E3 ~ A5 (2 octaves, 2 notes and 1 semitone)
Bb3 ~ Bb4/B4
Bb3 ~ Eb5 (with head voice)
- Strongest vocalist in Akdong Musician
- Support is present and well employed in her mid range
- She’s able to maintain a stable larynx and relaxed throat up to B4, occasionally C5
- Transitions into head voice are very clean and smooth
- Head voice remains connected and supported up to Eb5 consistently
- Lower range possesses support down Bb3
- Below Bb3 tone can still be present in her lower range
- Does not usually show issues with nasality
- Improved in terms of agility and support throughout the years
- Runs can be smooth and well separated
- Vocal strain is minimized by her preference of using her head voice over straining in her mix
- Very good understanding of her instrument
- Tends to sound uneven in her mix
- Her larynx is raised when sings in the fifth octave
- Above Eb5, her head voice becomes a thinned out falsetto
- Still has issues with producing clean accurate runs if they’re complex
- Has never been able to produce resonance
- Has not developed her mixed voice much, tends to be too head-dominant
- Lower range is often quiet, airy and can be pushed with a low larynx
- Her throat becomes tighter the higher she sings in her mix
- Tends to stick to one style of singing which really limits her vocal growth
- Lower register: Her lower range can produce tone all throughout down to E3, however below Bb3 breath supports tends to not be present and her voice becomes much softer and quieter. At times she pushes her larynx down in order to force her voice to project her lower notes.
- Mixed register: Her mixed voice is generally quite relaxed and opened throughout the 4th octave. She’s able to maintain a stable larynx all the way up to B4 and support is consistent. Above B4 she tends to sound tight, uneven and her larynx raises.
- Upper register: Her head voice hasn’t been showcased to its full potential, but the lower portion of it is utilized quite often. She tends to favor using her head voice in the fifth octave as opposed to trying to strain in her mix. Above Eb5, she becomes thinner and airier and opts for falsetto over head voice.
Throughout the years agility was an area in which Suhyun would show a lot of work left to be done. She wouldn’t often attempt vocal runs, but the very few times she did it was possible to hear little to no understanding of how the vocal cords are supposed to move in order to produce proper vocal runs. Her usual approach to runs was simply to slide from the first note to the last note, as opposed to hitting each individual note slowly, separately, clearly and rhythmically. This can be heard in “매력있어“, “Officially Missing You” and “One of a Kind.” However this has improved quite a bit as she’s started singing songs that required her to be able to sing runs more often and more accurately. Although relatively moderate in speed, her runs have become a lot more defined, every note is hit with precision and clearly separated, even if the runs may still be somewhat simple, her rhythmic bounce and muscle memory in her vocal cords now allows her to sing through runs a lot more smoothly. This can be heard even comparing two performances of “나는달라” in 2016, one from January, where she’d slide through every note in the descending run, compared to one in May, where the notes could still be better separated, but the overall accuracy is a lot better. The most improvement in her agility can be best heard with the multiple runs in their new song “Re-Bye.”
Suhyun debuted officially as the female vocalist of co-ed sibling duo Akdong Musician under YG Entertainment in 2014. Initially the duo rose to fame by auditioning for KpopStar in 2012, and gained fame for their original songs. Suhyun’s singing quickly stood out as she sounded quite well controlled and skilled, considering her young age. Her voice is naturally quite light, soft and bright in tone. Possessing a very young quality, with almost no weight, it is safe to say she’s a light lyric soprano. Her voice is very smooth, mellow and velvety in tone, further enhanced by her singing style that really focuses on bringing out the mellow smoothness of her voice.
The bottom of her chest voice is generally her least used range. Suhyun is a very comfortable vocalist who favors singing within a fairly narrow and easy range, as opposed to really challenging herself into singing in a wider range. As a result, she rarely showcases issues with her lower range because she rarely ever goes down into the lower part of her chest voice. The few times she’s done so, it is possible to hear that she tends to sound somewhat uncomfortable and lose the projection of her voice. Her vocal cords lack strength below Bb3, so the notes become airier and quieter, as heard by comparing her Bb3’s in “슬픔속에 그댈 지워야만해“, to her A3’s in “Goodbye Sun, Goodbye Moon“, “Love is an Open Door“, G3’s in “작을별“, “Officially Missing You“, F#3’s in “나는 당신께 사랑을 원하지 않았어요” and E3 in “다리 꼬지마.” At times however she’s able to project below Bb3, but does so by improperly pushing her larynx down in order to force sound out where support isn’t present anymore. This results in strained louder lower notes that are created with tension and manipulation of her larynx position, as heard by her G#3’s in “나는 당신께 사랑을 원하지 않았어요” and G3’s in “나는달라.”
