EXO’s Vocal Analysis: D.O. [Rewritten]

Vocal Range

F2 ~ F#5 (3 octaves and 1 semitone)

*Might be able to go higher

Supported Range

D3 ~ A4/Bb4

Voice Type

Tenor

Strengths/Achievements

  • Able to support his lower register down to D3
  • Able to maintain a stable larynx when singing lower than D3
  • Second most consistent mix in EXO
  • Second strongest vocalist in EXO
  • Has been able to support multiple Bb4s throughout his career
  • Able to belt above A4/Bb4 with good placement
  • One of the most agile idol vocalists
  • Able to mix up to F#5
  • Can switch into falsetto without too much trouble
  • First member of EXO to support A4 and the only to support Bb4
  • Able to sing with a relaxed falsetto up to C#5/D5
  • Mixed Voice has seen improvement over the years

Weaknesses

  • Notes below D3 are often unsupported
  • Notes above A4 tend to be strained more often than not with a high larynx
  • Sings with a disconnected falsetto
  • Occasional sloppy runs
  • Lack of confidence and other mental blocks that affect his voice
  • Mix is often hindered due to tension or improper posture

Registers

  • Lower register: The register Kyungsoo is most comfortable with. Support is usually carried down to D3. Notes below this are often unsupported.
  • Mixed register: Kyungsoo’s most developed register. Resonance is very often carried to A4 and support is, at times, carried to Bb4. Notes above A4 are often strained.
  • Upper register: Kyungsoo’s least used register, a disconnected falsetto that becomes shrill around C#5/D5.

Agility

One of his most developed assets, Kyungsoo is able to do speedy runs without much, if any loss of power, speed, or precision throughout the majority of his range.This can be heard in “It’s Still A Dark Night” where he scaled down to F2 and around the upper fourth and lower fifth octave. His ability to sing runs well comes from a well developed flexibility in his vocal cords where he is able to sing right at the center of each individual note with precision and bounce between notes with ease and without losing the control of his voice. His vocal cords have developed a smooth freedom where they’re able move quickly throughout notes and each individual pitch is distinguishably heard. He was able to develop his agility over the years mostly due to stylistic influences he Ishows from R&B singers, as he is heard mostly choosing to add embellishments to most of his vocal performances. Despite being a powerful belter, he does often also add runs to many performances, sometimes even favoring runs over actual belting. Examples of his runs include his runs in “XOXO” (2:19, 2:47, 3:00), “Growl” (1:10, 2:50, 3:00), “One and Only” (3:07, 3:33) as well as “Tell Me (What is Love)” (0:16, 2:37, 3:14, 3:23, 3:28, 3:40 ~ 3:50, 3:58) and “Stronger” (1:20, 3:03).

Overall analysis

The lead vocalist of EXO K and one of the vocalists of EXO, Kyungsoo has become a favorite to many fans due to his tone and agility. Despite his voice sitting quite high in range, it can often by perceived by some that Kyungsoo has a deep voice. He doesn’t mix nearly as high as many other tenors in K-pop tend to, and due to his mixing being more chest dominant, he sounds thicker by contrast. Nonetheless his voice still possesses a youthful warm quality and sits in a high range, with a light overall timbre. He has made a name for himself by coming out of his shell over the years while not only improving his vocal technique, but also developing more confidence in himself.

Kyungsoo’s second strongest register is his lower register. He is easily able to support his voice down to D3 effortlessly as seen by the D3s in “Screamed,” “It’s Still A Dark Night,” “Hurt,” and “Lady Luck,” the Eb3 in “Nothing Better,” and the E3s in “It’s Still A Dark Night,” “Thunder,” and “Play Boy.” As he descends lower than D3, support is lost and his voice turns into air. Despite this lack of support, Kyungsoo is able to sing all the way at the bottom of his range without sacrificing the correct larynx position for the most part, as heard in his G#2 – F2 run in “It’s Still A Dark Night,” his Bb2s in “Nothing Better“, B2s in “Screamed,” and “EXO Low Note Battle,” the C3s in “Lady Luck,” and his C#3s in “What If,” and “EXODUS.” For the most part decent placement is kept throughout his lower range, but his chest voice muscles seem to lack development as early on in his range, he pulls the sound from a vocal fry muscle coordination in order to create more tone and project his voice more, as heard in the EXO Low Note Battle. This indicates that he needs to work on detaching himself from the vocal fry in order to fully develop his chest voice as he descends below D3.

Kyungsoo’s strongest register is his mix. Although this wasn’t showcased around debut due to him constantly being forced to sing outside of his supported range, which limited him severely as a vocalist. However in 2013 and the years following, he started singing in a more comfortable range for him and began to show improvement, being able to produce resonance up to A4 as seen in his F4s in “Baby,” “Overdose,” “XOXO,” and “My Answer,” his F#4s in “Thunder,” “Wolf,” and “Screamed,” his G4s in “XOXO,” “My Answer,” and “Lady Luck,” his G#4s in “Tell Me What Is Love,” “Missing You,” “Black Pearl,” “What If,” “Play Boy,” “Sing For You,” and “Monster,” his A4s in “Thunder,” “Wolf,” “XOXO,” My Answer,” “El Doraldo,” on both his and occasionally Lay’s A4s in “Love Me Right,” and especially in “It’s Still A Dark Night.” Since 2013, he has also been able to show support on Bb4 as seen in “Baby Don’t Cry” both studio as well as several live performances, “Black Pearl,” and “Peter Pan” both in studio and in this live performance.

