C#3 ~ F#6 (3 Octaves, 2 notes and 1 semitone)
Eb3 ~ D5/Eb5
Eb3 ~ F6/F#6 (with head voice)
- Arguably one of the widest supported ranges amongst K-pop vocalists
- Able to keep a consistent column of sound through her range
- Resonance is consistently present up until D5, support kept at times above that
- Able to support notes down to the F3 ~ Eb3 range
- A pure well produced and controlled head voice, consistently controlled and resonant
- Great breath control for dynamics
- Nasality is basically non-existent
- Musicality is one of her strongest assets, very well established vocalist and knows her style/voice
- Even and healthy vibrato is achieved often enough
- A very agile voice, with seamless transitions from chest to mix and from mix to head
- Capable of jumping from the lowest parts of her range up to the highest without difficulty
- Never tries to overpower her mix or sing outside of her voice type
- Notes above D5/Eb5 get inconsistent with throat shape and larynx position
- Arguably a stylistic choice, her throatiness seems to be uncontrolled on notes above Eb5
- Notes below Eb3 become slightly cloudy although still with tone
- Head voice becomes slightly pinched on F#6
- Notes from E5 ~ A5 can be very strained and pushed
- Vibrato can at times be too quick and sound uncontrolled
- Vocal runs can at times lack control and be musically unfitting to the song/style she’s singing
- Lower register: One of the most well supported low ranges amongst K-pop vocalists, Lena Park is not only able to keep an even production of sound throughout her range but also a stable larynx and a supported resonant sound down to Eb3/E3, and below still keep considerable tone although losing the resonance and becoming a bit cloudy
- Mixed register: A very inconsistent range and the least developed of her voices. She is able to keep resonance and an even column of sound through her mix up until D5, but then lose resonance and becoming slightly throaty as she ascends and slowly becoming more yell-like than truly supported, even if her voice is placed correctly in the mask, the throat closes and is pushing her voice out.
- Upper register: A pure range where her voice finds the most freedom, she uses her head voice without any effort, is able to jump quickly through notes and sustain notes for a considerably amount of time in her head voice, even as high as her C6 ~ F6 range, only becoming slightly shrill on her highest peak, F#6.
Possessing a very light and bright voice, Lena Park has the advantage when it comes to vocal agility. Her voice is very agile, able to hit a series of notes with good control and clear note separation, from very low notes to very high notes in her range, she can travel through her range in a second, like her run up to F6 in the performance of “그대안의 블루” with Kim Gun Moo, where she jumps from F4 to F6 in a vocal run, hitting a series of notes in between with precision and accuracy, showing no signs of effort. The problem with Lena Park’s runs is her lack of ability to precisely choose the notes she is going to hit before hand, making her riffs sound slightly improvised and not carefully thought-through, but the agility in itself is very well worked through her voice and it shows as one of her most exercised skills.
One of Korea’s legends, Lena Park debuted back in 1998 in Korea. A native of Los Angeles, California, Lena Park grew up singing church music and had released a CCM album in 1993. She then chose to take on South Korea and was always treated with praise and considered one of Korea’s first R&B vocalists. Though not really an R&B singer, and more of a ballad singer, Lena Park brought adlibs, improvisations and vocal runs to the spotlight of the Korean ballad scene with her roots in church and her western-like mixed singing style. Although not confident with the Korean language and not fond of TV appearances, she did eventually become more comfortable with appearing on TV and is respected today as one of Korea’s most praised legendary vocalists.
Along with her singing style, Lena Park possesses a very wide range of assets that help her singing. She never was one to sing outside of her voice type, possessing a very girly, feminine, light and youthful quality to her voice, even after years and being into her 30’s, her voice still stands as one of the true Light Lyric Sopranos in Korea. She never tried to add an unnecessary amount of chest voice into her mix or try to sound thicker or heavier, respecting the lightness of her voice and using it to her advantage.
From debut Lena Park already possessed a wide range, but back then her lower range wasn’t as developed as it is today. It had a breathier quality and less projection and support on notes such as E3 and even as high as G3, such as in her version of Mulan’s “Reflection“. With age and maturity, Lena Park was able to make impressive improvements with her lower range, from being quite soft on G3’s, to being able to produce fully supported notes from the G3’s in her performance of “바보“, the D3’s from the live performances of “몽중인“, where tone is still present in her voice and even supported E3’s from her performance of “거위의 꿈“, where she also hit a few C#3’s where her tone wasn’t lost and her supported Eb3’s from her reedition of “이젠 그랬으면 좋겠네“. Truly a very well placed and resonant low range, where her larynx is neutral and the support is completely present very close to the bottom of her vocal range.
