About & Our Criteria

jyj-acoustic-01

 

 

Vocal Analyses

This blog was made with the intent to share knowledge and share vocal analyses from different vocalists in K-pop. Nobody in the blog is a hater or an anti-fan. The analyses give positive and negative points and are all constructive criticism, nobody is telling you to hate or not listen to your favorite idol vocalist. We’re only letting you know what their vocal skill based on what vocal technique and music theory is from a musically professional standpoint. If you’re confused about rankings, categories and such, click the about and our criteria page. This post will also include the information existing in that page if you’re unwilling to click through just click read more. Otherwise click About & Our Criteria and most questions should be answered. We try to back up all our points with substantial evidence from the singers’ performances, we thoroughly listen to their performances from past and present. No one in this blog claims to be an expert, we’re all learning and everyday we learn more and more, just as we respect your opinions, please respect ours, which were influenced by the knowledge we have and the way we’ve been taught. Thank you.

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This blog is dedicated to compile vocal analyses done by our contributors in order to satisfy everyone’s curiosity regarding their idols’ vocal. The analysis will be based solely on VOCAL TECHNIQUE, not tone, timbre, emotions, stage presence, etc.

The analysis might change according to their latest performance.

If you would like your idol to be analyzed feel free to drop the question in the comment box. If you feel that the analysis is not accurate, you could suggest a video or recording and give us the reasoning behind your disagreement. We will gladly alter the vocal analysis page of the respective idol if your reasoning behind it is proven.

Comments will be moderated. Constructive discussion are welcome. Bashful and hateful comments will be deleted. Every idol mentioned here are talented in their own way. Even so, we are focusing solely on their vocal capabilities and we try our best to give an objective analysis regarding the matters.

So far, we will use this system as our judging criteria. We will elaborate more once it’s established. It goes from best to worst.

TERMINOLOGY

Tones/Semitones/Notes/Key
A key of a song means within the key signature of the song. There are 12 notes in total, C C#/Db D D#/Eb E F F#/Gb G G#/Ab A A#/Bb B and back to C, completing one full octave. A tone is from a note up two semitones, so the distance between C and C#/Db is a semitone, whereas C and D are a full note apart. A major Key will follow a tone tone semitone tone tone tone semitone pattern, so C major is C D E F G A B C. Although there are no sharps or flats between E and F or B and C, they’re a semitone apart. # stands for sharp and b stands for flat and whether or not you name a note sharp or flat depends on the key, i.e. C# major and Db major are the same key with different names, C# D# E# F# G# A# B# C# and Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C Db, on a piano the same notes are played, just with different names.

Intonation
Being able to stay in pitch and in key. Good intonation means not going sharp, flat or singing a note that isn’t within the chord progression and/or key of the song. Going sharp means slightly above the pitch but not really hitting a note above, so like a note in between C and C#, and flat means a note that’s slightly below pitch, so a note in between C and B, for example.

Tonality/Tone Production
The way tone and sound is produced through good support. The voice comes out stable, without any laryngeal restriction nor tension, tone is clean and has the true sound of the individual’s voice type, without an uncentered pitch, excessive breathiness, nasality and tension.

Vibrato
The shift between two notes rapidly within, normally, a sustained note. The difference between the notes is usually less than a semitone. A forced throaty vibrato is usually produced artificially by using the throat, instead of the natural vibrato that comes out once the vocal cords are relaxed with good breath support.

Stability
The stability of the voice, meaning it’s not off pitch and it doesn’t sound wobbly, shaky and unsupported.

Registers
Chest voice, lowest range. Head voice, highest range. Mixed voice, the belting area of the voice.

Support
How the individual vocalist uses their correct breathing technique with the diaphragm to better support, project and hold their voice together.

Placement vs Resonance vs Projection
Resonance is the optimum sound a vocalist should focus on when singing. It is a full, clean and round sound that won’t sound thin, constricted or small. A vocalist who’s resonant will use different types of placements, i.e. their voice will be placed either in their chest, head or mask (cheekbones area, not nose) to project their voice, in each individual register. A vocalist may be able to be resonant in their mixed voice by normally placing their voice in their mask with chest resonance, or as they go higher, with head resonance. A resonant sound is always going to be a projected sound, now resonance doesn’t mean loud, because a loud sound maye still be pushed and strained. You may project but still have tension, but in true resonance tension should not be present.

