Posted by: lovediaries | September 2, 2008

How to recognise voices

I’m so going to regret not using my time to do work but I know if I don’t do this post now I’ll never get around to doing it XD (So tell me you love me). I tagged everything just for the sake of it, btw, so if you found your way here by surfing tags and were expecting something news-worthy then … come back later and you’ll find something that will interest you :D

Anyway, a few days ago (or maybe a week ago? XD) chrestos asked me how did I recognise Taemin’s voice? when I was doing the review for SHINee’s album. Well instead of leaving a really long comment in reply to her, I thought, why not dedicate a whole post on recognising voices?

I’ll point out here and now that I’ve never done any music in my life nor have I ever had any lessons on playing music instruments (unless you count the compulsory first year of high school?) so my knowledge of music terminology is absolutely nil.

If you want to read this, you’re going to have to put up with my not knowing the correct words and getting things mixed up and failing to explain things properly :P

Despite knowing close to nothing about music (as in, all the technical stuff), I think I have pretty good ears. I’m able to recognise a tune easily and I can sing a song at karaoke I haven’t heard for years. So I think I’m qualified to give this little “tutorial” :D

It’s all just MY opinion and based on MY own experiences, though, nothing professional, I guarantee :P I’m not saying it’s the one and only way of recognising voices – I’m simply sharing mine ;)

It’s fairly long so I suggest you be really bored before reading this (like really bored and have a lot of time on your hands – it’s over 1000 words) because I don’t want to have to have put in all this effort and then have people just skim read and not care at all :(

The reason why I find it important to know who is singing what in a song is because, as I was saying to voicelessdoll just a few days earlier, I find vocal talent/voice plays a big role for me when choosing a favourite in a group. As much as I love everyone in a particular group, I always find myself favouring one over the others XD I mean, I’m only human! Having said that, someone in a group may not necessarily be a favourite, but I will love them loads because of their singing capabilities.

Now, there are a series of “steps” that are needed to be followed in order for you to know, learn and love a voice.

1. Listen out for the unique voice in each group – In every group, there is always someone whose voice stands out more than the rest. In DBSK, it’s Junsu; Super Junior, it’s Ryeowook; SHINee, would probably be Jonghyun; Big Bang, definitely TOP; 2am, Lee Changmin. Identify one voice and the others will soon fall into place. Or, you can always listen out for the lead singer. They obviously get the most lines and you will get so used to hearing their voice and their way of singing that you’ll be able to pick them out in every song you listen to afterwards. I mean, how often do you hear Jonghyun sing and not realise that it’s him?

2. Watch videos to become familiar with the voices – This seems really obvious but when new groups debut, I get so impatient that I just listen to their songs in hope of knowing who’s who even though I haven’t yet matched faces to names. So in order to match a voice to a name, you have to first know what they look like – visuals are always helpful ;) The reason I didn’t have this as step 1 though, is because I often listen to songs before watching videos of and/or about any group. I mean, I knew of DBSK before I knew of Youtube (LOL) and I listened to Replay a dozen and a half times before watching any interviews. Therefore, the unique voice can and usually does stand out even before watching anything. You can always interchange these first two steps, of course :)

3. Watch performances/music videos to recognise voices – Music videos and performances are most helpful in recognising voices because you actually see the members singing their lines. Just like with wonderful choreography, a good performance/effective music video will leave you with a vivid recollection. You’ll hear a song and visualise a performance or the music video. Or you can always use this as a way of memorising the order in which members sing their lines. First you memorise who sings what, then after matching a name to that voice, you can then practice with other songs before videos are up – just to test how successful you are ;)

4. Find lyrics with tags to identify the voices – Honestly, if it wasn’t for tagged lyrics, I would never be able to pick out all 13 voices of Super Junior. This basically does the same as what I mentioned before. If you know who’s singing what, you can always apply that knowledge for different songs. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find all lyrics which are tagged then WOOT you can forever depend on those. I mean, after listening to a full album and reading who sings what line, you’d have to be really special to not recognise at least half the members’ voices ;P

5. Listen closely to learn voices – Block off one of your senses, and the others are heightened. I have a tendency to listen to my mp3 whenever I suffer from insomnia. When you’re in the quietest of places i.e your bed with your covers over your head, your hearing is going to be a whole lot better than when you’re sitting in front of your computer listening to music while typing up notes. It’s often at times like these where I’ll listen to a song and suddenly, a voice (or a particular line) will really stand out for me and I’d think “Woah Kyuhyun sung that line??” (even though I can almost always recognise Kyuhyun’s voice straight away cause it’s so rich and smooth *o*).

