Finding a Song in Your Range
Post by: Abigail Heimann
One of the most fun parts about voice lessons is picking songs and finding new repertoire. However, sometimes you’ll find this process more daunting than simply hearing a song you like and just going for it. Often we run into issues with the vocal range. The vocal range of a song, its lowest to highest notes, needs to match the singer’s vocal range. I am going to show you some tools you can use to help you through this process.
First thing’s first – you need to know your own range. You can simply use a piano or keyboard, or even a piano app (I like Tiny Piano), to find your lowest note and highest note. Sing ‘Ah’ and slide down as low as you can go comfortably. Then find the note on the piano that matches. Do the same thing going up – again, the ‘comfortably’ part is very important! Use the guide below with letter names and octaves (represented by the numbers) to label your range. For example, C4-E5 is a possible range for female singers, C3-E4 for male singers with a changed voice. Yours may go lower, higher, or be somewhere in between – that is okay! And if you’re not sure that you’re doing this right, you can always ask your voice teacher for help.
Another cool tool for figuring out your vocal range is Singing Carrots. This website has tons of fun resources for singing, including the vocal range test, song searching, pitch training, and discovering the vocal range of your favorite singers. The vocal range test will simply have you sing around your low range to find the bottom of your range, and likewise for the top of your range. (Note: you must have your microphone enabled on your device for this to work.) The site will remember your range for you and display it at the top left. You can always retest as well – because we all know that sometimes we just have bad range days!
Once you have figured out your own range, you can use the song search tool on Singing Carrots. It will automatically search for songs in your range, but you can adjust the range if you like using the slider above the piano at the top of the page. You can also filter the song suggestions by gender, difficulty, and genre.
When you find a song you like, you can click ‘Sheet Music’ under the song title, and it will take you straight to MusicNotes.com or another sheet music site. (I highly recommend MusicNotes.com, however, so try to look there first!) Then, looking at the righthand side, scroll down to ‘Quick Details’. Look at the voice range and make sure it matches or is within your range! You can check by looking at the piano guide above. If it goes a little too high or low, most sheet music on MusicNotes.com has the option to transpose it up or down. Try a different transposition and then check the listed vocal range again.
I hope these tools will help you in your quest for finding the perfect songs for your range! For more tips on vocal range, check out this article.