Super Junior’s Vocal Analysis: Kyuhyun [Newly Updated]

Vocal Range

D2 ~ D6 (4 Octaves)

Supported Range

Bb2/B2 ~ B4/C5

Bb2/B2 ~ F5 (with head voice)

Voice Type

Tenor

Strengths/Achievements

  • Currently, arguably, the strongest male idol vocalist
  • Strongest vocalist in Super Junior
  • Very consistent vocalist in terms of placement, support and control
  • Resonance is always consistent in his singing
  • Control of dynamics is well used and explored in his singing
  • Able to keep a very well control of his pitch/intonation
  • Able to produce a relaxed, well connected head voice
  • Good vocal placement is kept even outside his supported range
  • Able to consistently keep resonance and support up to Bb4/B4
  • Has been able to support D5/Eb5 in studio
  • Able to keep a well placed and forward sounding lower range even as low as C3/B2
  • Good note separation is present in his runs
  • Mixed voice is very well balanced and mixing is well controlled
  • Natural vibrato can be produced
  • One of the best lower ranges amongst tenor idols
  • Arguably the best mixed voice amongst tenor idols
  • Smart vocalist, does not try to oversing or do things he can’t do well

Weaknesses

  • Support below B2 is lost generally and the voice becomes less present
  • Support above Bb4/B4 isn’t always consistent
  • Head voice can sometimes become shrill and strained above F5
  • Head voice and falsetto are not very used registers, which may indicate less confidence in that area of his voice
  • Vocal agility lacks control, vocal runs can often be sloppy with control of pitch
  • Vibrato can become unsteady when sustaining notes above Bb4, uses a laryngeal vibrato
  • Head voice lacks resonance

Registers

  • Lower register: Very well developed and improved, tone has gotten much fuller in the lower extremes of the voice and even below his supported range, tone in the lower range is still present even though it might sit outside his tessitura, his support isn’t completely gone.
  • Mixed register: His mixed voice is generally more on the balanced or head-dominant side at times, it’s very well controlled and very well supported, with consistent resonance and is able to extend with support even above his supported range.
  • Upper register: Weakest of his register, but far from being a weak register. Able to produce a connected head voice with support and clarity up to Eb5 ~ F5 consistently but shows issues in keeping an opened throat and a completely closed and connected position in his vocal cords above F5.

Agility

Possessing not only a light lyric voice, but also a mixed voice technique that relies on a slightly lighter vocal cord function, by employing more cricothyroid muscles in his mixed voice, Kyuhyun is able to retain a better approach on his vocal runs by executing them without carrying too much weight with his chest voice and using a more balanced and head dominant sound that make his voice less pushed, more relaxed and more flexible. In terms of vocal agility, Kyuhyun possesses agility but lacks the actual control in his voice, in other words, his vocal runs are often well separated and have the correct rhythmic “bounce” that allows them to flow better, but he lacks the precision and the control to execute more complex vocal runs, such as the attempts in “Hot Times” and “My Everything“. Even then, when it comes to more mid-tempo or slow tempo vocal runs, he has more or less mastered the correct muscle memory and coordination to properly execute less complex vocal runs and trills.

Overall analysis

A later addition to Super Junior, a member who was not trained by Yoo Youngjin in the classical trademark sound of most SM vocalists, Kyuhyun is a member of groups such as Super Junior, Super Junior-M,Super Junior K.R.Y. and SM The Ballad. He often gets praise in his singing and is usually marketed not only as a main vocalist but also as a skilled ballad singer who can take on the more challenging parts of a large variety of repertoire. Even though it’s been promoted by SM that the KRY members are compromised of a bass, Kyuhyun, a tenor, Ryeowook, and a baritone, Yesung, they’re all tenors. Kyuhyun’s voice sits more comfortably in a higher tessitura and lacks the weight and darkness of many other voices. He may be classically trained into a different fach, but with his current style and technique his voice would most likely be classified as a light lyric tenor.