6. Process of elimination – If you can identify four voices in a five member group, you’re most likely going to be able to name the fifth. And this was exactly how I recognised Taemin’s. Of course, it was either Taemin or Minho and since Minho has a deeper voice, I figured it was Taemin who sung the first lines of “Last Gift”. Apparently, Minho sung the line straight after the first “I don’t know why I can’t move on” and it does sound like him but at the end of the line it sounds like Taemin again =.=”

So really, to become successful in identifying voices, it’s important that all members sing an adequate amount of lines.

And if some of you are still reading this, I’ll just add a bit more on how I came to learn the voices that I know now.

Other points which I don’t really know where to fit in (because they’ll ruin my nice little pattern) so I’ll shove in here and use as examples :D

DBSK – Junsu’s was the first to recognise. Though I sometimes got muddled up between him, Changmin and Jaejoong. Yoochun and Yunho were okay to learn. In the end, it was my lyric booklet which helped me learn them. Oh and music videos of course. I mean, those high notes in Tonight, yes? I was seriously shocked to know Jaejoong sung them along with Changmin. Namely because I never even heard those notes before watching the MV ROFL.

Super Junior – I think what you can do with Super Junior is, listen to their different sub groups so that you’re first learning voices of a smaller group and once you’ve learnt K.R.Y, then SuJu T, and even SuJu M, you’re capable of listening to songs all 13 members sing and can tick off their voices as you go along :D

I did used to get muddled between Kangin and Siwon lol. And often Leeteuk and Heechul. Donghae’s voice was one of the earlier ones I recognised, actually. I remember hearing a beautiful voice that I loved and would listen out for in every song. I watched one performance and saw that it was Donghae which meant that the voice in all the other songs also belonged to him. Sungmin was pretty easy too. When I first heard him in some of the songs, I labelled his voice as “The one who sounds like Changmin”. And again, I followed the same process of learning Donghae’s to learn Sungmin’s :)

And another really helpful tip is actually know who is singing in the song. Especially because there are so many members, instead of just eliminating who the voice doesn’t belong to, you can also count off the people who aren’t even singing in the song!

Big Bang – The Process of Elimination step does not work here lol. What does work is knowing the “role” the members have – the rappers and the vocalists. Since I said that TOP’s voice stood out so much, clearly the other rapper would be GD. When it came to vocalists, Daesung’s voice was the unique of the 3 (omg so beautiful). I learnt Tae Yang’s voice from listening to his solos (which is similar to listening to SuJu’s sub groups). So you’d think knowing 4 voices, I’d be able to recognise Seungri’s. But honestly, I suck because I never know when he’s singing. Even if I’m listening to him, I won’t be aware that it’s not the other 4. I don’t know if that’s my problem though, or Seungri’s. LOL nah, nah only kidding.

SHINee – After watching a gazillion videos and listening to their songs a trillion times, it really is impossible to not know voices. So after you have identified the unique voice of the group (Jonghyun), I think picking a favourite voice (Onew) also really helps as well as knowing the voice of your favourite (Key).

And like with Super Junior, it’s always handy to know who’s singing in the song. If it wasn’t for lyrics + performances, I would’ve assumed that Taemin and Minho had a part in the chorus of “In My Room”. Not that that would’ve made much difference anyway since they had no solo lines.

Anyways, I hope this was an insightful read because it was definitely fun writing it up :D


  1. YAY ILUSM OKAY. Hahaha.

    You’re such a hardworking fangirl x) It suddenly makes sense because I can recognise onew, key & jonghyun’s voices so that voice has got to belong to taemin or minho~ Hahaha.

    I can recognise all 13 voices of Super Junior :D Except.. Kyuhyun & Heechul. LOL IDK WHY T_T

    & I tend to mix yoochun & yunho up D: Like in doushite kimi wo suki ni natte shimattandarou. Tsk.

