Your vocal range

Every singer has it's own unique sound. The length of your vocal cords determine whether you have a high or a low voice.
High voices have short vocal cords, low voices have longer vocal cords.
The shape of your throat, mouth and nose determine the actual sound of your voice and the range in which your voice sounds best.
In this video a 92-year old tenor sings Nessun Dorma. He prooves that older people can still sing beautifully!
Watch his breath support!


The opera started a system to categorize the voice.
The main categories are:
SopranoThe soprano - highest female voice
Mezzo-soprano - middle registered female voice
Alto - lowest female voice
Tenor - high male voice
Baritone - middle registered male voice
Bass - lowest male voice
All these six categories have different sub-categories. When you click on the links above, you can find out you everything you want to know, both for classical and pop voices!

It can be difficult to determine what voice type you are. Vocal range has a lot to do with it, but the way your voice sings and sounds is important as well. Many altos can sing pretty high as well, but their voices sound much better in the lower regions.
Many male voices can sing falsetto as well, which enables them to sing as high as altos!
Keep in mind that singing in the wrong vocal range is unhealthy and can do major damage to your voice!
 A voice teacher can help you to explore your vocal range. Sometimes it can take several years before you discover your voice type. Many mistakes are made with classifying voices, even by experienced voice teachers. So stay alert and take your time exploring your sound and range!

There are some things you need to be aware of. First of all, many singers tend to colour their voice darker than they should. By doing this, they pull the larynx too low which prevent them from reaching the higher regions of their vocal range. These singer may think they are bass/baritone or alto/mezzo-soprano but in fact they might be tenor or soprano!
Other singers will tend too sing the highest notes with extreme force and found a way to colour their voices lighter. These singers may think they are tenor or soprano but in fact they sing much better when they would 'descend' to the mezzo-soprano or baritone range.
When singing in a choir especially mezzo-sopranos and baritones often have to sing a little too high or too low for their voices. Many choirs sing SATB repertoire. This means the choir is divided in four sections; sopranos, altos, tenors and basses. So there is no mezzo-soprano and baritone group and they are forced to sing soprano or alto/tenor or bass.
If you sing in a choir and feels your voice can't keep up with the demands of the part you need to sing, you should visit a voice teacher to determine whether it is healthy for you to sing those parts or not. Conductors may not always be aware of the vocal health hazards for choral singers, so your voice's health is your own responsability!