CROSS GENE’s Vocal Analysis: Yongseok

Vocal Range

F#2 ~ B4 (2 octaves, 2 notes and 1 semitone)

Supported Range

B2/C3 ~ B3/C4

Voice Type

Baritone

Strengths/Achievements

  • Vocalist with the second best technique in Cross Gene
  • Able to maintain some support when singing within a more natural tessitura
  • Support and tone quality present in his chest voice down to B2/C3
  • Mixed voice remains somewhat relaxed up to B3/C4, with some support

Points for Improvement

  • Support is very shallow and generally underdeveloped
  • Unable to place his voice anywhere but his nose and chest
  • Stays mostly within a low placement in his voice, squeezing his throat
  • Gets tight very early on in his range
  • Issues with pitch are quite common
  • Lower range is relatively underdeveloped
  • Mixed voice is limited in freedom and development
  • Falsetto and upper register are rarely ever used
  • Vocal runs are often quite pitchy
  • As he adds more volume, more tension creeps into his voice

Registers

  • Lower register: By far the most comfortable part of his voice. Able to maintain a more relaxed approach within the third octave with shallow support. Can at times place his voice in his throat though.
  • Mixed register: Able to mix with a lot of chestiness with relative ease despite how heavy his mix is. He is able to push his mix as high as Bb4. Support seems to be not present in this register, as he sings with too much weight with little to no support and a closed throat.
  • Upper register: His falsetto is by far his least explored area. He has never shown a connected head voice and he seems quite uncomfortable in his upper range, rarely venturing up there. When he does however, it is possible to hear a lack of control especially in his transitions.

Agility

When it comes to vocal influences, Yongseok doesn’t seem to take much after R&B in any way. Most of his vocal performances seem to focus solely on the interpretation of songs, as added melodies and vocal runs are rare or never really done. As such, it can be said that he seems to not have much confidence with this area of his voice. In order to execute vocal runs well, a vocalist must keep their airflow consistent while supporting from the diaphragm, with connected vocal cords free of tension, and precision in pitch and rhythm. Unfortunately the few times where Yongseok is heard singing vocal runs, it is possible to see that he may have not developed this area of his voice very well. His runs are often done with too much jaw movement, too much air escaping his vocal cords, not enough support, not enough pitch precision and not relaxed enough. As a result his runs are often pitchy and slightly laggy. This can be heard with the runs in “Amazing Bad-Lady,” “Holiday,” and “너사용법.”

Overall analysis

CROSS GENE originally debuted in 2012 with the intention of being the cross between the best genes of all East Asian countries. With members from Japan, China and Korea, they certainly stood out as a more nationally diverse group than most others. From the debut until now, with member changes and whatnot, Yongseok has remained a lead vocalist as well as the group’s youngest member. Yongseok’s shown great passion for singing, being also cast in musicals in recent years and exploring other sides of the industry within his career. Unfortunately due to the lack of public exposure, he’s never been on shows like King of Mask Singer nor Immortal Song 2.

One thing that must be addressed however is Yongseok’s voice type. In pop music, the preferred octave for vocalists to sing in is usually the fourth octave. That is true in the west as well as in the east. On top of that, high notes are always highly praised and thus become a prominent part of the climax in pop songs. The highest voice type for a male is the tenor voice. The middle one would be the baritone, while the lowest would be the bass. Although the gap between a tenor and a baritone isn’t large, it is noticeable enough that a song written for a mid to slightly high tenor range within the fourth octave is usually at the top of a baritone’s natural tessitura. As such, most main vocalists in K-pop end up being preferably tenors since they naturally are able to sing higher. However since companies aren’t necessarily aware of members’ voice types, some baritones who can handle singing high enough to compete with tenors end up being lead or main vocalists. Yongseok being one of these baritones who is at a disadvantage. Unfortunately because he has a lower voice, any song that for any of the other vocalists within the group would be quite quite comfortable, namely Takuya, Shin and Seyoung, becomes slightly more challenging for him. Thus instead of being able to focus on proper development of his vocal technique within a comfortable mid-range before venturing into high notes, Yongseok has to constantly push himself to sing within a higher range to satisfy the demand of the music industry he’s in.

His lower range is relatively underdeveloped. Most of the repertoire written for CROSS GENE rarely requires any of them to sing much lower than C3. As such, it is rare to hear Yongseok really challenge himself in a low enough range. His most comfortable register and most developed muscles seem to be the muscles responsible for the chest voice. Thus his lower range carries quite a bit of weight and projects without many issues. Around E3, as heard in “カゲボウシ,” he seems to have absolutely no issues keeping a clean chest voice with some relative support, although shallow. As he descends down to Eb3, as in “한숨,” he seems to maintain adequate shallow breath support and connection. However as he gets closer to the second octave, the drops of support become more apparent. With some projection present down to B2 (다행이다), where he still seems comfortable, his voice becomes to lose connection and drop support, as heard in “너사용법.” Support then is gone almost completely as soon as he goes down below B2. The range around Bb2 and G#2 in “한숨” shows a lack of projection and vocal cord development in the second octave. In the high note battle on Weekly Idol, he pushes his larynx down to project F#2s, his lowest known note thus far. The tension added onto his throat muscles pushing his larynx down show how uncomfortable he seems singing that low, while naturally his voice potentially could go quite a few semitones lower than that.

