It just doesn't add up. I'm still a baritone and I can only hit C4 freely without falsetto with some warmups first but my ciach says I am more at low notes. When I started practicing bass I thought my voice was not struggling then it suddenly got hard to sing low notes.

My vocal teacher says my voice placement is tenor but he says I am really a bass. I don't know but for now I really am happy singing tenor songs and my auntie is a singer and said I could be a tenor because I'm still 16 and she sees that I am good at changing from chest to head voice and falsetto fast without strain or hard work but I can still hit low notes. As time passes, it is becoming harder for me to sing low notes. I have no idea if I can be a tenor even though I'm a baritone and my instructor told me I'm a bass because I have bass notes. I'm getting confused. Should I sing freely and forget about all these voice placements?

  • 2
    At 16, your voice probably still hasn't settled. Just keep singing, and don't allow your voice to be labelled. Maybe you're lucky and have a big range. Nothing wrong with that !
    – Tim
    Feb 19, 2018 at 8:14

1 Answer 1


At the moment, you are young. Your larynx is yet soft: putting large stresses on it by stretching your vocal folds extremely is a bad idea. If your natural voice type and your breaks are more leaning towards bass, going the tenor route is a) a bit early b) not good for your voice. Now lots of choir tenors are actually baritones out of their depth. The problem with that is that the break is located inconveniently and so most of them will strain their voice in order to "stay in style" and not get into mixed voice (which is actually quite elusive) or falsetto.

I was in my mid-thirties as a tenor when singing got increasingly tiring and I went to lessons, and was diagnosed as a bass baritone. I went the other route then, switching to alto. That way I kept above the break rather than below it. This approach actually works to a good degree also for high tenor in male-only choirs (like barbershop which has bass, baritone, lead, tenor).

At your current age, I'd strongly recommend sticking with singing in manners which aren't exhausting to you. That may mean singing bass or baritone, but it may also mean not shying away from using falsetto where it is the more relaxed mode of vocal production. Save possibly more strenuous decisions for a time when your larynx has hardened out some more and better suited for dealing with stresses: as a natural bass or baritone, it's larger than that of a child or woman and thus stretching your vocal folds gives the respective forces greater leverage which can ultimately lead to damage easier than it could with children or women.

  • 3
    Hah, “diagnosed” as a bass-baritone. Sadly, there is still no cure for this crippling affliction. Feb 19, 2018 at 19:49

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