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

  • 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

Points for Improvement

  • 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.

Label (Type of Vocalist)

MA Vocalists: Melismatic/Agile Vocalists

HB Vocalists: High Range Belters

Vocal Range Video(s)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7QwWYdriw4

Videos by: Edgar Cárdenas

Best Vocal Performance(s)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBqQRem2MP0

Analyzed by Haruko & Ahmin

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

  1. May I ask you if kyungsoo supports here in
    1:53 and 2:19

    Last thing Is he lightening his mixed voice in 2:57 or it is his falsetto

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    1. Hi, not Ahmin, but leaving my two cents.

      1:53 sounds supported but also a bit pushed. It’s A4.

      2:19 I think it’s Resonant, I don’t hear a lot of pushing on this one, but he breathed better for this A4 than the previous A4.

      2:57, falsetto.

      Minnie, your job is hard and this is one of the easy questions. lol.

      Like

  2. D.O’s vocal analysis does not have the Strengths/Achievements portion here compared to Chen and Baek. Or does he have not anything Strengths/Achievements at all? xD lol

    He should at least have some~

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    1. It’s best to comment on an exo analysis since it’s related so it’s good. You’ve heard him resonating G#4? I find that odd considering I’ve never heard him supporting above F4, let alone supporting consistently at all. The link you sent is G4’s, very chesty with a nice chest placed ring to them but very pushed from the throat nonetheless and projected by pushing, with some tongue tension and a sound that’s too inward. I could not call that supporting.

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      1. Are you sure that’s not at least supported? Bcuz it sounds like it seems so… not a professional like you ahmin so I’m not sure :\

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      2. Yes, I’m afraid to hat I’m indeed sure. I’m not sure what else to say or how else to respond.. I wish I could say something comforting but I can’t lie to you. Perhaps you could explain to me what you feel the definition of supporting is and we could go from there?

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      3. Ahh I didn’t realize that you’ve replied ahmin! Thank you so much tho. To elaborate, I do agree with you now that his singing isn’t strongly supported. At that time I was confused bcuz I was deluded by what my friend said.
        He’s a junmyeon stan & tho not a professional, have trained in singing & know wide varieties of vocal theories. He’s usually always correct but not so much with Suho. He said he has strong support in his mix & even go to the extent claiming that as overall, he’s on par with chenbaeksoo technically & even said that his output & resonance is bigger than them(in which I stongly disagree of).
        Idk what else how to explain to him that Suho has still a lot to work on & put up with his tendency to exaggerate with his faves(this include Sohyang).
        Am I correct to say that Suho sounds bigger bcuz of his pushing? He sounds darker as well(in which he might correlate it with “chiaroscuro” but I don’t think so) bcuz of tongue tension & his placement that’s too inward? Is he kinda pushing his larynx down as well?
        I don’t even know if his low is well-developed but ny friend claimed so :\ idk ahmin what are your thoughts on this?

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      4. I have a feeling I know who your friend is. I don’t agree that he sounds dark generally but the more chest placed one’s pushing is, the louder and thicker they may sound to others. I don’t think he goes as far as to push his larynx down. I agree with you on the things you’re saying, Suho is a very underdeveloped vocalist. His support is shallow throughout his whole range so to claim anything as far fetched as what your friend said..is just incorrect.

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      5. Well idk if we’re referring to the same person… But I know he’s VERY active in commenting, analyzing & arguing in both twitter & youtube. Tho he has conversed with some of your acquaintances, I don’t think I’ve seen him talking to you so who knows lol.
        Oh no I don’t mean his tone is straight up dark, it’s still really bright. I just meant that there’s subtle dark timbre underneath his voice. Idk how to explain it & like I said I was confused before until I realized it’s the same perspective I feel whenever a singer sings with tongue tension. Then your comment basically confirm it. & I realized it also came from his chesty mix.
        Kinda don’t want to argue with him anymore but it irks me he keep confidently spreading something like that just based on his own analysis eventho he knows he made plenty of mistake doing it multiple times before smh😕

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There is support, but perhaps because the vowel is Aye he felt the need to push more than he needs to. There’s enough support, it’s just not free.

