C#3 ~ C6 (2 Octaves, 5 notes and 1 semitone)
A3/Bb3 ~ E5/F5
Light Lyric Soprano
- Resonance has always been consistent
- Resonance is clean and very amplified in size
- Improvement has been consistent and very noticeable from debut until now
- Support has improved considerably, as well as her mixed voice
- Able to mix with a balanced mix up to A5
- Mixed voice is consistent up until E5/F5
- Supports her lower range down to Bb3/A3
- Falsetto can be relaxed up to F#5 and has shown improvement in projection
- Pitch has shown improvement over the years
- Good usage of dynamics and breath control in general
- Good control of mixing
- Able to produce a connected head voice below F5
- Produces a steady healthy vibrato consistently
- Minor pitch issues are still frequent in almost all her performances
- Voice isn’t very agile, incapable of doing mid-speed runs
- Falsetto is still disconnected and becomes tense with glottal tension above F#5
- Notes above E5/F5 lack consistency, become unevenly mixed and strained
- Notes below Bb3/A3 are generally very airy
- Support in the lower range is almost inexistent and has not been improved
- Nasality can happen on and off
- Stamina issues can be noticeable
- Head voice is inconsistent and only happens below F5
- Lower register: Very underdeveloped register. Her lower chest voice notes are almost always very quiet, very airy and lack any sort of true support. Tone is kept below Bb3/A3 down to above G3. Below that, the vocal cords barely come together and the support is gone.
- Mixed register: Huge improvement over the years, mixed voice has become more balanced, stronger in tone, resonance is often present in the voice within the G4 ~ F5 range and the mixed voice is much more balance.
- Upper register: Head voice has improved and is now a usable register up until about E5, above that the voice turns into a nasal falsetto and eventually tension creeps in starting on G5 and above, mostly coming from a closed throat and glottal tension.
As a light lyric Soprano, Younha has more of an ease with her voice being able to not only jump around notes without as much weight carrying through and slowing down her voice, but also due to her bright and balanced voice, she has even more ease with a better coordination of the vocal cords. Although ease is present, the actual accuracy of runs and the overall stability of pitch isn’t as consistent as it could be. When it comes to vocal runs, Younha has shown that she has the necessary separation of notes when doing them at a slow speed, such as in “As Time Goes By“, but as she increases the speed or does more vocally challenging runs, the overall pitch can be easily lost such as in “If I Ain’t Got You” or “Love On Top“, showing that Younha has the basic knowledge and muscle memory necessary to create vocal runs but hasn’t worked to further develop the agility of her voice and actually use the natural lightness she has to her advantage.
One of Korea’s gems, Younha debuted years ago first starting her career in Japan as she was more interested in the Japanese market at first. Coming back to Korea, she was able to make a name for herself because not only was she a solo female act who had a rock image, she was also young and could carry herself professionally through her ability to sing, play piano and compose. Throughout the years, Younha showed her competence as a vocalist by steadily improving her instrument and allowing for its potential to be achieved. Her voice was always naturally developed in certain areas that allowed her to stay in an upper mixed voice tessitura, around E5 and F5, which hinted at her being a Soprano, which due to the size of her instrument and the overall timbre, would more likely fall under the Light Lyric Soprano fach.
The lower part of her range, as a Soprano, is quite extensive and extends down to C#3 in “거위의 꿈“. However so, even though the extension is quite low, the overall support in her lower range is almost inexistent. Even early on in her career, her tone was always quite bright and well placed in her voice within the fourth octave, but a clear drop in projection would happen as she’d descend below Bb3 into the rest of the third octave. Notes as low as A3 may at times show support, as heard in “Falling Slowly” and the support becomes more forward from Bb3 and above, as heard in “인생을” and “Viva La Vida“. As she descends below A3, however, the overall tone of her voice starts to become muffled and airy, losing support around G#3 and G3, such as in “우리 달라졌을까” and “오늘 헤어졌어요“. The tone of her voice is ultimately gone and replaced with an airy undertone and a weak sense of pitch below G3. The overall stability of her lower range also is lacking due to the lack of support and connection of the vocal cords, causing the excessive air to make her voice shake.
The highlight of Younha’s voice is where a Soprano’s tessitura naturally lies, above C4 up to F5, where her mixed voice had always been clean and easily accessed. Her support was not always present in the fifth octave, however, although good placement and resonance have always been a part of Younha’s singing. Even early on in her career, she was capable of supporting her voice and lifting her soft palate to produce a full and clean overall resonant sound in the fourth octave, such as the B4’s in “Audition (Time To Rock)” and “비밀번호 486“, although the C#5’s, E5’s and F5’s in these songs would show throat tension and tightness. The support and resonance in the fifth octave, however, only started happening as she aged and seemed to take better care of her overall vocal technique. In 2009, in performances of “오늘 헤어졌어요“, improvement could be heard in Younha’s support and placement in the fifth octave, although tension was still present.
