BTS’ Vocal Analysis: V

V

Vocal Range

Eb2 ~ D6 (3 octaves, 5 notes and 1 semitone)

Supported Range

C3 ~ C4/C#fbf4

Voice Type

Tenor

Strengths/Achievements

  • The strongest sense of breath support amongst all members of BTS
  • Able to remain most relaxed within his comfort range
  • Able to transition into his falsetto with relative ease
  • Mixed voice is light and lacks pushing, not trying to sing too high with too much throat tension
  • Able to remain relatively relaxed up to C#4 and at times even D4
  • Sense of pitch has improved since debut
  • Sufficient support is maintained down to C3 in his chest voice

Points for Improvement

  • Tends to sing with too much airiness
  • Support is shallow and underdeveloped
  • Tends to lower his larynx too often when singing
  • Above C#4, he tends to sound harsh and flat
  • Tone production often becomes flat due to lack of forward placement
  • Lower range is relatively underdeveloped
  • Unable to support his head voice
  • Falsetto is often too airy and lacks projection

Registers

  • Lower register: Due to the range in which BTS’ music is written in, he gets very few chances to showcase the true development of his lower range. Thus, his voice is relatively underdeveloped in his lower range, where his tone production becomes muffled as he sings below C3.
  • Mixed register: His mixed voice is relatively light in terms of mixing, where he uses more head voice than chest voice when singing higher to minimize the amount of effort and strain on his vocal cords. Although able to sing above his first passaggio, his support is somewhat shallow and he tends to become tense above C#4.
  • Upper register: Able to transition into his falsetto with relatively ease, his overall tone production is airy throughout most of his voice but becomes fairly obvious as he sings in his falsetto. Able to produce a connected head voice even though support isn’t present.

Agility

Drawing less influences from R&B than many other idol vocalists in K-pop, V generally sings with an airy approach throughout his range and doesn’t often attempt singing vocal runs. The airiness in his voice makes it harder for him to be able to connect his vocal cords properly and control his pitch. This results in often sloppy runs when he does attempt them, in rare occasions. Perhaps aware that his voice isn’t necessarily very agile, as he lacks the correct muscle coordination to sing and bounce through different notes quickly, it is hard to find examples of V attempting vocal runs. The few times he’s done so, it’s possible to hear that he lacks clarity in tone and often sings runs by sliding through the notes quickly, without hitting each individual pitch precisely at the center of the note. This causes his runs to sound sloppy and pitchy overall, as heard in “Sorry“, “Little Star“, and “듣는편지.”

Overall analysis

V debuted as a member of the vocal line of BTS in 2013. Although not the main vocalist, the distribution of lines was even enough that he sang relatively often regardless of him being a lead vocalist or not. In most cases, idol groups favor vocalists with higher voices because most idol songs are written within quite high ranges, for males and females. Thus it is more common to see a main or lead vocalist of a group be a tenor or a soprano. In BTS’ case, V’s voice stands out because he is the only low tenor singing with other three tenors in the group, with every rapper in BTS is a baritone. His voice is thick in tone and slightly lower range, but still remaining relatively light in weight and sounding more like a lyric baritone than anything else at first but with further inspection, the actual tessitura of his voice seems to lie slightly above a lyric baritone and below a lyric tenor. Most likely we can assume he is a low tenor, dramatic or spinto, which won’t be clear unless we’re able to hear his voice develop more technically. Although mostly written for a lower tenor range, BTS’ music is written within a relatively low enough range where V is able to sing alongside the lyric tenors without too much stress on his vocal cords.

Considering most lyric tenor songs generally are written above C3, V as a low tenor gets very few chances to actually sing in a more low tenor range most of the time. Thus his lower range below C3 is mostly underdeveloped and not very well explored, as he doesn’t sing that low very often. Down to C3, he has shown a clear enough consistency of tone production and projection, where both his vocal cords and his support work together to allow his chest voice to project with decent tonality. This can be heard in “안아줘“, “Oh Happy Day!” and “Someone Like You.” Below C3, however, he starts to lose connection and support, as his voice starts to become more muffled and breathier. This seems to be because his vocal cords aren’t developed enough as he sings lower, so his tone becomes less clear as he’s unable to project and place his voice in his chest as easily as above C3. This can be heard in with the Bb2’s in “If You“, A2’s in “안아줘“, G2’s in “Let Me Know” and the octave unison E2’s in “Someone Like You.”

His mixed voice is relatively well developed in terms of mixing and has enough support for him to be able to sing above his first passaggio, B3, without tensing up his throat too much. The range from C4 to D4 can be sung with some support as he’s able to remain relaxed and not sing only from his throat. This can be heard in “바람인가요“, “듣는편지” and “안아줘.” As he ascends above D4, he tends to use a very light mixed voice which is mostly head dominant, which allows him to push his voice with less tension than if he were to use a heavier and louder chest-dominant mixed voice. Nonetheless, the lack of support above D4 causes him to sound shallow and thin the higher he sings, as his voice becomes too light and oftentimes he can sound somewhat flat when singing above his comfort range. He tends to sing with a soft approach, but tension is still present in his throat as he’s unable to connect his breath support to his vocal cords in order to maintain his throat opened. This can be heard in the D4’s in “Something“, Eb4’s in “눈, 코, 입“, E4’s in “If I Ain’t Got You“, “Someone Like You“, F4’s in “I NEED U“, “If You“, “Butterfly“, F#4’s in “Let Me Know“, “Love is not Over“, G4’s in “Bang Bang Bang“, “안아줘” “눈, 코, 입“, “이사” and G#4’s in “잡아줘.”