Vocal Range vs Supported Range vs Tessitura
Vocal range means the individual’s lowest singable note to the individual’s highest singable note.  A tessitura will depend on the individual’s voice type and where their voice sits most comfortably, shines the most and could project the best. A supported range includes notes outside the tessitura where the individual’s voice type may not be naturally inclined to project well in, however so due to the vocalist’s own ability, they’re able to still maintain tone production, support, projection and stability. e.g In classical music, sopranos’ tessituras are something in between A3/C4 to  A5/C6, however in contemporary music a soprano singing as high as C6 is very uncommon and unnecessary; a contemporary soprano, for an example Hyorin, is able to keep resonant consistently up until E5 or F5, which is almost ideal for a soprano who should be able to carry that resonance up until A5 without a problem. However so she’s also able to sing down to F#3/G3 with correct support, which although is outside her voice type’s natural tessitura, she’s still able to keep support and projection down there.

Musicianship/Musicality
Musicianship is the act of changing any song given to you and making it your own, usually on the spot. This includes melodic changes, rhythmic changes and added embellishments. Musicality is the act of interpreting music correctly according to each individual genre of music, by adding the correct use of vocal effects (e.g. raspiness, breathiness, growls, vocal runs, vibrato) and playing with the song musically by adding dynamics (e.g. singing softly, loudly, powerfully on the right moments of each song).

Legato/Staccato
A musical phrase usually will last a couple of bars. During a phrase, the melody may be played/sung smoothly connected without every note sounding chopped up, whereas staccato means emphasizing every single note separately with minor less than a second breaks in between every note. Legato is the most basic form of singing through correct breath control and support.

Agility
Vocal agility is an embellishment and it means, being able to sing many notes accurately and quickly, by separating each individual note while still being able to connect them within one sung vowel. Those are usually called melismas or vocal runs.

 

CRITERIA

Excellent Vocalist

  • All three registers are developed
  • Supported as close as possible from their highest to lowest extremities
  • Within their Voice Type’s tessitura they are consistently resonant
  • Complete support in the middle register and lower register
  • For females head voice must be completely resonant at will; for males falsetto must be completely supported
  • Connection in the voice with no noticeable breaks when transitions are being made
  • Ability to do agile runs at decent speeds
  • Musicianship the ability to change a song and make it their own and Musicality having complete control over the voice in any given genre
  • Almost perfect intonation
  • Tonality is almost never lost

 

Great 

  • Developed registers, but one register may be lacking in development.
  • Optimal resonance is achieved on a regular basis.
  • Supported is present in all registers, but maybe not to their lowest and highest extremes
  • Within in their voice type’s tessitura they are resonant and well projected, but not as resonant and well projected as Excellent vocalist
  • Connection in the voice with no noticeable breaks
  • Agility is present
  • Great interpretation skills (Musicianship), but Musicality may not be as finely tuned as Excellent vocalist
  • Intonation is almost perfect
  • Tonality is almost never lost

Good 

  • One very well developed register or two well developed registers, with the others either being Average or Above Average
  • Optimal Resonance often, but at times is not always achieved
  • Within their vocal type’s tessitura they are resonant and supported, but tonality can be lost at times.
  • Connection between registers is not always present
  • Some agility, but runs and transitions are not always controlled
  • Interpretation skills are present, has show musicality
  • Good intonation rarely goes off
  • At times can lose tonality by rarely does

Competent 

  • One well developed or two/three somewhat developed register well balanced
  • Consistently supported within their supported range
  • Resonates at times, but optimal resonance is not a regular accurance
  • Connection between the registers is not present
  • Intonation is not perfect, off-key moments happen at times
  • Good tonality isn’t always kept, strain and tension are apparent at times

Above Average

  • One somewhat developed register with the others being average or weak
  • Inconsistent with resonance
  • Even in their supported range strain and tension can be present
  • Nasality can be present within the voice at times
  • Intonation issues can be frequent

Average

  • No register is developed considerably well
  • Inconsistent with support, and if at all resonance, even if occasional resonance has happened
  • Good tonality is not present at all times, nasal placement is normally used
  • Frequent intonation issues

Weak

  • No developed registers
  • Very inconsistent with support, strain,no resonance
  • Good tonality is not present
  • Out off tune singing is frequent

Terrible

  • No support, not a vocalist basically

FYI, Among KPOP idols there is NO ONE who is considered Excellent/Amazing/Fantastic vocal-wise (Imagine Maria Callas, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston as amazing/fantastic). They are Great/Good at best.

