Super Junior’s Vocal Analysis: Kyuhyun (English)
G2 ~ D6 (3 octaves, 3 notes and 1 semitone)
Bb2/B2 ~ B4/C5
Bb2/B2 ~ F5 (with head voice)
Light Lyric Tenor
- Currently, arguably, the strongest male idol vocalist
- Strongest vocalist in Super Junior
- Very consistent vocalist in terms of placement, support and control
- Resonance is always consistent in his singing
- Control of dynamics is well used and explored in his singing
- Able to keep a very well control of his pitch/intonation
- Able to produce a relaxed, well connected head voice
- Good vocal placement is kept even outside his supported range
- Able to consistently keep resonance and support up to Bb4/B4
- Has been able to support D5/Eb5 in studio
- Able to keep a well placed and forward sounding lower range even as low as C3/B2
- Good note separation is present in his runs
- Mixed voice is very well balanced and mixing is well controlled
- Natural vibrato is produced
- One of the best lower ranges amongst tenor idols
- Arguably the best mixed voice amongst tenor idols
- Smart vocalist, does not try to oversing or do things he can’t do well
- Support below B2 is lost generally and the voice becomes less present
- Support above Bb4/B4 isn’t always consistent
- Head voice can sometimes become shrill and strained above F5
- Head voice and falsetto are not very used registers, which may indicate less confidence in that area of his voice
- Vocal agility lacks control, vocal runs can often be sloppy with control of pitch
- Vibrato can become unsteady when sustaining notes above Bb4
- Head voice lacks resonance
- Lower register: Very well developed and improved, tone has gotten much fuller in the lower extremes of the voice and even below his supported range, tone in the lower range is still present even though it might sit outside his tessitura, his support isn’t completely gone.
- Mixed register: His mixed voice is generally more on the balanced or head-dominant side at times, it’s very well controlled and very well supported, with consistent resonance and is able to extend with support even above his supported range.
- Upper extension: Weakest of his register, but far from being a weak register. Able to produce a connected head voice with support and clarity up to Eb5 ~ F5 consistently but shows issues in keeping an opened throat and a completely closed and connected position in his vocal cords above F5.
Possessing not only a light lyric voice, but also a mixed voice technique that relies on a slightly lighter vocal cord function, by employing more cricothyroid muscles in his mixed voice, Kyuhyun is able to retain a better approach on his vocal runs by executing them without carrying too much weight with his chest voice and using a more balanced and head dominant sound that make his voice less pushed, more relaxed and more flexible. In terms of vocal agility, Kyuhyun possesses agility but lacks the actual control in his voice, in other words, his vocal runs are often well separated and have the correct rhythmic “bounce” that allows them to flow better, but he lacks the precision and the control to execute more complex vocal runs, such as the attempts in “Hot Times” and “My Everything“. Even then, when it comes to more mid-tempo or slow tempo vocal runs, he has more or less mastered the correct muscle memory and coordination to properly execute less complex vocal runs and trills.
A later addition to Super Junior, a member who was not trained by Yoo Youngjin in the classical trademark sound of most SM vocalists, Kyuhyun is a member of groups such as Super Junior, Super Junior-M,Super Junior K.R.Y. and SM The Ballad. He often gets praise in his singing and is usually marketed not only as a main vocalist but also as a skilled ballad singer who can take on the more challenging parts of a large variety of repertoire. Even though it’s been promoted by SM that the KRY members are compromised of a bass, Kyuhyun, a tenor, Ryeowook, and a baritone, Yesung, they’re all tenors. Kyuhyun’s voice sits more comfortably in a higher tessitura and lacks the weight and darkness of many other voices. He may be classically trained into a different fach, but with his current style and technique his voice would most likely be classified as a light lyric tenor.
From the bottom of his range, he has come a long way with improving the tone, support and development of his lower range. While most vocalist rely heavily on high notes and straining as high as they can, Kyuhyun hasn’t only focused on developing his voice as to not strain it, he also keeps his voice from losing tone below Eb3/D3, as the average K-pop tenor would. Instead Kyuhyun has worked to improve his lower range, when comapred toback in the day with “Smile“. His lower range now retains a full and forward tone, even as low as B2 such as in “모창“, with consistency, support and clarity. He’s able to vocalize in the lowest extremes of his range even though he might lose support, he has developed his voice well so that his tone is still present even on G2’s and A2’s, such as in “광화문에서“. His support however truly only starts around Bb2 and B2, where his projection becomes much clearer and his voice truly shows its color and character, such as the C3’s in “사랑했지만“.
His strongest and most well developed register however, is his mixed voice. Naturally a voice shoots up and is often highlighted in the higher extremes of it but his technique is such that even when he sings higher, he maintains good vocal stamina and technique. He has improved a lot since his first audition back in 2005, where his voice would show support but also lots of nasality, tongue tension and closeness with “인형“. However so, contrasting not only a more recent performance of “인형“, but also even compared to his singing back in 2007 with “달뱅이“, Kyuhyun has not only worked to minimize tension, he has been able to develop his voice in order to truly control the openness, the power, the resonance and the support so that he’s now able to produce true resonance at any given time, with a well sized projection and good volume throughout his voice. He not only is able to produce consistent resonance in his mixed range, such as in on G#4 in his “Solo” in concert and “악몽“, A4’s in “사랑했지만” and “Robin Hood” and numerous sustained Bb4’s that contrasted with TVXQ!’s Changmin’s straining, show a much cleaner vocal approach with a kind of resonance that in that case more or less drowned out his singing in “Bolero” in numerous “occasions“. This kind of singing isn’t accidental nor lucky, Kyuhyun is able to keep this support, clarity of tone with consistency and has happened since 2011 in performances of “기억의 습작” that can be compared to more “recent performances” of the same song, where his resonance, control and support are almost impeccable.