From the bottom of his range, he has come a long way with improving the tone, support and development of his lower range. While most vocalist rely heavily on high notes and straining as high as they can, Kyuhyun hasn’t only focused on developing his voice as to not strain it, he also keeps his voice from losing tone below Eb3/D3, as the average K-pop tenor would. Instead Kyuhyun has worked to improve his lower range, when compared to back in the day with “Smile“. His lower range now retains a full and forward tone, even as low as B2 such as in “모창“, with consistency, support and clarity. He’s able to vocalize in the lowest extremes of his range even though he might lose support, he has developed his voice well so that his tone is still present even on G2’s and A2’s, such as in “광화문에서“. His support however truly only starts around Bb2 and B2, where his projection becomes much clearer and his voice truly shows its color and character, such as the C3’s in “사랑했지만“.

His strongest and most well developed register however, is his mixed voice. Naturally a voice shoots up and is often highlighted in the higher extremes of it but his technique is such that even when he sings higher, he maintains good vocal stamina and technique. He has improved a lot since his first audition back in 2005, where his voice would show support but also lots of nasality, tongue tension and closeness with “인형“. However so, contrasting not only a more recent performance of “인형“, but also even compared to his singing back in 2007 with “달뱅이“, Kyuhyun has not only worked to minimize tension, he has been able to develop his voice in order to truly control the openness, the power, the resonance and the support so that he’s now able to produce true resonance at any given time, with a well sized projection and good volume throughout his voice. He not only is able to produce consistent resonance in his mixed range, such as in on G#4 in his “Solo” in concert and “악몽“, A4’s in “사랑했지만” and “Robin Hood” and numerous sustained Bb4’s that contrasted with TVXQ!’s Changmin’s straining, show a much cleaner vocal approach with a kind of resonance that in that case more or less drowned out his singing in “Bolero” in numerous “occasions“. This kind of singing isn’t accidental nor lucky, Kyuhyun is able to keep this support, clarity of tone with consistency and has happened since 2011 in performances of “기억의 습작” that can be compared to more “recent performances” of the same song, where his resonance, control and support are almost impeccable.

Even when approaching a range above Bb4, Kyuhyun does not lose in terms of support and consistency and has shown many times that he’s able to produce resonance consistently even up to B4 such as in “가장무도회” and “Islands“, but even when singing outside his supported range, he can consistently keep good vocal placement even if tension might happen above B4, such as in some C5’s in “Hot Times” but also other times when not sustaining notes, his support and resonance are present even up to C5, such as in “사랑이 이렇게“. The consistency of this is arguable due to Kyuhyun singing less above Bb4 live and usually staying in a more C3 ~ Bb4 range when singing live or solo, such as shown by his vocal range showcased in his solo mini album. Kyuhyun’s mastery of good vocal placement and resonance isn’t the only thing good about his mixed voice, but also being able to control the dynamics of his voice with such delicacy and his mixing being so well balanced that he can choose when to carry more or less chest voice into it depending on his dynamic approach to songs, showing true control of his instrument such as in “7년간의 사랑“. His range above C5 shows inconsistency issues but he has shown numerous times the ability to support his notes in studio in the fifth octave, peaking at an Eb5 in studio.

Having a connected and developed voice is almost a must for a skilled vocalist and Kyuhyun is not one to fail in that department either. Although it being his weakest register, Kyuhyun has shown that he is a vocalist capable of not only producing a connected and relaxed head voice, he’s able to support it and keep a good vocal placement with the head up to about D5, as shown in his C5’s in “Loving You“, “마법의 성” and in “The One I Love” which have improved to a more opened sound as shown in more recent “performances” of the song, but also in his D5’s in “Nothing Better“. His connection and support are still present even above D5, but there’s a lack of consistency with placement, although he was able to produce a more relaxed head placed sound up to F5 in Nothing Better, at times he will opt for a more mask placed sound in his Eb5 ~ F5 range losing a bit of the resonance of his head voice and control of volume and sound. He seems to lack the full grasp of a developed head voice at this point in time and above F#5 shows a more falsetto-like tone and seems to lack control in keeping the vocal cords connected together and his support in place, even if still able to produce a head voice. His head voice also, although connected, lacks a true sense of full head resonance and at times becomes a bit weak in volume, showing a lack of development in this register compared to the rest of his voice, which is also indicated by how much less explored and used this part of his voice is in comparison to the rest. His transitions are also well done and even if a gap may happen and an issue with pitch occurs, he’s able to get back into his usual control, such as in “My Everything“.

