Vocal Range and Profile: Florence Welch (+ The Machine) [Updated 2021]

Vocal Range: Eb3 – F#5 – E6 (B6)[1]https://therangeplanet.proboards.com/thread/549/florence-welch

Vocal Fach: Mezzo-Soprano (3 Octaves, 1 note)

Vocal Rating: Vocalist

Longest Note: 28 seconds[2]No Light, No Light (Live)

Analysis: An instantly recognizable, ethereal, and dynamic voice. Since debuting in the late 2000s/early 2010s, Florence Welch’s band Florence + the Machine has gone on to be one of the most prolific and influential acts of the last decade, headlining music festivals across the globe and inspiring a generation of musicians. While this has a large part to do with their reigniting of the Baroque Pop genre, a large part of the band’s appeal lies in Welch’s expressive and explosive vocal performances both live and in the studio. A classically trained vocalist,[3]Florence Welch reflects on the human being behind the Machine Welch has incredible vocal stamina, musical phrasing, and dynamic range, and incorporates all of these elements to move her audiences.

While she has been labeled as a contralto by journalists, she would better be described as a Mezzo-Soprano. Her voice is relatively bright, but not as youthful and bright as a true soprano and certainly not as androgynous or dark as a true contralto. Her tessitura sits above the contralto range as well, truly blossoming from C5 – E5, squarely within the range expected of a mezzo-soprano. Her lower register is also the weakest part of her voice, losing body by G#3 and sound by Eb3, further pushing against the contralto label.

One of her defining stylistic traits as a vocalist is her flipping between the chest and head voice. This technique is based on “yodel” type sound, which helps to create her idiosyncratic sound. Her other major defining trait as a vocalist is her vibrato (sometimes labeled as a tremolo): it’s a fast, non-oscillatory sound that has raised some questions about its health, especially after her vocal injury in 2012.[4]Florence Welch Talks Vocal Injury, Performs on ‘Good Morning America’ Because Welch doesn’t seem to struggle with implementing the technique throughout her range, it’s likely not causing much, if any harm to her voice, but the auxiliary techniques might not be the best practice.

While she drops breath support as she becomes more expressive – as one would reasonably expect – she has demonstrated very strong breath support by holding notes for nearly thirty (30) seconds. Even these longest notes never waver in pitch in live or recorded situations. While questions have again been raised about how sustainable her large sound in the upper register is, she wouldn’t be able to create that sound without some level of pedagogical knowledge and technique, i.e., her breath support.

Her lower register is the weakest part of her voice, but strength and warmth are gained as she ascends past her first bridge around A3.[5]Sam Johnson, Vocal Analysis of Florence + The Machine “Cosmic Love” Welch sounds comfortable in this range and doesn’t shy away from using it, but her voice truly blossoms as she approaches the fifth octave. The sound produced in her upper chest voice is clear, metallic, and powerful; her ability to sing above her pseudo-orchestral backing, is also notable.[6]Vocal Coach Reacts to Florence Welch Best Live Vocals Her head voice is full and semi-operatic, maintaining an ethereal quality, although at times it sounds disconnected from the rest of her voice.[7]Supra, Note 5.

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