Even when approaching a range above Bb4, Kyuhyun does not lose in terms of support and consistency and has shown many times that he’s able to produce resonance consistently even up to B4 such as in “가장무도회” and “Islands“, but even when singing outside his supported range, he can consistently keep good vocal placement even if tension might happen above B4, such as in some C5’s in “Hot Times” but also other times when not sustaining notes, his support and resonance are present even up to C5, such as in “사랑이 이렇게“. The consistency of this is arguable due to Kyuhyun singing less above Bb4 live and usually staying in a more C3 ~ Bb4 range when singing live or solo, such as shown by his vocal range showcased in his solo mini album. Kyuhyun’s mastery of good vocal placement and resonance isn’t the only thing good about his mixed voice, but also being able to control the dynamics of his voice with such delicacy and his mixing being so well balanced that he can choose when to carry more or less chest voice into it depending on his dynamic approach to songs, showing true control of his instrument such as in “7년간의 사랑“. His range above C5 shows inconsistency issues but he has shown numerous times the ability to support his notes in studio in the fifth octave, peaking at an Eb5 in studio.
Having a connected and developed voice is almost a must for a skilled vocalist and Kyuhyun is not one to fail in that department either. Although it being his weakest register, Kyuhyun has shown that he is a vocalist capable of not only producing a connected and relaxed head voice, he’s able to support it and keep a good vocal placement with the head up to about D5, as shown in his C5’s in “Loving You“, “마법의 성” and in “The One I Love” which have improved to a more opened sound as shown in more recent “performances” of the song, but also in his D5’s in “Nothing Better“. His connection and support are still present even above D5, but there’s a lack of consistency with placement, although he was able to produce a more relaxed head placed sound up to F5 in Nothing Better, at times he will opt for a more mask placed sound in his Eb5 ~ F5 range losing a bit of the resonance of his head voice and control of volume and sound. He seems to lack the full grasp of a developed head voice at this point in time and above F#5 shows a more falsetto-like tone and seems to lack control in keeping the vocal cords connected together and his support in place, even if still able to produce a head voice. His head voice also, although connected, lacks a true sense of full head resonance and at times becomes a bit weak in volume, showing a lack of development in this register compared to the rest of his voice, which is also indicated by how much less explored and used this part of his voice is in comparison to the rest. His transitions are also well done and even if a gap may happen and an issue with pitch occurs, he’s able to get back into his usual control, such as in “My Everything“.
Vocally and musically speaking, Kyuhyun not only possesses good vocal technique but he’s got a very good ear for understanding how to deliver a song with the true essence of the music behind it, being able to choose when to be powerful, when to hold back and use a more airy quality to his voice and even keep a more closed or opened sound. His voice tends to lack the gritty and more raspy/throaty aspects of say a rock singer, but he still shows the ability to adapt his voice to many genres of music. He is a vocalist who produces a slightly fast vibrato but with good support and a natural approach, as opposed to a larynx, tongue or jaw based vibrato. He also has a good ear for pitch and even if he does go off, he tries his best to stay in key and will quickly adjust back to the pitch of the song, even if he is to be thrown off by someone else who might sing off pitch, he’ll try his best to get back into key, such as in this duet of “A Whole New World” with Charice Pempegco, where she goes sharp but Kyuhyun, although slightly sharp, tries to bring them back into the key center of the song.
A vocalist who not only possesses a mastery of his vocal technique at a young age, but also has shown good improvement over the years, Kyuhyun is set on a path to being not only a good vocalist, but also a good musician, professional and consistent entertainer who responsibly takes care of his instrument and is able to develop it well to the best of his ability. For further improvement, working to truly grasp the concept of head voice and explore risks with his voice, Kyuhyun has only good things set for him in his future, when it comes to singing. Although overshadowed by other vocalists who might have better stage presence than him, or who might have more popular voices, he is by far the strongest male idol vocalist in SM and in the current K-pop music industry, when it comes to technique.
Vocally and musically, Kyuhyun shows excellence in developing his voice as far as he can. An area where he might lack in terms of ability is when it comes to taking real risks with his voice. He is a very respectful vocalist who doesn’t try to oversing by adding excessive note changes to song or trying sing over other people without needing to. He knows how to balance his voice well when harmonizing with others. He has over the years grown to show not only that when given the chance, he is able to take on the skill of improvisation, such as in an improvised ballad version of “Sorry Sorry“, as well as taking the freedom to add different sustained notes and melodic changes, even if subtle, to his performances such as in the “Ballad Medley” and “Isn’t She Lovely“. Even then, this skill still isn’t fully explored and isn’t as developed as the rest of his voice, which may happen due to a lack of confidence and also musical choices of wanting to stick to the original song.
Good to Great Vocalist
Vocal Range Video(s)
Best Vocal Performance(s)
Analyzed by Ahmin (Kitsunemale)
(Originally analyzed by zhxzhx)