Our Favorite Pop Divas’ Vocal Ranges!
Currently, my favorite YouTube channel is jphqvocals, a channel that is all about getting to know our favorite divas’ vocal ranges! The owner of the account has great taste for music, great editing skills and a great ear, breaking down all the notes artists have hit through the duration of their careers in order to show us the versatility (or lack of) of their voices as well as to give new listeners a good taste of what each artist does best!
Ever since I started taking singing lessons last year, I developed a huge interest for these trivialities, and though one’s vocal range doesn’t necessarily measure their skill or quality as an artist, I love listening to the flexibility of others’ voices and how they’re different from that of other artists!
For those who may be a little unfamiliar with the term ‘octave’, an octave is basically the distance between two notes of the same name, or any set of 8 sequential notes in a piano. An example would be the notes do re mi fa sol la si do. A piano may have up to 7 octaves in total, and it’s usually the main reference for vocal range because of its layout, so basically, when we say an artist has an x-octave range, it means that they cover x/7 of a piano in notes. Every person has different attributes to their voice, though, and while some can’t be described by your vocal range (such as the smoothness or brassy qualities of one’s voice), others can (such as the keys one can hit), and there are different terms to describe the variety of notes each person covers, some being depicted below:
Of course there’s an entire study behind all this to describe each of these concepts a lot better than I can in my early stages of music theory, but hopefully I explained them enough for you to get an idea of what exactly it is that this wonderful YouTube channel is laying out for us! In a nutshell, the higher the number of octaves, the wider the range of the artist!
As I took a look through each of the videos I think my greatest surprise came from Koda Kumi, who has a spectacular 4-octave range!
Being a fan of hers, I knew she could hit amazingly high notes but I really didn’t know she had a range that covers almost the same amount of notes as that of Christina Aguilera! (both of them are the only artists with a 4-octave range on the channel so far)
In case you may be wondering what these combinations of letters, numbers and symbols stand for (e.g. F2-F#2-G#2-A2-Bb2-B2-C3-C#3-D3), each set represents a note, so it’s just like a name for the note they’re hitting!
An artist’s chest voice is literally the voice that comes from their chest, and corresponds to their lower and upper registers, whereas their head voice corresponds to their falsetto notes and are much higher (the whistle note, for example, would be within the head voice category) than their chest voice, as made clear by Kumi’s, Christina’s, and even BENI’s vocal ranges!
Other pleasant surprises in the channel are Shiina Ringo, owner of a fabulous 3-octave vocal range,
JASMINE, responsible for a gorgeous range of 2 octaves and 5 notes, (almost 3 octaves!)
and MISIA, the fabulous Japanese queen of soul who loves to give us a piece of her 3-octave pipes!
And last but not least, we have Utada Hikaru‘s flawless 2 octaves and 3 notes, which had to be uploaded to Vimeo since YouTube took it down when it was up:
Feel free to browse through the channel because there are some other great artists there! Unfortunately, there isn’t a Maki Goto video so far, but hopefully we’ll be able to get an idea of her range in the future as well! A highly requested singer, however, seems to be Namie Amuro, which I’m also curious to know about! What’s very lovely about this channel is how the creator took time to go through each of the artists’ entire discographies, selecting singles, b-sides, album tracks, everything! So we get a very good idea of what each musician can do!
Thank you for the wonderful videos, jphqvocals, and keep up the fabulous work! I’m lovin’ it!