    Bigbang is easier. I can recognise Gdragon’s voice, when he is rapping/singing/talking x) Because he has a little kid voice :D

    Yay thank you again *throws you a changmin with meatballs on his head* :D I’m so tempted to go analyse all my songs now x)

  2. Yunho’s voice is very distinct. It was the first one I was able to differentiate after like a week of listening to DBSK. But… it’s because I think his singing’s not as up to par as the other members. -.- I have no idea how I learned to differentiate their voices, but they’re all very different to me now, although occasionally, I mix up Changmin and Junsu since they both hit high notes, but Junsu always uses vibrato. Micky’s voice is deep and husky. I think watching their variety shows and music videos probably helped a lot.

    But a weird thing is, I can differentiate Tom Delonge’s voice from Mark Hoppus’s back when I used to listen to blink-182, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never watched them on variety shows or whatever. Probably a couple of MV’s, but I can’t remember any of them.

  3. wow. thank you for such a good read! :D great job!

  4. I’m sorta proud of myself for being able to distinguish the Suju voices for the most part.. most of the time.. ^^ heheh. I mean with 13 voices? That’s pretty good right?
    Well but then it’s more impressive if you’re in more than one fandom like you are.. ^^;;
    Anyways~ I also used to mix up Siwon and Kangin in Don’t Don.. (I think their lines sound alike? Must go relisten for the billionth time..) even though I’m totally in love with Kangin’s voice. It’s special since he’s my favorite.♥ ^^ (I love Siwon too!) But of course you also have K.R.Y. :] Yesung must be my second favorite because guh omg his voice is love!♥

  5. How on EARTH did you have enough time to do this?

    Helloooo, HSCs?


    Thank you though ;)

  6. woot great tutorial! thank you very much! (:

    for Super Junior, i think Donghae has an accent that makes him stand out from the rest. idk, i’m always able to figure out which part is sung by him.

    Big Bang, T.O.P’s voice is oh-so-sexy, and easy to differentiate from the rest!

  7. Nice post! ^.^

    I’ve never had a problem discerning voices. Except for Super Junior. Only because they all sound alike (yay soundboards!). Then again, that’s one of my talents, right up there with perfect pitch.

  8. It’s really funny how whenever I listen to a group’s songs, I make a game out of distinguishing who sings what lines. I realized that I have used all of these methods back when I started listening to these groups. For DBSK, the first voice I would look for was Junsu’s. After watching countless MVs and live performances, it becomes pretty easy to recognize their voices. The videos are usually helpful cause the camera person focuses on the person who sings each line. I used lyrics with tags as cheats if I didn’t feel like trying to recognize voices :D In DBSK, Jae usually has the most lines, Changmin gets a lot of the high notes, and Yunho has a deeper voice. Process of elimination helps me with discerning Micky’s voice from the others. I had more trouble with Super Junior than I did with smaller groups, but now I realize I learned their voices the same way you did. Ryeowook’s is the most easy to tell apart cause it’s a bit more girly xD Next, I learned Donghae’s, cause I thought his voice sounded beautiful in Happiness, and that was probably one of the first MVs of theirs that I watched. I also learned Sungmin’s cause I thought he had a really nice opening in Happiness. Eunhyuk and Shindong usually rap, Leeteuk has sort of a smooth voice, and Hankyung’s is lower. Yesung has a really powerful voice, but I didn’t fully recognize his talent until SJ- KRY. I still have trouble with Kyuhyun, Heechul, Kangin, and Shiwon, lol. SJ-M is really easy if you use process of elimination. Plus, most of their voices are pretty distinct already. With Big Bang, I can only recognize TOP and Daesung’s. I still need to work on telling apart their voices :).

  9. Wow.

    Someone had the luxury of time. O.O

  10. You’re so thorough! Good job.

    Lol I think learning Suju’s faces/names was harder than their voices. My 1st fave was probably Sungmin b/c Haengbok was the first MV I watched and he has a lot of lines. And like mel, I recognize Donghae’s accent. Key has an accent too. Honestly, Taeyang and Seungri still sound the same to me and I’ve been listening to Big Bang’s mini album for the past three days. DBSK just kind of- happened. I knew Changmin’s voice b/c I hated it so much (don’t hurt me!) and the rest were pretty unique besides the occaisional Yoochun/Yunho mix up.

