A singer’s vocal range refers to the range of notes that they can produce, from the lowest to the highest notes.
The vocal range is measured using an octave and spans 8 notes in a scale.
For example, E3 to E4 represents one octave while C3 to C5 represents two octaves and so forth.
Every singer has a unique vocal range.
The vocal range can also be described in terms of the tessitura or the singer’s comfortable/usable range or the region in their range where the singer sounds better and where they are most consistent.
Here is a look at the vocal ranges of some of the most famous contemporary singers.
Adele’s vocal range certainly lies in the mezzo-soprano.
There is a bit of an alto in her voice and she has the octave range of two octaves plus three notes that range from C3 to F5.
Adele has a darker but solid lower range but her comfort zone is definitely when she is hitting the low studio notes.
She can do it perfectly even when she is singing in live settings.
The singer’s middle range is sweet, feminine and with a medium weight.
It is this range where Adele sings the most lyrical parts of her songs.
She also has a weighty high range fifth octave.
While Adele has a great vocal technique, she doesn’t have a very wide vocal range and there are instances when she has had some issues with her vocal cords when she sings over the limit of her range.
Madonna is a highly talented mezzo-soprano and has a vocal range of 3 octaves and 2 notes that range from G2 to B5.
The iconic singer has a lot of vocal strengths that enable her to adapt her vocals to almost any musical genre and sing it easily.
Her most powerful region is in the mid-range vocals which she accentuates with her warm and robust voice as well as a brighter timbre or tone.
However, as she runs into the higher notes, Madonna’s voice has a perceptible nasality and thinness.
Taylor Swift has a light-lyric soprano vocal type although she usually sings in mezzo-tessitura.
She has a vocal range of 2 octaves and four notes that range from C3-G5.
Taylor Swift has a bright and soft tone which is not only smooth but also pleasant to hear in the mid-range.
Although there are certain vocal flaws in her voice, there are positive traits in her voice that make her music a delight to hear.
In the studio, she can maintain a note for at least a few seconds and even decently execute some register transitions.
She sings in dark and confident low notes with a smooth and velvety sound until at about E3.
However, due to her technique (weak, anemic and thin voice), these notes aren’t supported until about Bb3.
Her mid-range is well-rounded and easy with some lyrical edge to the voice.
Her voice can be soft and delicate but in some of her songs such as We Are Never Getting Back Together, it is more solid and direct.
Her belts around A4 or B4 generally gives some great resonance.
Whitney Houston had one of the highest vocal ranges in the world.
In fact, she was one of the few singers with a five-octave range.
Whitney widely utilized her entire range of vocal talents in many of her earlier live performances and hits.
Some of her hits such as I Will Always Love You show a vast vocal range.
Whitney Houston had a definitive trademark voice with a great deal of breath support.
She could do extensive legato passages quite easily.
She used all the volumes ranging from the fortissimo to pianissimo.
In her early days, Houston’s voice was a spinto soprano but her voice began to get a little darker, lower and heavier in the mid-90s.
From the early 2000s, Whitney’s vocal tone became a dramatic mezzo-soprano and this is best seen in her ‘Just Whitney’ album.
Houston didn’t venture much outside the vocal range that she embodies.
Her head voice was piercing and resonant while her low notes were darker and fuller.
She had a luscious and velvety timbre which was perfect for the mid-range.
Houston could also deliver very complex melisma in all the registers.
Her vocals were perfect in almost all her performances.
Selena Gomez has a vocal range of Bb2-F#5-C#6 and her longest note is 10 seconds.
Her vocal type is indisputably lyric mezzo-soprano with 3 octaves, 1 note and 1 semi note.
Her vocal range is quite limited and she doesn’t exhibit much vocal theatrics.
She has a light and girlish tone with lows that are dark and a bit bad for a professional singer.
She has a husky and whispery delivery.
Justin Bieber’s voice is around A2-C#5 which makes his voice a tenor overall.
While Bieber’s voice does not contain the strong lows of the baritone, he sings some of his top notes in the F4-Bb4 range and he is able to do this in a relaxed way.
Justin Bieber’s low notes are both clear and audible.
Even when he is performing live, the voice exhibits no breathiness and he could go lower than Bb2.
His chest voice is extensive and he can reach an incredible C#5.
The belts are not only smooth but also well-controlled.
He frequently uses his falsetto head voice in his music even though it is slightly breathy.
Overall, the head voice is quite resonant and he can easily make a transition from the chest to the head voice.
Rihanna’s vocal type is a lyric-contralto.
She has a vocal range of 3 octaves and 2 notes (B2-D6).
Her longest note has been 8 seconds in Hate That I Love You.
Rihanna has a distinct tone which makes her voice easily recognizable.
She sounds best in the mid-range like in the Russian Roulette where it is a solid tone with a slight smoky quality.
In recent years, she has improved her belting range from a nasal and thin voice to some strength and weight in it.