For further question you can ask the contributors directly at this forum

OneHallyu vocals’ thread

Regards,

Admin

114 thoughts on “About & Our Criteria

  1. Hey, thought I would drop by and say thanks for making this blog. Once it gets up and running it should be an awesome place to reference for various idols’ vocal techniques.

    Btw, I’ve read the entire AKP vocal thread but I don’t actually post there in order to retain some sort of productivity in my life xD

      • Hey, I would totally be willing to help this project along a bit. I probably wouldn’t be able to provide many analyses as my vocal knowledge isn’t as good as chung, zhx, josias, etc. but I could try to do something =)

        Also, I think it would be cool to have something describing what vocal technique, how to judge vocals, and various terms used (for ex. somebody reading about vocals for the first time will have no idea what tessitura means and will probably misinterpret open throat to literally mean a physically wide open throat. )

      • Yes, I thought of that as well, I’ll ask Chung first.
        It would be lovely if you could help ^^
        I myself didn’t know that much about vocal as well. Who would you like to analyze?

      • Hm, I dunno if I’m qualified to analyze anybody since I’m pretty bad at judging vocals and since most of the artists I listen to have already been judged. I could try one though.

        I could also reword/reorganize alot of the stuff written, especially that giant block of text under basic terms and knowledge copied and pasted from the akp thread, cause there’s a lot of awkward sentence structure and organization here and there. There are also things like breath support, nasality, etc. that are missing from that section. (You would have to make me an admin though and I totally get it if you don’t trust some random dude on the internet).

        Also, if you are going to make a 1-10 criteria, perhaps include that in the analyses. I’m thinking 8/8.5 – Ailee, 7- Haeri 6.5 – Luna, Baek Ji Young, 6- Taeyeon, Hyorin, Eunji but I’m sorta lost on how to rank the lower end. For example a 4 singer may have achieve resonance according to above standards, but a 4 for somebody like snsd jessica, who has never achieved resonance, seems low (she maybe should get 4.5). More specifics would be helpful here. Things like breath support, strain, larynx issues, ability to connect notes (cough, bom) should probably be mentioned to separate singers from 0-6.

  2. “Even so, we are focusing solely on their vocal capabilities and we try our best to give a subjective analysis regarding the matters.” I think you meant objective analysis. Just delete this after you fix.

  3. hey I thought it’d be nice if you copy the op in the vocal thread, so people will learn the basics in singing and/or you could provide singing lessons and relate them to kpop singers ^^ I thought it’d be helpful XD

  4. Hi could you all review infinite in their latest comeback? I’ve been hearing they improved a lot.

    could you all please review their live performance with both songs? thank you.

    link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGNeK4vzQ1Q

    what I’m curious about is if they’ve improved and if so have all of them improved or only some?

    and what are the strengths and flaws respectively in their vocals for those lives?

    • Check the future projects page. gangertae/ahmin/rouga might do CSJH. josias will do sohyang, Kwill
      with a little persuassion he might do Naul, PHS and big mama as well.
      ^^
      For now the one in the future projects page are the one who has been assigned to the contributor

  5. Wow this is a rly cool blog, it’s quite interesting looking at K-Pop as more than just glitz and glamour. Are you guys still active?

    Also, could you review Luna from f(X)?

  6. You state “judging criteria will be qualitative”. You evaluate quality by how well a singer achieves excellence in this or that technique?

    Is it possible for a singer with technical flaws to be superior to a singer with perfect technique?

    What if the singer with perfect technique is, well, uninteresting, unable to give pleasure to an audience (with the exception, perhaps, of those who listen mostly for excellent technique)? Does it make sense to call an ineffective, though technically excellent, singer, “excellent / amazing / fantastic”?