    Time to go “study” Suju M and Shinee. I want to hear Minho! ;) Thanks<3

  11. you’re so pro :D

    I remember Suju was hard to remember. When I thought I learned a couple of members, more members came out (thats what happens when watching suju full housexD).

    SHINee is relatively easy, just for a while (because I just didn’t like them singing about noonas so I didn’t care for them), I confused KEY and ONEw. I was like, whos who!? Soo…I got help from my guy friend. He made me go into SHINee members 101xD He showed me pictures and told me the names and then I eventually challenged myself to learn it and yeah I finally did.
    Idk how I can tell their voices now but MVs surely helped. It allowed me to know which member sang which part fairly easily and esp. their solo perfs on Jung Eun’s chocolate show (I think?) Onew’s forevermore, Jonghyun’s lee ji hoon’s song, and key, onew, and jonghyun’s in my room<333

    DBSK, I learned them in a day lol. The names and then eventually listening to their stuff and recognizing whos who with the voices. Every voice is distinct so it wasn’t that bad…lol but anything after suju and before that was easy to rememberxD

    But having sooo many fandom from Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean bands made me used to different members lol.

  12. hey..
    u make a great tutorial..!! thx..!

    yeah, i used to use the same ways as u do to recognise voice too..^^
    i’m now able to recognise all DBSK n Suju’s voice..^^
    now, when i got DBSK’s untagged lyrics, i will tagged it myself, like this one is Junsu, this one is Yoochun..
    Suju’s too.. i usually tagged the lyrics myself by listening n recognising their voice.. if i still didn’t get it, i’ll relisten the line until i’m sure who’s who..^^

    but still, sometimes i mixed up Yunho n Changmin’s voice.. coz Yunho’s high voice is a bit similar with Changmin’s low voice.. Junsu’s n Jaejoong’s voice are so easy to differ..^^

    in Suju.. well, i think i’m able to differ all their voices well, especially KRY, Sungmin, Donghae, Kangin, Teukie, n Eunhyuk. Their voice are so easy to recognise, even though Teukie n Sungmin sometimes sounds alike.. Kibum’s voice is easy too, since he doesn’t have much line n his voice is a bit deep..
    recognising their faces is easy.. since i always search for their photos..^^

    and SHINee.. i can differ their voices, especially Jonghyun’s n Onew’s (such a beautiful voice).. i recognise Key’s voice too, n since Minho has a deep voice, then the last one must be Taemin’s.. but sometimes i’m not sure with it.. so i’ll go check it on tagged lyrics or performances and find if it’s really Taemin or not.. hehe..
    since they’re newcomer, it would be difficult sometimes to recognise their voices, but as time goes by.. i believe i can recognise all of their voices well! fighting!! hehe..^^

    anyway, thanks for sharing ur experiences..! i like reading this kind of thing.. it’s so interesting..!!

  13. i can easily recognise suju’s voices after watching them in all variety shows. but not with heechul and leeteuk (sometime). dunno why. leeteuk’s voice change from time to time i think.( in a good way). XD

    i’m not really a dbsk n shinee’s fan, but i do watch their performance n listens to their songs like O, rising sun and mirotic ( dbsk) and replay,love like oxygen (shinee) and seems like i can recognise theirs too.

    i thod maybe i hve a good ears like u so i tried to distinguish SNSD’s but im totally failed in it. haha. they really sound, maybe i need to try ur style after this. thanks enwei.

  14. Hello(:
    Thanks for all your time and effort on posting great stuff on kpop(:

    But uh, I cant seem to find many sj lyrics with the name tags:\

    mind recommending? :D


    Ps, do you mind if you email it to me instead?:\


  15. woot ryeowook and his unique voice <333

    haha such organization. xDD niceeee

  16. btw this is ‘ithinkurkewl’ from youtube :D

  17. It’s funny: I make a game of recognizing voices, too – especially for DBSK.

    Junsu is pretty distinct, as well as Jaejoong (breathing voice) and Micky’s nasal quality. Usually I end up mixing Changmin and Yunho – except when Changmin goes high and really bashes you with his powerful voice. Then it’s unmistakable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: