How To Determine Your Vocal Range

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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 put it on your résumé.

What is My Vocal Range?

Your vocal range is what you can sing in performance and what you sing every day comfortably, not what you warm up to.

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 warmup 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 their input on what they think your range is and what makes the most sense for you to list on your résumé.

How to Write Vocal 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:

Vocal range listed on resume

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 23 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:

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!

Résumé ready? Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!

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.

Amy Marie Stewart
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.
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