About & Our Criteria

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Vocal Analyses

 

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FUTURE PROJECTS HERE

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 resonance 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within C3 ~ E3 (or lower) and G5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within Bb2 ~ D3 (or lower) and F5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within F#2 ~ A2 (or lower) and C5/C#5 (or higher)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within D2 ~ F#2 (or lower) and Bb4 (or higher)
  • 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
  • Agility is present and pitch is controlled with good separation between individual note, potentially very complex runs are done from the bottom to the top of their ranges
  • 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.
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within F3/F#3 and F#5/G5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within Eb3/E3 and E5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within A2/Bb2 and B4/C5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within F#2/G2 and G#4/A4
  • 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 and pitch is controlled with good separation between individual notes
  • 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within F#3/G3 and E5/F5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within E3/F3 and D5/Eb5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within Bb2/B2/C3 and Bb4/B4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within G2/G#2 and G4/G#4
  • Optimal resonance often present, but 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within G#3/A3 and D5/Eb5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within F#3 and C5/C#5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within C3/C#3 and G#4/A4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within G#2/A2 and E4/F4
  • Consistently supported within their supported range
  • Resonates at times, but optimal resonance is not a regular occurrence
  • 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within A3 and C5/C#5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within G3 and B4/C5
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within D3 and G4/G#4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within Bb2/B2 and Eb4/E4
  • 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within Bb3 and Bb4/B4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within G#3 and A4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within Eb3 and F4/F#4
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within C3/C#3 and C#4/D4
  • 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
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for sopranos falls somewhere within B3 and G#4/A4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for mezzo-sopranos falls somewhere within A3 and F#4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for tenors falls somewhere within E3/F3 and Eb4/E4 (or less)
  • Range wise, supported range without head voice for baritones falls somewhere within C#3/D3 and B3/C4/C#4 (or less)
  • 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

FUTURE PROJECTS HERE

 

THE TEAM PAGE HERE

705 thoughts on “About & Our Criteria

  1. Hi. :)
    I know this is kinda OT since he’s not really in kpop but can you please tell me how he did in this performance?

    He’s one of the very few jpop vocalists that I actually like so I’m really curious. ^^
    Thanks a lot in advance! :D

  2. Someone said Ailee is better than her. I’m not really an Ailee fan I asked people here if there analysis is true.

    • With head voice, simple! ^ ^ he actually is really screechy in his head voice but he’s a baritone so his voice has a bigger difference in tone from chest to head.

  3. cool, but what’s the difference between a resonant note and only a good note without resonance? can you show me? :)

    • Oh my I apologize, I did not see this comment. Resonant notes are the ones with optimum placement, a good note without resonance refers to healthy notes, without any strain, with good support, openness but not necessarily the correct placement for the best projection. Also Musicality is like the way a vocalist understands music, the way they show their understanding of music through dynamics, effects and style. High notes aren’t really musicality.

      • actually I was referring me in the way she did the high notes:
        “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)”

        in 2:28 she did a normal note (was healthy, resonant or tense?)

        in 4:04 she made a different note (was a growl?)

      • Neither of those are done on purpose, the first one was not healthy, it was tight and small, closed throat. The second one was throaty and she sounded tired actually, both were strained though so they don’t really count for musicality because they were different in the same song when neither were supposed to be done that way. Yknow what I mean?

  4. Hi. Please check out Park Hyo Shin 박효신.
    He has reached almost god-like status in Korea after having debuted in 1999 and has recently been exposed to international fans with his song Wild Flower 야생화. He also does musicals, and I encourage you to check out his newer songs and style as he has had time to refine it over his 15 years in the music industry. Here is a sample of a musical performance he has done in his last concert. There are rarely any live show recordings of him since he is not internationally popular.

  5. When I try to sing high notes(Let’s say it’s a six seconds long high note IDK)
    I can only sing the first 2 secs but then my voice gets shaky,
    It’s not that i’m straining I can’t even sing the note for longer than a second.Does that mean that I’m really bad? (I guess you can’t really know without a recording.)

    • No it just means your voice lacks stability, the support needs to be stronger and the muscles need to get used to the notes and become stronger as well. (Without a recording, that’d be the logical guess yes)

      • I mean I have tried singing EXO-K’s mama and I can sing most of Baekhyun’s high notes I guess(pretty badly and they are probably strained as well but they are not shaky) but I’m having a hard time with D.O’s high note in the very beginning.Also I’m really shy and not confident but I guess the main problem is that I lack stability.Lack of confidence can also be a problem though right? (Like in D.O’s case)

  6. Also I am assuming you are familiar with the song but I don’t want to be rude so I will link the song anyways,Is D.O singing with vibrato in 0:35,Also is Baekhyun singing with vibrato in 4:05? (I’m trying to check if I understand what vibrato is).

