Monthly Archives: February 2018

Debunking K-pop Vocal Myths #16: Are BTS’ Jimin and UP10TION’s Sunyoul countertenors?

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 Thursday or Friday night weekly thing!

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NO MORE RANKING SYSTEM?! (Read)

Throughout the years, we’ve received immense love from every one of our readers. And we’re deeply thankful for the amount of support we got from the people who understand what we are all about. We appreciate, love and thank you all for these amazing years.

However we’ve received our own fair share of criticism as well. Our ranking system has always been controversial, and rightfully so. However the content within our analyses is the most important thing to us. We didn’t watch more than 30 to 40 individual live performances for each of these vocalists, more than 120 so far, for nothing. We care about each and every one of these vocalists. People might call us biased and if you know me, you know I hate to be called something I’m not. We’re not biased. Bias is not even listening or caring, it’s having a pre-conceived notion and sticking to it. We don’t do that. We give everyone a fair chance. We don’t have preferences, we don’t rank based on our taste or whom we like. We don’t dislike anybody or try to put anyone down.

But we understand that ranking vocalists isn’t the nicest thing to do. For a while now we’ve been thinking of eliminating the ranking system altogether. Truthfully, it’s counterproductive to rank vocalists against one another. That’s not what we’re about. We’re here to spread knowledge and educate people on vocal technique. We want people to be able to know what’s unhealthy and healthy for the voice. What can be dangerous and what’s good for you. We want the best not only for the fans, but for each of the vocalists we’ve analyzed. We spend so much time analyzing them, we truthfully grow attached to each one of them. I know I do.

So from now on, we won’t be ranking vocalists or trying to say someone is better than anybody else. We’re against fanwars and we don’t wish to fuel them. We want these rankings gone altogether. So from now, we’re going to simply label vocalists under their strongest qualities and stylistic choices. We won’t say who’s better than who, but we won’t label them by genre either. Instead we will re-label and re-organize them based on who prefers to sing within what range, in what way, what style and who’s developed their voice a specific way.

That does not mean that we don’t personally believe there is a more effective way to use the voice. We do and we stand by it. We stand by the fact that there are different types of techniques and ways to sing that a vocalist can choose and a vocalist who has more choices, has a bigger “tool belt” of choices to pick from. However even then, at the end of the day the choice is the vocalist’s and the vocalist’s only. If they choose to listen or choose to sing in one specific style, that’s their choice and we must respect that. However if they wish to change because they want to develop other ways to sing and other parts of their voices, that’s what we’re here for.

I know that change is hard and that many of you are our fans because of our ranking system. I don’t expect every one of you to stay with us through this change, as I know you like to know who’s better than who. But we feel as vocal instructors and vocalists ourselves that it is best to take this step forward and create a place that’s neutral in its narrative and positive in its message. We don’t want to fuel negativity. Who cares who’s better than who? Love your artist, support them and care about their vocal health, that’s all we want!

Our system goes now as follows with our criteria. The criteria will be updated in the front page as well. (Changes may still be made as this is the beginning of this only. You could call it a BETA mode right now.)

MH Vocalists: Mid-Range Head Voice Vocalists

Vocalists in this category haven’t developed their head voices very high but are able to use them within a relatively low to mid range in their voice type’s tessitura. They maintain connection at will and are able to access their head voices at will.

Sopranos: Up to at least D5 up to G5/G#5
Mezzo-Sopranos: Up to at least C5 up to F5/F#5
Tenors: Up to at least A4 up to D5/Eb5
Baritones: Up to at least F4 up to Bb4/B4

HV Vocalists: High Head Voice Vocalists

Vocalists in this category have developed a relaxed and open sound in their head voices. They can manipulate dynamics, qualities within their head voices, they maintain supported qualities and manipulate the placement in their head voices well.

Sopranos: Starting Around A5
Mezzo-Sopranos: Starting around G5
Tenors: Starting around E5
Baritones: Starting around C5

MB Vocalists: Mid-Range Belters

Vocalists within this category generally perform the best within their mid-belting mixed voice range. Once they go high, they might have issues with keeping their throats as opened as they were in their mid belting ranges. They must be able to produce resonance in their mixed voices to be classified in this category.

Sopranos: Up to at least C5 up to D5/Eb5
Mezzo-Sopranos: Up to at least Bb4 up to C5/C#5
Tenors: Up to at least G4 up to A4
Baritones: Up to at least Eb4 up to F4

HB Vocalists: High Range Belters

Vocalists in this category perform best and have the most ease within their upper mixed voice ranges. They are able to keep an opened sound without losing tone quality, without losing support and without losing volume while still being relaxed. They must be able to produce resonance in their mixed voices to be classified in this category.

Sopranos: Starting around E5
Mezzo-Sopranos: Starting around D5
Tenors: Starting around Bb4
Baritones: Starting around F#4

M Vocalists: Mid-Range Vocalists

Vocalists in this category are those with relatively narrow supported ranges, whose strengths lie in singing within an octave of their range without going too high or too low too often. They generally keep support within a mid one octave range, but outside of that strain can become more apparent and intense.

Sopranos: Falling somewhere within A3/Bb3 ~ Bb4/B4
Mezzo-Sopranos: Falling somewhere within G3/G#3 ~ G#4/A4
Tenors: Falling somewhere within E3 ~ F4/F#4
Baritones: Falling somewhere within C3 ~ C#4/D4

ML Vocalists: Mid-Low Range Vocalists

Vocalists in this category have somewhat developed their lower ranges, but could still further develop the strength in the vocal cord development, projection, support and connection as they descend lower in range.

Sopranos: Going down to about G#3/G3
Mezzo-Sopranos: Going down to about F#3/F3
Tenors: Going down to about C#3/C3
Baritones: Going down to about A2/G#2

LR Vocalists: Low Range Vocalists

Vocalists in this category generally develop their lower ranges well and are comfortable singing lower than most within their voice types. They have developed chest voices, sung without tension, with connection, projection and ease.

Sopranos: Anywhere starting on F#3 and below
Mezzo-Sopranos: Anywhere starting on E3 and below
Tenors: Anywhere starting on B2 and below
Baritones: Anywhere starting on G2 and below

S vocalists: Stylistic Vocalists

Vocalists within this category usually prefer to sing in a specific specialized generally breathy way, narrowing their genre to keep themselves true to their style. They can often prefer breathiness, soft singing, throatiness and falsetto over singing with more connection and belting with more openness/roundness in tone.

C Vocalists: Commercial Vocalists

Vocalists in this category lack in terms of clarity of tone and overall management of airflow. They don’t necessarily prefer stylistic qualities like breathiness or soft singing. Instead they prefer to sing in a way that’s specific to their own music only, preferring to sing with high larynxes, or more air pressure, etc.

MA Vocalists: Melismatic/Agile Vocalists

This category is exclusive for the vocalists who have learned to how to properly move their vocal cords from note to note, at the center of pitch, with precision, control and ease. They have flexible vocal cords that respond to changes in pitch without sliding through them, but instead hitting each single note at a time with accuracy.

WR vocalists: Well Rounded Vocalists

Vocalists in this category have developed their ranges to sing within a variety of genres and styles while keeping a strong connection between their vocal cords and air management to sing with minimal strain within a wider range, from chest voice to mixed voice to head voice. The development of each of those registers should be both consistent and balanced.