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I’ve been working on my vocal range for a long time now, but it seems to always stay extremely small. The lowest note I can hit is the G below middle C, and the highest note I can hit (in full chest voice, not head voice/falsetto) is the C one octave above middle C.

I am female and the same age as Billie Eilish, so I tend to compare my range to her, and I get really discouraged because she can hit both lower and higher notes than I can with relative ease.

I’ve taken singing lessons, and my teacher seems to think there’s nothing really wrong with my voice, but it’s quite frustrating to me because I can’t sing the songs I want to.

Is there something wrong with my voice, and is there anything I can do to fix it or work with it?

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    People are different. Everyone has a different "natural" range, and you can't do much about that (at least until we start applying CRISPR to vocal cords). Trust your teacher. – Carl Witthoft Mar 31 '20 at 14:51
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    1.5 octaves in chest voice is not bad at all, work with your voice teacher to try to develop your head voice and mix to extend your range upwards. :) – dissemin8or Mar 31 '20 at 15:34
  • Beats me how we are supposed to know the answer to this! – Tim Mar 31 '20 at 16:14
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    "I am female and the same age as Billie Eilish, so I tend to compare my range to her" Comparing yourself to one of the biggest vocal artists of the current generation is being a bit tough on yourself, don't you think? I mean, unless you yourself are a professional who is trying to make it in the same industry, it's a bit like if I were to say "Gee, I'm the same height and age as Michael Phelps - why can't I swim as fast as he can?". – user45266 May 10 at 17:58
  • My point is, it might be more helpful and healthy to examine one's own progress rather than one's abilities relative to someone who makes their living by being good at singing. Especially in singing, where everyone is physically different and will have unique voices. And especially because range isn't always a good indicator of singing ability. – user45266 May 10 at 18:00
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Nope, nothing wrong with your voice. An octave and a half chest range isn't bad. The quality of the sound in each register matters more than the range. No use for a 2 octave chest if the bottom is grunty and the top is squeaky.

To work with it, two thoughts:

  1. You should focus on the transition to mix around B4 up to E5. It's quite hard, but if you can navigate the transition smoothly and naturally you can hit higher notes without pure head voice.

  2. Key change songs you sing to fall in the nicest parts of your register. No singer can sing every song they want in the same way as other singers; too much human variation. Lewis Capaldi has a powerful belt note at Someone You Loved's climax - a Bb4. No way I can belt that. But I can belt G4. His voice is higher than mine so I lower the song a minor third to match where the notes land in his and my registers.

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Couple of points:

1) Not everyone naturally has a wide vocal range. It depends on your background (e.g. how has your speaking technique been since you were a child) and biology.

2) You unfortunately cannot affect the biology part: your body is biologically what it is and that restricts how easy it is for you to do things. Of course you can train your body and your muscles, go to the gym etc., but it is still your body and its restrictions, not someone else's. Some people simply might have a (biological!) body construction that does not allow a wide vocal range, even though you practice singing for 20 years (I have met male singers that are of the same voice type as me and they struggle with high notes, whereas I can easily sing half an octave higher than them, and that is a lot)! So, some people might have a favorable body construction and they develop a wide range and a good technique in just a few years and just a little advice. That means they have a biologically favourable construction, are more able to control their muscles (note that singing is about muscles and muscle control), and most importantly, that does not mean that you are less hard-working than them: you are just different.

3) Be patient. It usually takes at least three years to automate the control of one muscle group. After that, you must automate another muscle group, and that is how you make progress with your singing. Same goes with vocal range: you need correct instruction and a good voice teacher to train the muscles for healthy singing. Gradually you will develop a wider range but it will most likely not happen in a year. It is like learning to dance: if you have danced and watched good dancers dance or maybe danced with your parents who are awesome dancers since you were a child, you will have a better basis for dancing. Or if you are like me, who has a stiff back and shoulders and never danced until I was 24 years old, it would take 2-3 years to learn the basics of posture and body muscle control. That is what I went through when learning to dance. My singing has gradually gotten better and my vocal range developed for at least five years when I started singing lessons and I'm still learning (of course) new things about singing.

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Your range is small because you aren't properly accessing your head voice and mix and are just using a pushy chest in its place (which is unhealthy). Your head voice (if properly developed) is part of your full range and will probably give you at least an octave up top if not more (considering that your lowest note is a G3 indicating that you're probably a soprano). And by the way, Billie Eilish always uses head voice or even falsetto to sing her higher notes, otherwise she'd be yelling which she doesn't do, she sings them softly and beautifully - using head voice.

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user77918 is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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If a song is too high for my range I set key “up” two notes. It’s like the previous comment said it's more about quality. You can sing any key in a lower octave, but you will sound like you are doing a silly lower octave. So set the song on a higher key and your low octave will rise with it till it sounds comfortable.

You won’t even notice you changed the key till you hear it again and once again see that it is a difficult range. Try 2 steps up for a while then 1 for a while then try the original key. The brain can trick itself if given enough time to adjust incrementally.

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Jairus Minsky is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.
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    This seems like bad advice if a song truly is out of one's range. If the problem is psychological and singing up high is in need of practice, then maybe that would work similar to wearing weighted clothes while training for a marathon. However, singing is very physical. If a song is truly out of someone's range, no amount of mental trickery is going to somehow make their vocal cords thinner. It also seems like an easy way to injure your voice by attempting things that are far beyond your capabilities - if you can't hit a note, you ought to work on developing that part of your range instead. – user45266 May 10 at 18:09

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