Monday, 21 November 2011

Minnie Riperton- Vocal Range/ Profile

Vocal Type:Soprano
Vocal Range: 4 Octaves 2 note and a semi-tone D3-F#7
Whistle Register: Yes
Vocal Strengths: A technical singer, who was operatically trained. Amazing control allowed for effortlessly sustained notes in all parts of the range and brilliant command of dynamics. In combination with this, Minnie possessed a fluidity and a dexterity that made it possible for melisma to be used throughout the registers.

The lowest notes were of medium weight, and of a darker colouring to the rest of the voice. But it was a few notes above this, in her mid-range, that the Diva began to exhibit the mastery that flows throughout the rest of range- being easy, carefree and full of character. Though not often as appreciated as her higher notes, this part was the most emotive and expressive. From sensual and alluring [Inside My Love] to being tinged with Indignance and annoyance [Take A Little Trip], it was here that Minnie sounded most human, unimpeded by the ethereal and unearthly quality her higher range would often impart to the lyric.

The overall lightness of the voice lent itself best to the upper register, with the chest voice being expertly mixed so that a high fifth octave belt displayed none of the usual signs of strain or pull [Reasons]. Notes sung here were elastic and controlled, with the timbre and colouring being changed depending on the ratio of head to chest voice used in the mix.

The head voice itself was bright and resilient and could switch between a lighter, softer pop styling [Young Willing And Able] or a fuller, grander operatic tone [Stay In Love ]. Minnie sounded to be extremely comfortable here, hitting and accessing notes without issue. Like between the chest and head voice, she ascended up into the next register, seemingly without break. This effectively gave the illusion of a seamlessly connected range. [Listen to her climb it in the climax of Can You Feel What I'm Saying]

Her whistle register, which is unfairly what she is most often remembered for, was bright and versatile; allowing for her to enunciate words within it [Back Down Memory Lane], mimic instruments and copy intricate birdsong [Loving You]. The timbre and tone could also be manipulated, being biting and direct in one song [Here We Go] and less obtrusive and soft in another[Inside My Love]. Minnie could access this part of the range swiftly, and repeated did so from different parts of the lower ranger.

Despite it's overarching delicate, feminine and sweet nature, the voice exhibited a power that wasn't attained from volume or brute vocal force, but clever use of skill, range and emotive ability.

Vocal Weaknesses: The bottom extreme of the range wasn't as strong, or versatile as the higher parts.



  1. Totally underrated vocalist! A true classic!

  2. This was an awesome Minnie! Did you know her daughter is a singer too? It's Maya Rudolph from the American show Saturday Night Live (SNL). I don't know if her voice is anything like her mother's but maybe one day she will have a profile on her too.

  3. Totally underrated vocalist! A true classic!

  4. Who ever the douche is that keeps copying my posts - let me just say 'go get a f*****g life' and grow up! Your childish behaviour is pathetic and sad, perhaps a word with mummy and daddy in regards to why they didnt bother to teach you what manners or respect are all about. Or maybe they just didnt see the point on wasting time on what clearly is just that - a total waste of time and energy.....yours lovingly The 'REAL' Stuey!!! Thank You!!!

  5. Blimey that's a big range :OD

  6. WoW! Minnie Riperton could whistle as a coloratura soprano. She's my favourite! I hope I just singing as a coloratura just like her. Hope it so. :D

  7. i have to say this; any singers should watch Minnie's live singing before they go to vocal class.

  8. Minnie had a 5.2 octave range & her longest note is 21 seconds. She was also a soprano

  9. Minnie didn't have much of a middle or a lower register.

  10. Can she hit notes lower than D3 and higher than F#7? Please provide divadevotee some recordings and clips of hers. Thanks =)

  11. Hi Carmela. Are you the one who posted a question on Yahoo about your vocal range of Bb2 to G#7? You're technically a soprano - probably a lyric or coloratura. I dunno if you can hit lower than Bb2 since I'm pretty sure you're an aspiring singer?

  12. Yes, I am. I'm also a fan of female singers who technically use the whistle register. But my whistle today is throaty. Thanks! :D

  13. Have you consider going into vocal rehab for months? I think that might help. =) BTW, are a classically-trained singer?

  14. Probably, yes. but I want to work hard and taking my voice at rest. More powers!

  15. She's my idol next to SJ-KRY male singers Yesung and Kyuhyun! I'm sorry because I ate much ice cream. :(

  16. one of the best whistle registers in the world

  17. One of the best vocalist i ever heard!! I would put in the ranks of the greats like Mariah and Whitney

  18. Minnie Riperton is definitely on the same playing field as Whitney, Barbra, Judy, Mariah, and Aretha. She died extremely young but she was an amazing vocalist. I thought Minnie Riperton had a 5 octave vocal range. I could be wrong, but I think she did. I don't think she showed off the other octave that much.

  19. I'm surprised there's no controversy on the comment section about her vocal type XD

  20. Well, most sopranos don't have a strong lower register and her voice was so light that her middle register wasn't very powerful as such.

  21. She's not coloratura.

  22. That's not the point. It's not about having a "strong" lower or middle, but SOLIDITY in those registers and she didn't really have it.

  23. Oh Minnie...

    You were my Grandmothers favourite Pop- Soprano. (She still plays "Perfect Angel" & co. in its entirety every Christmas)

    Her timbre, diction, phrasing, elocution and intonation was, absolutely, near- perfect. She didn't, necessarily, attain much of a mid/lower- register but her upper-register/whistle register was flawless.

    I know I am 34+ years too late but - R.I.P MINNIE.

  24. Can someone please point me to music where she has displayed coloratura abilities? This is the first time I have ever read this about her.

  25. I don't even think that, that's even a vocal flaw like come on.


    3:22 though

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  28. Best whistles ever!

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    Ugh, the lyrics are so good; it's actually a bit saddening that this kind of lyricism doesn't seem to be prevalent anymore in modern mainstream pop :(. her voice is sensaaaational. It's amazing. Ahhhhh and her technical proficiency. and her use of the whistle! she could call the sun out during the night i swear.

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