C3 ~ D6 (3 Octaves and 1 note)
A3/Bb3 ~ C#5/D5
A3/Bb3 ~ F#5 (with head voice)
- Support is present throughout her voice
- Lower range maintains support down to Bb3/A3 consistently
- Tone is still present in lower range despite absence of support
- Mixed voice is bright and head-dominant, allowing more freedom
- Is able to produce resonance consistently
- Mixed voice remains supported up to C#5/D5 consistently
- Head voice is connected and supported up to F#5
- Able to resonate in her head voice
- Vocal runs generally lack precision and are often too complex for her
- Mixed voice is often pushed and shrill
- Tends to sound shouty when belting above C#5
- Mixed voice is too head dominant, so it lacks depth
- Tends to place her sound too forward in her mask and nose
- Sound is often nasal, whiny and too edgy
- Lower range is airy and she tends to push her larynx down
- Head voice can be pushed and unsupported
- Lower register: Generally lacks development in proper vocal cord connection. She tends to push her larynx down slightly starting around A3 and below that, she will either become very airy or just pushed.
- Mixed register: Her mixed voice is generally pretty head dominant. Her mixing technique added to her bright placement allows her to mix high with relative ease, although it is accompanied by tension above D5.
- Upper register: Able to use a connected head voice most of the time and choose between falsetto and head voice. Seems to lack support in her head voice above F#5, even though head resonance is produced below that.
As a whole Bada is known more as a belter than an embellisher. She doesn’t often sing songs that focus on vocal runs and usually avoids singing runs altogether. Very rarely does she sing songs that require vocal runs but when she does, it is possible to hear that it’s a muscle coordination she’s rejected. Not only does she lack the proper airflow and muscle control, but she also tends to slide through her runs. This happens because although she’s developed the right coordination of muscles to sing notes at the center of pitch when singing melodies, her voice lacks the flexibility to move quickly around notes while still being able to hit them at the center of pitch. Thus her vocal cords dance around the notes without ever singing them right on pitch. The result is usually sloppy runs with notes that aren’t quite centered in pitch and that seem to be guessed, without very careful thought and smoothness rhythmically. Examples include her runs in “밤안개” and in “야생화.”
Bada was discovered at a very young by the recording label SM Entertainment and joined them to debut as the main vocalist of their first female idol group, S.E.S., in 1997. With the debut of S.E.S., Bada was one of the leading idol stars for the first generation of idol singer in South Korea. Although the group disbanded in the early 2000’s, Bada remained active as a solo artist and musical actress. She’s earned respect from her peers, known for her very high notes, her great showmanship and her flawless performances. Her voice is very bright in tone and earned her a lot of fame for its unique qualities, all of which were drawn from her technical approaches to singing. Her voice is light and would most likely have her classified as a light lyric soprano.
The lower portion of her range is where she’s seen the least amount of development over the years. Despite having been a vocalist and professional singer since 1997, in almost 20 years she’s never really changed her approach to singing. This reflects very clearly in her lower range. Bada’s overall approach to her muscle development is very head-dominant, so because of that when singing lower she tends to rely on a lighter vocal cord stretch. This lighter stretch causes her to lack thickness and enough chest voice development, so her lower range tends to sound very quiet and soft. She can maintain quite good support and projection as low as Bb3, as heard in “사의 찬미“, however as soon as she drops down to A3 her support starts to become inconsistent. Due to the lack of strength in her chest voice muscles, she tends to overcompensate by pushing her larynx down starting on A3 slightly, as heard in “카츄샤의 노래.” Below A3, she mostly sings with a lowered larynx or an airy approach done with a heady vocal cord stretch, which creates unsupported muffled lower notes as heard by the G#3’s in “짝사랑“, F#3’s in “야생화“, F3’s in “총 맞은 것 처럼.” Despite this, her lower range is potentially very extensive as she’s able to bring tone down all the way to C3, as heard in “옛사랑.”