In the context of being a baritone, his mixed voice starts earlier than a tenor’s. However he seems to be unable to place his voice anywhere but his chest. This causes him to try and pull his chest voice higher and higher as he sings, being unable to travel through all of his air passageways and resonators. Thus the sound he produces as he sings higher is often pushed, closed and loud. While the lack of freedom causes him to often be flat if singing higher and softer, as heard in “Café“. As a vocalist sings higher, if they do not use their vocal cords, they resort to air. Using air to sing higher either causes a vocalist to sing louder and push harder, or to sing with a shallow breathy approach. As Yongseok has not shown proper development of breath support, his support is mostly quite shallow and he strains very early on in his range. This can be heard with the very closed and pushed notes around C#4 to E4 in “나하고놀자,” “다행이다,” “너사용법,” “Café” and “장마.” Instances of him singing softer in his mix exist, such as in “Marry Me,” where he sings around Eb4/E4, however resorting to shallow breathiness to keep his voice from being too loud. In order to be soft, a vocalist does not need to whisper nor be breathy. As he sings higher, his mixed voice becomes more closed, more pushed, and more strained. This is heard with the F4’s in “Amazing Bad-Lady,” F#4’s in “Holiday,” “Rhythm in Me,” “누나말이야,”  “Marry Me,” G4’s in “한숨,” “장마,” G#4’s in his musical’s “Encore,” A4’s in “カゲボウシ,” and the highest note he’s hit without head voice/falsetto thus far, Bb4, as in “Stay By My Side” and “어려도남자야.”

His most uncomfortable and least developed register is his upper range. He has yet to show the ability to use a connected and supported head voice. Instead he almost always resorts to a falsetto. However instances of him using his falsetto can be quite hard to find. He doesn’t often go very high in his falsetto, and examples of him singing in the fifth octave have been hard to find. Not only is he unable to keep a connected stream of air and allow his voice to be placed higher as he sings higher, his transitions often cause him to become very airy very quickly, while losing the center of pitch when singing from chest voice to falsetto. Examples can be heard in “Café,” “Holiday,” and “한숨.” This happens because in order for a vocalist to sing higher, a clear connection of the vocal cords must happen while the sound travels through each resonator, such as the mask, head and chest voice. However because he keeps his voice so locked down in his chest, he’s unable to smoothen out the transition up to his falsetto without a drastic drop in volume and control. At times however he’s able to lighten up just enough for transitions to land more on pitch, such as in “장마.”

The most important thing a vocalist must first learn is proper breath support. In Yongseok’s case, because the focus in pop music is high notes, it is likely that he was trained to sing high over singing in a healthy way. So the idea of using his diaphragm to control the air in his lungs, while not pushing air to sing higher might have never truly been introduced to him. Being the only baritone vocalist in CROSS GENE aside from the rappers, he must have worked harder to compete with the other tenors in the group and while he does show a better grasp of breath support than the sub-vocalists in the group, his focus on singing high affected his ability to really sing with a controlled consistent air stream against a strong stretch of his vocal cords. The best advice one could give Yongseok would be to re-learn the basics of singing and focus on proper breath support, which in turn will unlock the full potential of his voice.

Musicianship

Yongseok is rarely ever a daring vocalist. He does not often alter the pitch of songs, nor the melody nor rhythmic pattern of each song. He mostly stays true to the original melody of songs and tries his best to perform while focusing more so on the lyrical delivery, as opposed to trying to show off range or any weaknesses of his. He’s smart in the sense that he doesn’t try too hard to do things that he may be aware he wouldn’t be able to do very well. So instead he opts for the safer route and focuses on performing songs well in other ways, other than altering the original composition of a song.

Label (Type of vocalist)

C Vocalists: Commercial Vocalists

Vocal Range Video(s)

Unavailable

Best Vocal Performance(s)

Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)

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11 thoughts on “CROSS GENE’s Vocal Analysis: Yongseok

  1. “CROSS GENE originally debuted in 2012 with the intention of being the cross between the best genes of all South Asian countries. With members from Japan, China and Korea”

    That should be east Asian countries, south Asia is India and those small countries around it. Wow, two analyses, you’re on a roll! Who are you doing next? And when?

    Like

    1. WOOO yes I was thinking south East Asian and then I was like cut one of those words out and my brain farted and I cut the wrongdoer out lol Well 2012 debuts still on my list!

      Like

  2. Hi Ahmin! I’m a baritone who used to strain above B3, and have been practicing singing a lot more lightly now for higher notes. Recently I’ve been trying to mix within the C4-Eb4 range a lot by singing the lower harmonies to tenor songs. However, I have no idea if I’ve been making progress in my technique or just hurting myself still. I know you can’t hear my voice, but maybe I can try to explain how I feel when I mix, and you can judge through that if this is a normal thing that I’m feeling. Here’s what I’ve noticed with this new “singing approach”:

    1) While mixing I always feel on the brink of flipping into falsetto/head voice, because I used to shout from my chest louder the higher I went; I found that that kept me from cracking.
    2) While mixing I also really want to flex my jaw muscles, I don’t know why. I know that results in jaw tension, so I should avoid it. I’ve been trying to avoid manipulating the larynx like before and I guess now I naturally want to find some other muscle to flex?
    3) I used to be a lot less nasal, but now when I mix I feel like more sound has to go more through the nose since it’s like I’m bring the sound “higher in my body” by adding more head to the mix?
    4) After mixing in only one song or so, I already feel a bit light-headed.

    Are these normal things to be feeling when you’re trying to get used to balancing out your mix?

    Like

    1. 1. Yes, I’d rather you incorporate a little bit more chest into the mix so that it’s not so light that it’s almost a head voice. Try to make it ever so slightly heavier just to give it more embodiment.
      2. Keep your hands on your jaw to keep it still and in one place.
      3. You don’t have to place it in the nose to be bright. Your soft palate should still be working, you should still lift and move it as you change pitch, while also placing the sound towards your lips. Move your upper lips slightly above your front upper teeth just to be sure as well and focus the sound outward.
      4. That’s normal, you’ll get used to it but trying a bit more weight might help.

      Liked by 1 person

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