Debunking K-pop Vocal Myths #10: Baritones in K-pop

Quick Post here guys. This is my new video webseries called “Debunking K-pop Vocal Myths”, where I’ll be posting vocal tips for you guys as often as possible. Please leave a comment, subscribe and share it with others. Let me know if you have any questions and please give suggestions for future videos! I’ll try to make this a Tuesday night weekly thing!


40 thoughts on “Debunking K-pop Vocal Myths #10: Baritones in K-pop

  1. PREACH. Very well said.
    I’d like to quote what Lea Salonga had once said: “We should celebrate how singers are different.” (In the same interview she said “If I’m gonna sing Defying Gravity […] I’m gonna sing it in my key and all of those sustain notes, everything that I’m singing is right for my instrument.”)
    I hope the K-POP industry, no, actually the world’s industry, knows that each voice is unique and should be vocally well nurtured according to their own features, and singing isn’t all about high notes. Or low notes. (Gosh, why people keep ignoring that hitting crazy low notes is equally mind-blowing as hitting crazy high notes?)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love this comment. For somebody who is always attracted to singers with deep and low voice, I couldn’t understand the hype over singers hitting high notes when hitting the right low notes is actually equally hard to do.


  2. I wish more Kpop baritones would explore their lower ranges more. I think the other reason why pop music is mainly in a higher register is because the main audience of pop music is children, teen girls and young women, so higher ranges allow them to sing along. It gives the music a lighter feel too.

    J-Hope actually auditioned to be a singer and has always wanted to sing but Bang PD told him he couldn’t sing and had him trained in rap instead. Some of it might be because he has a rather raspy, nasal quality to his voice which isn’t pleasant for singing but I believe it’s mainly because he’s a baritone. He did get to sing a little on his solo song MAMA though, so he might have managed to persuade them to give him some training.

    V was allowed to sing because he’d already had some vocal (and sax, which I guess helps with reading music & theory) training prior to becoming a trainee, which is why he’s the best singer. Afaik they haven’t had any vocal training since debut and only recently got some just before they recorded Wings (for their solo songs).

    Also, I lol’d when you tried to do a BYG voice and ended up sounding like the Godfather

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah the problem is they didn’t get much of it and it was in the middle of a tour. I know Jimin and V did (they mentioned it in vlogs), I don’t know about JK (who is ofc the more noticeable one), I heard he doesn’t really care. And the problem with V and Jimin is they always sing way too high for their ranges. So even if they improved, Jimin only gets screamy high notes and V just likes to sing high so you won’t hear it. Plus I don’t think their teacher teaches them to support, just how to sing in that breathy style.


      2. Basically, yes they have had training, I didn’t say they actually improved. Believe me I’m not trying to cape for their singing abilities here.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If they did get “vocal training” they were probably taught how to hit the note and sound decent, not how to properly hit the note.


  3. Hi ahmin, I was just thinking about this the other day, and poof!!! you posted this video. In NCT, I like the way the vocal parts are arranged at times, but then sometimes it’s too high for the baritone in the group. I was pitying Jaehyun because I think he was singing G#4s and F#4s for the climax of the song, and I was like ”WHAT, my baby bro?” This just further proves the point of your video. And it was even worse in that Without you song, Ab4s and A4s, FOR A VERSE, not a climax. I’d have no problems if he could support it, but these lads need time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is very interesting, and takes me to think about a recurrent issue along SNSD fans. What do you think about Yoona’s voice? A lot of fans of her (me included) think she is built to sing in a different range that SNSD songs make her sing and that she is a “weak” and “bad” singer is all about the songs are not made for her range, type and color. I would be very interested in your opinion.


    1. Yoona’s issues are purely technical. She has a very underdeveloped voice, her muscles are mostly head-dominant, she has an underdeveloped chest voice which makes her voice sound lighter, quieter, lack power and not have enough of a blend for a proper chest voice. Not only that, she is unable to open up her throat and support her voice well, which causes her to often sound flat and lose the projection of her voice. Yoona is an underdeveloped soprano, if you’re hinting at her having a lower voice type than the rest of the members of SNSD, I can’t say I agree.


  5. Hi Ahmin, sorry if this has been asked before. How do you differentiate High Baritone with Low Tenor?

    I want to know whether I’m either one, but I don’t know how to exactly identify my passagio since I’m basically untrained (I did choir a long time ago but that’s it). A2 is easy for me and mixing up to A4 is very comfortable (even though I’m sure it’s not technically correct, yet). My HV/Falsetto doesn’t go above C5 though.


    1. Well first of all it is a hell of a lot easier to find lyric baritones than it is to find low tenors, considering lyric is the most common sub-type and baritone the most common voice type. So statistically, you’re more likely to be a baritone than a tenor, specially a low tenor. I would have to hear you to be able to help you, since I know very few non-lyric tenors.