Vocally and musically speaking, Kyuhyun not only possesses good vocal technique but he’s got a very good ear for understanding how to deliver a song with the true essence of the music behind it, being able to choose when to be powerful, when to hold back and use a more airy quality to his voice and even keep a more closed or opened sound. His voice tends to lack the gritty and more raspy/throaty aspects of say a rock singer, but he still shows the ability to adapt his voice to many genres of music. He is a vocalist who produces a slightly fast vibrato but with good support and a natural approach, as opposed to a larynx, tongue or jaw based vibrato most of the time. At times he opts to sing with a laryngeal vibrato, causing his tone to become overly fast and somewhat shaky. He also has a good ear for pitch and even if he does go off, he tries his best to stay in key and will quickly adjust back to the pitch of the song, even if he is to be thrown off by someone else who might sing off pitch, he’ll try his best to get back into key, such as in this duet of “A Whole New World” with Charice Pempegco, where she goes sharp but Kyuhyun, although slightly sharp, tries to bring them back into the key center of the song.

A vocalist who not only possesses a mastery of his vocal technique at a young age, but also has shown good improvement over the years, Kyuhyun is set on a path to being not only a good vocalist, but also a good musician, professional and consistent entertainer who responsibly takes care of his instrument and is able to develop it well to the best of his ability. For further improvement, working to truly grasp the concept of head voice and explore risks with his voice, Kyuhyun has only good things set for him in his future, when it comes to singing. Although overshadowed by other vocalists who might have better stage presence than him, or who might have more popular voices, he is by far the strongest male idol vocalist in SM and in the current K-pop music industry, when it comes to technique.

Musicianship

Vocally and musically, Kyuhyun shows excellence in developing his voice as far as he can. An area where he might lack in terms of ability is when it comes to taking real risks with his voice. He is a very respectful vocalist who doesn’t try to oversing by adding excessive note changes to song or trying sing over other people without needing to. He knows how to balance his voice well when harmonizing with others. He has over the years grown to show not only that when given the chance, he is able to take on the skill of improvisation, such as in an improvised ballad version of “Sorry Sorry“, as well as taking the freedom to add different sustained notes and melodic changes, even if subtle, to his performances such as in the “Ballad Medley” and “Isn’t She Lovely“. Even then, this skill still isn’t fully explored and isn’t as developed as the rest of his voice, which may happen due to a lack of confidence and also musical choices of wanting to stick to the original song.

Rating

Good to Great Vocalist

Vocal Range Video(s)

 

videos by: Edgar Cárdenas

16:56 onward, he hits F2, E2 and D2.

video by: Avatarkyungsoo –

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

(Originally analyzed by zhxzhx)

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About ahmin3

kitsunemale from YouTube, AhMin33 from Twitter and Ahmin from OneHallyu! https://www.youtube.com/user/KitsuneMale

742 thoughts on “Super Junior’s Vocal Analysis: Kyuhyun [Newly Updated]

  1. As always, you give such a quick reply, thank you! I do agree, it’s not a big difference, but a small change. After listening to many tracks and live clips where he hits the same notes, anywhere from C5-Eb5, that have always been reasonably solid, I’m glad you are confirming that I’m not hearing incorrectly about the minor improvement in airiness and freeness. Since it’s something I had to correct myself a few years ago, I am better able to pick up on it.

    One of the things I like most about Kyuhyun is his consistency, so it’s a bit unfair for me to nitpick a single performance; I just happened to come across that one showing additional difficulty. Being under the weather will suck away consistency with range very easily. I do notice he tends to run out of air sometimes on longer phrases as well, but that’s always an ongoing battle for someone who’s always tired, myself included 😉 My technique is getting better, so good habits have made my efficiency improved by default, compared to how it used to be. Maybe early next year, I’ll ask you to listen to clips of me again.

