C3 ~ G#6 (3 octaves and 4 notes)
F#3/G3 ~ Eb5/E5
- Arguably, one of the best lower ranges amongst K-pop female vocalists
- Has shown a very good steady and consistent improvement from debut until 2013/2014
- Has come back from her vocal regression in 2015 to a much better vocal condition in 2018
- Has generally an agile voice with adequate pitch accuracy at times
- Can support her voice down to F#3’s and G3’s with a forward projection
- One of the lowest ranges for female vocalists in K-pop
- Was consistently able to produce resonant notes in her mix, up until Eb5/E5 and F5 at times in 2013/2014
- Has been able to hit, although not sustain, supported F#5’s
- Generally good with pitch, control and support in her supported range
- Has been able to show musicianship and change songs around in different performances
- Resonance is produced consistently
- Good placement is kept outside her supported range
Points for Improvement
- Although she has an agile voice, her runs can often be miscalculated and not precise enough
- Generally airy tone in her voice, both in her falsetto and lower to mid range
- The airiness seems not to be controlled and may often create a raspy quality that irritates the vocal cords
- Her support below F#3 tends to go away and her notes become quite muffled and airy
- Although resonance has been produced up to F5, her consistency in support goes up only to about Eb5/E5
- She has yet to extend her range in her mix anywhere above F#5 even after her improvements
- Issues with vowels Aye (애), Eu (으) and Oh (오) can carry tension to notes even within her supported range
- Nasality may be present occasionally in her voice
- At times may close her throat when sustaining higher notes
- Very airy falsetto that often sounds thin and unsupported, inconsistent with producing a head voice
- At times her upper mixed notes can come accompanied by a tense tongue which causes a tighter sound than desired
- Has shown a lot of regression in 2015/2016 in terms of vocal health and technique
- Lower register: Although able to maintain a stable larynx at times down to E3, her support and placement lose focus around F#3, where below her voice becomes cloudy and unclear and below E3 very airy. Support is kept on F#3’s and above, however, with a very good forward placement.
- Mixed Register: huge improvement in this aspect, Hyolyn has been able to produce countless supported and resonant notes from the range of A4 ~ F#5. However so, she still lacks the stamina and consistency in support to keep every single F5 stable and relaxed. In 2013/2014 she had shown great consistency in resonance up until E5, with F5’s coming on and off with resonance or becoming strained. However lost such consistency in 2015/2016.
- Upper Register: Most of the time she sings with a falsetto, rather than a true head voice, which causes her voice to become thin and small in projection, often sounding throaty and raspy, without connection and becoming unstable above G#5. At times able to produce a fuller and truer tone in head voice, but very rarely.
One of the most agile voices amongst K-pop vocalists, Hyolyn possesses a very light and bright voice that seems to linger towards ornamentations and lend itself to embellishing her vocal performances. Her voice is able to not only be quick, but also separate and create a smooth connection between every single pitch and accurately hit each and every note in her best vocal runs. However so, Hyolyn also tends to many times throw vocal runs around without really taking the time to make sure every single note lands correctly, having a very agile voice but with the lack of control and attention to detail when it comes to fully creating a clean series of ornamentations within her vocal performances. This is shown when at times, her run descending from the F#5 in “Show Me How You Burlesque” can come out clean and land correctly and at other times, will sound sloppy and without direction. Even so, she still has the ability to bounce through her notes and quickly fall back into them, showing good breath control overall. Recently this problem seems to persist as it’s consistently heard in her performances of Dally, with the run that follows the E5 belt in the song’s bridge. Notes are thrown away in a disorganized fashion, without caring to separate each given pitch and the idea isn’t cleanly executed.
One of the most famous female K-pop vocalists who’s not only famous for her group activities but also individually as a powerful vocals and vocal performances. Hyolyn’s instrument is one of the lightest and purest amongst her peers. Her voice is very light, girly and bright, with a very pretty tone quality that at times can be soft and sexy, or at others powerful and present. Her voice sits high where a Soprano voice would sit and still retains a youthful quality, most likely close to the Light Lyric fach. Not only does she possess one of largest shown vocal ranges amongst K-pop vocalists, she also has shown improvement and consistent care to become a better musician, performer and vocalist.