    I enjoy your site very much and appreciate the effort you are going to to educate K-Pop listeners in technical ways of evaluating voice.

  7. Hey there, thanks so much for the information you provide; it really opened my eyes (ears?) :) Could I request that you do a review on Zion.T when you have the time? Thanks once again and have a nice day

  8. Is a competent vocalist a decent vocalist or a vocalist whose technique is in between that of a Decent and an OK vocalist?

    • The problem with this is that none of us are very familiar with them and we would have to watch many performances to be able to make analysis, because first we would have to find their highest and lowest(which is harder than you think), find if they have resonated or note(again harder than you think), find their supported range etc. Only one of them I could see having analysis is G.O because he has a vocal range video on youtube and is a top vocalist in KPOP.

  9. wow, I loved reading all the reviews, and couldn’t help but reconsider some of my opinions regarding their singing…
    And by the way, can you also analyse B1A4’s Sandeul? I don’t know much about these vocal things but I don’t think he’s that bad. :)
    If you want I can send in some links of some of my favorite performances by him?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GfHzzA4Kp0 << this one was for their previous concert.

    • ChoColat doesn’t have much to work with, I can tell you their vocal ranges cuz Ik them and I’ve been thinking of making a vocal range for Melanie but not enough material and she still classifies as an average vocalist …

  10. Do you think you could do VIXX Leo ? I love his voice and I’m curious what you’d think of him, especially since our fandom is usually very amazed, especially lately with his high note in eternity, but I want to see how our opinions differs from yours. Thanks for your time.

    • I heard that he had a resonant C5 which is a good thing. It was in their latest single but only the studio version, so that shows some impressive ability right there, it’d be impressive if he could do it consistently live but having it done once in studio that high? It’s pretty good on its own, but I can’t say how he’d classify as an overall vocalist.

    • Vocal battle analyses aren’t really our thing, but you could compare the three when their analyses are done and posted.

      • Well, it is out of the topic. But may i ask you a question? I really like Adele’s voice, i think she sings very well and i think her live performances are about 90% similar of that recorded in the studio. However there are many criticisms against her. I have read quite a lot of articles but they dont have a full analysis like yours. Well, according to you and your criteria, what kind of vocalist Adele is? Thanks a lot

      • I think Adele is an above average vocalist because her intonation and musicality save her, but technically she doesn’t have a very well developed head voice or mixed voice, her head isn’t bad though. Also her notes can be strained when they’re too high but she sings in a comfortable range usually with good musicianship/styling.

      • So Adele is a emotional singer rather a technical vocalist right? If Adele is just above average so Taylor Swift is average vocalist. Lol. I can’t imagine that many kpop vocalists still have better technique than the ones who win many grammy awards like Adele or Taylor Swift in the recent years. It sound unusual.

      • Isn’t it kinda sad? Yeah Taylor swift is like a weak to average vocalist .. Probably just average… But yeah it’s true, technique doesn’t sell records exactly lol

      • No, I’m not a big fan of Taylor swift but a real fan of Adele. But I’m sad to hear that Adele is just above average however she is still a great songwriter at last, maybe one of the best songwriters in the history. I’m really sad to here that the ones who win many grammy awards like Taylor or Adele sings at that bad. Luckily, Katy Perry didn’t last grammy award. Now I am going to listen to Kyuhyun oppa’s songs instead of Taylor’s songs. Forget Taylor, Kyuhyun here I come!!!!!!!
        Oh, I think I have just discovered a good Korean vocalist, it is Jo Seung Woo.

      • The video isn’t playing on my phone so I’ll check later lol but yeah well Beyoncé wins awards too so it’s all good

      • Oh! Don’t forget to check Jo Seung Woo’s video out. He is a korean movie actor so I think it is very good of him to sing like that

      • I’ll let u know what I think and as for Demi and Kelly, they have some issues but they’re much better than the rest

  11. Hi I was wondering what you guys think about Soyeon from T-ARA, because I feel like she’s really regressed or damaged her voice or something. Ever since she were promoting “Number 9,” she was lip syncing, and when she wasn’t her voice was frail and off key. But in 2009 she sounded much better and I really liked her voice.
    Idk I just wanted a second opinion on Soyeon cause she seemed really talented…

    • As an overall vocalist, she’s an average vocalist. Lip synching isn’t the worst part, it’s more of how unstable and uncontrolled her voice can be, without being able to project at all.