Despite this improvement, Kyungsoo still struggles to consistently support Bb4 and strains above with a high larynx. Also, Kyungsoo’s resonance can be inhibited due jaw tension caused by him pushing his jaw forward as seen in his G4 from his MAMA performance of “Drop That.” He also has a habit of creating farther tension when belting due to him lifting his head up as if looking into the sky as seen in live performances of both “Love Me Right” and “Call Me Baby.” Most of the issues with freedom with his mixed voice come from him using a mixing technique that’s overly chest-dominant, which greatly limits the full extent of his mix and makes him unable to sing much higher.

Finally, Kyungsoo’s upper register is a disconnected falsetto. He is capable of singing relaxed notes up to around C#5/D5, but above that tends to be more shrill and barely explored. There has been some improvement, as he is able to switch into his falsetto much easier than in his earlier years. Although his transitions can be much smoother, such as the C#5’s in “Call Me Baby,” he seems to still neglect the development of this register. The only time he explored his range above D5 was notably when singing up to F5 in “Missing You,” which had good enough placement in the head and decent connection with the vocal cords. However due to barely exploring the ease of the “oo” vowel to further develop his upper register, he still remains unable to use a head voice and seems to leave this register aside in terms of practice.

Kyungsoo’s biggest, and most crippling issue is his mind. Often times, Kyungsoo struggles with a lack of confidence, bad stage fright, and several other mental blocks. While this may not seem like a problem to some, singing can be hindered when the mind is not at ease. Often times when he is not mentally relaxed, his pitch is affected, his voice tends to crack, he worries too much about belting and creates far more tension in his mix causing him to struggle even in the A4/Bb4 – C5 range. However, when he is at rest, he is capable of performing at his best and even maintain good placement up to C5 and mix up to F#5 in a playful situation. However this has been an area of major of improvement for him. Although he’s shown that he prefers to stick to what he knows, gaining confidence in himself has allowed him to know what he sings the best and where he feels most comfortable. Perhaps with more time, he’ll be able to further develop his technique by truly allowing himself to expand his horizons and trying as many new things as possible with his instrument.

Musicianship

Kyungsoo tends to keep performances as calm as possible and tends to keep his covers close to the original, only making slight changes such as adding in runs. He also tends to avoid the use of falsetto when possible as seen in “Boyfriend” and when he chose to mix the D5s in “El Dorado” as opposed to his EXO M counterparts who would sing them in falsetto.

Rating

Proficient Vocalist

Vocal Range Video(s)

Videos by: Edgar Cárdenas

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Haruko & Ahmin

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About ahmin3

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

213 thoughts on “EXO’s Vocal Analysis: D.O. [Rewritten]

  1. Hi ahmin3…I’m so glad that such blog exists..I’ve been following this blog for almost 2 years…and I’ve been learning tons of vocal techniques from this blog and it really helped me improve my singing a lot and make me understand more about vocal techniques….so i have 2 questions to ask..
    1) It is stated in the analysis that Kyungsoo had occasional sloppy runs….when did that happen?…was it when he ran out of breath or wasnt ready ?…
    2) This is really important to me to have better understanding about vocal technique..like i said..i’ve learnt a lot through this blog ..and somehow i can somewhat tell if a vocalist is doing it right or poorly…but unfortunately when i try to bring the ‘knowledge’ out from kpop…it was kinda hard to do so…so, if i may ..may i ask what you think about Zayn Malik’s vocal technique..well i know its not kpop but it would really help me understand more about vocal..

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    1. Not the pitch itself, but they put like an effect to make it sound kind of psychedelic so it’s Eb5, but I don’t know if it’s a connected head voice.

      Like

  2. Hi Ahmin/Pandayeu, I’ve been hearing some of the runs the followers of this blog asked about. I was wondering if D.O’s agility got faster and better? I don’t know much about agility so that’s why I’m asking. I also wanted to ask if the complexity of the run or its speed is what determines a person’s skills in terms of agility?

    Like

  3. I just had to come and re-read this analysis bc on the ranking page this person wrote a whole book of why D.O shouldn’t be above Baekhyun yeosob onenew and etc. But i think your analysis are really accurate, and I can’t see why people would try to discreet him. Anyway that person was really insistent tho.. He’s already underrated in the fan base they love his timbre but think he has no technique like baek or jondae, anyway you are really attentive and pacient to have to answer questions like that thank you

    Liked by 1 person

      1. at the very least, /if/ he was smoking for a while, his technique wouldn’t have improved from 2014-2016, right? i dont know a lot about vocal technique but if he was smoking all this time, there would have been some discernible differences at least in the way his vocal color sounds, if not in his vocal technique?