Her voice naturally sits higher and should theoretically find itself more easily able to mix high and shine in the upper mixed range, however, Lena Park shows a considerable loss in stamina and vocal power when she ascends into her upper mix. The notes below D5 are most often produced with support, evenness in mix and resonance, examples being the D5’s from “달” and her C5’s, C#5 and D5’s in her most recent performance on Immortal Song 2 of “Completely“. However so, it’s clear that her voice lacks the ability to stay fully resonant and strong as she ascends higher than Eb5, where her support starts to quiver. In her performance of “이젠 그랬으면 좋겠네“, her E5’s become throaty and strained half way through the note, when she is sustaining them and above where, although her placement is good and in her mask and no nasality is present, her voice becomes thin, shrill and weak. Her highest peak in her mix is A5, in live performance of JYP’s “Swing Baby” which sounded rather pushed and with a high larynx. Her mixed range is, although much better than the average female pop vocalist and even up there with the better K-pop idol vocalists, still her weakest voice and one where she lacks the full power she tries to portray with her power ballads, sounding rather weak and screeched. Nonetheless even in her performances of “첫인상“, she was able to at times hit F5’s with some resonance, that would suddenly half way through the note become shrill and almost yelled due to the lack of strength in her vocal cords and the lack of support to keep up the power as she ascends in her mix. Nonetheless a more solid range than many of her peers.
The biggest highlight of Lena Park’s voice, however, is her head voice. Unlike her lower range that improved over time, or her mixed range, that more or less stayed the same throughout her career, Lena Park’s head voice was as good as it is today from debut. More recently she doesn’t venture into the 6th octave as often as she used to be, but it was never uncommon to hear very high, supported and sustained 6th octave notes in her album work. Even live, she could easily hit the C#6 from “편지할게요” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry“, the C6 from “게으름뱅이“, as well as the album sustained notes such as the D6 from “이별하러 가는 길,” “Oh Holy Night,” and the E6 from the studio version of “몽중인“. From her debut album, Lena Park already had hit her highest head voice note, F#6, in her song “P.S. I Love You“, which was also done in the live reedition of the song, although not as opened as in studio. Lena Park could always easily control her head voice, keep it supported, resonant and opened with fullness, brightness and correct head placement, as well as considerable flexibility and seamless transitions from her other voices. She could also contain the amount of breath she wanted and soften her mix slowly during a sustained and soften it into making it a head voice mid-way through the note like in “Completely“.
Speaking of “Completely“, Lena Park also shows a great amount of dynamic and breath control through her performances, one of the most musical vocalists in Korea, she captivates people with her emotional approaches to songs that are delivered successfully through her control of flow, ornamentations, dynamics, vocal effects and rhythm. Her vocal styling at times also may excuse her use throatiness in singing, because it is as though she chooses to adopt that style to further help her song interpretation, even if not being the healthiest vocal approach one should adopt.
The one other negative aspect of her voice, however, is that although her intonation and support are quite consistent, she tends to have an inconsistent use of vibrato, which will at times sound rushed and uncontrolled. Her vibrato can be very even and healthy at times, but at others it comes out throaty and overly fast which is rather unhealthy. She still shows a a control of when and when not to use vibrato, however, opting for straight tone at times and others for her stylistic vibrato or her even vibrato.
Although a Korean legend, Lena Park is not a perfect technical vocalist. A much more advanced vocalist than most of her peers, Lena Park still makes some technical sacrifices for the sake of style. If it weren’t for her sometimes out of place riffs, uneven vibrato and underdeveloped mixed range, she would easily be one of Korea’s strongest technical vocalists. Due to her style and musical choices, she may never really work on developing a stronger and more powerful approach to her mixed range, which results in a very limited sound from E5 to A5, quite a big gap when considering the potential of her Soprano voice. Nevertheless, a very well developed voice from one of Korea’s most respected musicians, Lena Park owns what she does and knows what her voice can and cannot do and what she wishes to do with it.
She is a vocalist who is in complete control of her voice. Lena Park runs through songs adding her own vocal runs, changing the melody of songs and making songs her own every single time she performs them. She is not one to sing a song Karaoke-like, and her agility and ability to always improvise on the spot is one of the assets that sets her apart from most other vocalist. At times her improvisations can either come out a bit messy-sounding or strained when she gets out of her supported mix range, but overall she knows exactly where and what she wants to do with a song when she chooses to sing them.
Vocal Range Video(s)
Videos originally by: korkoa
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)