C3 ~ C6 (3 octaves)
G3/G#3 ~ Bb4
- Improvement in mixing from debut until now
- Transitions have improvement since debut
- Resonance has happened occasionally in her mixed range
- Intonation is more consistent and on point now than during debut
- Able to support her middle voice well and consistently
- Able to support her mixed voice up until Bb4
- Notes around F#3/G3/G#3 can at times be well connected and supported
- Can use head voice at times and is able to connect her vocal cords properly
- Head voice has become more consistent with her solo debut
- Has been using head voice instead of straining through songs more
- Not a smart vocalist, often sings songs that are too high for her
- Intonation is not perfect, can still be pitchy
- Nasality is often present in her singing
- Musicianship can often go wrong
- Larynx raises above B4 and throat becomes tight
- Yells and pushes too much chest into her mix in the fifth octave
- Lower range can be inconsistent with support and projection
- Falsetto can sound too disconnected
- Voice often sounds closed and pushed due to lack of space in the back of the throat
- Vibrato is often uneven and throaty
- Lower register: By far the strongest part of her voice is her lower range. Amongst the Girls’ Generation vocalists, Tiffany’s lower range, alongside Jessica’s, is the one with the most consistent placement and support. She is often able to support her voice down to G#3 and has been able to show support down to F#3 and G3.
- Mixed register: A register she has learned to control and develop over the years, with significant improvement in extension but not as much in support. Larynx raises around B4/C5 and she starts to sound shouted and strained very early on in her range.
- Upper register: Transitions into the falsetto register have become much more consistent and smoother with the years, as well as her confidence with controlling this register. The range however is still limited, the sound small and airy, and the projection is limited due to her throat being closed. She has been known to use her head voice a lot more now after her solo debut.
As a very light soprano, her voice is naturally more flexible than a voice that’s heavier in tone. The fact that Tiffany often opts to use a lighter engagement of the vocal cords, which allows for her voice to become flexible without as much effort. As an American-born Korean, Tiffany has been influenced by more of an American singing style which focuses more on high belting and runs, something Tiffany always tries to add into her music. Her agility can often be very well divided and her notes will be clearly different from one another, showing that she has a natural ability to separate notes, which can be clearly heard in the beginning of her 2007 cover of “We Belong Together“. However, such ability is betrayed by her lack of sense of pitch and preparation when doing vocal runs, since often she has the tendency to improvise her lines and adlib, which causes her runs to come out pitchy, sloppy and out of place, such as in “Right There” and “We Found Love“. She has improved this ability however, as shown when she is fully prepared and rehearsed, she can control her runs fairly well within a reasonable slow to mid tempo speed such as in “Lost In Love” and “The Way“.
Debuting with Girls’ Generation in 2007, Tiffany was always known for her low and husky tone. She has always sung with a more airy tone, which causes a husky impression in her voice, and has, from the beginning, shown more ability in her lower range than in the rest of her range. As a lead vocalist, Tiffany was never highlighted as much as Taeyeon or Jessica and did not receive as many challenging lines in the beginning of her career, something that changed with time and has caused her to be put in the spotlight, something that does not match her actual difficulty in hitting higher notes and therefore could potentially damage her voice in the long run. Even then, her voice sits in a naturally higher place and is placed in the Soprano fach, having a very girly and almost pink-like tone, everything from her style, to her phrasing, to her image, just always has a girly style, something that fits the natural timbre of her voice, more closely being classified as a Light Lyric Soprano.
From the bottom of her vocal range, Tiffany has always highlighted her confidence with her lower range and not shown as much confidence in her upper range. Something that is wise from a vocalist, knowing where your voice stands and something she used to do more than she does not. Tiffany’s lower range is produced with a more husky and sometimes airy tone, but can be very well connected with her vocal cords and can be used to project well in songs. She has, inconsistently, been able to produce supported F#3’s in “Stickwitu” and in “Poker Face“, but other times would become airy and unsupported, such as in “나혼자서“. The actual support is present but the consistency isn’t and she hasn’t shown the ability to support her voice that recently, as much as she used to, losing support around F3, such as in “Bang Bang“. Her range below F#3, however, has generally always been quieter and lost in tone, with an airier tone, less volume and less projection, sounding more unsupported and underdeveloped, such as her D3’s in “반지” and C3’s and D3’s in “처음이었죠 (Love Sick)”. Her consistency is shown, however, from G3 and up, as she has shown support from her G3’s in the “American National Anthem” and”Reflection“, as well as her G#3’s in “Love Will Show You Everything“.
Her mixed range is one where she has shown considerable improvement on, not in placement or support, but in development of the muscle coordination. The usage of thyroarytenoid muscles for her chest voice and the cricothyroid muscles for her head voice generally help a vocalist blend in the strength of both registers to create the mixed voice, something that with Tiffany wasn’t a confident skill. During the time of their debut, Tiffany would often show her inability to hit high notes with stability and would often opt for songs that either allowed for her to switch into her falsetto or she would just naturally not try to force out high notes, such as the E5’s in “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and the Eb5 in “Can’t Fight The Moonlight“. This would be apparent when she would have to sustain or hit notes in the fifth octave, such as the C5 in”We Belong Together“, where her voice sounds shouted, unstable, throaty and strained. Now this ability has improved over the years, where Tiffany has been able to make a better connection of her vocal cords and stabilize her mix to be able to extend it in range and develop her muscles to hit higher notes, such as the G5 and F5’s in “Lady Marmalade“. The problem still lies, however, on the fact that Tiffany relies on pulling too much chest voice up and using her throat too much, which often causes her mixed voice to sound yelled and loud, without any depth of tone, color or real resonance. Her voice is often very tight and closed around C5, often heard in any song where she’s required to sing that high, such as in “The Way“, as well as when she sustains C5’s, where her larynx with raise and she will use her throat to push out the notes instead of supporting them, such as in “Rolling In The Deep” and “Promise“. This results in her mixed voice and overall upper supported range being very limited in extension, only showing support up to as high as Bb4 consistently, as she’s done since her debut, with “Sometimes“, up until now with “Lost In Love“. Tiffany has occasionally been able to also produce a more opened sound, allowing for resonance in her mixed voice, such as the A4’s in “A Whole New World“.
