E3 ~ C6 (2 Octaves and 4 notes)
*Might be wider
B3 ~ G#4
- Able to hit a Soprano C
- Openness and forward placement are often present in her higher singing
- Able to keep acceptable intonation when singing songs
- Tone production is very strong and keeps her voice present throughout performances
- Some support is present in her voice when she sings more softly
- Voice is mostly stuck in her throat, with a throaty placement
- Yells throughout most of her range
- Nasality is present in her singing
- Legato singing isn’t always optimal, the voice can sound chopped up and lacking in flow
- Intonation isn’t perfect, can go off and sound flat
- Tendency to go off during vocal runs, voice isn’t very agile
- Larynx isn’t very stable and sounds pushed and compressed throughout her range
- Tends to push notes above G#4 with pushed, yelled resonance
- Larynx goes high in the upper range and causes her to sound constricted and tense
- Lower range is underdeveloped, not well supported and disconnected
- Falsetto is weak, barely connected and does not transition well
- Very narrow supported range and overall range in general
- Every register in her voice is rather underdeveloped
- Jaw tension very present
- Lower register: A very underdeveloped and unstable register. For the most part tone is present in her lower range, but the tone production is very flat sounding, throaty and unstable. She tends to either lose projection in this register or easily lower her larynx to create a thicker lower sound in her voice.
- Mixed register: The middle part of her voice is the most stable and better placed voice she uses. For the most part, from C4 ~ G4, her voice is clear, somewhat supported, projected and comfortable. Anything above G#4, however, can often sound opened in sound and really forward in project, but with a lot of pushing, compression in the larynx, pressure of the vocal cords and tension in the throat.
- Upper register: Her falsetto register is very underused and is always disconnected. She doesn’t generally have the correct control of her falsetto and her transitions can often sound sloppy and poorly done. Her falsetto is generally thin and airy, not projecting very well and never really becoming a connected head voice.
Jiyoon’s voice is not one to play around with styles of music that require great vocal agility. In general, her performances are usually sung straight and don’t have many embellishments when it comes to vocal runs. For the most part her usage of a Thyroarytenoid muscle dominance, responsible for the chest voice, causes her voice to lack flexibility and often sound too push, loud and thick in texture. Logically, a voice needs lightness for it to be agile, so by adding too much weight to the voice, the speed and flexibility will be affected, which causes Jiyoon to lack agility. The few moments in which she has done vocal runs, she shows a lack of ability to keep good separation of pitch and precision of notes, as well as a clean legato line that flows through the notes smoothly, seen for an example in her runs when singing “If I Were A Boy“, “길에서” and “또만 났네요.”
As the lead vocalist of 4Minute, Jiyoon keeps her spot as a strong vocalist in comparison to the less highlighted vocalists in the group due to how much more volume she is able to create with her voice. Contrary to popular belief though, her power is not due to a strong and powerful technique, but instead one that goes against the natural lightness of her voice and tone. In terms of voice type, Jiyoon’s voice carries a very soft and light color to it, sitting most comfortably in the fourth octave and above, characteristics of a light lyric soprano voice. Her voice, however, barely ever shows such characteristics due to the improper technique she employs in her singing. Due to the weakness of her technique, it is also possible she could be a mezzo soprano with a very under developed voice in general, however due to her technique it is hard to be sure of where her voice would best be fit.
From the bottom of her range, Jiyoon lacks the proper cord connection and support in her range. The muscles responsible for the strength of her chest voice are overly employed in the upper bridging area of her mixed voice, but aren’t as emphasized when singing in her lower range. Therefore her voice ends up lacking projection, resonance, support and strength when singing low, as well as stability. The pitch is often uncentered and her overall legato singing becomes very chopped up and disconnected. Her lower range shows some support around B3, but below B3, her notes become more softly sung, as if half-spoken, without any proper connection of vocal cords and placement for singing. As she descends below B3, there is also a tendency for her to slightly push her larynx down and cause her voice to sound more blocked and lack even more projection. Examples include her Bb3’s in “미워도 다시 한번” and her F#3’s in “If I Were A Boy” and “If I Ain’t Got You“.