Her head voice is airy and soft and there is a warm and sweet tone to it.
She can easily and quickly switch into this range.
She can hold her notes for some lengths of time without losing the tone and dynamics.
She can also effortlessly sing vocal runs.
However, in live performances, her voice can have a nasal sound.
Beyonce is both a great singer and a great dancer which is rare among modern musicians.
Her vocal range is 2 to 4 octaves which is on the same level as Michael Jackson and Tina Turner although still below Mariah Carey who has a vocal range of 5 octaves.
Beyonce’s voice type is an operatic mezzo-soprano.
She is something of a vocal acrobat with long and complex melismas and does vocal runs with relative ease and without breaks.
She has excellent breath control that enables her to dance while singing at the same time.
She can also do growls and grunts without ruining her technique.
She is an excellent staccato singer.
Beyonce can also hold notes for a long period of time even without vibrato and without a waver in her pitch.
Her vibrato is well-controlled.
She has impeccable dynamic control as well as impressive crescendos which do not come out loud too fast or too slow
. She has a thicker and operatic head voice while her low notes extend into the second octave.
Zayn Malik is lyric tenor with 3 octaves.
He has a vocal range of G2-Eb5-A5. Zayn’s voice has a very distinctive tone and texture that is easily recognizable.
The smokey texture can be heard throughout his voice, particularly in the middle register.
He can quickly execute melisma which demonstrates his masterful control of his pessagio.
He also has an impressive dynamic diversity.
The weakest part of ZAYN’s voice range is the lower register but this is adequately supported and sound dark and healthy up to Bb2.
In the mid-register, the voice acquires a smokier texture as the singer ascends.
This is where his vocal colors really shine.
Zayn’s upper chest voice has developed a more even mix.
He consistently stays in the tenor tessitura with relative ease.
He also has an impressive falsetto and can seamlessly move from chest to head voice.
Like ZAYN, Adele or Madonna, Katy Perry has a very distinctive voice with a slight scratch that is easily recognizable.
Her vocal type is a lyric soprano and she has a vocal range of 3 octaves, three notes and a semitone of D3-A5-F#6.
Her supported range is G#3-C5.
She can sustain a note for an extended period of time, sing a melisma as well as vocal runs.
Generally, she forgoes vibrato but where she does it, it is usually a quick and thin vibrato.
The weakest link in her range is in her lower notes.
She has some of the worst lowest notes.
With time, however, her lower notes have become more solid and confident and she can comfortably reach the D3s and E3s using a very clear and dark tone such as in Bon Appétit.
Her mid-range is thick, rounded and confident.
She is a versatile singer who can sound rocky and throaty at a time while also being clear and bright at other times.
She has powerful belts that come out best from G#4 to C5 during which the notes will be more incisive, resonant and also well-supported to bring out a tone that is clear, sharp and direct.
When she goes upper than this, she is still able to belt out some good notes although her technical limitations will be more apparent as she ascends the notes.
But there are many instances where she has shown a capacity to go to a range of up to A5 like in her live performance of Whip My Hair.
She has a beautiful falsetto with a soft, whispy and airy quality that she uses to bring out various emotions.
Her vibrato is not well developed.
Lady Gaga is better known for her costumes, stunts, and wigs but she is also an incredible vocalist.
She has a vocal range of F#2-G5-C6 or E7 and has a very extensive note of 20 seconds.
Lady Gaga’s vocal type is a Mezzo-Soprano and her vocal range is 3 octaves and three notes.
She is an impressive vocalist and has a great singing technique.
Her belting locals have great resonance and are well-supported.
In some recordings, her belts go up to G5. In most of her songs, however, her belts go up to F#5 such as in Do What You Want.
Her lower notes are full and dark and she is even able to imitate talking voices.
Lady Gaga can make her head voice thicker by supporting it with operatic weight or light and airy sound.
She has a great vocal expression that enables her to bring out various emotions and feelings although she can still deliver a melisma.
She can hold pitches for extended periods and she has a voice that can rise above through various genres such as jazz, rock, pop/dance, country or balladry.
Celine Dion has one of the most powerful voices in music.
Her vocal range is Bb2-C6-E6 and her most extended note is 15 seconds.
Dion’s vocal type is a lyric soprano and she is a five-octave singer.
She is a great soprano singer with a smooth, thin and nasal voice who possesses various technical skills.
Dion can bring out smart melisma and is also able to sustain longer notes without faltering on the pitches.
She has great vocal catches in her distinctive singing voice.
Her voice has a natural charm and elegance and is able to mix her lines with lots of nuances and modulations.
The voice also projects a tender emotional intensity.
Her vocal performance has been compared to that of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.
One of her greatest vocal strengths is the ability to sustain her resonant belts for an extended duration of time without wavering in pitch.
This sharpness of voice enables her to effortlessly soar through the high notes.