    Hopefully he’ll give this a try live. I believe I remember for 멀어지던 날, he commented that they were not easy to sing. His live performances of 한번만 have also tended to not be up to studio quality. (That’s the case for most people anyway, but for Kyuhyun, he’s so good that sometimes only the nuances of singing live and any musicality choices are the noticeable difference.) (I can nitpick even Kyu a lot more but I choose to let it slide.) These two songs are voice-stretching. The latter is the only Korean song I’ve brought to my lesson to try out. Transposed for me, two whole steps, it’s still a challenge. When I sing to his songs in the car, it’s never transposed, so since I’m terrible at harmonizing (never learned), I always have to sing melody only, unless the harmony piece is very audible and obvious and I can mimic it. The lowest notes he does are either at the very bottom of what I can sing, or juuuust below. 😉 Of course, because I’m not a tenor, my tone is probably gone below a D3 or Db3 on a really good day. The C3 comes very infrequently.(hehe)

    On an off note, I’ve been feeling like PHS is a little more nasal recently, in the sense that he doesn’t work to get clear of the nasal consonants, although I did listen back to some older performances, and it could be just the reverb is no longer covering it up as much, because any nasality I think I’m hearing is definitely combined with some nasal resonance and I could be wrong… I find that for me, with an old nasal habit, it’s really easy in Korean to go nasal from starting and ending nasal consonants, similar to how it is in Thai (and almost necessary for pronunciation due to very short vowel sounds) to do the same, if you’re not really on top of it. I feel like PHS now has control of his music, both producing and directing, and his vocal technique is a little bit more relaxed. Not lax, but perhaps less polished in this area. Is it just me? I’ll have to listen to more performances to see what else I hear.

    I meant to keep this note shorter and somehow it grew 😉 BTW I watched some of your recent videos, really appreciated the transposed version of On My Own 🙂 *thumbs up!* I like this better than the other performance of this you have on your channel. That’s the song I brought to my teacher when I started lessons back in 2013, listening back, I can hear occasional connection and some resonance, but it had so much airiness because I couldn’t connect well.

    Anyway 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah I liked it better too! I felt better being able to sing in a Key that finally matches the voice of a baritone. Wait you have issues with C3’s? Are you sure you’re not a tenor? Awww I look forward to hearing you sing!

      Like

    1. I don’t think it’s fair to compare them singing this song in the same key, because this is far too low for Kyuhyun. This has a few Bb2’s and even F2’s, which neither of them sang well. The thing is Seokhoon clearly sounds like a baritone, but they’re singing in the same exact key and therefore range, which sits so much more comfortable in a baritone voice than in a tenor’s voice.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I once thought Seokhoon a tenor. Not familiar with him but him hitting high notes in some duet festival performances impressed me. Anyway, thank you again for the quick reply~

        Like

  2. hi,admin!
    I’m a fan of Got7,but after reading your article about Kyuhyun recently I finally became his fan.
    But now I just worry that if kyuhyun have some throat problem these days.Here is his newly live of his new solo song called ‘blah blah’ yesterday(link:https://youtu.be/VSKON7ke96k)
    His voice sounds tired in this video,his high note(acturally not very high) goes very tough,too.His head voice and control of pitch are weak as well.Is this because his vocal nodules problem this year?
    I really love his voice,but this video hurt me badly:(

    Like

      1. The comment was very exaggerated. He had one transition where his head voice didn’t come out right and he was flat, but his mix sounded fine technically. 2:04 was a lot more precise of a transition. Again he wasn’t straining, he just sounds tired. You shouldn’t worry about his vocal health alone, you should worry for his health as a whole.

        Like

  3. Hi Ahmin.
    I’m just curious, in your opinion, with his current vocal condition (after the vocal cord nodules treatment), will he be able to advance to ‘Great Vocalist’ group?

    Like

  4. Hi Ahmin and crew,

    I was wondering about this for a while. So many artists are going to enlists, based on what I’ve read in comments. And Kyuhyun is not too far off, which is why I found it fitting to post this question here. Kyu will most likely have to go large periods without singing and practicing. Part of practicing means that he has to find a space for practicing, and there is no guarantee he will be able to do that in the military.