It wasn’t until the 2011 and 2012 that her voice started to really settle in the fifth octave and the overall tone of her voice became cleaner and more present, with an amplified resonance and support. Comparing her 2009 performance to a 2012 performance of “오늘 헤어졌어요“, where her D5 in the bridge would sound slightly stuck in the back of her throat, a clear difference in projection and ease can be heard through the years. Not only that, but comparing the upper part of Younha’s range, where her mixing improved considerably allowing for her to not only mix G5’s in “너뿐인 나를” much better than she used to when she performed “Since U Been Gone“, but also now she can stay in a much higher tessitura with better consistency than many of her Soprano peers. In 2012, consistency was still an issue for her and staying with an open throat throughout performances still would seem like a challenge for her, such as in “Summer Time” and “날 울리지마“. The final stage of Younha’s improvement came around 2013 and 2014, where her voice settled around E5/F5 with consistent resonance and a relaxed evened out bright mix, where her voice shows an ability to stay in a high tessitura without losing power, such as in “볽은 노을“, compared to the 2012 performance of the same song, although due to lack of stamina pitch and precision can often be lost in the upper range, such as in “One Fine Day“, as well as strain happening above F5.
Another register where some improvement, even if little, has been noticeable in Younha’s voice is the head voice register. Early on in her career, Younha would show less of this register and not venture into the higher part of her voice unless it would serve a dynamic purpose, although the projection of her voice would inevitably be lost as she did. With the years, Younha’s voice was able to create a much more connected head voice due to her skill in mixing, where she’s able to transition well from her mixed voice into a lightly mixed voice that eventually becomes a head voice, such as in “소나기” and “RUN“. Although a connected head voice is produced within her supported range, above the range where she controls her mixed voice, not only does her mixed voice become headier but also her head voice turns into a nasally placed falsetto. This falsetto voice can still retain a relaxed sound up to F#5, but as heard in “Seasons of Love” and”Love On Top“, the voice becomes tighter with some glottal tension as she approaches the rest of her falsetto range above F#5, peaking at C6 with a slightly pushed and tense tight sound in her falsetto, placed more heavily in her nose than truly in her head.
Younha is musically a very sensitive vocalist, who can carry through a song with the right amount of control of dynamics, styling and resonance when necessary. She can go from a very light and soft tone, to a full and resonant vibrant sound within one sound, as well control her mixing to deliver the right amount of emotional content within a song. Not only is her singing technique steadily better, her overall sound is controlled and always comes accompanied of a healthy even vibrato. The first of the two biggest issues with Younha’s voice is that even after all the improvement she’s had, intonation and stamina still seem to be a problem for her. Oftentimes Younha will become pitchy and lose the key center of a song when singing in a high tessitura, such as in “바다아이“, or when singing below her supported lower range, such as in “기다려줘“. The other issue with her voice is that apart from a naturally sensitive ear for music with attention to musical delivery, her only strength lies in her mixed voice and how developed and controlled it is. Although an important part of the voice, the overall connection of all registers within Younha’s voice is almost non-existent due to her neglecting every single register development and only focusing on her mixed range.
As a vocalist and musician, Younha is truly worthy of respect. Not only has she shown work ethic with her singing ability and technique, but she has consistently been able to musically adapt to the current music industry, produce and write her repertoire accordingly to her vocal skill, as well as being able to stay relevant and true to herself as an artist. One can only expect that Younha will keep improving her vocal technique as the years go by considering her huge improvement since her debut. For the future, her main focus should be on developing the rest of her thyroarytenoid muscles and her cricothyroid muscles to isolate the head and chest voice registers separately and even out the development of her voice as a whole, so that she will be able to better control her pitch, stamina, as well as create a balanced instrument.
As a composer and musician, Younha has a natural ear for musical changes, as well as showing that she knows her voice and respects her vocal condition. She not only is able to add subtle melodic changes, such as in”거위의 꿈“, and change the style of her singing depending on what she sings, such as her passion for rock songs, but also her ear is sensitive enough to guide her and let her stay in key even if pitch may become wobbly with certain musical changes. One example of this would be the two different performances of “Seasons of Love“, where in one she does not attempt the C6 originally present in the song, but instead sings A5 and accepts the limitations within her voice at that particular day, but in another performance she allows her voice to take the risk and tackle the original C6 of the song, as well as a simplified version of the runs within the song.
Competent to Good Vocalist
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: gangertae (Pedro_0508)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)