Qualities of a Good Singing Voice
Since the emergence of numerous singing competitions on Television, a lot of people secretly developed their own assessment of the qualities of a good singing voice.
What Do We Consider Good Qualities in Singing?
First off, let’s ponder for a moment on the word “good” before we agree on focusing on them. Notice also the word “singing”, not “talking” on the title of this article. It looks to me that when we say good singing voice, we might refer to the sound created by the voice box only, the tone or its distinct characteristics and not the over-all rendition of a song by a singer.
In this article, I’d like to draw attention to these qualities as the overall performance by a singer, not just the audible sound of the vocal folds inside the voice box or larynx.
The reason behind is the fact that when we listen to a singer, we are presented with the whole package, not just the mere vocal sound. You can have a nice quality sounding voice when you speak, but it sucks when you sing. Consequently, we’re not going to refer to the voice per se, but along with the other aspects of the whole presentation and singing experience.
Qualities That Come From Personal Taste – Subjective
There are perceptions that each of us pre-established in our minds what we consider good over the years since we all came from different backgrounds and exposures in terms of musical experiences. We established the kind and style (genre) of music that we want to listen to over time.
An individual might cringe hearing a singer from one genre, but another would be so enamored and captivated almost to a trance with his preferred music style. One group of fans will never go see a rock concert while another group throng to another. The same is true with other styles, like country music, rap music or opera to name a few.
That tells us that the assessment of a singer’s performance by an individual is subjective, based on preconceived thoughts, taste and emotional attachments to previous listening experiences.
There’s almost always an exception to a rule and in our case, if a certain artist of a different genre or style of singing is incomparable and so popularly above the norm, an enthusiast of a completely different genre might consider going to that concert at least once.
Have you wondered why judges in singing competitions, like the massively popular American Idol and every country’s Got Talent franchise, are oftentimes divided in their decisions on who will make it to the next level – quarter-finals, semi-finals or finals? One judge gives a nod and one says, “uh-uh”.
What does this tell us? Someone’s taste will differ from another. In short, the listeners decide what is “good”, including the judges and is very subjective.
Qualities That We Can All Agree on No Matter What Genre – Objective
What then can we agree on that make us position someone on a pedestal, disregarding personal or subjective taste? All right, some of you might see certain overlaps with subjective qualities in this section but these are what I gathered. I’m not going to discuss each one extensively, otherwise, I will have to bore you to death, but these are what we most need help on, a coach or a voice teacher to assist us.
I’m randomly listing them and here they are: In tune (vs off-key); a sense of rhythm or timing; clarity of tone; breath support – voice sounding ethereal due to the voice riding or gliding with the breath, creating a sense of open, silky, smooth quality and flexibility of tone; volume control; phrasing that comes from genuine communication; charisma; being intentional; conviction behind the voice; engaging; innate confidence or instinctive presence to the point of almost owning the whole stage to himself; a sense of freedom and openness to release your heart to the listeners; song of choice that’s right for the voice and finally, voice range especially the high notes that builds intensity and excitement.
I could probably go on and on, but let’s leave it at that.
Have you heard the phrase, “I felt chill down my spine”, or “I had goosebumps”? What do these mean? What creates those feelings? Have you tried to analyze in your mind what specific instance on the performance that makes those tiny little hairs from your skin stand up straight?
Here is my answer and it’s probably just mine, my opinion, but I’ll give you a chance to comment on what you think down below.
There is a strong conviction that emanates from inside the singer, immersed inside the song at hand believing every word that comes out. He is genuinely (or seems like) affected by whatever message he’s trying to convey and being carried away by the emotion that the audience is feeding off. There is sincerity on his demeanor, the head, mouth, eyes, hands, lips and so on move with purpose.
That, on top of those I mentioned above create that chill, the goosebumps, the tears, the laughter. Add to that, the story and the drama of the song that we can identify with generate those feelings. Sooner or later, we secretly make the judgement who makes the home run, the finals or who eventually becomes the over-all champion.
My Suggestions on How to Develop The Qualities Mentioned
List down the qualities we talked about, especially the objective ones. Start to think and learn how to develop one concept or quality at a time. Again, if you have hang-ups, find someone to show or teach you, preferably a seasoned voice coach or teacher. Otherwise, do a lot of listening and experimenting yourself if possible, then practice those concepts many times over to establish the habits.
For example, if your voice range is limited for the moment, leave the high notes (or low notes) for later and start songs that you are comfortable with until you’re ready to grow on to the next one. Practice one song at a time in your genre from start to finish and not jumping from one to another.
Employ the other qualities mentioned, focusing on one or two until you have a grip on most of them. That way you have accomplished something and believe me, satisfaction is inevitable. Just like learning an instrument or sport, focus on the problem that you are having less confidence in, practice slowly and gradually until you ultimately get to a performance-ready song.
To put simply, isolate the problem one at a time until you get to almost perfection. I want to say, “practice makes permanence”, nothing is perfect in this world. When it comes to buying a real state, the three important features are location, location, location. In aiming to learn the different qualities in singing, the three important aspects are isolation, isolation, isolation. I just made that up, but I think it makes sense, isn’t it?
Putting It All Together
To sum it all up; A singer should be able to bridge the gap between the subjective and objective perspective of a song. No matter what style or genre the music belongs, a singer can captivate his listeners by implementing all the qualities we talked about in this article.
Let me know what you think about this material and please leave your comments and suggestions down below to better serve you in my future articles.
Wow, I just respected singers a WHOLE lot more! There are so many things you need to master and it seems that you really can’t please everyone ay
Thanks for the great article!
