How to Know If You Are a Soprano

Determining if you are a soprano is a part of any vocal education. Beginning students may already be able to sing extremely high -- but high notes alone do not distinguish a soprano from a mezzo. The soprano voice is a classification that must adhere to certain characteristics involving both timbre and range. Mezzo-sopranos often have the ability to sing the same pitches as a soprano, but they qualify as mezzos because of their sound quality. Regardless of your classification, all voice types are necessary in an opera or choir.

Step 1 Begin every vocal exercise with a good warm-up. Start by singing long tones. Move on to "hmm" exercises in which you start on a pitch that is comfortable and sing the vocal down a perfect fifth. Continue this exercise a half-step higher to the uppermost point of your comfortable range.

Step 2 Sing along with the piano, starting at a note that is comfortable and easy to sing. Matching pitch with the piano, sing half-steps until you have reached the highest note that you can sing easily. If you can sing an A above the staff or higher, you might be a soprano since fully developed sopranos can easily sing over A. However, a mezzo can also sing above A, so this is only one aspect of a soprano singer.

Step 3 Determine your passaggio, which is the transition between one register and the next, by listening carefully to where your voice quality changes. Sopranos will notice a distinct change in voice quality when singing an E on the top space of the staff to an F. If you are a mezzo, the change will appear lower in the voice around D or even C.

Step 4 Record your voice and listen to it carefully. Mezzos have a rich, thick texture throughout, while sopranos have a thinner, more narrowly defined texture and penetrating voice. Additionally, sopranos have a bright and ringing texture, and sing light and agile passages with ease. The strongest part of a soprano range is the high register above F, while the strongest part of a mezzo is the middle range.

Even the best vocal teachers don't always know how to classify a student. It may take a year or two for the voice to fully develop. Be patient, and concentrate on developing your technique in the meantime.

Find a qualified vocal instructor at your local university, college, through the National Association of Teachers of Singing or classified ads to help you determine your range. Often times taller women will be mezzos while shorter women will be sopranos. This is due to the length of vocal chords. While this is not always the case, taller women tend to have longer vocal chords, making their voices deeper.

Most singers are a mixture of both voice types. You will have to decide which type most accurately reflects your natural skills and abilities. A true mezzo should not attempt to change her voice to become a soprano. True mezzos are rare and extremely valuable as singers. If you are a mezzo, embrace it rather than forcing yourself to become a soprano.


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