BoA’s Vocal Analysis

BoA

Vocal Range

D3 ~ C#6 (2 octaves, 5 notes and 1 semitone)

Supported Range

F3/F#3 ~ B4/C5

F3/F#3 ~ E5 (With head voice)

Voice Type

Light Lyric Soprano

Strengths/Achievements

  • Able to keep decent tone production down to her lowest notes at times
  • Having a better developed chest voice than most k-pop female vocalist
  • Achieved resonance/open throat at times up to C5
  • Healthier singing than most due to more use of head voice rather than a pushed mix
  • Decent use of head voice and falsetto, able to keep good production mostly till E5
  • Supports most of her mid range
  • Able to use falsetto, head voice and a more mixed head voice for effect
  • Pitch is almost 100% of the time on point, much more consistent than many other vocalists

Weaknesses

  • Larynx is unstable, tends to push with her throat more often than necessary
  • Although able to lift her soft palate in low to mid-belts, tends to be nasal quite often
  • Tends to squeeze a tense falsetto above E5
  • Shallow support and control in her mix
  • Underdeveloped mixed register with either too much chest or head, not balanced
  • Although being able to at times support lower register, at other times it’s quiet and slightly too breathy
  • Although having an extensive career, technique has not improved much if at all through her years

Registers

  • Lower register: Able to produce supported and well connected notes in her lower chest, down to F3, occasionally D3’s, Eb3’s and E3’s are supported, at others very quiet and breathy. Although breathy, however, BoA is still able to produce more tone quality into her quieter lowest notes than most female vocalists with average lower registers.
  • Mixed register: Able to use a heady mix or a chesty mix, but not a balanced mix. Either BoA’s mix is very pushed with a high larynx and a throaty sound, with too much weight carried up, or too bright and heady with a tight high larynx sound. Notes in the area from G4 ~ C5 tend to be opened most of the times with a lifted soft palate, but other times pushed and throaty, more like a yell than a real supported sound. Not able to mix correctly.
  • Upper register: Very overused and tends to sing more with head than mix. She is able to transition well into head and without any problems in pitch, however above F5, tends to lose tone and become more of a falsetto with a very tight tense sound.

Agility

Although having a light voice, BoA’s voice is rather slow. She is able to do some easy vocal runs with decent pitch but they’re slightly tight and almost robotic.

Overall analysis

BoA has a very different voice from most other female vocalists in K-pop. Although being an idol singer, she has a very extensive career which has lasted more than over a decade. Her voice is piercing, unique and very individual. She’s got a bright voice with a certain weightier quality to it due to the excessive chest she uses at times. BoA’s range is extensive down below allowing for more mid-rangey songs most of the time. She’s always been able to transition into ballads and pop, rather than being a vocalist, she’s more of an entertainer all around. Most of the time she uses a healthier technique by transitioning into head voice rather than pushing her mix/chest up too high, to allow for a smarter vocal approach.

BoA’s lower register tends to be very easily produced, with cord connection and a clear sound. It’s not too projected or resonant but it’s supported well enough down to F#3 and F3. At times she’s able to produce fuller notes below that range, but at others she’s rather quiet and breathy. BoA’s strength is her ability to stay in a lower range and quickly transition up to a higher range without much change in tone or larynx movement.

BoA’s mixed register is very weighty and chesty in its lower part from G4 ~ C5, where she at times will produced an opened more well projected sound with decent support, or at other times a more piercing shouty sound to her voice. She knows how to project her voice but her support is rather shallow and she tends to sing through her throat very often. Anything above C5 gets either too heady and her larynx shoots up, sounding rather strangled or she switches into head voice.

One of BoA’s strengths is the fact that most of her songs are in a higher range but she will use head voice instead of trying to push her mix. The few times where she did push her mix, it’s clear that she would bring either too much chest or too much head and make it sound rather uneven with a lot of tension and shallow support. Examples are her highest belts such as her C#5’s in “Spark” and more extremely her F5 in “Girls On Top”. On the other hand she’s still able to produced more opened notes below that, however so, her vibrato tends to close her throat up and make her sound tense and uneven. BoA’s vibrato is more uneven. BoA’s vibrato isn’t like other vocalists where it’s supported and naturally produced, but rather a throatier larynx vibrato which sounds forced and pushed at times.