      • Well if there’s tension/strain in the voice, the vibrato has to be forced out. It also depends on the quality of the vibrato, if it sounds too fast, too slow, unsteady, uncontrolled and so on.

  7. To be honest to me Baekhyun’s part(with the vibrato) sounds good,But it doesn’t mean that it’s actually good of course,is it strained?
    I thought Baekhyun doesn’t strain so much,But I can’t tell because It’s really hard for me to identify strains.

  8. What do you think about Amy Lee from Evanescence?
    Her style seems kind of risky,Like she would eventually injure her vocal chords.

      • Dude you are always being too nice,no need to say sorry.
        BTW when you guys write that a singer has potential to improve in the end of *almost* every analysis,do you actually mean it or you are just trying to sugar coat it to avoid obsessed fans starting fan wars in the comments section?
        (I’m just curious,you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to).

      • If I write it, I usually mean it considering their improvement. It’s a bit of sugarcoating too lol thank you btw haha oh but read Krystal’s, I didn’t say anything bout improvement

  9. Hi, I just want to ask what rating could Kiyoe Yoshioka, the lead vocalist of Ikomono Gakari be? Here are some videos? What do you think about her performances?

  10. Thanks for your all efforts and It is really enjoyable to read em all. If you excuse can i ask have you ever thought Kpop Star contestants as future projects. of course not all of them but the ones that caught your eyes.

    • I do apologize, I rarely keep up with the contestants of singing competitions, the judges in these competitions frustrate me a lot with their comments on technique and “emotion”. However, as soon as they debut under an idol group, idol company or have had enough singles and songs for me to analyze them, we do analyze the contestants, such as 15& and Lee Hi ^ ^

  11. Hi! thanks for making this blog, i love all your analysis :).
    I just wanna ask you what do you think about Kim Jong Kook? i like some of his songs and i think he has a liht tone. These are some videos:

    I’m really glad for all your hard work… Keep going <3!

    • Thank you so much for your comment! ^ ^ His voice comes out of his mask a lot, so he makes a very good and bright sound for the most part. His low notes don’t lack volume and they’re not that bad, he just has a terrible habit of also placing his voice in his nose, letting his larynx raise, closing the back of his throat, creating very small sounds with his voice, creating a tight, screechy sound and not allowing for a more opened and bigger sound. He has a very heady mix, he can mix high but his mix is really bad in terms of support. He places his voice brightly, but he produces such small, tight and strained notes for the most part, his singing is actually quite limited, dynamically as well. He can’t create bigger, fuller, louder sound, it’s all kind of the same sound throughout. It’s hard to determine his supported range because he starts straining really low in his mixed range.

      • Thanks. I think he could have a darker tone, but he always sings like that. I also thought about he was straining but i didn’t pay too much attention since i like part of his voice and his voice is really light.
        I hope you can give us more analysis, i love them… ^_^ .
        I’m gonna let you some links about VIXX’s Ken and Leo. I like their voices but i’m thinking that they are using it to much, because in every VIXX song, they sing the most and maybe they are getting vocal fatigue.

        i think these were on the same day:

        I hope this can help you for your analysis. Thank you so much. Have a nice day ^_^ .

  12. Hello, I was just wondering if you could help me check these two singers out. Not kpop, mandopop actually but how are they?

    • The girl, A-Lin, she has support, she has no nasality, she has nice placement, a nice head voice and all. She lacks power, her mixing doesn’t seem very developed, so the higher she goes, the less power she has and she can’t seem to sing very high, her support lacks in terms of amplifying her resonance and allowing for a better mixed voice. She isn’t bad at all though.
      I love JJ Lin with a passion lol He has a very heady mix and he can switch into his head voice very easily, which is good. His vibrato doesn’t seem very even nor steady here, he has no nasality in his lower mix. His G4’s are okay, they’re a bit tight and they could more openness, his voice lacks chest-resonance and the coordination of the chest muscles for him to produce a more even and balanced mixed voice. So his voice also lacks a bit of power, even around G4. His placement is nice and he does support his voice. Notes above G4 are quite tight and heady, so even though they have tension, they’re not too bad at all.

      • Oh thank you so much!! I really admire this blog a lot haha.

        Just another question here, how would you rate A Lin and JJ Lin (as in according to your criteria)? And also what is JJ Lin’s vocal range?

        Thank you for your hard work! Really enjoy reading your analyses :)

      • I do not know JJ Lin’s vocal range, I haven’t heard all his songs lol Sorry. Thank you haha! Idk how I’d rate A Lin based on that one performance, JJ Lin would probably be above average but I’m not sure either.

