F#3 ~ G5 (2 octaves and 1 semitone)
B3/C4 ~ G#4
- Able to sing with a smooth legato line
- Some support is present in her voice
- Able to keep a more relaxed sound up to G#4
- Lower range can have tone down to G#3
- Transitions into a somewhat connected head voice can happen
- Pitch issues aren’t too common
- Voice isn’t generally airy
- The larynx is almost never in a neutral position
- Lower range is generally airy
- Voice projects almost exclusively through her nose
- Whiny quality present in most of her singing
- Lacks a true sense of development in her chest voice and resonance
- Voice lacks dynamics and power
- Mixed voice is always light and whiny
- Higher notes above G#4 generally carry tension and become shrill
- Vibrato is wobbly and uncontrolled
- Falsetto is often produced with a high larynx and a thin sound
- The voice is mostly thin, bright and produced with weak support
- No register in her voice is truly developed
- Lower register: Tone has been kept down to G#3 at times but for the most part, her voice is very airy and quiet below B3. Has not really showcased much of this range and has yet to truly sing her lowest note.
- Mixed register: Most of her mixed voice is quite head-dominant, she lacks a sense of roundness in tone, projecting her voice through her nose in a thin, quiet and bright mixed voice with weak support and shakiness in tone.
- Upper register: Falsetto register can at times be her best register, her transitions aren’t too bad and she can produce tone with not too much effort even if a true sense of support in her sometimes showcased head voice is not present.
Being a very non stylistic singer nor technical vocalist, Gyuri doesn’t often attempt very difficult vocal performances. She generally sings with a very clean, monotone sound in her voice and doesn’t take many risks with singing, one of those being the challenge of a vocal run. If anything Gyuri avoids vocal runs as much as she can, even in songs where vocal runs could be added, she sings the melody as cleanly as possible. In the few occasions where she’s attempted anything vocally challenging, it’s easy to tell that not only is she not able to properly separate vocal runs individually, note by note and good rhythmic flow, she also simplifies her vocal runs as much as possible and slows down the tempo in order to make it as simple and easy as possible for herself, such as the runs in “Hush Hush (I Will Survive)“.
Having debuted in KARA as a possible lead vocalist in 2007, alongside Sunghee and Seungyeon, after the departure of their strongest vocalist to date, Sunghee, Gyuri has taken the role of lead/main vocalist with Seungyeon ever since. Vocally it is quite easy to tell that Gyuri possesses one of the most girly, brightest and lightest voices amongst K-pop female idol vocalists. Probably due to the fact that her singing habits cause her to sing in a very bright way, it is unclear what her true vocal tone would be if she were to improve her vocal technique but it is safe to assume she’d most likely be classified as a Light Lyric Soprano or to some, even a Soubrette.
The lower part of Gyuri’s range is not only underdeveloped, it is also very under explored. Gyuri doesn’t usually tend to sing songs that stay in a low range for her, so although she’s shown to be able to sing as low as F#3, it is possible that she could probably sing somewhat lower if she was given the chance to. Her lower range, much like the rest of her range, lacks in development and tone. For the most part she sings with a very light, airy tone and doesn’t try to add volume or tone to her voice, allowing the softness of the air that comes through her vocal cords to take over instead of trying to push her larynx down to project in her lower range. Most of the time when Gyuri sings low, her voice becomes muffled and unclear in tone, such as the G3 in “Dear Kamilia“, the G#3 in “Rock U“, the A3’s in “백일몽“, the Bb3’s in “White Love” and “Honey“. The only times a clearer sense of some support is present with more tone in her voice is when she sings above B3, such as in “백일몽” and “A Whole New World“. There have been occasions where she’s shown a more fuller tone below B3, even if the support in her voice was still weak, such as the G#3 in “숙녀가 못돼“, something that’s happened in more recent years indicating at least a little bit of an improvement in her approach to her lower range.