BoA’s use of head voice is still her strong appeal for it’s done often and keeps her from trying to yell out notes she knows she can’t hit as well as she should. Her head voice stays pretty much consistent in pitch and production until F5 and above tends to have that same piercing shouty tight quality her upper belts have, which is due to the tension she adds to her vocal cords. Even if at times able to produce better G5’s and F#5’s, anything above is produced with a tense sound.

BoA’s two strongest points are her use of a healthier approach by head voice and her intonation. BoA’s intonation is almost always on point, she does not tend to go off key or be flat, her pitch is pretty much spot on, which compared to most other vocalists who lack proper support or vocal development is certainly a big strength and what keeps her from being the average strainer pitchy vocalist. What keeps her from being a certain above average vocalist is the tendency to at times be very throaty and her biggest issue, nasality. Throughout the years BoA developed a very nasal approach to her singing, which wasn’t as present in her early years. The moment she moved to Japan and started approaching her singing in a more “Japanese” way, her singing became more nasal and it’s something she’s only able to fix in some low-mid belts, but not in her lower range.

BoA’s vocal ability isn’t anything fancy or exaggerated, but she seems to be a vocalist who is aware of her level. She doesn’t try to do things she knows she can’t and that’s where her strength lies. Although she’s shown her weaknesses, she mostly uses her strengths which set her apart from other average female vocalists who try and do things they can’t, sounding unpleasant, strained and pitchy. BoA’s nasality is a very major issue she has not fixed in years and might not ever fix, but for her singing style and music, it fits. She is an all-around entertainer, songwriter, dancer and vocalist, who although not exceeding too much in those aspects, is very well balanced and sings in her own level and owns what she does.

Musicianship

BoA doesn’t tend to try and do things she doesn’t know how to. She’s a smart vocalist who uses her voice decently most of the time to produce good enough performances. She creatively tries and changes her songs around, but nothing dramatic or overly exaggerated, just enough to bring a slightly different flavor to her performances, but nothing musically challenging.

Rating

Average to Above Average Vocalist

Vocal Range Video(s)

Video by: kitsunemale

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

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About ahmin3

kitsunemale from YouTube, AhMin33 from Twitter and Ahmin from OneHallyu! https://www.youtube.com/user/KitsuneMale

106 thoughts on “BoA’s Vocal Analysis

  1. Because she’s not diva-ish singer like ailee or taeyeon, this analysis as good as i think about her vocal. And this part : “Healthier singing than most due to more use of head voice rather than a pushed mix” make me love her voice, hahaha

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    1. Taeyeon is even barely a diva-ish singer herself… It’s true hehe it’s why it’s not an annoying singing style cuz it doesnt sound like she’s dying lol

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      1. hahaha yes, I also love j-pop (mostly anisong) so I can deal with nasal singer, and don’t bother with boa nasally, but i’m often annoyed with ailee high note although she hit it nicely, it’s sounds more like yelling than singing for me. well, sorrry, maybe I’m just not fond to her voice, lol

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      2. That’s perfectly fine! I feel that way about Sohyang when she belts high, it’s good no doubt, but it gets boring and overwhelming quickly. An enjoyable vocalist isn’t always the best vocalist ^ ^

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      1. Japanese Singers are more talented than k-pop, trust me. I’m in both. Just listen to Koda Kumi or Hikaru Utada or Namie Amuro live (incredible, in some ways better and stronger voices than Christina Aguilera or Beyonce, I can’t find so strong voices in korean music) Try too Anna Tsuchiya and Crystal Kay

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      2. I can’t say I agree with such a point of view. Perhaps their voices have strong or loud volume outputs but that doesn’t mean anything vocally. Vocally speaking, Koda Kumi, Amuro
        Namie and Utada Hikaru have very poor vocal technique. None of them can use proper breath support at all and so they sing almost exclusively through their throats. Crystal Kay, Yuna Ito and Kokia are examples of J-Pop vocalists who can support but that’s one of the basics of singing and that doesn’t mean much. They wouldn’t be classified as anything much higher than average vocalists, so making statements about J-pop vocalists being more skilled than K-Pop vocalists is a bit extreme. It’s also very inaccurate especially with the examples of vocalists with very poor technique you gave. Christina Aguilera has very poor technique too but Beyoncé has excellent technique so how could vocalists who can barely make it as average vocalists be better than her? It makes no sense.

