in their voice type’s tessitura they are resonant and well projected, but not as resonant and well projected as Excellent vocalist
  • Connection in the voice with no noticeable breaks
  • Agility is present and pitch is controlled with good separation between individual notes
  • Great interpretation skills (Musicianship), but Musicality may not be as finely tuned as Excellent vocalist
  • Intonation is almost perfect
  • Tonality is almost never lost

Good 

  • One very well developed register or two well developed registers, with the others either being Average or Above Average
  • Able to sing through their first passaggio and second passaggi with support and resonance, and above
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within F#3/G3 and E5/F5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within E3/F3 and D5/Eb5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within Bb2/B2/C3 and Bb4/B4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within G2/G#2 and F#4/G4
  • Optimal resonance often present, but is not always achieved
  • Within their vocal type’s tessitura they are resonant and supported, but tonality can be lost at times.
  • Connection between registers is not always present
  • Some agility, but runs and transitions are not always controlled
  • Interpretation skills are present, has show musicality
  • Good intonation rarely goes off
  • At times can lose tonality by rarely does

Proficient 

  • One well developed or two/three somewhat developed register well balanced
  • Able to sing through their first passaggio and second passaggi with support and resonance
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within G#3/A3 and D5/Eb5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within F#3 and C5/C#5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within C3/C#3 and G#4/A4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within G#2/A2 and E4/F4
  • Consistently supported within their supported range
  • Resonates at times, but optimal resonance is not a regular occurrence
  • Connection between the registers is not present
  • Intonation is not perfect, off-key moments happen at times
  • Good tonality isn’t always kept, strain and tension are apparent at times

Above Average

  • One somewhat developed register with the others being average or weak
  • Able to sing through their first passaggio with consistent support and possible resonance up to their second passaggio
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within A3 and C5/C#5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within G3 and B4/C5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within D3 and G4/G#4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within Bb2/B2 and Eb4/E4
  • Inconsistent with resonance
  • Even in their supported range strain and tension can be present
  • Nasality can be present within the voice at times
  • Intonation issues can be frequent

Average

  • No register is developed considerably well
  • Able to sing through their first passaggio with adequate and consistent support
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within Bb3 and Bb4/B4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within G#3 and A4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within Eb3 and F4/F#4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within C3/C#3 and C#4/D4
  • Inconsistent with support, and if at all resonance, even if occasional resonance has happened
  • Good tonality is not present at all times, nasal placement is normally used
  • Frequent intonation issues

Weak

  • No developed registers
  • Unable to sing through their first passaggio with adequate and consistent support
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within B3 and G#4/A4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within A3 and F#4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within E3/F3 and Eb4/E4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within C#3/D3 and B3/C4/C#4 (or less)
  • Very inconsistent with support, strain,no resonance
  • Good tonality is not present
  • Out off tune singing is frequent

FYI, Among KPOP idols there is NO ONE who is considered Excellent/Amazing/Fantastic vocal-wise (Imagine Maria Callas, Mariah Carey, Natalie Weiss and Whitney Houston as amazing/fantastic). They are Great/Good at best.

For further question you can ask the contributors directly at this forum

OneHallyu vocals’ thread

Regards,

Admin

FUTURE ANALYSES HERE

THE TEAM PAGE HERE

5,920 thoughts on “About & Our Criteria

  1. Hey just leaving a comment here for all the great work you guys have done, I appreciate it! It’s very interesting to read about all these idols that I like and for someone who has no musical knowledge at all it is a good thing to learn about🙂

    Seeing that you guys analyse so many singers, I’d love to know who is the most complete vocalist you know/the vocalist that “wowed” you guys the most? It doesn’t have to be Kpop related, any musician is fine😀

    Like

    1. Well that’s difficult. I think I was really wowed by Natalie Weiss when I dug deeper into her overall technique because her instrument is so well developed from top to bottom, she has no vocal register that’s neglected in development, no true huge issues with support nor tension, her placement allows her so much freedom and on top of it all she’s got a very pitch accurate and agile voice. She literally has everything down, even musicality. To some, she may not be the most musically inclined person and they might not agree with her musical choices, but I think she’s got the whole package, every box is ticked off and she’s really just so complete.

      Like

      1. Hmm….only three vocalists…that somehow seems a little sad. I have high hopes for a few vocalists who can at least support in some of these groups. We’ll see what happens.

        Like

  2. Hey, I’ve read a long time ago on OH about your thoughts on Lee Seung Gi. I’m curious about your thoughts on this peformance from october 2016 (from ground force festival)

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    1. So you do know about my thoughts on him in general, right? That I’m not sure he supports much or well at all, that he seems to be ambiguous but most likely a tenor and that he uses his throat quite a bit, right? Okay cool, just recapping. So up until about 2:23 he was singing within the E3 ~ C#4 range, 2:28 that was supposed to be an E4 but it was quite flat and it was much closer to D#4. He is singing softly and airy on purpose, he is whispering for style. 2:51 honestly now I am not sure if he wants to hit D#4 or E4 because he is singing a note that’s kind of dead in between both.

      3:03 F#4 then G#4, all just shouty, pushing with his throat. No support at all, not even an attempt. He was just pushing with pure throat tension and pulling his chest voice too high. 3:34 closed F#4, nasal and tight vowel. The falsetto transitions aren’t bad and he’s singing like a tenor and for a tenor to be throaty and flat on E4’s, then straining F#4’s and G#4’s, those are not very good indications. 4:05 that F#4 is just in his throat and it was sharp then centered and then kind of flat. The rest of the song is a lot of repetition of him doing the same exact over and over again. Pushing with his throat throughout the climax of the song. 6:15 even his F4’s sound throaty. I have also become more familiar with Lee Sunhee and I remember someone mentioning she was his instructor. If that’s the case, then I can see why he is showing such issues with his technique.

