Archive for January, 2010

Expanded chest and ribs for singing

January 8, 2010

The question is asked whether the rib should be expanded. 

 http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=586

 The question, in my opinion, should not be whether to keep the ribs deliberately expanded, but, instead, how to have the rib relaxed and in tone, which, in my opinion, is usually is a far more expanded state.  Your singing state should be its ribs in muscular tone state and adjusted for the emotional effect your singing is trying to achieve.

The reason the ribs are usually not in a relaxed and in-muscular-tone state is because of posture problems and emotional tension.  These are difficult to fix, but if fixed, the result will be an expanded chest, similar to what is described frequently in professional dance classes.   It is also possible to attain an expanded rib similar to that in a military stance, but this often produces lesser varieties of emotional sounds.

 Interesting how the words musical tone and muscular tone are related—this is what http://www.vocalposture.com is stating.

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Tan Tien, floating chest, thorax, and abdomen

January 7, 2010

Proper tan tien means proper hip and lower spine alignment.   This affects the entire posture.  3D dynamic movement, so not just 2D.  This part is critical, because it is a 3D dynamic and in several free motions.

After tan tien, the abdomen needs to be strengthened. 

Subsequently, it is the concept that I call “free floating chest”.   This is freer intracoastal (sp) muscles–expanding chest outward, and uplifting upper chest, and the entire chest being uplifted higher.

So, the entire chest is expanded.  Hence, this is also the basis for the Eastern meditation methods’  focus on breathing methods.

Acid reflux, vocal cords, and acupuncture

January 7, 2010

The question is asked how does acid reflux affect singing highs and why a particular singer found that acupuncture worked for him.   See themodernocalist.com’s discussion forum http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=447

Acid reflux doesn’t just affect the vocal cords, but the entire vocal tract.   Just a little bit of acid, and I would even suggest acidic fumes, can weaken the entire vocal tract.   This means that acid reflux affects the resonace control and vocal cords.

My opinion is:  if you have major acid reflux, you’ll know quickly–you’ll lose the entire vocal tract control–can’t sing in tune.   Minor acid reflux affects the quality of the control.   Remember that the vocal cords alone sound tinny, and that your resonance creates the full sound, and then you’ll better understand how acid reflux works.  

Knowing this, here’s how Nexium and other proton inhibitors work.   These reduce the amount of acid and possibly acidic fumes that weaken your vocal tract, and hence improve your singing quality control.

One can also reduce acid by changing diet (eat less, less fatty foods that require more digestion time), losing weight (my guess is less pressure on the stomach and vocal tract), and other well-known methods.

Lesser known–one can reduce the acid by manipulating your body posture.  Don’t lie down horizontally (even when sleeping; sleep at an incline), sit straight, try to strengthen the lower esophageal valve, and also the upper esophageal valve (I hope I said these correctly).   These are described in my blog www.vocalposture.com.   Lift up the entire rib cage–not by a deliberate mental lift, but by relaxing and toning the entire spine and thorax and abdomen muscles and myofasica.  Much of vocalposture is about this process.   You’ll sing better and relieve acid reflux at the same time.

As for acupuncture, massage, etc., as mentioned in the modernvocalist.com question    These can work as well.   How, precisely?   One of the comments said earlier is that there is no “scientific proof” that these work.   Indeed, there is little “scientific proof” these don’t work either.   Just because something isn’t proven, doesn’t mean it’s false; though it may be suspect. 

Remember though that there are usually more false methods than true ones, so suspect is suspect.  However, it is not true that suspect is false–some suspect methods may very well work.

There is abundant evidence that acupuncture and massage do affect the circulatory, nervous, and muscular-tension systems.  If one accepts these, then one can view one’s relief through these therapies sensibly.

Acid reflux is primarily due to too much pressure causing the stomach contents to go up to the throat.  

Acupuncture, massage, etc. may be helping by relieving tension (thereby reducing pressure), by relaxing your vocal tract (which may be tense from continous exposure to acid reflux), or by simply improving your vocal tract muscular performance.  Anyhow, all these make sense by understanding the posture of the vocal tract, which is what www.vocalposture.com is about.

I hope this helps.

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Tinnitus, hyperacusis, and singing techniques

January 6, 2010

It’s well known that the major cause to tinnitus is loud sounds.   Also, a related condition, hyperacusis (painful amplified hearing), is also affected by loud sound.  Lastly, tinnitus and hyperacusis are often precursors to deafness.

Singing techniques can affect the travel of sound throughout the head, and obviously to the ears as well.  The ways of head resonance amplify these sounds as well.

So, it would seem that singing techniques can affect the degree of affected tinnitus and hyperacusis, and possibly even reduce the likelihood of losing one’s hearing.

Though it is known that some tinnitus and hyperacusis suffers’ singning can cause these illnesses, I didn’t find much research on this topic or how singing techniques can reduce tinnitus or hyperacusis.

Does anyone have suggestions, knowledge, resources for research?