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      3. Speaking of J-pop singers, every heard of Hey Say Jump? If so where would you ranked that popular pretty boy that always “in the center” Ryosuke? I have a feeling that Johnny’s Entertainment determines the main vocalists for their groups from Kat-tun down by how unique the vocals are rather than the technique behind those vocals much like YG. On the note, I kinda think that either Kota, Kei, Yuri or Yuya somehow have a better technique (or so I heard from live videos of them singing according to your criteria).

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      4. I know of them and I may have a song or two by them but I can’t say I know the members by individual voice nor name to say anything specific about anyone’s technique.

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  2. So sad when u analysed her like that. U should watch more perf of her such as tree ( boa comeback show), the end,possibility ( identity live tour) …. most of songs that she sung in her live tour were much differ from the original and obviously better.

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    1. Sorry I love BoA actually, the only reason why I analyzed her vocals was because I felt I was familiar enough with her to be able to concretely analyze her singing ability. I didn’t really mean anything negatively, just saying it truthfully. I have seen these performances actually, when I was writing this, but it still doesn’t change the fact bout her singing technique. I’m sorry.

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      1. No no that’s correct, I did say that. Do you disagree? Because over the years her technique hasn’t improved much, she has been pretty much the same, resonance up until B4/C5 pretty consistently, sometimes she shouts in that range though, even recently when she was in K-Pop star, she still shouts at times, with her throat and her nasality has not been fixed.

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      2. I havent seen a performance, I’m talking about when she was trynna teach one of the contestants how to project her higher notes, and although her placement was forward, she was singing with her throat and basically kinda shouting. The analysis is right here, I’m not bashing BoA cuz I love her tbh, but if you do not wish to read it and understand it, that’s fine then. Thank you and I’m sorry if it offends you.

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      3. Oh well. i just dont understand much about the specialization. Anyway, sorry for bothering you 😀

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    1. That’d be an Above Average vocalist and I disagree, the reasons being stated in the analysis. Narsha is much more consistent with support, placement and tone production. Resonance more consistent even up to D5, she doesn’t push as much. Dunno bout lower register and head voice, but at least in her mix there’s a very clear difference, she also has basically no nasality.

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  3. It would really cool if you could do a post on the “Japanese” style of singing. I’ve really liked reading through your analyses and I also notice the “always through the nose” approach that Japanese singers tend to take. Curious as to what you think are characteristics that really define that style and who is a good example of a singer who sings that way?

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    1. Well the through the nose thing is a thing in Japanese singers in a way, but BoA is still a Korean singer, like even Korean singers sing nasally at times, however so many singers like Yuna Ito, Ailee, Hyorin and Kokia aren’t nasal so it can be a stylistic choice if you are able to show that you can turn it on and off at will. I can’t really do a post on the japanese style of singing, because it’s often more of a technical flaw than a stylistic choice…

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      1. Ahh, you know kokia ? She’s not really popular japanese singer for foreign (maybe except for anime and japanese game lover, cause she sing many songs for that), so I’m happy if find someone who know her, hahaha

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      2. Haha well she has this really nice song though, someone showed me a few videos and I liked her song lol

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      3. I don’t want to sound pushy here, but what do you think of Arashi’s vocal line, Satoshi and Kazu. I’ve recently started getting back into J-Pop to balance out my constant K-Pop binges but when it comes to a coherent analysis on either of them I usually find ones either made by fans who seem a little bias because they list “all the pros but none of cons” while others that aren’t so bias are moderately similar, again I don’t want to sound pushy but not knowing anything even after hearing their songs drive me nuts!

