Vocal Range: 3 octaves 3 notes. C3- F6
Vocal Pluses:Donna summer was a rear creature, in that though a technical singer with expert control over her instrument, she was also one capable of delivering emotion too. Whether oozing seduction- Love To Love You Baby- lamenting the loss of love-MacArthur Park- or giving attitude- Bad Girl- Donna Summer knew how to manipulate her voice to bring the meaning of her lyrics to life.
Her skill as vocalist meant that she was able to hold a note effortlessly- No More Tears (Enough is Enough)- and able to sing complex melisma throughout the range without issue. She also had a vibrato that could be manipulated in speed depending on the effect required.
The bottom of her range was dark, weighty, and slightly breathy at it's lowest extremes. However, it became more comfortable and fuller around the halfway mark of the third octave and continued to gain in confidence and character as it reached up into the midrange.
The midrange was solid with a hypnotic ease to it- Could It Be Magic. It was well connected both to the lower range, and the belting range above it. This allowed Donna Summer to move through these three parts of her range effortlessly, giving the impression that her modal voice was one seamlessly connected instrument. The timbre of this part of her range could also be altered in solidity, meaning she could sing in a solid tone, or a breathy, lighter one that harmonised exceptionally well- I Feel Love.
Donna Summers belting range was clear, resonant and cooler in colour than her lower range and her head voice. Though the voice lost projection as it got higher up the fifth octave it was mixed so well with the head voice that no tension or muddying of the sound was detectable. Even up to a note below the sixth octave the voice remained crisp, piercing, effortless and with a noticeable fullness to it.
Perhaps Donna Summer's head voice demonstrated her skill, versatility and control as a vocalist best. Here she could choose to sing with an opera like tone, that produced notes that were measured, warm and rounded: if a more contemporary style was required she could produce notes that were sharp, cutting and solid: Or, in contrast to this, she could utilise a timbre that was smoky, and almost moist in texture. These three applications of the head voice, and also how well her voice harmonised with itself, can be best be heard on I Feel Love.
Vocal Negatives: The lowest notes of her range sounded slightly forced and reached via unhealthy technique.