      Like

  3. I am very curious about vibrato. I have never heard D.O. use vibrato. Is he, to your knowledge, capable of producing it?
    The other two things:

    1.) Does D.O. sing nasally? He sometimes sounds very nasally. Am I just hearing wrong? Is this intentional?

    2.) D.O.’s singing voice sounds very different from his speaking voice. Is this normal? Does it indicate anything odd? I have heard other singing instructors say this may be an indication that something’s amiss either in the way a person speaks or sings if there is a significant discrepancy between the two. Is this true?

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    1. I have never really focused much on his vibrato. I can’t think of it now that it comes to mind.
      1. That’s kind of a vague question without a specific example for me to listen to and kind of try to make sense out of it. Could you provide an example of him being nasal?
      2. That’s not a bad thing. It may be true that there’s something amiss, it could most likely be the way he speaks more so than how he sings. I have my own thoughts about how he speaks actually, since people claim he speaks too low oftentimes.

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      1. I found one example of him using vibrato, but I feel like he rarely uses it because this is the only one I could find…

        @3:30
        Is it proper vibrato??

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  4. Hello! Just wanna ask 2 really quick questions if you don’t mind
    1) at 1:39 on the A4, he looks physically more relaxed than the other times he’s performed the song, does this translate to his execution being more relaxed as well?. Would it be correct to say it’s resonant without the usual amount of pushing?

    2) 2:17 the Bb4 sounds less forced and pushed than usual to me, would you say it’s a nice bb4 for him or still lacking freedom?

    Like

  5. Hello, I’ve been looking for something like this website for a while, so I’m very glad that I’ve found it and I appreciate all of the workers here for your putting efforts to clarify everything and answer most of the questions as much as you can.

    I have a lot of questions due to my curiosity and passion for vocals generally, and for EXO and Kyungsoo especially, and I hope that it’s not an annoyance for you.

    My first question is can someone support a note which is outside of his supported range by accident? in other words, Kyungsoo can support till A4\Bb4 but sometimes he loses supporting in Bb4 in spite of that note is included in his range definitely, so is it realistic for him to support B4 -for example- by accident?
    Also, Kyungsoo can support A4 completely with resonance even so why his last A4s are pushed?

    The second question, I’ve read an article says Kyungsoo was better than Baekhyun but not anymore, is it correct? because I cannot notice any advancement in Baekhyun’s abilities or a lack in Kyungsoo’s abilities somehow.

    The third question, I know someone who claims that Kyungsoo cannot sing head voice in any way, she said it’s impossible for him regardless of how much he tried, and this weakness besides the mental-blocks, the incorrect connection of his vocal cords, and the weak lower register are the main reasons for him to get low rating, but you’ve shared some records and said it’s head voice for Kyungsoo! what’s going here?
    Also, she claims that mixed register is the register which Kyungsoo is most comfortable with, and I think that too, so why are you saying that he is actually more comfortable with the lower register?

    The fourth question, who is the one with the most stable voice? Chen or Kyungsoo? most of the fans say that Chen’s voice is more stable than Kyungsoo’s, but I can hear Chen’s voice shaking clearly even if he is only standing there, the opposite of Kyungsoo who can hold his notes long in a straight line even if he is dancing so hard.

    The last question, for him as a seven years-debuted idol, can he improve his skills by adding more notes to his supported range or something else? or this is his limits for the rest of his life?

    Finally, I want to thank you a lot for everything, and apologize for my bad English if it shows that I’m attacking or hating I’m so sorry I don’t mean that.
    Have a nice day.

    Like

    1. Hello dear! Oh well better late than never, right? Welcome here and I hope you enjoy your stay!

      No I don’t mind! Questions are good and what I’m here for!

      1. Why yes of course. A supported range is the range in which support is kept with the most consistency. It doesn’t mean notes outside that range can’t be supported, it just means they’re not consistent so even if it happens, it can’t be included in his supported range. Oh and pushing isn’t not supporting. It’s over compensating support. It’s not the best way to go by it, but it’s not the absence of support either.

