My question rises from my own experience. When I sing multiple low notes (G2,A2,B2,C3), I can't hold the notes as long as when I sing middle notes (G3,A3,B3). So is it because of a technical error or naturally body requires more breath for singing low notes?

  • 1
    Likely both. Better technique takes less air, but low notes require more air than higher ones anyway.
    – user17130
    Jan 3, 2015 at 21:07
  • 2
    And also, singing softly with a good tone requires more air and more breath support than singing loudly.
    – user1044
    Jan 4, 2015 at 14:03
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    In terms of physics, lower notes contain less energy (vibrating less fast) so you might need to increase the amplitude of the sound wave correspondingly by passing more air? But I don't know if the human frequency response is more sensitive to lower notes already, which would cancel that out
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 5, 2015 at 12:21

2 Answers 2


Not being able to hold certain notes as well as others could have to do with a number of things.

1) Range - it is very possible your range is higher than these notes you mentioned. I would recommend having a vocal coach determine your range for you. Sometimes after years of singing, your range can go up or down. Sometimes you might lose the ability to sing certain notes. However, it is more likely you are singing a part too low for your vocal register.

2) Technique - knowing how to breathe from your diaphragm, where to take your breaths in the song before more challenging pitches, how to sing from your chest and not your throat, etc. All of these things can make the difference between singing with ease and struggling to maintain breath. This requires a good practice regiment and lots of hydration.

3) Endurance - professional singers and horn players have incredible endurance in pushing air with their diaphragm and chest. Good technique in combination with endurance allows for longer and more consistent performances.

Now, does singing lower notes require more breath? Horned instruments provide a great example to answer your question and tie all of this together.

A tenor saxophone has a specific range. A technically skilled, in-shape player will have no trouble hitting each note of the saxophone. However, it requires a combination of more breath while staying relaxed to push air through the horn to have it produce the lowest note. Assume the same player is equally as skilled with a baritone sax and he would require less breath to hit the lowest note the tenor sax can hit. Your vocal chords are no different.


Lower notes require more breath. To see for yourself, blow up a balloon. Pull the neck out to make that squeaking noise we all loved as children. Measure the time it takes for the air to run out with a high note, and the time it takes for a lower note. The vocal cords work on pretty much the same principle.

  • Nice idea, but is it really true? The balloon also loses tension when getting empty. So not only time should be considered, but also flow speed. As far as I remember, the balloon loses volume fast at the beginning, slow at the end of the procedure.
    – Wolf
    Jan 5, 2015 at 9:50
  • @Wolf You can apply pressure to the balloon to keep the rate of flow constant, and this will still hold true.
    – user28
    Jan 6, 2015 at 0:51
  • I didn't mean to suggest that it was an exact experiment. I could say that "all other things being equal" air goes more quickly through the balloon when there is less tension on the neck. To make the point very clearly, blow it up and let go! :)
    – BobRodes
    Jan 6, 2015 at 6:05

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