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I had a tendency to sing most pop songs an octave lower, but now that I noticed and started singing them properly, I have noticed I cannot reach most pop songs at all, at least without falsetto. Like, the intro to Reptilia by The Strokes, which most people would say sounds low, takes me to the very edge of what my chest voice is capable of. In general, I've realized I can't reach most pop songs, and that there is no modern artists or songs that ever go to my lower registry, or in fact any place where I can sing comfortably.

I am really comfortable singing stuff in the correct pitch for things like Bill Withers and Hendrix, so I am wondering if my vocal range just plain sucks for pop music, or if I need to work on it and if I can bring it up.

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    Go to a piano, and match your singing to notes played to find your range, then look it up on the many charts available. That way, you'll get a far more accurate answer than asking here.
    – Tim
    Sep 24, 2022 at 12:18
  • The song you have given here reaches a D4, which is a high note for a (non professional) singer in the bass register. As Tim said, try to find out your range, this will tell you what voice type you are.
    – Lazy
    Sep 24, 2022 at 12:22
  • Why would you need to 'work on it' to bring your voice up to 'pop music range' (whatever that is!)? Stay as you are, use what you've been given, and plough your own furrow. There are many, many singers who are doing just that, successfully. If you need to sing existing pop songs, do like a lot of others , and transpose.
    – Tim
    Sep 24, 2022 at 12:45
  • See how you get on with something like Chris Isaak's Wicked Game. Starts nice & low with a bit of a stretch to the chorus; though it's not as high as it gives the impression of being.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 24, 2022 at 15:52

2 Answers 2

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I'll try to answer your question slightly differently maybe, but I hope it will get to the point:

  1. Your natural voice height is determined by the size of your vocal cords (the organ in your body primarily responsible for the voice height). The only way how to know your voice height is to visit a specialist who will measure the size.

  2. There are (slight simplification) two voice positions based on the resonance: the chest voice and the head voice. To reach d'' you definitely need the head voice (basically regardless of your vocal cords size), which is tricky for most untrained guys after puberty as guys simply tend to use the chest voice that's deeper. Gals tend to stick to the head voice and thus speak and sing higher. Also, their cords are usually smaller as well, meaning their natural position is higher than in guys, for both the chest voice and the head voice.

  3. The range you can get (within the chest voice and within the head voice) depends on the state of your vocal cords -- if you train them for a wider range, you can usually achieve that, the muscles can be trained as any other muscles. However, if you overdo it, you can damage them and then your voice will be in various states of broken. Also, training is easier when you're young and harder when you're old, just like any other training.

So to answer the question: You probably have just a very normal "guy" voice, and many singers work hard to extend their range quite outside of what you can do.

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I'm not an expert on pop music, but my impression is that pop music has an abundance of (a) tenors and (b) falsetto (in male singers).

Maybe it's time to get to know Johnny Cash's oeuvre better, so your voice will sound more normal to your ears.

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