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      4. Honestly I am not familiar with them eventually but I can’t say I’ve heard the basics of breath support when hearing their music. But I’d rather not speak of vocalists I’m not fully familiar with.

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    2. You know that Japanese popular artists are more western tha korean music? And in fact, that more of japanese voices are more stronger and powerful than any from Korea, Just try Koda Kumi, Crystal Kay, Namie Amuro, Anna Tsuchiya, Toshinobu Kubota, boys from Exile or Faky…. I’m in Jpop and Kpop and Jpop is more west and talented, People maybe don’t see that ’cause music from Japan isn’t so imported than from Korea. Japanese artist sing live on they concerts which are AMAZING. You can’t find so BIG, POWERFUL concert in Korea. Did u know that any of Korean artist can make more money in Japan in one weekend, that in Korea in ONE YEAR?! All of these popular artist are making to japanese market, maybe not good ass a lot of japanese artist(in vocal, dance, and entertainment) but still very good. Try some of Koda Kumi’s live concert. One of best asian voices, a lot of fans, the best entertainment and dance too. When u will watching some of Japanese tour u will have think like this is the best concert in the world and it is in fact. Korean live tours look like some kind of fest, sorry, but it is true fact. I’m in both Jpop and Kpop. Enjoy

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  4. I really love BoA so much, for me is a great singer, I hate when some people say that she is only a okay singer.
    And I dont understand what´s wrong with “nasal singing” in j-pop because I love j-pop much more than kpop, in fact Boa is the unique kpop artist that I love

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    1. It’s okay when it’s done by choice, but when it’s always there, it shows a lack of ability to produce an optimally resonant or fuller sound. She doesn’t control her nasality and she also strains her voice, hence why it can damage her vocal cords in the long run.

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    1. It kind of is, it’s hard to be sure tbqh because it’s a bad habit but there are japanese singers who aren’t nasal at all from what I’ve heard… And many
      Korean singers and American singers can be quite nasal too

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      1. Yuna Ito (kind of), this one guy someone showed me recently here on the blog. There’s this other one called Kokia.

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      2. Whether it has to do with traditional music styles, bad habits, or what’s considered attractive/desirable, or something else altogether, I couldn’t say. But I can see what you mean about a lot of Japanese singers being nasal.

        Might Yoshida Miwa (Dreams Come True) or Superfly also be considered Japanese singers who aren’t so nasal? My ears are totally untrained, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think both women are generally considered talented. I don’t know if you’ve heard them before so maybe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShnSyA9RHbs or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0KIOCARAr4 could be points of reference.

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      3. Both still sound nasal here and there but they eliminate their nasality, Superfly has problems with throatiness and stability as for Yoshida Miwa sounds pretty tight.

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  5. Hi there ^^, I was wondering if you could help me to find out the highest note registered in these two songs by these two japan singers?

    if you can’t thank you anyways ^^

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    1. Sure no problem, next time if you have a question like that, give me the time for the specific high note you’r asking about and I’ll tell you what it is ^ ^ The highest in the first song seems to be Bb5 I think.. @2:50 and for the second one @4:11 she actually hits Bb5 too but her tongue tension and straining caused her to be REALLY flat on that Bb5 which is so sad for a studio song…

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      1. ^^ taeyeon high note is not joke, in this concert and in this song taeyeon very powerful high note. yeah, i see tiffany always run for note if her power high note but tiffany always good high note in english song anyway.

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    1. You could’ve posted this in the Luna vocal analysis instead since it’s a Luna question…. and she hit like D4 I think up to E5, up to D5 she was fine, her E5 was not fine.

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    1. I can’t say I do. I know that based on this video, one girl belted E5 and Dia belted G5 and I know Dia’s highest note I know of is an F6, I don’t know how low she can go and this video won’t show me their full range.

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  6. Great analysis, I completely agree with you. Actually there aren’t many BoA fans out there that would disagree with your analysis. I do have a question though. Some people say that BoA was at her best vocally during her Girls On Top/MOTO era because she received extra vocal training around that time, do you agree or disagree and either way why? 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! As for 2005 era being her best, I’m not sure if it is. It is her era where her mix was the strongest with belting and not switching into a head voice all the time but that’s about it that I noticed from it, I think her voice matured overtime and now it’s at a safe place.

