I have tried to sing the tune "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" in the key of E. It seems to be the easiest key for me. The highest note is C#4.

Something seems to happen on D4. It is like I start losing chest voice and moving into head voice. But I won't call it the passaggio note that some of you guys refer to. That note seems to be on E4.

So before the primo passaggio there is another passaggio?

3 Answers 3


Since there are three vocal registers (chest voice, middle voice, and head voice), there are naturally two transition points for a singing voice. These are known as the primo (first) passaggio and the secondo (second) passaggio.

It’s possible that what you’re experiencing on D4 is a transition between your chest voice and middle voice. However, it’s important to note that every individual’s voice is unique and can have different passaggi. It might be helpful to work with a vocal coach to better understand your own vocal range and passaggi.

  • Three? Richard Miller said that there are five, I think. Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 10:18
  • @harryjansson People disagree on how many registers there are and which should be called which, Basically this shows you that registers do not really have a physiological reason.
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 16:22

Keep in mind that a trained voice should not actually have a passaggio at all! Your vocal apparatus consists of muscles (vocals muscles) and ligaments (vocal cords). Pitch is determined by the tension as well as the weight. This is the reason why our voice get lower if we are sick (as inflammations cause blood to be pumped into the vocal muscles and thus increase the weight).

Now we can control the vocal muscles to have it soft enough to vibrate fully, partially or to only have the vocal cords vibrate. The more vocal muscle vibration we add the stronger heavier and lower our voice gets, the less we add the lighter, more flexible and higher our voice gets.

The concepts of vocal registers is nothing but a few extremes in this: Chest voice is what happens when you have a lot of vocal muscle vibrating, head voice is when you have little to no vocal muscle vibrating. Then you have the voix mixte which is when you have have some amount of vocal muscle vibration.

As I said already pitch depends on weight, so there is a limit on how high or low you can get in some register, which means you need to change into a different register, which is the passaggio. Now as these are just arbitrary points in vocal configuration there can be more registers and thus more passaggios, but traditionally we consider a lower and an upper passaggio.

But this is not a necessity, but a habit. If we can develop control over our vocal muscles we can steplessly add and take mass as we go along. So instead of taking one vocal control to its limits and then having to change we can change the configuration continuously on the way there, eliminating the very concept of registers (not exactly, because we still get registers formed by different techiques, but this is not relevant for the concept of passagio) and instead forming a single, big register that can effortlessly go from the lowest to the highest notes.

  • Perhaps trained singers should not have passaggii but I hear how some opera tenors talk about choosing a specific note at which they go into head coice Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 14:03
  • I think eliminating passaggios is only feasible for women (and maybe children?) - far too many questions on here bring up chest, head, and mixed voice for me to think that passaggios can be eliminated for men. (I speak as a woman who regularly sings and has a tough time finding any distinction between my chest and head voices.)
    – Dekkadeci
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 14:21
  • @harryjansson Tbf. not all singing schools follow try to attempt this, and it is hard even if you attempt it to completely get used to habits. But the point still stands, that is, the passaggio is something that is not necessary, but happening because a configuration is kept fixed.
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 16:11
  • @Dekkadeci That is not true. But the concept of registers is quite deeply engraved in language of singing, and often no effort is made to get there. Anyone can remove strict registers from their voice, but it takes work. You should be able for example to sing a low note, glissando up an octave, glissando up another octave and glissando back down again without feeling like you hit a wall or break. Then you know you have a good sense of control of your vocal muscles. If you cannot find distinction between registers maybe you naturally have a good feeling for adjusting your voice properly.
    – Lazy
    Commented Mar 5, 2023 at 16:21

Passaggio can be a region rather than a single pitch.

Some interesting ideas HERE

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