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Finding your vocal range and correct sruti or key

In this post, we will help you with identifying your (modal) voice register and consequently your sruti. For those of you who are not aware of these concepts, let me clarify what they actually mean.

Sruti

The word Sruti is mainly used in the context of tuning, whether it is an instrument or voice. For voice, it is the frequency at which the person is most comfortable talking or singing in. For a singer, Sruti corresponds to their Shadja or ‘Sa’.

Voice register

Each of our voices are different. They differ in many characteristics, one of which is the range of frequencies/pitches they produce. The differences between physical characteristics of vocal chords in men and women result in women in general producing high-pitched sounds than men. The total range of such frequencies one can produce – ranging from the deepest or lowest frequency to the shrillest or highest one – is called as voice register.

How are they related?

So, what is the link between your voice register and your sruti then?

Choosing a right sruti goes a long way in helping you sing in the broadest possible voice register in the most comfortable way. Let me break this sentence down for you, one phrase at a time.

‘.. sing in the broadest possible voice register ..’: Voice register of a singer must span at least 2 octaves. You can start identifying your range by singing the lowest and highest svaras/notes you can. It is completely ok to have a vocal range of 1 octave when you begin. You will eventually expand this range by practicing different svara patterns.

‘Choosing a right sruti ..’: A svara that is half octave above the deepest/lowest note that you can sing corresponds to your sruti. This becomes Shadja or ‘Sa’ of the middle octave for your voice register. This helps you to comfortably sing the melodic patterns that span your voice register. You should also be able to sing at least one octave above your sruti.

Now that we know what your voice register is and how to choose your sruti based on it, let’s also know how to increase the span of our voice register. In Carnatic music, you can do this by practising Sthayi varishais/varusalu. These are svara patterns in different octaves that gradually help you in singing lower and higher svaras/notes. In Hindustani music, Kharaj ka Riyaz is serves the same purpose. Mornings are usually the best time to practise these exercises as your voice can go deeper compared to rest of the day. Practising lower registers in the mornings will also significantly help in your ability to practise higher registers later.

How can I find my vocal range?

Riyaz comes with “My vocal range” feature (can be found in the side menu), which will help you find your vocal range which also suggests an ideal sruti for your voice. Here is a video explaining how it works.

Find your vocal range

That’s all there is to it folks. Keep practising day-in and day-out!


Also published on Medium.

30 thoughts on “Finding your vocal range and correct sruti or key”

  1. Thank you for this app. It is really helping me to practice and improve my singing.
    Article is very informative for beginner like me but I am not able to understand ‘Choosing right sruti’.
    Anyways keep coming with more informative articles.

    1. That’s awesome to hear, Ricky! Let me try to explain the part you weren’t able to understand. Let’s say the lowest note you are able to sing is X. This X can be anything. For me, it is G2 (98 Hz). Half octave above that is D3 (146.83 Hz), which will be my Sruti. This will be my ‘Sa’ of the middle octave (madhyama sthayi).

      If you are not aware of D3/G2, look at this article on wiki – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_pitch_notation

      Hope that helps in understanding it better.

      1. How you lay out the steps how I can use this app to find my lowest note so that I can find my right Sa. I usually sing in A but I have a feeling that A# might be more comfortable for me. However going half octave above A# might be a problem.

      1. Thank you very much for this app. This is very well structured and makes the concept of indian classical music easier to understand.

  2. I am using the app to practice my scales, I have selected my Pitch as C, but I find every time I try, my voice naturally pitches a tiny little bit below C, is there some way I can adjust the setting to a shade below C, or should I train my voice to hit C perfectly?

    1. Hi Milind,
      In music classes, it is a common practise to make lessons available in frequently practised scales/srutis. And it is very common that students find themselves singing slightly above or below a chosen standard scale like C in your case. Usually, students are encouraged to sing in the provided scale as it also later becomes easier to tune instruments when you sing in a group.

      Best wishes.

  3. Hey its an awesome app i must say..!! and i have been there for a very long time and seen the improvements the app has made over the few time..! Congratulations.. ! 🙂

    But, i also have the same problem with choosing the right scale..i find myself i can sing sa in all three scales that is c,c# ,D. It is like which ever sound i hear i am able to sing it. But sometimes that creates lot of stain and it hurts sometimes it doesnot.

    I am not able to understand the shruti concept..and i dont have anyother instrument..so i would like to ask you how can i find my right scale..and also can you add a feauture to the app to find the scale?

    Thank you!

    1. Rohit, I completely understand this, I was in the same boat as you are now sometime ago. So we decided to make things super easy for beginners. This week, there is something very nice coming on Riyaz that will help you identify your scale more easily. I will update the article with instructions as soon as it is on playstore 🙂

  4. Hello sir , this is a fantastic app for Riyaz basically, but how can I know my proper scale ,well right now i’m doing Riyaz on scale A or B and its good but I want to know my scale as I said.. Plz help.. , Thanks

  5. Hello,

    This app is really nice..
    Four years back I joined Hindustani music. Teacher asked me to sing A#. I practised that only but for a year, not regularly. I had problem with my throat that time ENT asked not to sing or I will lose my natural voice.
    Now, the Riyaz m trying. I can comfortably practise in A# only. But there is breathing problems where there is SaSa’ (low and high swara together).
    And other thing is when I sing, like any song, some of my friends say there is no swara, only voice. What is it? What improvement I needed.

  6. Thanks for this app! It’s nicely done but useless for me as of now. I am hoping to see you will add more scales. I sing in F# (Kaali Teen, male). Can you add that asap, pleeease!

  7. I take pleasure in, result in I found exactly what I was having a look for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye musical artist

  8. Sir , I am beginner. I am beginner. I am 16 year old. Sir please tell me that in HINDUSTANI, on which scale I should do riyaz?

  9. Hi can you please understand in simple hindi or urdu
    Or make the video on it. It’s your most kindness otherwise it’s good app

  10. I have noticed you don’t monetize riyazapp.com, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn additional cash every month with new monetization method.
    This is the best adsense alternative for any type of website (they approve all sites), for more info simply search
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