Archive for the ‘technique’ Category

Unable to sing highs despite constricted abs

March 27, 2013


2. Breath support: My vocal coach tells me to constrict my abs when singing higher. However, no matter how hard I constrict them, I don’t feel any difference, high notes are still as hard as before. I don’t think that it’s about the strength of my abs, instead, I must be doing it incorrectly. Where should I feel tension when singing, upper/lower part of my belly? Do you have any other advice on finding the correct way to support my breath?

Thank you for any advice![/quote]

Constricting your abs does several things:

1. Provides stronger support to create a consistent posture that creates a consistent tone.
2. Pushes forward the lower back and then uplifts the chest, which then uplifts the throat and head, all of which facilitate the higher tones to resonante more in the head.
3. I don’t understand why this is so, but when the throat-neck is set more backwards (because stronger abdominal constriction sets posture more aligned), the vocal apparatus is more relaxed to emit higher pitched sounds. This vocal apparatus includes the soft palate and pillars of fasces, and these two enable the transmission through the nasal-area to enable high resonance.
4. Many other things as well.

So, you may be constricting your abs support, yet not activating all the other necessary items of the vocal tract. One likely area is lowering the larynx. If you’re raising the larynx, the tightening the abs won’t help much.


Single register singing

February 23, 2013


10:52 seconds   Johanna Batiste Mancini– notes that there are single register singers.   Is this like Tom Jones?    The question is also why this is rare.  Julie Andrews also?   Appreciate your thoughts.

Consistently singing higher

December 21, 2012

“What I would really want is to be able to sing BUT sing in a higher key consistently. Alot of people always comment and talk about expanding your range and it seems to me they are talking about hitting higher notes NOT SINGING IN A HIGHER KEY.”

Agree in part with postings that singing consistently in a higher pitch CAN be same a few notes in a higher pitch.  But these can also be different.

One of several ways to attain higher notes is to force-strain the vocal cords, upper vocal tract muscles, and placing sounds through the upper roof of the mouth (bony).   The difficulty here is the continuous strain, but one can get terrific screaming types of sounds, for such desired effects.   Sharp highs too, as the bony roof of upper mouth doesn’t dampen sounds.   E.g. screaming for help gets terrific highs.

It is also possible to create a lesser strained, more melodic high, using resonance to replicate some of same sharpness, if so desired.   This involves in part by keeping the larynx low and placing some sounds through the back of the throat to the nasal-pharynx cavity, so head resonance occurs more easily.   Because the vocal cords and throat are also more relaxed in this technique, the cords-throat can also sing higher pitch.  Because this uses more resonance, cords and upper vocal tract muscles don’t have to work as hard for volume.

The SongBirdTree Youtube videos above are the Best I’ve seen.    Her swallowing tip temporarily forces the larynx to drop, and this opens up the back of the throat more, which in great part, enables the highs to be transmitted more out the mouth AND the nasal-pharynx.    Yet, I think there are better methods still.  Alan Greene’s book describes exercises to keep the larynx low.  My personal opinion is that posture changes will facilitate keeping the larynx low, and facilitate for the soft pallet to drop, such that the high sounds are additionally transmitted through the back of mouth, up through the nasal pharynx, for greater resonance.

Lastly, I’m uncertain of the initial question, as it relates to tone style.  It may be necessary change the mix.   For example, “The Lion Sleeps at Night”, it is possible to sing this using a full voice with on-pitch highs, but somehow, the bass just doesn’t sound right.   What one wants to do is to use resonance on highs, reduce lows, and use mic appropriately.

In short, singing highs consistently is sometimes same as reaching for highs, and change mix to create desired tone effects as well.

Smile with extreme highs

August 29, 2012

See Gillette’s Youtube video.   This works because the contrarian muscles of sorrow aren’t interfering.

Open throat singing

February 20, 2012

Just an amateur, what do I know? And haven’t read CVT. But, may be able answer some of these.

Opening of the throat should be a “natural”, “subconscious” set of events, instead of process. Alan Green’s book, “The New Voice” describes physical manipulations to reduce subconscious tensions. My blog,” will later introduce more on this.  In another word, don’t spend your time trying figuring out the process of individually opening up the upper pallet, tongue away, through music means.   These will occur naturally and in synchronicity when tension is reduced.

To better explain.  Imagine a machine with a many bolts loose or too tight and a bit rusty at places.  It holds a diaphragm, ribs, air lining, throat muscles, tongue, soft pallet, etc.  Due to its inappropriate tension (tight or loose), it works, but not well. One can exercise its components, e.g. soft pallet, and perhaps shake of some of the rust, but this won’t solve the loose or taut bolts, and won’t get stop the rust from reforming.

However, if one finds a loose bolt in the understructure and tightens it, all its above structures move in sync better.   That is, it is not necessarily the process work on any single component that we’re looking for, but instead, an event, where all the related components are suddenly working in sync.

In another word, imagine many tension points as impediments to an open voice.   When a tension point is released, there’s a small realignment and better syncing of all open voice’s components (upper pallet, tongue, etc.).

Using the above philosophical approach, here are some of my responses:

1. Alan Green’s book describes an open throat as a foundation that can be used most of the time.  I agree.

2. See above.

3.  Effective, communicative singing is usually emotive, meaning one’s emotional muscular tensions express these.    The open throat is more of an amplifier.   One way singing differs from actual emotions’ vocal expressions is that in singing, we’re trying to amplify such emotion, while carrying a melodic tone.   Whatever emotion (and its “throat” name) works best to express is best, and open throat is an excellent foundation to start to express such.   For example, singer of “Sultans of Swing” is not an open throat but does emotionally expresses song.

4. See above.

5. Disagree.   Though not essential, lifting of the upper pallet even on low notes brings forth a fuller voice.  Also, it creates either a more ringing sound or a softer smoother sound (depending on one’s placement).   Lastly, take a look at the physics of this–if one lifts the upper pallet, even the long bass waves have more travel space, thereby creating more bass resonance.  Clearly, even lifting the upper pallet can create a fuller bass sound.

It is certainly far more noticeable on higher notes, because nasal resonance amplifies higher notes well.

6. What is “hold”

7. Don’t know.


December 5, 2011


To smile or not to smile….

Singing is usually a sublimated emotion weaved into a story FOR the audience– singing is not about self-created tones.

Smiling certainly has a number of advantages– it usually engages the audience, it probably does a number of things to relax the vocal apparatus, etc.–but smiling definitely doesn’t help a tragic or sorrowful tale. Most rock song have happy melody and sad lyrics and many if not most country songs are sad, so smiling is appropriate when both melody and lyrics are happy; maybe when one is thus, and inappropriate when neither is.

For rock, sometimes you should growl, for stage, sometimes you should frown…. you get the idea.

Expression that matches the desired emotional effect for the audience– not only will this help the audience, but because the body emotional expression matches the song emotional expression matches the audience perception of such emotion, and most importantly, match the intricate muscles nature designed to make such emotion. Singing should match the emotion as part of the story told– smiling is just one of these emotions.

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.