Her mixed voice is where she sings the most and where she mostly shows the most issues. Despite being a Soprano, Gyuri shows almost no signs of true vocal support in her voice being able to keep a more neutral and relaxed sound in her voice only from the C4 ~ G#4 range, whereas anything above that generally becomes weaker in tone, shrill, whiny and pushed with a lack of power. Her mixing is quite head-dominant, making her voice even brighter in tone as it projects almost only through her nose. The many occasions in which Gyuri sings in her mixed voice above C5, her tone becomes mostly thinner and her voice sounds quite closed and almost strangled, such as the C5’s in “Pretty Girl” and “Lupin“, C#5’s in “White Love“, D5’s in the piano acoustic version of “Pretty Girl” and in “Pandora“, the F5 in “Hush Hush (I Will Survive)” and the sustained F#5 in “Cupid“. Now being unable to sing with a neutral larynx in the 5th octave is shockingly not too uncommon for Sopranos in pop music, however the weakness of her mixed voice is even more accentuated when sustaining notes in the upper 4th octave, where her voice still shows signs of shrillness, tightness and pushing, such as the A4’s in “A Whole New World” and “그땐 그냥“, the Bb4’s in “あなたがいるから“, the B4’s in “백일몽” and “Honey“.
One of the best aspects of Gyuri’s mix being so head-dominant is that at times, with the fact that she’s able to sing with a light but not airy approach to her mix, she’s able to use a somewhat connected head voice in her transitions. It’s somewhat hard to distinguish her falsetto from her head voice, but one can say her upper register is mostly a head voice that lacks a true sense of support, thus becoming often tight and being sung with a high larynx. Her transitions into her head voice are often smoother than many, being able to go back and forth without losing her sense of pitch, such as in “A Whole New World” and “あなたがいるから“. There used to be times in which Gyuri would have issues with her transitions when the intervals between the notes she was attempting to go for was larger, but that seems to have improved as heard in the falsetto transition of “Mamma Mia“. The higher Gyuri goes, the thinner and more closed her as she ascends into the F5 ~ G5 range, such as in “明日がくるなら“. For the most part Gyuri’s not able to use a proper sense of support and fulness in tone in her upper register, by singing with an often high larynx and a closed throat.
Above all, not only are Gyuri’s vocal registers barely developed, Gyuri barely shows a sense of dynamics and musicality in her singing. For the most part, she’s unable to properly play with dynamics in her vocal performances singing with a very monotone approach for most of her songs. There are times where a conscious effort is made in order to project her voice louder and create more power, by switching back and forth from mixed voice to a head voice, but even then that approach is often met with issues of shrillness, strain and lack of support. Another sign of very weak support in Gyuri’s voice is how wobbly and unstable her vibrato is. It generally happens at the end of many notes she sings, whether she wants to add it or not, it seems to happen when she’s running out of air and isn’t able to properly engage a diaphragmatic approach to her breathing technique.
Although Gyuri may be a vocalist who lacks in many technical aspects, KARA as a whole was never meant to be marketed as a vocal group. Gyuri has never prided herself in being an excellent vocalist and doesn’t try to overcompensate with complex songs and difficult vocal passages. She’s a vocalist who’s able to use the specific vocal approach she uses to her singing to her advantage by singing music that often sounds better with high-pitched, whiny and squeaky girly voices. Perhaps not having a big bright long future as a girl group in Korea may be an issue for KARA as a whole, but as a J-pop act, their nasal approach to their singing makes them fit right in and works very well for them as a selling point in Japan.
For the most part, Gyuri is not a very eccentric vocalist. She doesn’t try to sing songs that are too show off-y, she doesn’t try to sing songs that overly challenging for her and she doesn’t try to add much to her vocal performances, she mostly stays in a reasonably narrow range where she knows she can somewhat control her voice and sings with a more controlled pitch. In rare occasions she’s been able to show that singing is not the only thing she does and she is able to play piano and in a more comfortable setting like that, she’s been able to show original melodic changes, even if subtle and minimal changes, such as in the acoustic piano version of “Pretty Girl“.
Vocal Range Video(s)
Video by: Viettien81212
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)