      2. Where did you read this, if I may ask? You shouldn’t trust just anything you see out there.

      3. First of all, what low rating is this person referring to? Because I’m kind of missing some context here. Also his lower range is hardly weak. It’s certainly not the best, but there are many other tenors with far less developed lower ranges. Also his lack of consistent head voice isn’t something exclusive to him. Again this person seems to be overly exaggerating his shortcomings and making them into huge flaws that are unfixable, which isn’t true. As for most comfortable, it doesn’t mean most developed. Just where he likes to keep himself. Although that was written a long time ago when he was thought to support lower, so I’m kind of iffy about the statement as a whole.

      4. I avoid the vague term “stable” like a plague because it means nothing. If you ask most people, they can’t explain what they mean with it. In Korean the term 불안하다 means unstable or uneasy, like shaky and it’s been mistranslated and now it’s common use amongst international fans as if it meant anything in vocals. Is it not singing shaky while dancing? Is it singing without shaking? What’s the point of being stable? Is it some sort of high level vocal skill? It’s really not. It’s a very basic aspect of my vocalist who can support. Both Chen and Kyungsoo are vocalists with vocal stability cause both have very well established support. The vague usage of the word stable by fans is something I can’t comment on it, cause I can’t guess what they’re hearing. It’s like saying they have great emotions in singing. Subjective and not arguable.

      5. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to! He’s perfectly capable of improving, anybody is no matter what age. What matters is how they practice.

      Oh honey you’ve been nothing but courteous and respectful! Plus your English is pretty clean throughout, I don’t see why you’d apologize for it. It’s always the people who speak English well that apologize without needing to! Haha

      Like

  6. Hello,
    I’m not too sure if this question is eligible to be asked, so if it’s not you can go ahead and ignore it 🙂
    It’s about this one video of EXO singing their songs with different lyrics at a radio show in 2013. Now, I thought all the lead vocalists sang pretty well but DO specifically was complimented quite a bit by the DJ, the viewers and the other members. And when I listen to it, he does sound pretty great. I guess my question is: what’s he doing differently from the other lead vocalists (Baekhyun and Chen) of EXO in this video? I’m not very familiar with technique, but is he perhaps producing a more connected sound than the other two in this?

    Baekhyun sings at: 0:18 0:29 3:14 4:07 7:10 8:49
    Chen sings at: 0:38 9:04 (I guess he didn’t sing much)
    DO sings at: 1:13 1:34 5:49 7:26 8:56

    (Also to anyone reading this comment at all, watch full video if you’re in the mood to laugh lol. Quality Baekhyun crack, that kid can’t be stopped.)

    Like

    1. Hello there. Well eligible to be asked, it definitely is. But to say that I can give you a correct answer is something I can’t say for sure. No, he is doing the opposite of producing a more connected sound. He is using more runs than the others who do little to none. He has a very naturally flexible voice. He also is slightly airier, for effect, which makes him sound a bit more intimate. Now the reason he is getting more compliments is because these two are things people associate with “soul.” Exactly as they put it, they think he has soul in his singing. And the parts for Chen and Baekhyun didn’t highlight their strengths but since D.O.’s strengths lie also in his runs and he was able to showcase that well, he got compliments for it. Whereas Chen and Baekhyun’s strengths lie in resonance, low notes for Chen and mid belts for Baekhyun, they didn’t showcase that.

      Like

      1. Oh that does make a lot of sense now that I think about it. All three of them have a lot of individuality in their singing. Thanks for answering all the questions on the website so diligently! Sometimes I see a few that would be infuriating but your response is always classy af. This site is very educational and has made me a lot more attentive when I listen to my favourite singers perform. Hopefully we’ll see the “Future Analyses” list shorten a bit this year 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well if I lose my cool, then I already am the one who lost. Even if ppl are rude to me, I can’t act that way. I have to understand that people are often hiding behind facades out of fear of being wrong. I thank you though.

        Like

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