  13. Hello Ahmin. ^^ thank you for the other reply, I don’t know why but it doesn’t make me reply to you on the other comment about the baritones in SJ.. maybe because I changed twitter @(?) OTLL
    Anyway, can I ask if Kyuhyun and Ryeowook had some musicianship moments in this performance?

    @2:23 Kyuhyun and right after him Ryeowook

    here is the original
    from @2:28

    How did they do?

    On a second listen, Kyuhyun’s part doesn’t seem that different.. Idk lol what do you think?

    • Hi there! ^ ^ Actually yeah at the end Ryeowook’s extra note was quite nice and I liked it, to say it was real musicianship, it was potential musicianship, there wasn’t much of a difference. Kyuhyun’s line was exactly the same on both recordings, however.

  14. Hi Ahmin. You blog is growing so fast. I knew about this blog when you guys only had a few analyses with quite a messy ranking system, but now look at it, I’m amazed. You even got an interview from soompi, haha. I wonder, does it hurt your feelings when you spend so much time doing the God’s work to educate Kpop fans about the technicality of vocals but still got torn apart by the vicious, butthurt fandoms who are outraged at the simple fact that you don’t consider their idols as the best things since sliced bread? I saw the vitriol attack against you on soompi and omona last year and I’m surprised you are still here, even expanding the blog with a series of vocal training videos and diligently replying to people’s questions without getting any benefit back. Kudos to you and the team.

    Anyway, could you help me to identify the lowest note Yuju sang in this video? She’s my favorite vocalist at the moment among the newly debuted groups. I think it’s around 0:20. What do you think about their overall performance? Thank you very much.

    • I wouldn’t call this “my” blog per se but haha yes I know! It was quite messy, we still have some of the messy analyses up too.. lol It does hurt my feelings quite a lot actually, I feel the need to explain myself every time and it’s annoying that they have to call you names and whatnot just because they can’t be mature enough to accept constructive criticism. It’s surprising though, many fans who are hurtful and butthurt are over 23, like I’d expect more of people older than I am. Well actually, most of the critique we get is because we don’t consider Junsu the best vocalist on the face of earth, so for that reason, we got backlash in the soompi article. The other ones, I think we didn’t get much hate but the blog wasn’t organized enough at that point and it gave us pointers on things to clean up and work on so people can read the criteria and then the analyses! ^ ^ Thank you so much for being careful and paying attention to all of this btw, it makes me feel very touched!

      Im surprised by their lack of ability to blend their voices together, sometimes they don’t sound yknow.. like “one” so because of that, I was kinda thrown off at times, although of course for their age and all, they did quite well. 0:06 G3 was her lowest note, which I believe was the same note around 0:20 Overall I think they did okay, need to work on blending their voices together and perhaps pitch since some of it came off a bit off. Yuju btw is so full of potential, depending on how she breathes, she’s able to do quite well vocally, she’s a promising young vocalist.

  15. Hi, It is me again, and I wanna just ask if there are any plans to make vocal analyses of Moon Myung Jin and Seo Ji Ahn. I am asking this because Michael Bolton said that there were delivering great vocal performances on Immortal Songs 2.

  16. Didn’t you say that Kyuhyun Baekhyun and Daehyun have the biggest vocal range’s in kpop between males?
    But it seems like Chen and Baekhyun have the same range (?)

  17. Of course he probably worked hard to improve his technique but he is pretty amazing IMO ,he is really talented and it was probably easier for him compared to some other people who had to work hard to improve. I hope you didn’t get hurt,I didn’t mean to say that decent vocalists or good vocalists are in this level solely because they are lucky,Yes those kind of people are usually born possessing talent but I do think they have to work hard to achieve a decent position as a vocalist (Since you are decent and you probably worked hard to get there,I’m sorry).

    • He has a very light and pretty voice actually. He is pretty good up until A4, let me keep listening. Even his B2’s aren’t bad at all! That B4 was so good!! Oh my god, the vibrato got a bit laggy, but he was really relaxed and resonant! His C5 wasn’t 100% relaxed because of his tongue but he sang really well!

    • It was head voice, kind of placed in the mask, with a lot of throatiness which to me seem like it was used for effect cuz I’ve heard him go higher with less strain.

      • it’s definitely by effect , he always ends his performances with screaming since he is a rock singer after all but this was like the first time he screamed with head voice

    • He seemed slightly pitchy in the beginning but that’s perfectly fine. Maybe it’s just me haha he sang down to D3, very nicely, with support and clarity. I really like his tone here and the way he’s singing, he’s very on point with pitch and very soft, he’s controlling his voice well. He sang beautiful G4’s in the chorus, with openness and resonance, I loved them. Oh then there’s a key change! The G4’s, become A4’s, they sound nice, they have resonance but he’s pushing slightly with too much chest voice. His falsetto isn’t bad either up until D5, this is a pretty song. His A4’s have improved since then.

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