    Following the premise, if Kyu has to go large periods of time without singing, how can he prevent vocal regression? Doesn’t he have to exercise his muscles? What can he do? I feel this question can help a lot of us who might have to go a month or more without singing due to unforeseen circumstances.

    Like

    1. Hi there,

      Mhmm I wouldn’t call it vocal regression but think of it as exercising. When you go for long periods of time without doing it, your muscles can get a bit flabby and you get out of shape, but the muscle is there. It just needs to get back into shape, so it wouldn’t be that he would regress, he would just need sometime to readjust and get back into shape which is far easier to do. A month or more shouldn’t be a big problem, since the military is a 2 year thing, that is a lot more concerning than one month without singing. One month could affect you very slightly so it is wise to make a regular practice of at least 10 minutes a day where you sing so you don’t get out of shape.

      Like

    2. A number of idols become performers or entertainers during their military enlistment, so it is very possible kyuhyun would still be singing (and thus not letting his instrument/skill atrophy) throughout his time in the military enlistment. A number of his bandmates did this during their military service 🙂 He was also in a major car accident before so I am not sure if that will make him ineligible for military training and might end up doing civil service, in which case he would not be in the training camps for 2 years.

      Like

      1. yeah, i think about that too. he was in a car accident, isnt it effect his health condition? i used to think he cant be in military because the car accident effect
        besides, how can a person not singing for a long period time? i mean even normal people singing in the bath room, car, on the way, church, anywhere. he also can find a time to sing, even not professionally

        Like

      1. Like I said, his mixed voice muscles could be much better developed with a stronger connection so that he doesn’t push and lose the consistent airflow. He tends to become slightly tense and pushy when singing above Bb4, he doesn’t use as much muscle stretch and sometimes his vibrato become too fast. His head voice also could be much better developed and consistent in transitions and placement.

        Like

  5. Hey, how do you think about Kyuhyun high note in 4:06

    I think it lacks of openess than the bellow performance, does it have tongue tension? is it supported?

    Like

  6. Hi admin
    this is his recent concert video

    I am wondering why he has problem of hitting the falsetto, the first clip 3:01-3:02, 3:20-3:21(this one sounds hoarse…), the second clip 2:20…
    Is it because vocal fatigue?

    Like

      1. Do people really not know what happend before this concert? It was all over the news. The hotel he was staying was caught on fire. He inhaled a lot of smoke. That’s why his falsetto was kind of weak…
        He had 19 concerts in different cities and countries in the past two months. He was tired and very emotional. And no, his voice didn’t deteriorate. Not in the slightest.

        Like

    1. He actually sounds kind of pitchy as well in all 3 of these videos, especially the first and the third one. He also sounds out of breath, the one where he’s singing in Chinese he looks like he’s shaking, almost as if he’s crying? It’s like he’s unable to sing in general whereas the first one he is having issues breathing in general. I think he’s probably overworked to say the least.

      Like

  7. The night before singing the Chinese song, his restaurant was on fire, he seems to have been choked by smoke, and he prepared the Chinese lines to 4:00 then went to bed, thus affecting his voice I think.

    Like

    1. wow that is intense. i’m surprised he pushed through with the concert >.< hope he can get some rest. it's so sad when artists can't perform at their best coz they are always so overworked

      Like

  8. Hi! Thanks a lot for this analysis! I really appreciate it!!!

    Let me ask you something! When you say “strongest male idol vocally” it means only into the Kpop?

    Thanks again!

    Like

  9. Hi! I’m a little bit confused between resonance and full resonance. As in this line “Resonance is always consistent in his singing”, I don’t really understand. Thanks in advance!

    Like

    1. Full resonance is not really a different term, they’re used interchangeably as far as I’m concerned. What about that line don’t you understand?

      Like

      1. I know that resonance means notes that are sung with proper technique and very loud. What about notes that are not so loud but also have good technique? Does they have resonance as well?

