• Michelle Ostrove

What Are Vocal Registers?

There seems to be some confusion amongst singers, with regards to certain vocal terminology.

The term vocal range refers to the distance between the highest and lowest pitches that a singer is able to sing. Vocal register refers to vocal fold (vocal cord) function and the resulting sound quality. While there are general sets of notes for each register according to voice type, there’s plenty of overlap!

Research by vocal pedagogues revealed that the vocal folds are capable of producing distinct vibratory patterns. Thus creating four different registers within the human voice. Each of these four registers has their own vibratory pattern, its own pitch area (with some overlapping), and its own characteristic sound. Most vocal teachers today divide the human voice into three registers; chest, middle and head (includes falsetto). Many teachers do acknowledge the vocal fry register (extension of the lower male voice, chest register) and flageolet or whistle register (extension of the higher females voice, head register), as well.

All vocal registers originate in the laryngeal function, which deals with the production of sound, protecting the vocal cords and breathing. When we refer to the chest, middle and head register, we are really talking about the chest, middle and head voice, because we are describing where the vocal resonance (air vibration which creates the fullness and richness of sound) is being felt. We will talk more about the chest, middle, and head voice in a future blog.


Why was Stephen Hawking disappointed when he got his Christmas present?

It was singing lessons.

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