I'm a 24 year old and have just taken voice lessons recently. The teacher classify me as a tenor. I notice that when I descend from a high note, I will have tendency to go off pitch. It is as if my voice is missing some notes in between. I understand that it's normal for untrained singers to crack when they ascend. But why does this happen when one descends the voice?

Here is an example of me singing the scale (D4 F#4 A4 F#4 D4). Listen to the obvious breaks when I descend. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151724332364058&l=2977855418018946563

Once again, apologies for the poor voice quality. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


This is absolutely normal, and nothing to worry about—you're just discovering your break. Although the pitch location varies from person to person, everyone has a point at which they have to shift from one vocal production style to another. Different terms are used, and you should go with what your teacher uses, but this is often called the shift between chest voice and head voice. For tenors, it's usually somewhere around D# or E above middle C, precisely where you're having the problem. Traversing the break is difficult in both directions, so it isn't surprising that you have the problem when going down in pitch. Taming your break and learning how to navigate it without cracking will presumably be a primary focus in your lessons, and one day it will seem strange to you that it ever caused such problems. But it takes lots of practice and guidance from a good teacher.

Stay aware of it, and keep working to improve it, but don't let yourself get too frustrated. This is a difficult and normal part of learning to be a better singer.

  • Sir, thank you for the advice! In that audio clip, the crack occurs when I go down from A4 to F#4. This means that my break is around G4? Also, is mixed voice same as head voice? For example, in this clip, are my high notes sung in head voice/mixed voice? facebook.com/… Mar 1, 2014 at 13:50
  • Also, I happen to come across this interesting article:iansidden.com/2009/09/… The author speaks of passaggios of different voice types. Hence secondo passaggio refers to the point at which your voice crack(i.e. you need to change register)? Mar 1, 2014 at 13:56
  • 2
    You're going beyond my level of expertise, and I don't want to speculate. However, I would avoid reading too much into the specifics of your breakpoint (or points) this early in your singing career. The use of the terms secondo passaggio, head voice, head register, etc. vary from teacher to teacher. In particular, I know that the use of the term "register" is controversial. These are all things that will become clearer through working with your teacher. Mar 1, 2014 at 14:20
  • 2
    "My break is around G" suggests that the break is at a certain pitch. The break is the change between two registers. A trained singer will have significant overlap between registers, offering some amount of control over where to place the break or avoid it in a phrase. In addition, the range of the registers depends on the volume and the vowel you are singing. Particularly shortly after voice mutation, the registers might not overlap at all, meaning that you have more of a "jump" than a break. Training will help to get the ranges to overlap and get control over the transition.
    – User8773
    Mar 2, 2014 at 7:41
  • @AlexyVincenzo The passaggio of a tenor (usually) starts at E4 (F4 is also possible), ending at B4. G4 is in the middle of your break if you are a tenor. P.S. Could you provide the sample audio in Google Drive or similar format where we don't need to sign in to listen to the sample or view the video?
    – jeppoo1
    Jan 9, 2020 at 12:45

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