        Like

      2. Resonance doesn’t mean necessarily very loud. Resonance is a quality, it can be monitored and the volume can be controlled. The quality of resonance has to do with openness, placement and support, not volume. That line means that Kyuhyun is able to produce resonance consistently and at will.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. See, Heechul doesn’t support almost at all and sings through his throat, so any high note he sings is going to be strained. That B4 was no exception, it was very tight, the throat was closed and the larynx was high. So yes, it is strain.

      Like

  10. Hi Ahmin.
    I hope you don’t mind if I ask what were the notes at 5:08 – 5:14 and 5:15 – 5:22? And if they were good?

    And also this one from 1:36 – 1:40..

    Like

    1. Bb4 to D5, then a slide up to G5. No, they were not good, too much air being used and a high larynx on the G5. The other video is him going up to B5, I’m surprised I didn’t mention it in his analysis but I suppose it’s because it’s part of his vocal range video.

      Like

  11. Hi Ahmin.
    I have another questions to ask you. Here I included 3 different videos of him performing the same song (Goodbye – Catch Me If You Can Musical). The first two were taken during the musical run back in 2012 and the last one was taken during his recent Epilogue concert and I’m particularly curious about the last part (….goodbye!!!). In your opinion, which performance is the best one among the three and what is the highest note that he sing in these performances?

    Catch Me If You Can Musical

    Epilogue Concert

    Like

  12. Hi!! What about in his duet with lee sun hee in “fate”? I don’t have any idea about voice (and I cannot sing without killing my neighbors) so i would like to hear your professional opinion on both of them
    Also, please look the full performance in daily motion, as YouTube has it limited ~.~

    Like

    1. He was nervous singing next to her. The thing usually in duets the verse for each singer is in a different key to match their voices, but Kyuhyun was singing in her key the whole time. Throughout the verse despite slightly closed diction he was mixing lightly up to G#4 and Bb4 with such impressive support. Most tenors would either shout or use head voice, but he has such control of his voice that he can still handle support that high without pushing. He did well with his harmonies as well. As for her, this was perfectly within her supported range where she’s able to sing without pushing her voice. Her mixed voice was only going up to C#5, where her support is present despite some shouty chestiness. Her lower range could’ve been better at the bottom around F3 where support was dropped but from Bb3 ~ C5/C#5 she has decent control.

      Like

      1. Thanks for the answer. As per your words it seems you’re praising more kyuhyun due to supported high notes normally out of male range. I also noticed the struggle on the lows for her. All in all, I enjoyed this performance and I hope you appreciated the duet too (and yes, in Dailymotion there’s an 8 minute video translated that shows just how nervous he was). Hopefully I’ll find another performance worth showing to professionals like you 🙂

        Like

  13. How is kyuhyun’s singing here? Is there still some effect from the nodule in his singing?I feel like he is still not singing to the best of his ability..

    Like

    1. He sounds maybe a bit nervous, but otherwise he’s technically pretty good. In some parts he could’ve been more opened but that’s about it.

      Like

  14. Hi Am here again!
    Well, I have a question .. in the ranking you are making at the end of this year, Kyuhyun will still be in the ranking or not since he is in military now ..?

    Like

    1. My guess is that the admins will keep him at his current position, and if anything, once he comes back from his service, they will update his analysis and adjust accordingly

      Like

  15. hey there..
    I love his voice too much 😍
    you said that he is the strongest voice in korea right now but how much he is good comparing with other famous singers these days ? what i mean is he one of the strongest voices around the world also ?
    and i want to ask you how can i know my voice type ? I’m girl and my vocal range is F#2 – E6 .
    thank you 😃

    Like

    1. What do you mean? He is only good to great in this ranking. We put him as the strongest IDOL in Korea, meaning many veteran vocalists like Lena Park, Park Hyoshin, Naul, Ann, Sohyang and Jung Dongha do have better technique than him. Kyuhyun does have really good technique and that is on a global spectrum. So even if we analyze western vocalists, many of them wouldn’t receive very high ratings. I cannot tell you your voice type based on your vocal range, it’s impossible. I’d have to hear you sing.

      Like

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