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      2. I’ve heard that he smokes, I’m not 100% sure (he does it in his new movie and he was seen with a pack?) and I was dissapointed to hear that because he has such a lovely voice and it’d be a pity to ruin it.

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    1. I’m so sorry but I am not sure what part of this is supposed to be a link like the watch?v= I’m not sure what part of all of that would go after the =.

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      1. LMAO sorry the link didn’t work, my phone’s kinda weird :p anyways it was kyungsoo’s line after the bridge in what u do (it’s also somewhere in the second chorus)

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      2. @probably someone you know:
        If you’re talking about the “you do” in the background he does after the bridge, it’s a Bb4-G#4 that sounds kinda throaty and really heavy. Just my 2 cents xD I’m no Ahmin, so don’t take my word for it

        Liked by 1 person

    1. 2:05 The run was slightly flat at the beginning and the A4 was almost supported but then he pushed it into his throat. 3:19 that A4 was not bad at all, a bit pushy but not bad.

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      1. 2:43 Bb4 carries support. 2:55 the A4 is well supported and placed. His resonance is not that small, I don’t know why this is a consistent issue. It’s just sometimes like at 3:43 where it’s supported again but the vowel could’ve been more relaxed since his jaw wasn’t fully loose. 4:30 C5’s, very tight C5’s.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is relative. I don’t hear what you hear with him being louder before but if someone supports but isn’t singing loudly and someone shouts with a pushed mix, he will be louder but will strain.

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  4. 1/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_V7VGgi5b0
    what is the notes he hits inthe backgroud from 3:17 to 3:30 and is there any suuport and from 3:39 to the end did he sounds closed and is his last(forever ) supported

    2/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHX1n9s_QTk
    in 1:54 and 2:48 wasn’t he throaty ? so DO has problems with throatiness too??

    3/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MckRU39-2U
    –from 2:22 to 2:31 wasn’t he closed or too chesty
    —from 2:37 to 2:51 was he supporting especially the note he hit withor before baek inthe back and at the end 2:47 would his run would be better if he didn’t use falsetto and just use his voice ,i mean is his agility is there for all the registers or for his good registers only

    Like

  5. 1/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_V7VGgi5b0
    what is the notes he hits inthe backgroud from 3:17 to 3:30 and is there any suuport and from 3:39 to the end did he sounds closed and is his last(forever ) supported

    2/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHX1n9s_QTk
    in 1:54 and 2:48 wasn’t he throaty ? so DO has problems with throatiness too??

    3/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MckRU39-2U
    –from 2:22 to 2:31 wasn’t he closed or too chesty
    —from 2:37 to 2:51 was he supporting especially the note he hit withor before baek inthe back and at the end 2:47 would his run would be better if he didn’t use falsetto and just use his voice ,i mean is his agility is there for all the registers or for his good registers only

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    1. 1. Are all of those D.O. cause I heard Chen’s voice a lot too. He did just fine, they were G4s, Ab4s and one Bb4 or so. It wasn’t too high for him.

      2. Again if that’s D.O., that throaty quality is stylistic cause he did it both times the same. That was for effect, he’s never shown an issue with that much roughness.

      3. He wasn’t too chesty nor closed but he could’ve placed the sound a bit higher to project better. The run didn’t really have issues though.

      Like

  6. according to the analysis, kyungsoo doesn’t support bb4s consistently. he is still inconsistent on that note.

    if he were able to consistently support that note, would he be on top proficient/ proficient to good vocalist?

    and if he were to consistently produce resonance on that note, would he be able to be in the good category?

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    1. He was kind of growling, it was a bit more tense than necessary but the way he approached it seemed more of a stylistic choice cause it’s what he does in studio too. It’s A4.

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  7. 1/ why does DO do lay’s A4 better than his own in love me right
    —1:33 and 2:22

    —1:32 and 2:24

    —1:27 and 2:18

    —-1:30 and 2:20

    4:17

    2/ in 1:42 was this a note or scream

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    1. 1. I’m not sure how to answer because unless you’re comparing the two notes within the same song and saying that the first one is better than the second one and assuming the first one is Lay’s and second one is D.O.’s, as if they were better…they’re both good. In every video, all you’ve shown is that D.O.’s resonance up to A4 is quite consistent even this year. The only thing that makes the second A4’s less free is the jaw and neck position.

      2. That was a mixed D5. Strained.

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      1. 1/do you mean by (quite consistent even this year) that he until now he is still not completely consistent with it like before or his resonance started to be consistent?
        2/is the situation of his A4 like D5 of taeyeon( iknow this male and female you can’t compare them but iam talking about the consistency of his note

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      2. No I mean because people were saying he’s not as consistent this year as he was before but your videos show otherwise. No his A4’s are more consistent than her D5’s.

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      3. there nothing wrong with some stylistic choices in the studio he exploring, it true he didn’t do that in the past but when he wants to mix clean there no change in that …. people are so dramatic and the pics of him with cigarette didn’t help

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      4. most of idols drinks alcohols and everybody know that like this won’t hurt them like cigarette . and people are afraid that smoking will make him loose his voice so what about drinking ?

        Like

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