Chester Bennington Vocal Range

Chester Bennington is one of the most beloved singers in the rock music domain. As the lead vocalist of the legendary band Linkin Park, Bennington’s distinctive voice resonated with audiences across the globe. I became a huge fan when the band first came to prominence and have been still listening to Chesters songs until this day.

In this article, I will discuss Bennington’s vocal range, his voice type and the various techniques he used throughout his singing career. Let’s get into it!

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Why Chester Bennington is a Tenor

Classically, Bennington’s voice would be classified as a tenor, the highest male voice type in traditional choral music. This tenor classification aligns with his light, yet powerful vocal quality and his comfort in maintaining high registers, especially when belting.

However, his vocal range and tonal quality transcended traditional classifications. Chester’s voice could resonate with the depth of a baritone like Kurt Cobain or Serj Tankian, and the piercing intensity of a countertenor.

It’s this vocal flexibility that allowed him to experiment and evolve, enabling Linkin Park to push boundaries and constantly redefine their sound.

Here’s a chart showing how Chester Bennington’s vocal range compares to that of other notable singers. Notice his good friend Chris Cornell in the Baritone category!

vocal-ranges-and-examples-diagram-showing voice types for popular rock and pop singers.

Is Chester Bennington’s Vocal Range 3 Octaves

Chester Bennington’s voice falls close to the 3 octave range. To be precise, in his recorded music Chester hits notes from G2 to E5, making it exactly 2.75 octaves.

However, we have to consider times when he goes all the way down to F#2 and as high as B5 during rare live performances. Because of this, there is contention if his range is below or over 3 octaves.

Lets take a closer look at the low and high registers of Chesters voice separately.

Mastery Over Lower Notes

The lower end of Bennington’s vocal spectrum reached down to G2, a range often associated with baritones. An example showcasing his low register is the track “System” from the album “Queen of the Damned,” where he adopts a softer, more somber tone.

As I mentioned, Chester can be heard going as low as a F#2 in live recordings. You can hear it during a live performance of “Be Myself” from 2001. This may be his lowest recorded note. Singing this low, Chester is comfortably in the baritone range.

Command Over High Notes

Chester’s recorded music has a lot of examples of his aptitude for the higher registers. In the song “Heavy” Chester can be heard doing the background vocals, hitting a comfortable high E5. To me this represents the upper register of his voice where he is able to maintain the high notes with comfort and good harmony.

Notes heard higher than E5 are only during live performances or heard for short periods of time. Chester goes up to a B5 note during a livestream with the band and fans. During this livestream he hits a few of his other “career high notes”.

But again, I don’t look at these live recordings or snippets as representations of his overall vocal range. I consider the C5-D#5 range the sweet spot for Chesters high vocals in his recorded music.

Check out “Soul Song” from the album Amends, a hidden gem that was resurfaced in 2020. This song showcases how comfortable Chester was singing in the higher registers. He hits some powerful C#5’s throughout the chorus…goosebumps…

Chester Bennington Vocal Techniques

Let’s talk a little about Chesters vocal techniques that gave him that unique sound we all love him for. Bennington’s vocal prowess was rooted in his diverse toolbox, which allowed him to fluidly transition between singing styles and tonalities to express a range of emotions.

Vocal Distortion and Fry

One of the defining elements of Bennington’s vocal technique was his use of distortion and fry. Often used in rock and metal genres, these techniques involve producing a ‘growl’ or ‘rasp’ that adds a raw, edgy texture to the voice. Bennington employed these techniques extensively in songs like “One Step Closer” and “Given Up,” where the distortion underlines the song’s aggressive, frustrated themes.

Clean Singing and Falsetto

In stark contrast to his aggressive distortion, Bennington also demonstrated proficiency in clean singing, seamlessly transitioning from gritty tones to clear, melodious vocals. His use of falsetto added another dimension to his sound, enabling him to hit higher notes with a softer, lighter tone, as exemplified in “Numb.”

Belt Technique

Belting is a singing technique where a singer sings higher pitches with their chest voice, creating a powerful, resonant sound. Bennington often used this technique during chorus sections or climactic moments, lending an additional punch to the song. An example can be heard in “Crawling,” where he uses belting to accentuate the song’s emotional intensity.

Conclusion

Chester Bennington was a voice of a generation with his reach spanning across the globe. Chester’s vocal range falls in the tenor category. He is most commonly classified as a 3 octave singer, however with a closer range more likely 2.75 octaves.

Artists’ live performances definitely do showcase the versatility of a singers voice. However, we have to take into consideration comfort and technical abilities when considering a singers true vocal range and capabilities.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, feel free to drop a comment and thank you for reading!

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