F#2 ~ G5 (3 Octaves and 1 Semitone)
Eb3 ~ G#4/A4
Light Lyric Tenor
- One of the two stronger vocalists in 2AM
- Improvement has been made since debut until present
- Resonance is very consistent and present up until G#4
- Support is present up until A4
- Breath control allows for good control of dynamics
- Able to transition into a falsetto without too much trouble
- A healthy even vibrato is produced with clarity and stability
- Able to support down to Eb3 in his chest voice and keep tone down to B2 at times
- Sustained notes often have a soft palate with roundness in tone and resonance
- Falsetto notes can retain enough control and tone up to F5
- Intonation can at times be an issue when doing large jumps in range
- Vocal runs are often sloppy and messy
- Voice below Eb3 generally lacks in projection and connection
- Notes above A4 can often sound screechy with an uneven head-dominant mixed voice
- Falsetto can be quite weak in tone, with too much airiness
- Nasality and a whiny quality can still be present in his phrased singing
- Voice can be limited with a tiny sound and lack of resonance chambers
- Does not always drop his jaw, causing his sound to become whiny
- Vibrato becomes uneven and fast once he’s outside his supported range
- Often mixes higher than his supported range
- Lower register: the lower part of his range is generally present and supported with good projection down to Eb3, below that however his voice loses the correct placement and becomes unclear and less connected in tone and in the vocal cords.
- Mixed register: His mixed voice is the most developed and consistent register he possesses. Resonance is done at will and consistently even as high as G#4, with support even up to A4 at times. Many times a whiny quality is present in his middle and mixed register and as he ascends in range above A4, the mix becomes heady and strained.
- Upper register: His falsetto register shows more projection than his lower range, however so he seems to at many times use a very airy falsetto without as much connection as he could and he generally avoids going into his falsetto register. When he does, he’ll either opt for an airy approach or a mask placed pushed approach.
Although possessing a very bright and light voice, Changmin does not take advantage of the natural lightness of his voice when it comes to vocal agility. When it comes to the development of his voice throughout his career, Changmin has shown the least improvement in this area. Generally speaking, his vocal runs are usually sloppy and messy due to the lack of connection between his notes and the random choice of notes employed in his runs. His vocal runs often sound pitchy and off key, without any precision of note choices or direction of notes, but instead the runs sound more like he is just hitting any notes he can find within a quick space of time where he is adlibbing. These runs lack the connection of the notes, sounding less connected than a legato line, lacking smoothness and accuracy. This can be heard in performances such as his 2011 Immortal Song performances “둥지“, “그대는 인형처럼 웃고 있지만“and “여자이니까“, as well as in recent 2015 performances such as “도시여, 안녕“.
Having debuted in a vocal-ballad group 2AM under JYP Entertainment, there must be a higher level of vocal challenge existent in a more vocal oriented pop group. Having 4 vocalists who are all able to hold their ground vocally, two of them still stand out more than the rest as lead and main vocalists of their group due to their superior vocal skill. One of those being Changmin, whose skill falls under the general expected standard for a main vocalist. Possessing a very light and bright voice, with a high tessitura, without a doubt one can say Changmin’s voice type would lie closest to that of a light lyric tenor. Having a style reminiscent of vocalists such as Kim Gun Mo, Changmin has a signature brassy and whiny sound to his voice.
Changmin’s lower range can be very extensive in range, being able to go as low as F#2, but sadly most everything from Eb3 down is produced with a very light and airy quality, without good clarity of tone and lack of support. The lower range down to Eb3, as shown in “첫인상” as well as “가로수 그늘 아래 서면” and E3 in “소녀” and “오늘도 난“, is clear with support and forward projection and good connection between the vocal cords and as he descends lower, tone isn’t completely lost even as around C#3, such as in “내가 너의 잠시 살았다는 걸“, C3 in “누구시길래” and B2 in “Never Ending Story” , but the support is dropped where the voice becomes unclear and retains a cloudy quality. Below B2, however, the connection is almost completely lost and the tone becomes almost completely air, as heard in “이젠 잊기로 해요” on A2’s and F#2’s.
