I have read on many many sites that the vocal breaks for the male voice is between E4 and F#4 but in the male vocal groups you have bass singers, baritone singers and tenor singers and their respective tessitura or most comfortable vocal range varies a lot more than just 3 notes. For example. Say I am a bass-baritone, my tessitura will be at least half an octave lower than a tenors tessitura so how can our vocal breaks all be within 3 semitones?

They say the tessitura of a singer is generally below the passagio so if my passagio begins at around Bb or A and a tenors passagio begins half an octave above mine, how can our vocal breaks lie within only 3 semitones apart?

  • Specific to the general position, or lie, of notes in a song - tessitura. Thus a song with quite a few high notes together, although not necessarily out of a reachable range, would be a song with a high tessitura. The word doesn't really apply to a person's singing range. – Tim Jul 26 '18 at 8:38
  • @Tim yes I understand this. I am studying a lot of beatles song and I listen to a lot of J.Lennon parts his main singing range seems to be around C4 - F#4, thereafter Paul would step in on higher parts. For me, I have to lower this by at least 3 full tones for it to sound comfortable. So since my Tessitura would be around 3 tones lower than Johns or perhaps even 4 or 5 tones lower than Pauls, how it ispossible that all our vocal breaks are said to be within 3 semitones. Assuming our tessitura is just below our bridge, my bridge would have to be 6 times as long as those of the tenors – armani Jul 26 '18 at 9:43
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    Problem would be , you, and millions of other singers, don't have a tessitura... Songs do, however. – Tim Jul 26 '18 at 16:03
  • @ Tim according to wikipedia: "Tessitura is the most esthetically acceptable and comfortable vocal range for a given singer." So not sure what you are talking about – armani Jul 27 '18 at 11:07
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    That explanation, I guess, refers to particular songs that have 'the most aesthetically acceptable and comfortable vocal range for a given singer'. It's written ambiguously, more's the pity. And it's not particularly accurate. – Tim Jul 28 '18 at 9:58

the vocal breaks for the male voice is between E4 and F#4

This is false for sure. As you said range differences between bass/baritone, and baritone/tenor are in general 2 tones. I believe their breaks will be as much distant from each other.

To refute the statement for good, any tenor can reach chest voice above E4 or F#4. As an example, check this tenor reaching D5 with chest voice. This means the breaking point for tenors is higher than this, and for sure for bass singers it's much lower.

  • Which part of it is false? Also, I am not talking about what notes can be reached, I was talking about tessitura or main singing range. – armani Jul 27 '18 at 11:11
  • @armani this is false: "the vocal breaks for the male voice is between E4 and F#4". And notes that can be reached with chest voice, i. e. without needing transition to head voice, relates a lot with tessitura, tight? – coconochao Jul 27 '18 at 17:01
  • @armani I hope to have clarified my answer with the edits. – coconochao Jul 27 '18 at 17:04
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    I have done 2 singing programs that say that these are the male vocal breaks. But I won't take any ones word for it just yet :) So according to you, where would you say the male vocal breaks are and also, what is your source for this? – armani Jul 27 '18 at 19:41
  • @armani I don't know and have no source, I can just say that, as you suspected, they are not within 3 semitones, but probably within half an octave. – coconochao Jul 27 '18 at 20:30

I have heard these ranges, concerning the passaggio, which seem to hold true very well. I am a bass and my "break" is at A below middle C, and that also makes me a bass because it is where the passaggio starts. The passaggio is a biological feature (muscles) of the human because you are born with your unique body and vocal cords.

Basses/altos have their passaggio start at (= I think this is the break you are talking about) the note A below middle C, and end at the E above middle C.

Baritones/mezzos have their passaggio start at the middle C, and end at the G above middle C.

Tenors/sopranos have their passaggio start at the E above middle C, and end at the B above middle C.

Your statement the vocal breaks for the male voice is between E4 and F#4 is probably false because only tenors have a break at approximately those notes. Baritones and basses have their break lower.

Try singing a scale and finding where your voice starts to change / turn direction. There you could find your passaggio.

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