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Old 11-26-2020, 09:51 AM
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Cecil6243 Cecil6243 is offline
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Default Does a singer's higher range really get lower

as you age? I've noticed my range on the high end has been somewhat reduced in the last 35 years (Just picked up the guitar and singing again recently).

Or is this not a hard and set rule, and with use maybe I can get it back with use and vocal exercises?

Are there exceptions among you?

I seem to have heard of recording artists that sing their hit songs a half to a whole step lower later in life.
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Old 11-26-2020, 10:14 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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It is a thing Iím afraid, yes, though you can mitigate it somewhat with exercises and a decent vocal warm up before singing. You can expect to lose a couple of high notes, especially if you havenít done much singing in recent years.
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Old 11-26-2020, 11:15 AM
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Yes, it's real. I remember an interview a few years back where Steve Windwood talked about having to tune his guitar down two full steps (C) to play and sing Can't Find My Way Home!

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Old 11-26-2020, 11:55 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Certainly applies to me.
I used to sing California Blues in E capo IV - its now a stretch in D capo II.

2017 was the big change - I completely lost my voice fr a while due to cancer treatment.

Voice therapist tried but was not of much help. I forced it and got something similar back but far reduced range now.
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Old 11-26-2020, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Methos1979 View Post
Yes, it's real. I remember an interview a few years back where Steve Windwood talked about having to tune his guitar down two full steps (C) to play and sing Can't Find My Way Home!

Wow two whole steps! That's a lot!
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Old 11-26-2020, 05:48 PM
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Iíve only been singing ďprofessionallyĒ for about five years, but I think my range is still improving, most likely from practice.

Iím 52 now, but Iím sure the improvement will end at same point and Iíll begin heading down the other side of that hill.
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Old 11-26-2020, 06:08 PM
capefisherman capefisherman is offline
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There are plenty of examples of famous musicians and groups changing the keys to well known songs for this very reason. The Eagles being one, Bonnie Raitt another. That doesn't mean doing that makes your voice sound bad....just different. Voice was my major instrument in college as a music major (only because I had to declare SOMETHING, and in the view of this particular music department the guitar was roughly on the same level as the kazoo!) and one thing that I do remember from my private instructor in those days - and I absolutely believe its true - is that most people sound best in the upper part of their range, not the part that feels the most comfortable.
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Old 11-27-2020, 12:42 AM
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I'm pretty sure that vocal range is affected by the ageing process particularly at the higher end of the scale. Whilst exercises and practice help, I find that I'm having to re-arrange vocals and guitar accompaniment for many songs that 10-15 years ago my tenor voice could handle with ease. Giving up smoking did help!
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Old 11-27-2020, 01:58 AM
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Joni Mitchell is a good example. Don't speed up the process by smoking cigarettes.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil6243 View Post
as you age? I've noticed my range on the high end has been somewhat reduced in the last 35 years (Just picked up the guitar and singing again recently).

Or is this not a hard and set rule, and with use maybe I can get it back with use and vocal exercises?
Hi Cecil
There are always exceptions. And there is a difference between life-long singers who are older (age 60s and 70s) versus amateurs who have just been away from singing for a period of time.

As a trained vocalist (operatic in college to folk & rock since) I've dialogued with long-term singers as they grow older.

Even if they keep the range, they often become less stable. But we're talking people in their 60s and older. Either they become strident, or the voice quavers when they hold notes.

As a side note, operatic singers who do not use mics and over-sing to keep up with an orchestra, the excessive singing volume damages their inner ear from the inside out.

They also have a hard time staying on pitch as they age. Their range may remain, but most sing flat on sustained loud notes (partially because they cannot hear the accompanists over themselves).




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Old 11-27-2020, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by capefisherman View Post
There are plenty of examples of famous musicians and groups changing the keys to well known songs for this very reason. The Eagles being one, Bonnie Raitt another. ....
Last time I saw Joan Baez, she even mentioned it on a few songs that were noticeably lower than her earlier performances/recordings.
I've notices it myself, can't hit some of the high notes I used to.
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Old 11-27-2020, 10:09 AM
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Neil and I are both 75. These days he's tuning down a full step.

ME? Well... I'm sticking with concert pitch but I should be following Neil's lead. My problem is I just don't care for the sound of a dread tuned down below concert pitch.
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Old 11-27-2020, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big-E View Post
I'm pretty sure that vocal range is affected by the ageing process particularly at the higher end of the scale. Whilst exercises and practice help, I find that I'm having to re-arrange vocals and guitar accompaniment for many songs that 10-15 years ago my tenor voice could handle with ease. Giving up smoking did help!
I knew a guy that sounded better after he had a cigarette!
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Old 11-27-2020, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil6243 View Post
as you age? I've noticed my range on the high end has been somewhat reduced in the last 35 years (Just picked up the guitar and singing again recently).



Or is this not a hard and set rule, and with use maybe I can get it back with use and vocal exercises?



Are there exceptions among you?



I seem to have heard of recording artists that sing their hit songs a half to a whole step lower later in life.
My range has got better and higher but I think it's because I actually practice for it and sing a lot more now than I did in a band. In the band we practiced new songs and at the gig I sang 8-10 songs per night. Now I sing that much 5-6 days a week plus practice vocal exercises on the way to and from work most days.,.. So I've got a lot better and have found my voice[emoji106]
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Old 11-27-2020, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecil6243 View Post
as you age? I've noticed my range on the high end has been somewhat reduced in the last 35 years (Just picked up the guitar and singing again recently).
Our vocal cords--like every other part of our bodies--gets less flexible as we age. The vocal cords can't stretch quite as tight any more to hit those high notes.

Regular "exercise", use and stretching can help keep things as limber as possible, but it will catch up to everyone. I have definitely noticed my range has dropped a bit from age 25 to now 55. I often can't quite get up to the highest notes I used to hit, and even if I'm warmed up and can get there, as ljguitar points out, the pitch isn't as steady and the timbre may be a little harsh.
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