  6. Hey Ahmin, great video as usual!
    What solution could you recommend to idol groups containing both tenors and baritones? The baritones sing the lower notes (usually verses) and tenors sing the higher ones (+climax)? In that case wouldn’t the tenors shine more regardless?
    Is there no solution, are us baritones are doomed to become rappers? Haha

    Also, completely irrelevant: your body language at “it sounds like he’s just breathing” (min 13:13) really made me laugh hahaha


    1. That’s a hard question to ask but honestly it’s hard to have songs that focus on both voice types’ strengths. Usually the choruses of songs are high and intense but even the verses can be high and not really showcase the best aspects of the baritone voice, since most of them aren’t as well trained because of the lack of care for their different tessitura. I think it’s kind of like WINNER, where the songs kind of are low for tenors but high for baritones. I think really the only way it’s through solo material to really shine, even for tenors. I’m glad to entertain lol


      1. I’ve noticed that with a cappella groups (like Pentatonix), vocal type diversity is a plus rather than hindrance, probably because some of the voices simulate instruments. It can also be arrangement–all of Pentatonix’s members get to shine.


      2. Imo if a song is written to spread along the range for both baritones and tenors and really captures where those 2 vocal types shine (like second octave for baritones and fourth octave for tenors i think) then it’s not often a pop or catchy song, and if a KPop group perform on stage with like >50% acapella then fans would probably be confused because they want to chant and sing along but they just have no idea if they should sing the higher or lower harmonization. I’m imagining a concert like that in my head and it looks like a chaos.


  7. Hi, ahmin!

    Your videos have gotten me so interested in listening to different voice types and vocal techniques.

    Sorry if I’m not supposed to ask about non K-pop, but I had a question about forcing down the larynx when singing low notes. I wasn’t really sure how to listen for this until the low note battle you mentioned in this video and was wondering if I’m on the right track.

    I was listening to a bass singer, Avi Kaplan originally from the Pentatonix and felt like some of his really low notes sounded similar to how you described larynx lowering in this video. Here’s an example video:

    Is he lowering his larynx to sing the notes mainly in the beginning and end, or is it something else maybe stylistically? To me, it definitely sounds low but also kind of breathy and “weak” maybe in the sense that it doesn’t sound like he could project that very well (This guy, Mikhail Zlatopolsky, sounds much different to me: I’m probably not using the right terminology here but was wondering if I might be on the right track in listening for technique.


    1. Actually I’m not really sure Avi is a bass or a bass baritone but either way those were like C#2’s I believe? He tends to use a lot more vocal fry below E2, he is lowering his larynx but also using vocal fry which is why it doesn’t project as well as chest voice. (Keep in mind this is also due to sound system not picking up the sound well.)


  8. Thanks for doing this video. It’s not fair when baritones feel pressured like they have to sing higher in order to “fit in” with tenors. Think about what it does to someone’s self-esteem. 😦 I like hearing a variety of voice types. I second hforhobbit’s comments. Singers should feel free to play to their own strengths and celebrate them.

    Tenors being predominant in pop music despite baritones being more common in general is parallel to how female models don’t represent the weights and heights of average women.

    I’ve also noticed that different voice types are kind of parallel to extroversion and introversion–even though both can socialize, and both can spend time alone, they each have different personality “tessituras”, if that makes sense.

    As a baritone, do you find it easier to sing along with girl groups’ songs an octave lower, vs singing with typical boy groups’ songs?

    How common would you say dramatic baritones are?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes definitely much easier to sing down the octave of a soprano song than sing a male song, for most untrained baritones. Dramatic baritones are not common because the heavier fachs within a voice type are usually rarer.


  9. Hey Ahmin 😀

    My choirteacher categorized me as a Heldenbariton.
    So I looked it up and some sources said it’s a dramatic baritone or a dramatic bass-baritone or a high bass…i’m confused >.< because all 3 have different passiggi so what is it now?

    Another question concerning passaggio:
    For the bass- baritone the 1.passaggio is A3 // the 2. is D4 does that mean for example from my range Eb2 – G#3 is my chest voice // from A3 to C#5 my mixed voice // D4 – D5 head voice?

    Thanks for answering (If you do) and i'm looking forward to further analysis!


    1. I mean since sources differ wouldn’t it be wiser to question your choir director? I find that to classify someone that, someone must either know a lot or very little. I’d have to hear you but I think it’s a bit imprudent to classify someone that deeply.


    2. Hi there! As a bass-baritone myself (confirmed by no other than Ahmin himself), I believe I can help you with some of these questions. Yes, our first and second passaggi are A3 and D4, which means anything we sing under G#3 is our chest voice, and our voice naturally switches into falsetto/head voice from D4. We start mixing/belting starting from A3. I don’t know how high/low your extension for mixed voice goes, it really depends on person to person. For me personally, it only extends up to A4 on a good day


  10. Thanks for answering @ahmin3 and Ron! 😀
    Ups i meant A3 -C#4 not C#5 >.<
    Wow A4 is pretty good! I can only go to E4 on good days, more controlled until D4, pushed until F5 (which i rarely do).
    For me personally it's easier to identify the second passaggio than the first one cause the transition is quite obvious from mixed to head but the first is a little bit tricky for me..
    may i send you some audio snippets (if i ever overcome my fears Q_Q) of my singing if it's alright, Ahmin3 ?…':D


  11. Hallo , i want ask something, iam a baritone but i have e light (?) Voice is that my voice type / its bcz my mix is head dominant? I just can sustained a mix voice to E4 with light voice. How I can get a fuller voice but not sounds shouty? Thank you


    1. Well you have to first develop your muscles, both the chest and head to mix with more control. If you need more power, playing with the balance ratio of the mix as well as using different placements should do the trick.


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