D3 ~ Bb5 (2 octaves and 4 notes)
A3 ~ C#5
Strengths & Achievements
- Strongest vocalist in Wonder Girls
- Able to support her voice with consistency up until C#5 mostly
- Somewhat developed mixed register with good placement at times
- Able to support some of her lower range and keep some vocal tone
- Supports most of her mid range
- Able to keep resonance up until D5’s at times
- Has been able to produce a fuller cleaner head voice
- Shown good improvement from debut to present
- Although some performances can be pitch accurate, intonation isn’t always on point
- Occasional nasality present in some notes
- Uses mostly an airy falsetto
- Not consistent on D5 and above, tends to raise her larynx and close her throat
- Low notes tend to be very breathy and lose cord connection more often than necessary below A3
- Squeezes her falsetto the higher she goes with shallow support
- Runs can often be sloppy and lazy
- Voice can lose laryngeal openness thus becoming very small
- Lower register: Able to keep stability in tone and projection down to Bb3/A3 consistently, at times able to keep her support down to G#3 but losing projection and volume. Her voice then will tend to get quieter and breathier the lower she gets, although keeping tone present down to F#3/F3, the vocal cords lose connection with too much air coming through.
- Mixed register: Consistently resonant and well supported up until C5, very often resonant on A4’s, Bb4’s and B4’s. Can at times support her range up until D5, keeping resonance up there occasionally. Her voice is developed with more stability in pitch and projection in this register.
- Upper register: Her head voice is mostly not used, very occasionally happening. Oftentimes can be sloppy when switching into falsetto, at others being impeccable and with correct pitch. Up until F#5 she is able to stay relaxed, but anywhere above that seems to become tight and unsupported.
Sunye possesses a light soprano voice, which makes runs easier for her. She oftentimes sings runs in her performances, but they lack pitch accuracy, meaning her notes are hit, but they’re mostly done by sliding from note to note, rather than hitting every note precisely and individually while connecting through the runs. She also may get pitchy with her runs, but mostly they just sound lazy and sloppy, needing work on precision. An example would include Wonder Girls’ 두고두고 where at the end of the song Sunye hits F5 and descends in a run, which sounds uneven and unclear, sliding through the notes in a rather clumsy manner.
Sunye stands out from the Wonder Girls by not only being the best vocalist in the group, but also due to the natural color of her tone. She possesses a very beautiful and unique instrument, her voice is very bright and feminine, with a lightness and clearness that make her voice always sound rather angelic. She’s always been the main focus amongst the Wonder Girls members, by focusing not only on singing, but also on dance and being the leader. Her level of skill right before she debuted and as soon as she debuted was around an average level of skill, but she has overtime shown considerable improvement.
Sunye’s lower range possesses a clear tone that is kept from her voice as a whole. She oftentimes sings down in this range around A3 and higher, keeping good cord connection and tone production. When she descends below that, however, her support drops along with her cord connection and volume. She gets very airy on the notes below G3 losing focus and projection and consistency. Sometimes she’s able to produce clearer notes in that range, but many other times more air than tone comes out when she sings on a range around F#3 and below. Examples would include her OST song Maybe, where her F#3’s are at times produced and clearly heard, although very quiet, and at other times mostly air comes out.
Her mixed register is one of the healthiest ones amongst K-Pop vocalists, when she supports it. She tends to generally use a very healthy bright balanced mix with a nice opened throat and resonance throughout her C4 ~ C5 range, where she has most control and her voice shines more. Even though she is able to support lower notes, the fourth to fifth octave is where her soprano voice sounds most comfortable. Sunye’s case is interesting because when the Wonder Girls debuted, she would struggle hitting notes as low as C5 and B4 and would strain her voice, close her throat and get considerably flat and tight. Overtime however, she has learned how to place her voice correctly to produce fuller, better supported notes in that mid-high register when she often stays resonant.
