Raise soft palate or widen pillars of fauces?

Individuals are different, and in particular, vocal tension patterns can be very different.

I had read so often here to raise the soft palate. Yet, in Alan Greene’s book, the New Voice, he says– to billow out the pillars of fauces and RELAX the soft palate.

I’ve experimented with both and believe Alan Greene is right. Here’s why.

The pathways to the cavities that resonante high frequencies (nasal cavities and sinuses)–is through the nasal-pharynx pathway or through the bony part of the upper mouth (hard palate). The soft palate, together with the position of the throat-neck and larynx, control the “mix” of the sounds going out to the mouth, the hard palate, and nasal-pharynx.

Deliberately lifting my soft palate has consistently produced too bright of a sound.      When I tried to billow out the pillars of fauces (sides of soft palate) and relax the soft palate, this enabled the soft palate to freely move, providing a great deal subtly because the mix is now fast in emotional adjustments.   The widening of the pillars of fauces enables adequate air-sound to reach the nasal cavities.

I just don’t think this idea of raising the soft palate is right.  Even if someone has lots of downward tension in soft palate, the idea should be to get rid of  this tension to enable for a free soft palate, as its significant voice mix capabilities determine much of the vocal quality.

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5 Responses to “Raise soft palate or widen pillars of fauces?”

  1. David Says:

    how exactly do you billow out the pillars of the fauces as you have put it? very interested in learning.

    • webandnet Says:

      Hi David,

      Greene’s book has many interesting and valuable techniques for loosening the soft palate area, including putting one’s finger down into the throat to massage. Though Greene doesn’t specifically say this, I think it’s fair to say that such tension releasing methods will help billow out the pillars.

      My view has diverged from Greene’s immensely valuable insightly views and methodology; my view being if one’s head aligns with neck-throat and chest, the inner throat will naturally release over 85% of such tensions. Through posture alignment methods, 85% of the pillars of fauces will naturally billow out. The remainder can, for most part, be mentally-controlled-muscularly to billow out.

      • David Says:

        Thanks very much…..I agree with the posture and it’s help in releasing tension…I just stumbled upon it yesterday….seems the head posture is directly opposite of what Alexander technique teaches, in that the back of head seems to fall down a little with a feeling of shorter rather than longer stretch for back of head and neck.

        could you describe your postural discovery?

        Many thanks.

  2. webandnet Says:

    Hi David,

    I don’t understand what you’re saying Alexander is saying, and I’ve only previewed primer books on Alexander methods.

    My view is this. Though the position of the head reflects how well good posture result is, this head position is mostly determined by its supporting structure. That is, it is easier for the supporting structure to correctly affect the position of the head than for the head’s postured physical weight and torque to affect the supporting structure to correctly align.

    This means further, if the immediately below muscles for supporting the head (throat and neck muscles) is used less for posture alignment, then such throat and neck muscles can be freer–immensely valuable for singing purposes.

    Hence, the proper head posture should be to minimize throat and neck muscles support requirements, and this is done by balancing the head properly. Rather than a deliberate positioning, this should be seen as a minimizing of the neck-throat muscles’ supporting efforts and simultaneously, a balancing of the head on top of top of the spine.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    • David Says:

      Yes, I totally understand….good points. Alexander says to lengthen the neck which has the back of the crown of the head if you will, high, with the chin tucked under somewhat…the position I felt was exactly like the Richard Tucker position you may have seen before, where he seems to shorten his neck for high notes….check out some of his videos and you’ll see….

      Thanks again,
      I’m enjoying our communication.

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