The overall tone of his voice and style of his singing revolves mostly around his mixed voice and mostly in high belting. The issue with Changmin’s mixed voice however, something that has been partially addressed and fixed, is the nasal whiny quality existent in his mix that keeps his voice from having a fuller and rounder tone. This is caused by the excessive amount of cricothyroid muscle development in his voice, as well as a heavily nose-placed sound, with a half-dropped jaw. This causes his mix to become thin and unprojected, with a head-dominant sound, easily overpowered by anybody who has a more opened tone and rounder approach to their singing, as heard in duets with 8Eight’s Lee Hyun, such as “It Girl“. This however, has improved considerably overtime and now he’s able to produce resonance in his voice now. If comparing older performances, such as “질투” and “이노래“, to more recent performances after 2011, Changmin’s improvement started to show with better placement in his mixed voice and resonance on G#4’s, such as in “나도 너처럼” and “어느 봄날“.
Even though both support and placement have been greatly improved, Changmin still shows bad habits in mixed voice where he will place his voice in his nose and not drop his jaw low enough hindering his resonance. The overall tone of his mix and middle voice have become rounder and fuller with more chest-resonance to them, however the upper part os his mix above Bb4 still shows signs of an uneven, overly head-dominant mixed voice. Not only is his mix very uneven, but also it often is strained on Bb4’s such as in “죽어도 못보내” and “미친듯이“, with an extra push and a throaty quality and a whiny high larynx and tight sound above Bb4, such as in “토요일은 밤이 좋아“, “니가 있어야 할 곳“and “열아홉이예요“. Although whininess can be present, he has shown that he can lift his soft palate and create a fuller sound in his mix up to G#4, such as in his “Musical” performances, as well as even support on A4’s such as in “이젠 잊기로 해요” and “가로수 그늘 아래 서면“.
His falsetto would be a more developed register than his lower range, but quite underdeveloped in comparison to his mixed voice. In this register, at times Changmin might show enough with transitioning in a lower range below C5, such as in “Never Ending Story“, but at other times above C5 his falsetto can either become overly disconnected and airy, with a slight throaty quality to it such as in “Moment“, but at other times he will show more control of the throatiness and instead of allowing an airy falsetto he will push with more air pressure and a mask placed sound in order to create more volume in his falsetto although resulting in less control with pitch, such as in “왼쪽가슴” and “추억 다 지워“.
The biggest issues with how Changmin approaches his singing lie in the fact that he often keeps his mouth in a half opened smile position, keeping his jaw from dropping low enough for his sound to become fuller and placing his voice in his nose. This is almost a mix of a bad habit and a stylistic choice, since he is able to show consistency in many performances of the song “나도 너처럼“, where resonance up to G#4 is consistent depending on the vowel he’s singing and as long as that vowel isn’t “Aye”. However in many performances of Immortal Song 2, Changmin shows good control of dynamics, steady breath support and a healthy even vibrato. However when he ascends above the range where he is able to keep resonance, such as around A4’s, his vibrato starts to lose control and become overly fast, such as in”가로수 그늘 아래 서면“. When attempting bigger jumps in range from his upper mix back down, his pitch can at times be lost.
As a vocalist, Changmin has shown growth and enough vocal ability to be respected as a skilled enough main vocalist of his group, with good understanding of dynamics and the basics of breathing technique and singing. Currently he is to be employed as a Professor at the Sohae University, where he should show his understanding of vocals mixed with his experience as a singer in the music industry for over 7 years. In this setting, it’d be best for him to also fully develop the potential in his voice by exploring his head resonance, the development of his cricoarytenoid muscles for a more developed chest sound, as well as exploring his chest resonance and fully grasping the concept of a connected voice from bottom to top, instead of solely relying on his mixed voice and upper belting.
In the area of musicianship, Changmin lacks the natural ear for precision of pitch when the time comes for adding his own set of notes, runs and changes to already existing melodies but he does have a very good ear and control for harmonizing and really blending his voice in when he is a duet partner for another vocalist. Listening to performances such as his adlibs in “첫인상“,”안되나요” and “Never Ending Story“, his musicianship usually revolves around hitting notes outside of his supported range to add an extra edge to the songs, even if that means straining way outside his comfort zone. However so, when listening to his ability to blend in his voice with 2-part harmonies, such as in “죽어도 못보내“, and “다시는 돌아보지 않으리“, Changmin might still sing outside his supported range but with the high extension of his mixed range, he’s able to take the top part of harmonies when needed.
Above Average Vocalist
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Vocal Range Video(s)
video by: Hawaiipups and kpopvocalists
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)