Archive for May, 2011

The mixed voice

May 31, 2011

Also, I completely disagree with the view of singing in the head voice.   One should be able to choose whichever “positioned” voice he prefers.  If he wants to be a head voice specialist, fine.   But, one just can’t reach full height of singing by chopping off the body.

Also, raising or lowering the soft pallet has different types of effects.  If one lowers the pallet, the sound goes through the back of the head and comes out through both the mouth and the front of the face, both amplified– a very pleasant mixed sound.   The vocal cords are also more relaxed in this position, enabling for the vocal cords to emit higher highs. 

If one wants a screaming type of high, raise the upper pallet, and deliberately tighten the vocal cords and aim the sound toward the front roof of the mouth, to get more sinus resonance.   The problem here is that it is less total resonance, but more deliberate screaming power.

 To sing metal or rock really well, do all three– chest resonance, lower pallet front and mouth resonance, and screaming–simulatenously.   I’m sure it can be done, but don’t ask me how.   Just an amateur.

Pitch hearing

May 31, 2011

Well, to offer my contrarian, amateur views.  Maybe a better question is how is it you lost your accurate pitch, instead of how to learn accurate pitch.

Pitch matching is, for most people, a natural, innate skill.    One can see this particularly well in certain Asian countries’ women’s very high pitch talking voices.   This is a learned pitch matching from their childhood– they heard other women talk this way, society reinforced it, and they innately learn to attain this high pitch.

That you are unable to match pitch is more likely that you lost your innate ability.   How did this happen?   I believe that this occurs most often by the mind psychologically fooling one’s own listening, when your vocal sounds travel from the mouth to the ears, also travelling through the facial bones.  

Though pitch matching with a known sound is one way, I don’t think it’s a good singing way.  

Japanese Zen art has the concept of irregularities.   So, whereas in Western art, symetry is highly prized, in Zen art, there is the irregularity.   Developing perfect symmetry in reality is not only difficult, but boring as well.   So, Japanese Zen art shows irregularities and prizes these, as these are reality-based.   In pop music, it is the irregularity that is high prized, not the symmetry.

This means, to learn singing, the focus should be on harmonious pitches, utilizing one’s irregularities.   The idea isn’t to attain perfect symmetry in singing.   To attain the harmonious, using one’s irregularities, one still has to hear one’s voice accurately.   This means to relearn one’s innate vocal hearing, rather than to practice with a known pitch.

So, the first step is to hear accurately, and the first process is to align one’s posture accurately to hear accurately.

Mixed voice

May 30, 2011

Just an amateur, what the hell do I know?

 A mixed voice, to me, suggests resonating with both the nasal-sinus cavity and simultaneously the airway from above diaphragm.   Tom Jones and Julie Andrews have very good mixed voices.  How does Tom Jones resonante bass while singing these screaming highs?   Somehow he uses both resonanting cavities simultaneously?

 The soft pallet is only one of the factors affecting resonance– others being placement, blockage, muscle tone, mental thought, more, and, in my opinion, most important is body posture, including head-chest alignment.  Basically, what one is trying to create is a relaxed vocal cord that resonantes in two fully open cavities simultaneously.

 So, my amateur opinion is the soft pallet change will help.

Modern diet and acid reflux

May 30, 2011

A lot is said about types of food.   There is a good show about Australian dumpster scavengers– these are “white” folks with money who believe that eating toss-aways from dumpsters is ecologically sensible.    It’s unclear that they have more acid reflux than normal population.   One wonders at this, until the show points out that “in the state of nature”, humans are scavengers– eating mostly leftover kill by other animals–unwashed, eaten by others, diseased, possibly maggots– and in the natural state, these individuals may be OK.

Human digestive system is built for scavenging, and probably can tolerate modern food as well as scavenged food.   Yes, modern food with all its hidden fats, synthetics, hormones, etc., aren’t too good for you, but fats can be eliminated, hormones reduced, etc.    If you can tolerate it, eat inexpensive beans– organic, washed free of pesticides, lots of bulk, etc..

But be aware, eating beans produces a lot of gas– which bloats one’s stomach, increases pressure, and can contributes to acid reflux.    What I’m trying to say, is that the synthetics in modern diet might be able to kill you on cancer, but it’s unclear how it affects acid reflux.

Acid reflux question

May 30, 2011

If you have acid reflux, the first thing to do is to stop its continuing damage and let the body heal; if not, the damage will become cancerous, and stomach cancer has a kill rate, if I recall correctly, about 90%.  The pain is your body telling you of its high danger.

After stopping its continuing damage, the body will heal by itself.   Proton inhibitors are effective at this, and proton inhibitors are relatively safe.    The standard course for proton inhibitors is two to four weeks.

After the continuing damage is stopped, then work on how to reduce the acid through non-pharmaceutical means.   A low fat diet means that food stays in the stomach for a shorter period of time, producing less acid.   An inclined bed means that the acid doesn’t crawl up the esophagus when the body is horizontal.   But none of these are assurred to be a cure, so you may have to return to proton inhibitors. 

The reason acid reflux affects singing, is not primarily because of the stomach pain, but because the acid, mostly liquid and some acidic fumes, constantly weaken the esophageal muscles, and such muscles are critical to resonance.    Also, such acids can affect the vocal cords– when this happens, you won’t have vocal tone control.

Most gastro literature state that the lower esophageal sphincter causes the acid to spill.  The esophagus can tolerate a lower pH than the nasal-pharynx, so the other sphincter mentioned means that acid is spilling and is not damaging your esophagus nearly as much as the nasal-pharynx.

If you’re singing with a high acid stomach (condition of stomach or lots of food), and your technique is unusual, one can send more acidic fumes up to the nasal pharynx, which would cause loss of resonance control.  This can be offset by drinking antacid before singing.

Remember that loss of muscle tone usually doesn’t occur immediately and healing occurs slowly.   So, try proton inhibitors coupled with inclined bed, then the fat-restricted diet, then the spice restricted, then the quantity-restricted.   Give each one about 4 weeks to work, and see what happens.

My approach is that the lower sphincter lost its elasticity due to continous poor posture– slouching, bad sitting (and even good sitting), computer work.   If you can get your posture upright (difficult process), then the lower sphincter is automatically pulled away from the stomach, by a distance, I estimate, as long as one to two inches.   This keeps the acid in the stomach, and reduces many of the other mentioned acid-reflux issues.