Her falsetto range is one that has notably also improved in terms of control, whereas, out of fear of not being able to mix the higher mixed notes, Tiffany would often switch into her falsetto during her early years in her career and end up losing control of her voice and pitch, now she’s able to switch and transition with a much more smooth technique and not become completely lost in pitch. Many times, Tiffany would try to sing lines that would transition into falsetto and she would at times be able to control her pitch and even use a connected head voice, such as in”Stickwitu” and “Genie In A Bottle“, but many other times she would go flat, pitchy and not be able to control the overall pitch of her voice, such as in “Sometimes” and”Can’t Fight The Moonlight.” Also, her overall transitions weren’t smooth and she would become shaky in tone and transition into a weak airy falsetto often, such as in “Teenage Dream.” Now she is able to more smoothly switch into her falsetto and transition from her mixed voice when singing full vocal lines, such as in “All My Love Is For You” and “Not Alone.” Although the transitioning of the falsetto register has improved, the register in itself is mostly what she uses in her voice when singing above her mixed voice, and not a connected head voice. Although she has been able to use a more connected head voice a times, the falsetto register is still disconnected and airy, and she often closes her throat as she ascends in range, mostly above F5, such as her A5 in “Almost Is Never Enough” and her G#5/A5 in “여자이니까“, that was quite flat due to the tension existent in her throat. Her head voice has become more consistent over the years, such as in “Cater 2 U” but she still lacks control of it and support isn’t consistent, as shown by her solo promotions with her mini album “I Just Wanna Dance.” Her highest note to date in head voice is her C6 from “I Just Wanna Dance.”
Musically speaking, Tiffany her own style of singing. She has develop her own mellow, girly and fast paced singing style, often adding runs into her songs and playing airiness for effect and different dynamics. Her musically, however, is limited due to the lack of technique in her voice, causing her not to be able to control her volume when outside of her lower range and for her to always need to shout to sing higher notes. Apart from her overall range, Tiffany has improved her overall pitch and control of her voice a lot, shown by contrasting performances like “Heaven” and “The Way“. However so, pitch still can be an issue for her even until today, as well as her vocal placement, which is mostly always in her nose. Tiffany does not show a consistent understanding of how to open the back of her throat properly and lift her soft palate, creating the tension present in her mixed voice, as well as an overall closed and small sound in terms of projection due to her voice being mostly placed in her nose when singing, something that can be more clearly heard when contrasting her singing with someone with a more opened sound and a resonant placement, such as Taeyeon when they sing duets like “Lost In Love” and “Reflection“.
As an artist and vocalist, Tiffany has shown good and consistent slow improvement throughout her career as a member of Girls’ Generation, mostly to do with the basics of singing technique and connection with her voice. Even then, now that she is highlighted as more of the lead vocalist she is in Girls’ Generation and is taking more challenging lines in songs, her voice could be damaged again due to the shouty technique she uses often when singing high notes. If she is to take herself seriously as a vocalist, improving her head voice and training the cricothyroid muscles to further develop a healthier, more balanced use of mixed voice, as well as a more connected and controlled sound overall, would be the most important thing to do for her to be able to sing more challenging vocal lines with a healthy vocal technique as well as having a lasting career as a girl group member and as a possible soloist. As a singer, she has natural talent and potential, all she needs is the right instruction and training so she can develop the full potential of her voice.
A trend that exists in K-pop with idol singers is that mostly Korean-born singers are generally more likely to sing songs they’re intended to, with the right melody and timing, due to growing up in Karaoke culture. American-born singers, however, usually are more likely to add their adlibs to songs and to improvise more, a rule to which Tiffany is no exception. The biggest issue with this habit and trend, however, is that Tiffany has yet to really clean up her musical ideas when doing her adlibs. She oftentimes changes songs and is prepared to perform them with the correct musical changes before she performs them, so the end result is a clean, well thought-through musical change that enhances the musical and melodic message of the song, such as in the last night before the second chorus of “Call Me Maybe“, her falsetto E5 before the chorus of “Cater 2 U“, her lines at the last chorus of “Umbrella“, to the runs and C#5 before the second chorus of “Stickwitu“. However such an ability is not always well practiced when she does not practice her musical changes before performances and tries to adlib on the spot, showing her lack of a natural ear for music when it comes to improvisations, such as the pitchy and sloppy runs in “We Found Love“, and the “American National Anthem“, although some musical ideas were nice, they weren’t always executed as well as she could due to her faulty technique and many times strain that happened when trying to venture into the 5th octave.
Vocal Range Video(s)
Videos by: Ahmin (Kitsunemale)
Video by: Avatarkyungsoo
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Re-Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)
(Originally analyzed by: zhx)