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How to Determine Your Vocal Range + Write It on a Résumé

How to Determine Your Vocal Range + Write It on a Résumé
Photo Source: Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash

It may seem like something all singing actors should know, but many who come through my studio don’t know what their range is. So let’s talk about how to determine what your range is and how to convey it on a résumé.

What’s my range?
Your range is what you can sing in performance, not what you warm up to, and what you sing every day comfortably.

If you’re a tenor that has an occasional high C in warm-ups but doesn’t feel comfortable singing a C in a song and don’t have it anywhere in your book, your range does not go up to a C. 

Your range is also an extension of your type. For example, I’ve got a number of women in my studio who have soprano instruments—their voices break where sopranos break and they warm-up to high Ds. However, they have big voices and usually play character roles. They might get hired more often to play mezzos so it might make sense for them to market themselves as mezzo-sopranos when it comes to range.

This is, of course, at the actor’s own discretion but in general, it’s a good idea if your written vocal type is a reflection of the kinds of roles you get hired to play.

To determine your range, consult your teacher. Ask your voice teacher for his or her input on what they think your range is and what it makes the most sense for you to list on your résumé.  

READ: Top 8 Audition Book Myths

Where do I write my range on a résumé?
Now that you know what your range is, you need to list it on your résumé. Make sure it’s at the very top of the page in the header, justified either to the left or right, along with contact information for you and your agent, like this: 

How do I write in on a résumé?
Your range is usually listed in two parts:

  1. A description of your voice (Lyric Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano/Belter, High Rock Tenor, etc). These descriptions should be short, sweet, and clear: no more than 2-3 words max.
  2. Your exact range, listed from your lowest to highest notes, in parenthesis. To be clear about which specific note we’re referring to, we use the following numbering system, called scientific pitch notation:

Each C, starting with the lowest C on the keyboard three keys up from the bottom, is assigned a number. The lowest C is C1, the next is C2, then up through the highest, which is C8. Middle C is C4. The other notes in between are assigned the number of the C below it (so, the F above middle C4 is F4, or the A above C5 is A5).

The vast majority of vocal ranges fall somewhere between C2 and F6 (the F above the high soprano C6).

It often surprises singers to discover how much overlap there is between vocal ranges. In fact, the three notes below middle C (A3–C4) are a part of every voice type, male or female. 

Here’s a list of some example ranges, and how they’re written:

  • Bass: E2–D4
  • Baritone: F2–G4
  • Alto/Contralto: D3–G5
  • Mezzo-Soprano: E3–Bb5
  • Soprano: G3–C6
  • Coloratura Soprano: G3–E6

Now go forth and update that résumé! 

Amy Marie Stewart is an actor, voice teacher, and the founder of TheoryWorks. Amy’s students have appeared on Broadway, with the Rockettes, and in national tours. She performs in operas, including the 2017 Opera America Showcase at the Town Hall in Times Square, and musicals (Sondheim on Sondheim, Bright Lights Big City, Disney Cruise Lines).

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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