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!

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

24 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?)

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  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

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      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.

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      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.

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  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.

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  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.

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    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.

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  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.

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    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.

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  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

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    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

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  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:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtFbkJZIoQ4

    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: https://youtu.be/IyIB3yPTivM?t=1m25s). I’m probably not using the right terminology here but was wondering if I might be on the right track in listening for technique.

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    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.)

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