You’re right on, Danielle. Just like in other fields of any undertaking, it takes quite a bit of time and effort to learn something, especially when you’re a novice and don’t have a lot of exposure and actual singing activities in the early years of growing up. The good news is almost everyone has the opportunity to be good at it. It’s a matter of one’s interest and burning desire to go through the process and shoot for the stars. It might take a while for some and it’s so natural for others, and again, depending on previous experiences and habits that were gradually developed from the past.
I appreciate your insight, Danielle.
I do really love to sing. It is my past time. But I am not that really good. The information you are sharing would really help a lot to improve my singing ability and quality. Thank you.
Great that we both love singing. The key to being good at it is time spent in practice. Well, the correct way. You can be practising all your life but never improve a bit. That’s when we need a guide, a coach/teacher or just a friend who can sing well. The more time you put into it, the better you become. I have been singing all my life, but without practice and actively singing, I feel rusty and like a beginner again. Although it will take a very short period of time before I get my normal quality singing voice again.
Thank you for stopping by Florencio.
Hi – thanks for sharing this informative article. My boyfriend is a singer in a blues band and is adamant in saying that particular genre is the only one that suits his voice. He has a great sense of rhythm (he plays the guitar as well), and has many of the qualities which you mention in this article. I wonder if you think he could try other genres? Is it a matter of confidence? All the best, Diane
Hi Diane, thank you for sharing. Your boyfriend is in a good place for having a band and has already built a foundation in which he can capitalize on. That only tells me that he has the inclination to that type of music for whatever reason. Perhaps he was exposed or was surrounded with it early on that confidence became second nature over time. So, confidence was developed and not innate.
The answer to the question of whether to try other genres or not depends on him, really. So, my answer is a resounding yes….if he prefers to. It doesn’t diminish his musicianship if he stays in one genre only. He can scale up with what he’s already comfortable with in many ways. Trying out other styles will be another challenge, but I’m sure it will be rewarding just as well.
My advice is if he has already mastered the blues and “wants to” scale up to other areas, being aware that putting in the time and energy is required to build a new “confidence”, I’d recommend to go ahead and do it.
I hope that answers your question. I’d love to help out if he or you have more questions. Feel free to stop by again.
When I sing I try to stay within my range cos I can’t quite hit the high notes perfectly. In my opinion, when I’m passionate about the subject I’m singing about it doesn’t seem to matter if I did hit the notes well or not. The congregation is carried along because they can interact with the passion my voice. You have to be a good singer and also relate personally to what you sing about.
I’m with you on relating to a personal level, especially in church. In a church setting, if I’m asked to pick only one and one only. I’d rather keep the “relating” part of singing than tone or pitch.
After all, singing is one form of communication, there’s a message you’re putting across. If you fail to accomplish that, then the intention is invalid. Communicating a message involves a conviction, authenticity to a certain story you’re trying to convey.
You know what? I like the idea of staying within your range, so as not to add discomfort while singing.
Obviously, we need both, as you said, especially at a professional level – good singing voice and relational abilities.
Qualities of a good singing voice may vary from individuals but yes you actually hit the nail on the head. There are general qualities of a good singing voice and I think I am still dealing with mine to achieve my goals. I write songs but I have not taken time to develop my voice and am about to go into training for this. Thanks for the qualities you listed but is there anything that could enhance the voice more??
Hi Kenechi. I would be uncomfortable myself singing in front of the judges of a singing contest. My impression of a “good singing voice” might be different as yours. Like what you said, it may vary from individuals, and that’s because “good” is very subjective. No wonder the judges oftentimes disagree who will move on to the next level of competition.
There are also things that the majority of us can be on the same page with the judges. One is a strong conviction behind the voice – every word is well-intentioned. Another is authenticity – the performer not only is affected by the song himself but the listeners are captured with laughter, awe or tears in their eyes.
Of course, the voice needs to be on pitch, in rhythm, and in a certain tone that we can all say pleasant to everyone. Again, vocal tone could be subjectively perceived, especially with various styles of singing. there’s a thin line.
On your last question. Having a good teacher is important, but nothing can replace lots of singing, experimenting with your voice in the process. That involves a lot of listening to your kind of music, then singing, recording yourself and listening to it again, Then repeat the process over again…and again…
The quickest way is to have a goal to sing in front of an audience, a competition, audition, etc. That way your practice will have an immediate purpose to it.
I hope that helps. I know this is getting too long, but if you have more specific questions, I’d be happy to help out.
Singing is really not an easy task, however some people are born singers. All they need is a kind of harnessing. Singing doesn’t only entail the vocal sound, but the presentation and how clear the lyrics of the songs are. I agreed with you totally on the qualities you mentioned, especially confidence, sense of freedoms; why I am particular about these qualities is because I have seen singers that are talented but often lose confidence due to stage fright.I am not much of a singer, but I sing more of Christian music.
If you have the time, in one of my post, Can Anyone Learn How to Sing Well?, singing is not something you’re born with, it’s made over time. People are talented because they acquired the skill from some sources, either through a lot of listening, exposure and lots of singing early on. That only tells us that anyone can be talented by being and doing those things. You can be as talented as anyone if you do what they did and have been in their situations, coupled with guts and burning desire.
I sang and still do a lot of Christian music. Here are some of them.
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts here. I’d be glad to answer any other questions you have and I’ll be happy to help out.
Hello,I have read the whole review about this information . This is really an excellent specific information about Qualities of a good singing voice.It is very helpful for all beginners who wants to good singing.At present,song is a part of our life.Most of the pepole pass their time in leisure listening different kind of song.There are many qualities of a good singing voice.There are many singing competition on television . Most of the Participants try to best their own quality of song.your information is very important for us.Thanks for sharing this post.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The most important thing is to work on what you are lacking intently and focus on them one at a time until you have some level of improvement, then move on to the next when ready.
Feel free to come by again and ask questions if you have any and I’ll be more than happy to help out.