As a Soprano, her natural voice tessitura should lie somewhere above C4 up to as high as C6, or higher. When it comes to the aspect of middle voice, where one should first train their voice in order to properly sing songs in a comfortable mid-range that is neither too high nor too low, Jiyoon has enough support ranging from C4 up to G#4 for her voice to project well and handle most melodies given for her in songs. However, as she approaches notes above G#4, her voice starts to increase in volume too quickly and sound too pushed, yelled and strained. Above G#4, the tone is usually more opened and less nasal than below, but can also sound nasal and pushed out. Her overall tone in her comfortable range is often harsh, thick and overly chesty, with too much compression of the vocal cords and too much tension in the throat. As she ascends into her mix, instead of lightening up her voice and adding more head into the equation, Jiyoon opts for more volume, more chest voice and more pushing, causing her to sound louder and yelled.
The issue with Jiyoon’s mixed voice lies in the fact that, although she possesses quite a bit of range and doesn’t generally crack when singing higher, she has created a bad habit of always relying on the use of chest voice and never really blending in both the chest and head voice to create a mix, causing her sound to be either too weak, airy, nasal and falsetto-y, when she sings more softly, or suddenly too harsh and loud. Notes around A4 and Bb4, such as in her musical performance “My Love By My Side” and “담다디“, will often sound tight in the throat and pushed, with an overly opened and lowered tight jaw. As she ascends higher, the strain becomes even more clear as her throat starts to close on B4’s, such as in “또만 났네요“, C5’s, such as in “미워도 다시 한번“, “No. 1“, “난” and “늴리리아“. The higher she gets, the less stable her intonation becomes, often sounding flat and pitchy, such as in the Eb5’s of “Firework” and “Volume Up” and the F5 of “Shut Up” which, due to the tightness in her throat, high larynx and improper support, become a sharp E5.
Her upper register is for the most part a disconnected falsetto, which lacks in terms of placement and projection, like the rest of her range. The falsetto register often sounds airy and nasal in tone, not projection properly and seemingly being disconnected from the rest of her range. In her duet with dickpunks, “Soulmate“, Jiyoon uses a falsetto quite often, placing it heavily in her nose but at least showing enough control of it to transition into it without lack of confidence. The transitions from falsetto have shown some inconsistency, at times being smooth such as in “또만 났네요” and other times being weak and pitchy, such as in “길에서” and “One Of The Boys“. The falsetto register can extend up to C6, as done so while warming up in a cover video of “California King Bed“, where her sound was freer but still disconnected, suggesting the lack of confidence with the register in general.
Without taking into consideration the lack of development of all of Jiyoon’s vocal registers, the part of Jiyoon’s voice that lacks the most is the basics of singing. Intonation and dynamic wise, due to Jiyoon’s poor vocal development, her voice is often either too soft, uncontrolled and weak, or too loud and yelled. Musically speaking, that keeps her voice from being able to properly deliver any sort of musical and emotional message through her singing alone. Her singing is often also pitchy, flat sounding and shallow in tone. Since most of her sound is heavily done with her throat and a compressed larynx, her singing is disconnected and her voice sounds as if she is half-speaking her way through songs. Her tone is often flat in sound and in pitch, with a nasal quality and it has no depth of color. The color of her voice is not portrayed well due to the heavy forced sound she employs. The overly heavy pushed chest-dominance in her mix can often pull her flat, such as in her duet of “이별이야기“, or her pitch is just not centered even when singing through the melody of the song more softly, such as in “이세상 살아다가 보면” , or the recent performances of 4Minute’s comeback, where her tone just lacks color and sounds shallow in placement, such as “1절만 하시죠“.
As a vocalist, Jiyoon is one of the weakest lead vocalists amongst K-pop girl groups. She is technically lacking in many basic aspects of singing, which can very well also be the fault of the vocal education she has been given as a trainee under Cube, whose only skilled vocalist is Yoseob, having many other main vocalists and lead vocalists from Cube show similar issues to Jiyoon in terms of technique. When she raps, her voice shines more tone wise, even though the full control of her voice is still not there dynamically and musically speaking. For a long term singing career and solo career, Jiyoon’s main focus should be on re-learning the basics of singing and having a skilled instructor help her sing through her vocal bridges and better showcase the true tone of her voice, hidden behind all the improper bad habits she has developed over the years. Even then, Jiyoon has proved herself numerous times as a performer and entertainer and hopefully will continue to improve her abilities if she chooses to further take singing into a more serious light as an entertainer.
With a lack of ear for music, musicianship wise, Jiyoon’s vocals often sound off in terms of pitch and appropriate melodic improvisations. She will often add random-sounding runs, harmonies and adlibs to performances, such as “If I Were A Boy” and “길에서” , where her pitch accuracy and added adlibs often sound random, not well thought out and off in terms of key center and musicality. Her harmonies also can come off flat, pitchy and don’t blend in well when singing with other vocalists, for the most part.
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)