As mentioned earlier, her muscle development in her voice is mostly on the head-dominant side. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. On one side, she’s able to mix very lightly and with a very high stretch of the vocal cords, which allow her to sing in a higher range with a lot less pushing and a lot more ease than many other Sopranos would. However the lack of chest voice development limits the tone of her voice. In terms of tone production, Bada’s biggest weakness comes from her lack of roundness in tone. Overall, her placement tends to be very high in the head and often very forward in the mask, but she lacks almost any sort of chest voice muscle development, so her sound is often too bright and brassy. On top of that, she tends to place her voice in her nose quite often, which makes her sound very whiny in the end.
This isn’t to say that a head-dominant development is unhealthy. Compared to a chest-dominant approach, it is healthier for a vocalist to use a lighter vocal cord stretch. However the lack of balance in her mix causes her to sound limited, often too brassy even within a relatively low range. This is why most of the time her resonance is too bright and lacks fulness. Nevertheless Bada doesn’t lack the basic skill of a vocal. She has a smooth connection of proper airflow and vocal cord stretch, where she’s able to support her voice properly within a relatively high range for the averagely untrained soprano. Her support is quite light and free, as she’s able to place her sound easily up to C#5 without a problem. She is mostly quite well supported in that range and doesn’t often struggle, as heard in “Just A Feeling“, “To Heaven” and “못다 핀 꽃 한송이.” However due to the lack of depth in her tone, she often sounds too edgy. To avoid that she attempts to use more air pressure and muscle tension, causing her to sound shouty above C#5. Although support is present up to D5, as heard in “세월이 가면“, she tends to already start having tension in that range and ultimately straining anywhere above that. This can be heard with the Eb5’s in “야생화“, “사랑밖엔 난 몰라“, “환희“, “Yes I’m in Love“, E5’s in “커피 한잔“, “예상“, F5’s in “My Heart Will Go On“, “보이네“, “Love“, F#5’s in “나 항상 그대를“, “불티“, G5’s in “소녀시대“, G#5’s in “I’m Your Girl“, “Maria“, A5’s in “나의 옛날 이야기” and Bb5’s in “밤안개.”
As her vocal stretch is quite head dominant, it is no surprise Bada’s upper register mostly consists of a head voice. She is able to often sing in head voice at will and choose between falsetto and head voice. This allows her a lot more flexibility in terms of dynamics and textures in her singing. The main issue with her head voice is that she seems to have a fairly shallow development of the muscles above F#5, where she’s still able to maintain support and produce resonance. Above that she sounds thin and shallow, as her vocal cords aren’t as strong and her support isn’t as strong. She tends to sound thinner, as heard by comparing her F#5’s in “빙글빙글” to the rest of her upper range above that.
Bada is a huge star and a performer who can always put on a show. Looking at the full extent of Bada’s career, she’s made good improvements over the years. She’s changed her singing approach slightly so that she’s able to open up her voice more and can choose between certain qualities. Overall she’s still limited to one signature sound which helps her as an artist, as she’s known for her strong and brassy sound. However as a vocalist, she’s remained quite stagnant in terms of technique. With her level of vocal skill, added to the lightness of her mixed voice, she doesn’t strain her voice too badly to the point of vocal damage. Even then it is advised that she’d seek a certain amount of help to minimize strain and allow her to not use her throat so much when singing higher, especially not when singing as high as she does. The fact that she often raises her larynx above D5 can damage her in the long run.
Bada is known for her ability to make songs her own in many different ways. She always brings a new flavor to her vocal performances and is known not only for her emotional delivery, but also for being able to take songs and make them her own. She occasionally adds her own musical changes to songs, while also being able to harmonize with others quite well. She tends to focus more on her singing, but can change songs as shown by her musical changes added in her cover of 2NE1’s “Lonely.”
Vocal Range Video(s)
video by: Viet Tien
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)