One of her strongest assets is her developed lower range, which is one of the rarest things amongst pop vocalists in general. She retains a very womanly and present full sound in her lower register when she starts on F#3 and above, showing a stable larynx, forward mask and chest placements, projection and support. She is also able to still maintain a certain amount of tone and color even when she descends to F3’s and E3’s, although the placement and projection are generally lost. Her E3’s are also inconsistent in tone production and lose cord connection at times, example including the recent performance of “슬픈인연” where at times her E3’s would be present and at others they’d vanish into an airy tone. Notes below E3 then become fairly airy and unclear. Even then, Hyolyn also is able to extend her lower range down to C3, which for a Soprano of any kind is a feat on its own and is quite difficult to do. Nevertheless without the proper support, range alone isn’t enough on its own. Generally though, as long as Hyolyn stays above F#3, her lower range is projected and present, as seen from her performances of “Listen” and “Halo“.
Hyolyn is able to support her voice and project much lower than is expected of a Soprano, showing an impressive amount of skill in her lower range. That skill isn’t lost as she ascends into her upper mixed range where her Soprano voices naturally sits and shines the most, though. From her pre-debut days, Hyolyn was always able to show consistent amount of breath support and control on her C5’s and below, having shown an understanding of placement and resonance even then. As she debuted, she was able to often support and produce resonant notes from the A4 range to the C5 range and at times even up to D5, where her consistency would lack and her throat would often close and she would rather shout than truly show support in her mix. In earlier performances, such as when Sistar came out with “가식걸”, she would often use her throat and strain her Eb5’s even in studio.
As the years went by, however, Hyolyn has shown that technique is not only important but it helps a lot. She had since made a huge progress in her approach when using her mixed voice, more so than in any other register. She has learned to eliminated nasality, which was at times more prominent in her singing, as well as learning how to better support and relax her voice so that she could properly execute higher notes. When back in the day, on Immortal Song, Hyolyn’s F5’s from “그때그사람” would be completely hit using her throat, she has gone on promotion cycles with her solo debut hitting numerous resonant F5’s in her performances of “너밖에몰라 (One Way Love)”. Hyolyn’s mix not only got more stable, it also got more balanced and forward, with a more neutral larynx and proper support. Though the consistency of tone was kept and the support was good up until Eb5, at times she had shown the tendency to close her throat on sustained belts or use her throat still on F5’s, as seen in her Immortal Song performance of “첫인상“, where some F5’s would come out resonant and some would be throaty and strained.
In 2015 Hyolyn had shown inconsistencies in her mix and throatiness had been present even as low as D5 and Eb5. Even though good placement was kept up to Eb5/E5 at times, throatiness and glottal tension were too present above D5/Eb5 and she generally strains above Eb5, which shows some past bad habits seemed to be creeping back in. After what seemed to be even more of a downfall in her technique, Hyolyn had shown that her vocal approach has reverted back to her earlier debut days as a member of SISTAR. Perhaps due to a hectic schedule, bad health habits and whatnot, Hyolyn had reverted back to relying very heavily on using her throat as opposed to relying on support in her mixed voice. Whereas in the past resonance was consistent up to E5, around 2015/2016 Hyolyn struggled to keep her throat relaxed even around B4/C5. In that range support was kept, but there’s an underlying throatiness and airiness that follows her throughout her range. It seemed that her instrument had been damaged and was yet to recover. On King of Mask Singer, Hyolyn was able to show that with a lighter approach she was still able to produce consistent resonance up to Bb4, such as in “장마” but even within the same performance, she would revert back to using her throat when trying to sing with more chest in her mix even within the Bb4/B4 range. Above C5 she tended to yell higher notes, as heard in her C#5’s in “장마“, D5’s in “미안해요” and “널 사랑하겠어“, Eb5’s in “Ma Boy“, E5’s in “Tell Me Tell Me” and “Touch My Body“, and F5’s in “너밖에 몰라 (One Way Love)“.
However in 2018, around February Hyolyn shared on her instagram a video of her recording her song 내일할래 in the US, getting tips from her producer who also works as a vocal coach, who not only helped her get back on track with her mixing technique but also finally explore her head voice. Her mixed voice in 2018 has since shown massive improvement from the past. She’s gotten back to mixing with a much healthier, brighter and more connected mix that projects more effortlessly without pushing from her throat. Her supported range has since become more consistent up to Eb5/E5, as heard in these compilations of her Dally E5’s, and multiple Eb5’s throughout 2018. One issue that persists is that although support and placement are kept, a degree of pushing can still be heard in her mix. This isn’t much of an issue when phrasing, but when sustaining notes on more closed vowels, she tends to lose support and become throaty still even within her supported range. Vowels like Ah (아) and Eo (어) project quite well, while vowels like Eu (으), Oh (오) and Aye (애) get caught in her throat. Examples of this include the D5’s with the Aye vowel in “Let it Go,” as well as some C5’s in “안녕.” Above E5, she still seems unable to keep her throat from closing up and the sound remains closed with strain, as heard in the F5’s in this compilation and this one. Although support is at times carried on phrased notes, tension still seems to overpower her support.