The range starting from C5 and up tends to get tricky for her, however. She has been able to stay supported and even resonant on notes around C#5 and D5, she’s often supported up until C#5, but when she gets to D5 her throat agains starts closing and her larynx starting raising. She’s not able to keep an even mix as she ascends, causing her to push her voice and letting her sound thin out as she ascends higher. Her mix however is still well balanced enough that she is able to belt up until G5 more consistently than many other female vocalists without cracking, however so, with improper technique and a high larynx.
Sunye has at times been able to produce a head voice and switch into it with clarity and skill, but more often than not, she uses a breathy falsetto to sing in her upper register. She does not possess a throaty falsetto and generally stays very relaxed in it, without struggling or tiring her voice out too much. The breathiness in it, however, still is damaging to the voice as it irritates the vocal cords by drying them up as too much air goes through them. When she ascends higher above F#5, her throat seems to close and her higher falsetto notes sound rather pushed and tight. Her runs in falsetto are also like her runs in the rest of her range, lacking real clarity and accuracy in pitch, example being her peek highest note in When You Believe. The Bb5 then descends down where her throat was closed hence causing the run to sound clumsy and lazy.
One of Sunye’s biggest assets is her vibrato. It’s often used and consistent anywhere in her range. It comes off very relaxed and consistent in speed, where it always adds stability and clarity to her singing. On the other hand, one of Sunye’s biggest flaws is her intonation. It’s more often than not where Sunye will go slightly off or flat in a performance. She has some performances where her intonation is clean throughout the whole performance, but many other times she will go flat and get pitchy when trying to pull back in volume, showing a lack of true breath control when trying to add dynamics to her songs. Many times she’s able to sing softly and powerfully, but at other times she will let her pitch get slightly wobbly and shallow in tone production.
Interestingly enough, Sunye’s pitchier performances are often in English, showing that perhaps her pitch is directly affected by her lack of confidence in the language she’s singing in, such as covers of Christian songs she tends to sing in her Church, which are the most recent performances Sunye has with her singing. Whenever she gets to sing a Christian song in Korean, however, her pitch and stability are much better, having a more forward placed voice with resonance and consistency of tone production up until C5/C#5.
Her intonation although at times very clear, can be slightly wobbly due to the lack of a true support in her voice and confidence or preparation in her songs. Her runs and melismas also lack true clarity in tone and her voice loses in terms of creativity. Sunye however still shows an adequate level of musicality by playing with breathiness, brightness and mixing when singing. She can at times add a little bit of nasality to her singing by softening her mix, but is also able to open her throat and lift her soft palate in the same song when wanting to sing more powerfully, showing that her slight nasality is more due to a dynamic choice rather than a lack of ability to stay resonant.
Sunye is a vocalist who during the debut had trouble keeping her larynx stable even as low as B4 and couldn’t produce true resonance due to her throat being closed and her laryngeal space being compromised. Her pitch was often off and she would have trouble switching between falsetto and mixed voice, causing her to go flat and pitchy. Throughout her career, however, she has learned how to place her voice and stay resonant. Two very notable performances include her performance of You Raise Me Up, where she shows true power in her voice with resonant C5’s and C#5’s. Even so in that performance, notes above D5 lost stability in her larynx position, it shows a great improvement from her debut. Another example would be a recent 2014 church performance of “그사랑” where she shows minor pitch issues, with consistency in tone production up until C5 as well.
She doesn’t try to sing outside of her comfort range often and is a clever vocalist, knowing where she can truly control her voice. To further develop herself as a vocalist, learning how to place and develop her mixed voice above C#5, opening her throat and keeping a more stable support to keep herself from going flat should be areas to focus on. Another area should be separating notes when doing runs, which could greatly improve her ability as a vocalist.
Sunye’s interpretation of songs include occasional melodic changes, although subtle, they exist. She doesn’t try to add too much and has a safer singing style, not showing much vocal creativity when it comes to interpreting and covering songs, but also not trying to do things she isn’t able to properly.
Above Average Vocalist
Best Vocal Performances
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: kitsunemale
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)