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      1. Thank you for answering. If I remember correctly, she found him when he was 14/15 when he was a lead singer for his school band, he even lived with her. And till his last comeback in 2015, he mentionned she was the one supervising his vocals. Which means she taught him how to sing half his live.
        You think he should change his vocal coach?
        What about Lee Sun Hee? She’s called the nation’s diva. Is she not that good as a vocalist or as a teacher?

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      2. Oh wait she’s been training him for that long??? Wow I thought this was a recent thing. Lee Sunhee is not as good of a vocalist as she’s made out to be no. She’s not bad, she can support, she can produce resonance, but she has a lot of bad habits and considering how she sings, I wouldn’t think she’d know how to address basic issues and basic breath support because I doubt she was ever taught how to support, I feel like she just kind of knew how to do it within a narrow comfortable range and then yeah…

        Like

      3. This is sad. We can say he’s learnt nothing, or perhaps got worse. With how rich he is you’d think he thought of getting himself a vocal coach or something. Thinking about it, his voice was somehow decent when he prepared a duet with Sung Shi Kyung once (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCBhyB03kHI). I think this is the closest live where his singing voice sounded like his speech voice.

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    1. This is a studio track, she is singing with a lot of intentional breathiness. This alone isn’t enough for me to be able to tell if she can support unless I hear her singing something that’s not intentionally breathy. 0:33 tension on the B4 and C#5, tightness.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Ahmin, I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while but keep forgetting haha, I’ve noticed you speak portuguese so i was wondering if you heard of the kpop style boy band (now disbanded) that debuted in brazil around 2015? they were trained and produced by a korean company “js entertainment” anyways i was just wondering your thoughts on them and their main singer, although he had few chances to showcase his vocals so im concious you might not have heard enough

    oh and their name was champs!

    Like

    1. I had never heard of this before and I am sort of glad I had not because I just looked it up and I got second hand embarrassment. The production is actually like a decent low-budget K-pop, the song sounds K-pop, the overall thing is K-pop but it’s in Portuguese and it looks and feels awkward because they’re not very at singing nor rapping…I’m sorry but this doesn’t really classify as K-pop so I probably wouldn’t watch any live performances because we would not analyze them.

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      1. oh i see thank you, i thought the rappers were decent but maybe i would think different if i spoke their language lol, by the way, since you guys are already analyzing vocalists from 2014, does that mean other vocalists from previous years wont be analyzed? Like wassup for example if they were to gather more material, could they potentially be analyzed?

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      2. Oh you don’t speak Portuguese? I mean idk tho. I’m no rapper either. No no of course vocalists from other years will be analyzed once enough material surfaces. Wassup is not qualified material wise yet.

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  4. Hi again with a random question that I have no idea which page I should post on!

    So since I am not in anyway an expert in analysing vocals, I was wondering if the language skills might play a factor in singing? As Ahmin sings in multiple languages, can language fluency/pronunciation play into the vocal ability of that song? Like in terms of tongue tension/nasality.

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    1. I don’t think speaking more languages can make your singing better but it definitely helps with phonetics. Pronunciation issues and an accent can definitely get in the way of your singing though because accents often are caused by improper vowel placements and tension.

      Like

  5. hi ahmin!! i know sometimes you dont give opinions/ analysis abt non korean vocalist but i really want to know how she does here. shes a thai vocalist. ppl said that she is good and she doesnt sing pop songs
    fyi she also owns a singing academy

    thanks so much! im anticipating ur brief analysis!

    Like

    1. I am sorry but you know the rules. It’s not a matter of preference, it’s a matter of time. We just don’t have the time to spare on these questions. She doesn’t even seem to be singing pop, so that in itself already makes it harder for us to analyze this. All in all, she supports and has good placement, that much I could hear.

      Like

  6. http://vocaroo.com/i/s0XVlCauioss

    This is my short phone recording, singing 가질 수 없는 너, Kim Yeon Woo’s version, just the chorus. I’m singing over the playback, so I’m not really sure whether the quality is good enough for simple analysis. My pronunciation may not be good, so please ignore that lol. Thanks in advance.

    Like

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you sing right? Mhmm you didn’t really ask a question so I’m not sure what you’re wondering about but I’ll tell you what I hear. This is very odd because you’re literally singing this song in the key I would sing it in. Except you were singing along to Kim Yeonwoo’s tenor key, but you were singing a good third below him. So while he was mixing like A4’s, you were singing F4’s. You were way off key, this key is obviously not a comfortable range for you and because you were singing along to him, it sounded off since it was not the same range/key at all. Also you are using your throat too much and singing along to another vocalist isn’t a good way to sing because you push to overpower them as opposed to singing on your own. I’d rather you sing something lower, comfortable and by yourself.

      Like

      1. You haven’t heard me sing, but I told you before E4/F4 is too high for me to handle. If I were to lower the key of the song, how low should I sing it in? Maybe I’ll post my singing again once I get my guitar fixed.

        Like

      2. Like I said a whole third would be better since you were singing a third below him. So the original key he’s singing it in is A I think so sing it in F.

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      3. Oww, I got it. And if it’s not too much of a request, if you have time, I’d love to see you perform this song. It would be enjoyable to listen a baritone of your caliber singing the song as much as I enjoy Kim Yeonwoo’s. Looking forward to it lol. Thanks.

        Like

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