Her mixed voice is fairly well developed and well supported throughout the fourth octave. Generally speaking Suhyun tends to limit her sung range in Akdong Musician’s music to be around C4 ~ D5, where many times any note above B4 tends to be a head voice as opposed to a mixed voice. This causes her to rarely use her mixed voice in order to truly belt, opting instead for a smooth and soft sound most of the time. From C4 to B4 she maintains quite good and consistent support, where her voice is relaxed, controlled and quite clean in approach. She tends to maintain a stable larynx and not truly bringing any tension to her mixed voice up to B4, as heard by her A4’s in “외국인의 고백“, Bb4’s in “Boys and Girls“, and B4’s in “Ring Ding Dong” and “나는 당신께 사랑을 원하지 않았어요.”
Above B4 however when she does attempt to use her mixed voice, it is possible notice a lack of development of her muscles in her mixing technique. Her vocal cords have yet to truly develop the right coordination and balance of chest voice and head voice in her mix, so most of the time she tends to sound fairly small and head-dominant in her mixed voice. Sometimes it feels as though it’s hard for her to mix above C5, as her voice seems to be almost transitioning into head voice as a habit. Although her approach phrasing C5’s can be fairly easy, as heard by her C5’s in “나는달라“, her throat tends to not remain as opened as possible and she tends to lack support above B4. This can be heard as she ascends in her range, with her throat becoming tighter and her larynx raising higher. Examples include her C5’s in “Rolling in the Deep“, C#5’s in “One of a Kind“, C#5 and D5 in “좋은 날“, E5’s in “Love is an Open Door“, “Goodbye Sun, Goodbye Moon“, F5’s in “얼음들“, and F#5’s “Bang Bang” and “라면인건가.”
Her head voice may be her most used and best executed register. Her transitions into head voice are very seamless and smooth. It’s sometimes almost hard to tell if she’s mixing very lightly, or simply placing her head voice into her mask in order to better switch into it. Her head voice is connected and supported, showing support even as high as E5 at times. She has also shown that she can choose at will when to use an airier falsetto, or when to sing with a more connected head voice. This can all be heard by her C5’s in “좋은 날“, C#5’s in “슬픔속에 그댈 지워야만해” D5’s in “Give Love“, Eb5’s in “200%“, and occasionally E5’s, such as in “Who Am I“, as well as her falsetto C#5’s in “사랑은 은하수 다방에서” and E5’s in “거짓말.” Above E5, she seems to only be able to use falsetto, where support isn’t present anymore and she’s not able to produce the same kind of connection with the same amount of support. This is heard by her F#5’s in “200%“, “붉은 노을“, “나는 당신께 사랑을 원하지 않았어요“, G5’s in “눈, 코, 입” and A5 in “Treasure.”
Overall Suhyun has a very well developed instrument within her comfort range. She’s able to control her voice at will dynamically within her supported range, which although narrow, works perfectly for her repertoire. She rarely strains her voice, choosing instead to sing in a fairly limited and comfortable range. Due to using just the necessary adequate amount of breath support and not developing her chest voice muscles as she sings higher, her mixed voice can lack power and she lacks an even ratio of chest and head voice in her mix. Due to also not truly opening her throat as much as possible with the right amount of support, Suhyun has yet to produce resonance in her mix or in her head voice. Nonetheless, she also tends to sing with a lifted soft palate and rarely has issues with nasality or lack of projection.
Suhyun is a very young vocalist and is actually quite skilled for her age. Even at the young age of 13, she had a lot of confidence in her instrument and knew exactly what she could and could not sing. Over the years, her instrument has matured and allowed her to sound a lot more grounded. Nonetheless by generally singing almost exactly in the same way, she tends to limit her vocal growth a lot. Only recently has she shown signs of improvement with her agility and it seems as though she hasn’t truly been working to balance out her mix much. For now, the way she sings is very healthy and works perfectly with the repertoire of songs her brother writes for her. However for the future if she’s to become a more versatile vocalist, exploring the full potential of developing her instrument from top to bottom would help her become a lot more flexible in terms of genres and style. She has a lot of potential as a vocalist and is one of the healthiest young sopranos in K-pop, as she knows not to push her voice when she can’t and tends to choose to sing in a range where she doesn’t have to hurt herself.
This may be one of her strongest areas overall ever since she was fairly young. Even at such a young age, Suhyun has a really good understanding of what style she sings in and does her best to sing every song as it’d be most comfortable with her voice. Not only has she shown very good harmonization skills as being part of the duo with her brother, but also she has shown that every cover song and original song they sing, she’s able to sing with a very smooth clean technique. She always makes songs her own and doesn’t try to oversing outside of her comfort zone. She never attempts to emulate anyone else’s voice nor style and seems very confident in her own melodic changes, rhythmic approaches and overall interpretation. Her pitch is also very consistent, all of which are great assets for such a young vocalist. This can be heard in many of her performances, such as “Officially Missing You“, “Cinderella” and “나는 당신께 사랑을 원하지 않았어요.”
Vocal Range Video(s)
video by: Viet Tien
Best Vocal Performances(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)