  12. well I already asked but I never got an answer
    the thing is that I lately watched someone videos explaining what runs / melismas are
    the thing is that there are videos that confound runs with melismas , which made me confused too
    so I asked if anyone can explain the difference between them so I can take off the confusion

    • They’re both average or average to above average vocalists, they’re not bad at all, their pitch is nice mostly but they’re necessarily impressive vocally just yet either. They’ve improved tho

    • I have personally no opinion on her, but considering she’s the main vocalist, I will at some point when we do analyze her lol

  13. Hi, your vocal analyses are awesome and really helpful, but I’m curious as to who are your favourite vocalists ignoring technique?

    Many thanks! :)

    • Oh the criteria is that basically they meet some requirements from both levels but not all to be on the upper one, that’s how it works. It’s just people who are not consistent enough or just not quite there yet but are better than just the lower rating

  14. You guys seem to be more active here than in the vocal thread.

    You guys should also make a thread here.

  15. Pingback: About & Our Criteria (Disclaimer) | KPOP Vocal Analysis'

  16. hey! I just want to ask a question which is out of the topic. Do you guys know Florence and the machine? I have just come across their songs and I think their songs as well as the vocalist are great. I read several analysis about her but they do not rank her. What kind of vocalist do you think she is? P/s: If you do not know the band(since the band is not so famous) so you do not need to answer the question.

    • I know a song from this band and I am aware of who they are, but I unfortunately am not familiar enough with her singing so I don’t know. She has a very cool voice though.

    • Lol who said that? He was mixing it was just G#5, if it was G#7 he could only be singing that with a whistle register lol

    • Did u wanna know the note? They’re both F#5, if you wanna know what whistle register sounds like look it up on YouTube, like Mariah Carey whistle and you’ll find it. Those notes the norazo guy is hitting are mixed, which is very impressive.

  17. Just a few questions (I don’t know much about vocal stuff)
    Can your range be improved or is it something you are born with? ie does having a bigger range make you a better vocalist than someone with a smaller range?

    Also according to Wikipedia the highest note is F6, which kpop vocalists are able to hit that note? I know of one singer who apparently can (I can’t say for sure since I am no good with vocal technique things but my friend said he did) but who are the others?

    Lastly, what is the lowest note and are there any kpop vocalists who are able to hit it?

    Thanks :3

  18. Hi this is just a suggestion but would it be possible to put the criteria into a table/rubric format? I think it will be easier to read and compare the 7/8 classifications consistently across the same criteria. You can still keep it qualitative without using a numerical scale (ie. Excellent, Great, Good etc.) along the top and the component/criteria (ie. Registers, Breathing Support, Resonance etc.) along the right side. This way, you can also define or link the definitions to these criteria in an organized manner.

    Example of a rubric below.
    http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/06/a-must-have-rubric-for-infographic-use.html

    Also, I have no idea where to put down voice analysis suggestions but I am very interested in an analysis on Zhang Li Yin/Jang Ri In. I know her lives have been inconsistent when she first debuted in a duet with DBSK’s Junsu but there’s something about her voice that draws me to her. Now that she has sung live with Chen like 8 years later. I can hear that something about her voice has changed like it’s softer and lighter? aside from the fact that it is also better controlled.

    It might be hard to do a thorough analysis since she doesn’t sing a large variety of songs or there are few footages of her singing a lot of songs but she has quite a few recent performances that are ALSO good quality because it is recorded by TV programs. If anyone is interested, I’d be happy to help search for research footage.

    • Future analyses is where you put it. See, I like your idea in a way and I don’t. This isn’t us grading them as if it were an assignment or a class, we’re not professors we’re just analyzing and giving an overall rating based on a criteria that’s pretty general, it’s hard to be as specific as a rubric, I feel it might limit it. I think it might visually look clearer though so why not? I just don’t personally know how to do it myself lol Zhang Li Yin improved a lot, resonance and mixing wise but it’s hard to get a good quality video to judge lol U can link us that stuff lol

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