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      1. I wouldn’t know for sure since BoA always sings the same way and her technique is usually heady, switching into a head voice and trying to “belt” with it and for that reason, she doesn’t really damage her voice trying to belt with her chest voice. All her performances kind of are the same, some worse than others.

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    1. I haven’t heard her use a supported head voice, but her falsetto is fairly relaxed up to the A5/B5 area based off her vocal range video.

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  7. hello, i quite enjoy your blog, thanks a lot for putting up this great website, which is the best in evaluating vocal performance of k-pop idols.
    could you please attach a best performance video to the analysis, and also some other analyses that don’t have one?
    Thanks in advance!
    Regards!

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    1. Not every single vocalist has shown the authors who wrote the analyses a performance that would be credited as their best vocal performance, some are very consistent with their strengths and weaknesses and don’t have performances that are specially better than others, that’s why. Thank you for your interest in our blog, it’s very motivating!

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  8. Wow I actually thought she was like this….boA i love her for her voice, it is aesthetically pleasing, but is Seo of Girls Generation better than her or would you say BoA? From the analysis it felt like Seohyun.

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  9. So… When she changed her voice in 2008, did her voice get slightly better, or overall… the younger voice was better? Is this analysis based on the recent voice?

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    1. Her voice hasn’t truly changed, just how she sings besides age of course. Her singing improvement vdd over the years, she just kind of got more nasal as she got older due to being an artist in Japan, I’d assume.

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      1. Because it’s kind of a style for Japanese singers to be nasal so to appeal to that market, she seems to have changed her style in that direction.

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      1. Ah, Chihiro’s the original singer for Taeyeon’s Moonlight cover which I saw yesterday on her analysis page. I remember Chihiro Onitsuka and Kokia’s voices were the first Japanese singers I really liked… and Lee Soo Young was probably the one of the very first Korean singers I heard songs from (loved her songs too). Now I feel old since most people haven’t even heard of any of them anymore :<

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      2. Ah that video? I watched a glimpse of it and I was not very surprised with what I’ve heard. It was your usual low larynx, nasally placed, throaty singing that I’ve heard before. However that’s completely fine if you enjoy it, I wouldn’t consider her a technical vocalist though.

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    1. Interesting, I guess I don’t know what a technical vocalist really is then. I usually just break it down to can they stay on tune 100% when singing live and whether their singing voice sounds nice or not, the first being the most important.

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      1. Well that’s being an average vocalist if anything. To be able to sing in tune and sounding nice are the basic requirements for the enjoyment of the average listener, that’s not very technical though because so much more goes into developing the full extent of one’s instrument and ability. Singing in tune and sounding “nice” or “decent” is the bare minimum, if you know what I mean.

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  10. Is is true that Japanese vocalists tend to push their larynx up? Lately I’ve been noticing alot of Japanese singers and idols are often pushing their larynx up when they’re trying to do high notes and I think BoA kind off is doing it too since she’s also in the Japanese music scene for a long time. Also what do you think of Utada Hikaru? (And sorry i’ve been kind of spamming with comments on your blog lately lol. i just find these vocal analysis very interesting)

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    1. Most of them tend to manipulate their larynx positions while singing in general, their larynxes are almost never neutral. Utada Hikaru has like no breath support, sings with a very throaty unstable wobbly vibrato. She’s very weak.

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      1. Omg that’s so surprising actually. I thought she’d be atleast better than BoA and even Jessica and Seo but I guess I was wrong lmao

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  11. Is BoA the best vocalist out of the A to AA females? she seems better than most of them.. she’s not in AA because of her mixed and larynx right??

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  12. why doesn’t boa’s nasality and lack of technique make her a weak to average vocalist? i also find her nasality present even in her middle and lower registers, which is not present in most idol singers.

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    1. Lack of technique? Have you read the rest of her analysis? What part of her analysis gives you the impression she should be weak to average? Cause that’s quite a fall from where she is considering even above average vocalists have issues with nasality.