His upper register mostly consists of a falsetto, with occasional moments where he’s shown the ability to use a head voice. Most of the time his vocal cords aren’t fully connected and he sings with excessive airiness, which causes him to sound thin and soft in his upper register, mostly associated with a falsetto voice. Although relaxed to an extent, a falsetto is not a register where true support can be present. Support would only be truly present if he were to use his head voice properly, however the few times V has shown a head voice have shown that he has issues with maintaining the connection of breath support with his vocal cords, where he instead pushes too much air against his vocal cords instead of allowing them to produce his head voice with their own strength and development. This results in a head voice that lacks control, by not being relaxed nor supported. This can be heard when contrasting his falsetto in “듣는편지“, “House of Cards“, “눈, 코, 입“, “Butterfly” and “Miss Right” with his head voice in “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You.” Interestingly enough he is the only member of the vocal line to be able to push his head voice all the way up to the sixth octave, higher than any of the tenors. This can be heard with the C6 in a high note battle during a fan meeting as well as the D6 in a more recent fanmeeting.

One of V’s main issues actually come from his tendency to push his larynx down when singing and not fully maintaining his vocal cords connected throughout his range. When your vocal cords aren’t fully connected, a lot of air can pass through causing the vocalist to sound breathy and soft. Stylistically this can work in many cases, but training yourself to only be able to sing that way can cause the vocalist to limit their vocal development. If the vocal cords don’t fully come together when singing, the vocalist will be unable to allow their vocal cords to become stronger and develop in terms of volume, range and muscle strength.

Adding onto this, V usually favors lowering his larynx and opening the back of his throat a lot more than necessary when singing even within a relatively high range. Most of the time, V’s voice can be perceived as quite deep but actually when a vocalist pushes their larynx down, it alters the natural tone of their voice and causes their voice to sound much deeper than it really is. This is often a stylistic approach used in soul music, that can be turned on and off at will. However for V it’s either this approach, airy and overly opened in the back of throat while not fully relaxed, or a harsh growly approach. Only having two options can be limiting to a vocalist if they’re unable to grasp breath support fully yet. Since V tends to push the sound of his voice in the back of his throat a lot, the direction of air from his voice isn’t properly placed in his nasal cavities, which makes it harder for him to understand mask placement and project his voice. As such, he tends to sound slightly flat in tone production the higher he sings due to lacking a good connection of proper breath support, an open throat and a forward mask placed sound.

When comparing V to the other vocalists of BTS, it is possible to hear that both he and Jungkook are the most relaxed out of all four of them. They have the least issues with tension and have a relatively decent range in which their voices are more or less supported, even though support may be shallow. However things can get tricky when comparing a lyric tenor to a lower one, as being a low tenor and having to sing in the same exact range as a higher tenor puts V at a clear disadvantage. Truthfully BTS’ music isn’t written for a high tenor range but it is still a challenging range for a lower tenor to be singing in and competing with. The passaggio is where the voice naturally lifts and the muscle coordination becomes slightly different, as sort of a bridge between a register and the next. The first passaggio is the transition from chest voice to mixed voice, while the second one is from mixed voice to head voice. A lyric tenor’s passaggi are usually around D4/Eb4 and G4/Ab4, while a lyric baritone’s passaggi are B3 and E4. V’s passaggi would lie somewhere in between those.

If V were to sing the same song as Jungkook for an example, but the key was changed to suit his voice as a low tenor, he’d be able to handle singing above his first passaggio slightly better than Jungkook would. So the only true difference between them is that V has a slightly better grasp of breath support. However given the fact that V can’t simply change the key of every BTS song there is to suit his voice, he has to sing in the same exact range as the other three tenors. So naturally within the range that these songs are written in, Jungkook is the most qualified member to handle singing their repertoire. If V were to look into more solo singing opportunities, understanding his own voice type and embracing the true tone of his voice could help him develop his voice better as a dramatic or spinto tenor if he could sing in a range that’s natural to his voice. For future improvements, working on further developing connection between his vocal cords to be able to handle more dynamic changes, while developing his breath support could help V develop his vocal technique better overall. However for the time being, his current skill level is adequate for the type of music he sings.

Musicianship

V is not much of a risk taker when it comes to his vocals and singing. He tends to sing with one specific style and doesn’t deviate much from that specific sound. He tends to choose either a harsh growly sound or a soft airy sound, which remains the same throughout most of his vocal performances. He doesn’t often try to add his own melodic changes to songs and instead chooses to sing songs as they’re originally written. When given the chance however, he does like to add his own twist to his vocal cords and is able to blend his voice with others and even himself when adding layers of harmonies to his vocal performances. One example would be the added harmonies present in his studio cover of “Someone Like You”, where he sang the song in the key he felt was most comfortable for his voice, adding his own octave unisons and harmonies throughout.

Label (Type of Vocalist)

S vocalists: Stylistic Vocalists

C Vocalists: Commercial Vocalists

Vocal Range Video(s)

video by: We Are D-town

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

800 thoughts on “BTS’ Vocal Analysis: V

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