Her weakest register and what kept her from improving further was her falsetto register. As opposed to staying in her modal register and using her head voice, due to perhaps stylistic choices, Hyolyn generally used a very airy and throaty falsetto, which creates a raspy sound to her voice. Even though it can work stylistically, she lacked the ability to show the fullness of tone she needed for certain songs. For songs such as her solo “Lonely”, the breathiness plays a huge part in sounding vulnerable, but in songs such as “Halo” or “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas“, the tone should be stronger and more well placed with proper cord connection, which Hyolyn didn’t show the ability to do. Oftentimes regardless of where she is in her falsetto register, she would create a raspy airy sound which didn’t project as well, seen in her E5’s, F5’s, F#5’s, G5’s and even higher, where her throat then closes and creates a weaker sounding voice when reaching higher into the 6th octave.
In 2018, however, she has shown for the first time a much more consistent use of her head voice and has learned to fully connect her vocal cords to produce a supported head voice. Around February in performances of “내일할래“, stylistically an airier sound, Hyolyn started showing signs of connecting her vocal cords better and producing a head voice. From then on, she’s shown more and more instances of this in “내일할래“, as well as in other songs such as “Love Like This“, as well as in multiple performances of Dally. The issue lies in where her support starts, ends and where her consistency lies. The degrees of connection from one performance to the other are quite inconsistent, many notes being slightly airier, while some are more connected. When more connected up to G5, there’s a degree of pushing as well, so the support is also yet to be consistently developed. Nonetheless from having no head voice ever shown, to being able to connect at all is very commendable improvement and one can expect she will only get better and better from her on.
Musically speaking, Hyolyn shows a certain degree of understanding of music. She can dynamically change her voice to adhere to every genre she chooses to sing, even though at times the throatiness may happen, she shows the ability to produce a rockier edge sound and at other times an agile R&B voice. She has the support to dynamically explore songs to the fullest, such as in “귀로” where her voice gradually grows with the intensity of the song. The one thing about it is that she still could support her voice more and create a soft yet supported sound when her dynamics are quieter, as opposed to a breathy raspy sound, being able to develop more versatility in her musical choices and approaches to interpreting songs.
Regardless of her flaws, however, Hyolyn has always been one of the top K-pop idol vocalists, improving immensely with time and being able to outsing many of her peers. With an extensive lower range in support and a consistent ability to keep resonance up into her highest range, Hyolyn is not only a powerful vocalist but also an overall skilled performance, entertainer, artist and dancer. She only shows improvements and at her young age, one can only expect that she will continue to improve as she ages, given the seriousness she’s shown in taking care of her instrument and her craft. Perhaps for the future, things to work on would be learning how to properly connect the vocal cords to ease the raspiness and irritation caused by the breathy vocals on her vocal cords. With 2018 being a great year for her in terms of improvement, the future seems bright ahead for Hyolyn’s vocal technique and career.
Throughout the years, this is another area where Hyolyn has also shown care and courage to take risks. Her intonation is often a very desirable one, but just like her vocal runs that can at times come out wrong and uncontrolled, Hyolyn’s vocal improvisations and changes aren’t always 100% spot on. Although she tries to add her own character to songs, she has yet to be fully confident in her melodic choices. Even then, she’s able to create interesting changes in songs, such as in more recent performances of “Halo” and “Ma Boy”, where the changes in arrangement allow for Hyolyn to play more with the song rhythmically and melodically, a skill Hyolyn’s been developing and is only getting better with time. Even more recently, when being free to sing an acoustic broken down cover of “Some” with Jooyoung, Hyolyn was able to showcase a completely different vocal delivery from the original, showing her development in musicianship. The rest is just more practice and confidence, because she has a very attentive ear to keep her intonation on point.
Label (Type of Vocalist)
HB Vocalists: High-Range Belters
LR Vocalists: Low Range Vocalists
MA Vocalists: Melismatic/Agile Vocalists
Vocal Range Video(s)
Videos by : Ahmin (kitsunemale)
Video by: gangertae
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Re-Analyzed by Ahmin (kitsunemale)
(Originally analyzed by : Pandayeu, Chung2, Ahmin (kitsunemale), gangertae)
Last updated: November 2018