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Analyzing Ariana Grande’s Vocal Range

Having a good vocal range is just one of the things that makes a good singer. However, it isn’t all about just range; there are other factors involved. Therefore, if I am going to be analyzing Ariana Grande’s vocal range, I need to put it into context somewhat.

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What Is A Good Vocal Range?

Well, the first thing to say is that it is about being healthy and natural. Likewise, it is being able to hit notes that are not going to damage your voice. It will differ between people, of course. But, for most people, the average range is just over three octaves.

As we look at Ariana Grande’s singing ability, we will determine whether she is average, below average, or above average.

Analyzing Ariana Grande's Vocal Range

Some Have Wider Ranges Than The Average

British Jazz singer, Cleo Laine, was a contralto by definition and had a vocal range approaching four octaves. Celine Dion has just under five octaves.

As for the men, Axl Rose can exceed five full octaves, which is quite wide. That range approaches Freddie Mercury of Queen, who could cover six full octaves. There aren’t many in that league.

What Makes A Good Singer?

But, before we look at where Ariana Grande fits into that scale, let’s take a step back. I mentioned earlier the elements that allow us to call someone a good singer. As I said, the vocal range is just one of those elements. There are others:

  • Pitch – being able to sing in tune and hold a note.
  • Tone – a sound that is pleasing to the ear and suits the style of the song.
  • Enunciation – being able to sing the lyrics so that people can understand what you are saying.

At the risk of encouraging some controversy, I am sure you will realize that there are plenty of “singers” who don’t cut it. Both solo artists and front people in bands. Some have been with us fifty-odd years and are still up there, but the singer has none of those attributes. 

Sometimes, we confuse a good “frontman” with a good “singer.” They are most definitely not the same. 

The Teeny-Boppers

We have seen what I term as the “bubblegum” or “teeny-bop” singers. Those “created” for record company marketing purposes. It could be argued that is where Ariana Grande started her career, in that idiom.

These artists, male and female, look pretty and are given good pop songs to move the product. But, the majority of them are not the best singers you will find.

Analyzing Ariana Grande’s Vocal Range

Looking at the list of attributes required to call her a ‘good’ singer, she has no problems. She has a very good pitch and can certainly hold a note. 

Furthermore, Ariana Grande’s tone is pleasing. Whether you like her style of music or not, you can hear and easily understand the majority of the lyrics she sings. There are very few singers where you can get every word sung. An example of an early performance is “God is a Woman.”

The Voice

She might have been a teeny-bopper in the beginning, but it soon became apparent she was a bit better than that. She is what might be defined as a Soprano, but that doesn’t do her justice as the term can be rather vague.

In some circumstances, Ariana Grande’s vocal style could also be called “coloratura.” This is not an uncommon style these days. It is not so much a range as how a singer sings the notes in a range.

What is Coloratura?

This style of singing is where the singer will add lots of embellishments and variations to the basic tune. That could be by trills, vocal runs, or sometimes, wide-ranging jumps in the notes sung.

Some prefer this type of singing as it shows what you might call “vocal athleticism.” Others prefer the song to be sung closer to the way it was written. 

Some coloratura songs…

An example might be the song “I Will Always Love You.” Written by Dolly Parton, she sang it quite straight with few embellishments or other additions.

Whitney Houston, on the other hand, interpreted I Will Always Love You differently. She used her Soprano voice in what could be termed a coloratura style with plenty of embellishment. 

Some prefer Dolly, others, Whitney, the point being recognizing coloratura. Ariana Grande is quite capable of singing in a coloratura style. And, to do it properly is not easy.

The Range

Let’s get on to addressing what range Ariana Grande can sing in. Her range is not as wide as some that we have already mentioned. But, at four octaves, it is still very good. Her big asset is the tones she can produce at both ends of the range.

Her higher register is powerful and is often delivered that way. Furthermore, her lower registers are flexible and effective.

At The Top End

She is known for being able to belt out some impressive high notes and can get up to G5 without losing control. She demonstrates this in the song “Dangerous Woman.” Likewise, she is capable of producing “whistle tones” that are very impressive.

What Are Whistle Tones?

A “whistle tone” is a high register that goes further than what we might describe as the falsetto or “head voice” range. I am not going to go into the technical details of this style. Needless to say, it requires certain techniques to achieve, of which not everyone is capable.

Perhaps the most well-known exponent of the “whistle tone” may have been Minnie Ripperton, especially on her well-known track, “Lovin’ You.” Not an easy sound to achieve, but one Ariana Grande masters very well.

Down In The Lower Registers

Being a Soprano, her lower notes can be delivered in a light and airy way, almost a whisper. She always sounds in control, though, and the voice never disappears. Altos can hit these notes with a little bit more body. But, she is not an alto. And, it is known that it is difficult for Sopranos to go low and still produce an element of power.

This is one reason you may notice that in her recordings and live performance, she will focus very much on her strengths, the upper registers.

Is Her Voice Changing?

Is Her Voice Changing

Whether it is changing now is another debate. But, it certainly has since those early days. As I mentioned, her first appearances and recordings branded her a new teeny-bop singer. There to appeal to a certain audience and age group.

But, it was soon recognized she was better than that. And while her early songs stayed in a central range, she can now push beyond that, especially in the higher registers. She has shown that there is an impressive voice there and a good range to go with it.

She handles songs now that others would shy away from, especially in the higher registers. And, remember, she is still very young, so there is still plenty of time for her to get even better yet, as is hinted at on one of her most successful albums, Thank U, Next.

Interested in Singing and Singers?

We have you covered. Take a look at our detailed articles on Types of Vocal TimbreVoice Types ExplainedChoose the Perfect Key to Sing In, the Best Vocal Range Test Apps and Websites, and the Best Daily Vocal Exercises for Singers for more information.

Likewise, you may want to practice your singing. So, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Live Vocal Mics, the Best Karaoke Microphones, the Best Karaoke Microphones for iPhones and Smartphones, and the Best Karaoke Machines you can buy in 2023.

And, don’t miss our comprehensive reviews of the Best Microphones For Recording Vocals, the Best Wireless Microphones, the Best Microphones For YouTube, as well as the Best Cheap Microphone Under $50 currently on the market.

Analyzing Ariana Grande’s Vocal Range – Conclusion

I tend to think with her many vocal attributes that, her range will extend further. She is only going to get better. Providing she doesn’t get waylaid by other issues. 

If she works at it, Ariana Grande’s voice will certainly improve. But, at this stage, her range is good, better than average certainly. And something for her to build on.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear heat and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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