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      1. oh alright, thx. i was under the impression that she was a weak to average vocalist because the nasality of her voice is constantly present while singing in all registers, and also because I personally feel that her voice sounds shaky. But I guess the shakiness may have been her vibrato, sorry.

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      2. Well most average vocalists have nasality throughout all their registers, but nasality has to do with placement. The most important thing for a vocalist is support and BoA can support her lower range and her head voice far better than most average vocalists or lower. She may be nasal throughout, but her support is far more developed. Her vibrato is a big problem cause it’s very uneven, but that’s why she’s average to above average and nothing higher.

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  13. Figured as much. Boa does come of as an artist who knows exactly what she can and cannot.
    Also, Saw So hyang’s performance just last night and felt it must be So hyang> Ailee> Boa, based solely on vocals. Seems my intuition was spot on. Guess I still have some hope lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Is it being nasal make u can’t go/develop higher note? Like most nasal singers (Boa, Jessica, Seohyun) just stuck at Average to Above Average (B4/C5)

    And can it be almost most of cute-y voice singers are nasal like i mean a cute voice is produced with nasality?

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    1. Nasality can limit the passage ways for you to sing, so it does reflect on you negatively as you’re unable to explore all the resonance chambers you need to open up your voice and sing higher. Cute voices tend to be produced by placing the sound in the nose, yes.

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    1. 2:30 isn’t nasal there, she’s just closed cause she’s placing her voice too low in her chest and the back of her throat. She’s usually nasal but they’re singing in different languages which causes different issues. I’m not sure why it matters who’s more nasal since they’re nasal in different parts.

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  15. Have you heard Over ~Across the Time~ ? This song is amazing but I think it pushed way too much over her voice a lot. I tried to look for live performances, but all of them were pitched down, I guess because the the original song’s pitches are super high so it’s hard to sing.

    I have the original song if you want to listen to it.. My question is, what pitch was she in from 3:48 to 3:50? Is that one of her highest attempted pitch to date?

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    1. That was C#6, I know the song yes and I checked it before but it’s the same note that she hit in the other song. Both are C#6.

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  16. Stumbled onto the blog and found myself enjoying reading such analysis. I’m a fan of BoA like you and recently there are videos whereby people remove the background music and you can hear the singer clear vocal during live show singing. I realised in 2012, BoA’s voice sounded really throaty, strain and at times unstable. I wonder if she is actually facing issues with her vocal chords being overused over her extensive singing career. Abit on the worrying side though. Will be nice to hear your thoughts on this! cheers!

    http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/yOgeUKU30yI/?spm=a2h0k.8191414.0.0
    06:18 < obvious here

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    1. We can hear the vocalist clearly without the MR Removed video. MR Removed videos only make their singing seem slightly robotic, and often take away from the whole aspect of music. I would rather you not post MR Removed videos. Uhm at around 6:18 all I hear are Bb4’s and B4’s, she sounds very slightly throaty but it’s mostly comfortable and supported, it’s just BoA tends to push a lot of chest into her mix and her mix is VERY unbalanced. So it can tire her out really quickly. Above C5, BoA being throaty or straining is no new and is no different than what’s stated within the analysis. I think also a video from 2012 wouldn’t be fair to assess if she has been facing issues with her vocal cords currently. At 7:20 I hear the rough quality, but then it clears up and she actually has a very adequately executed C5 at 7:33. I think it might have just been fatigue at that point, but I’m not so sure.

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  17. Hello! Huge BoA fan here and I gotta say, this is a great analysis, unbiased and professional. I am not a music major so I don’t understand some of the terms (haha) but for the parts that don’t use music language, I guess I kind of agree with you? Like how her nasal voice has been the main problem for her, or how her techniques are quite stagnant because she doesn’t go beyond her capabilities (which I don’t blame). Not just on her vocal analysis but also on that sentence where you said she was a more an all-rounder performer than just someone who specialises in Vocals, I think this fits best when it comes to describing BoA. It’s really difficult to find someone who can do all she can and do it just as well (or at least acceptable) these days, so I really appreciate her skills. Thanks for letting me learn more stuff about Kpop idols’ vocal range!

    Like

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