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  • Vocal Technique Training   77 votes

    1. 1. What is the most important consideration when training the voice?

      • Training to Bridge the Passaggio
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  • Posts

    • How to SPEAK more top-down?
      Yes. The main thing imo that creates the dopey quality is the amount of space in the pharynx. In NG the tongue position is pretty much fixed. It needs to make contact with the roof of the mouth pretty much in the area where hard and soft palate meet to block the oral airflow. But what you CAN vary on NG is the space in the pharynx because you can make the soft palate "bulge upwards", which decreases the space of the nasal cavity and increases the space in the oral cavity. And this is what creates the dopey sound. If you use NG with a large space in the pharynx, you will probably be dopey if you phonate through that posture in the low range. Watch this video for example. He talks about what you can do with the palate. You can lift it just to the point where it closes the nasal port, but you can also lift it above this point, which creates the "dome" shape. And it is precisely an exaggerated dome shape that creates a dopey sound. If you use the NG excercise you can even have a dome shape with leak. The palate itself is way more flexible than just "up = close" and "down = open". He also says that a lifted soft palate is tied to "higher intensity", which is also my experience. And that means that for normal, relaxed speaking (lower intensity) you don't want it to be really high, just high enough to not sound nasal (which is the "medium" I'm talking about). This is precicesly the purpose of the "out of the eyes" image, at least in the way I know it (and the way he describes it I think Titze is referring to specifically this, which, as said is a quite common image in voice pedagogy here in Germany). Another way to look at it is that NG is basically the product when "N" (nasal airflow) and "G" (lifted soft palate) have a baby. You get a palate that is quite high, but open. The imagery of "aiming the sound" somewhere can change the balance more towards G or N, which allows you to change the position of the palate. More G produces a higher palate, more N produces a lower palate. Another way of trying it is to say the word G-UH-NG which usually produces a different state of the NG posture compared to when you say the word "S-IH-NG". In 4 Pillars these concepts of "aiming the sound" are reflected by "forward" and "backward" resonance. 
    • How to SPEAK more top-down?
      Actually I said, phonating NG with the "out of the eyes" image leads to a medium palate position (or at least it is the intention of the image). In general NG can be phonated with several different positionings, and one of them is shown in that MRI image. The only thing that is sure about NG is that it produces a palate position "with leak" because it is a nasal consonant. You can still vary the space in the pharynx drastically while phonating on NG. The second thing it will do is raise the back of the tongue. In my opinion soft palate closure has no effect on classical registration (open or closed), but palate position does have an influence. You would not be able to use covering with the palate being low for example (but you CAN use it with the palate being open). The classical covering needs the added space in the pharynx ("inverse megaphone") and bulging the palate at least slightly upwards is part of that.  In the CVT book for example "closing/opening the nasal port" and "raising/lowering the soft palate" are different actions. It seems to me like for you high palate always means closed nasal port and low palate always means open nasal port. And that is what I'm saying about NG. It always has an open nasal port, but it can have a high or low soft palate. As for the "voice out of the eyes" sensation: Here in Germany this image is actually very common among voice teachers. But overall it is as with any other image in singing. It can work or not, depending on the individual. Mental images are always "shots in the dark" so to say. Same goes for "high placement". For some people it works, but other people or voice teachers say that it is better to think about the voice in terms of "forward and back" instead of "up and down".  
    • How to SPEAK more top-down?
      A great man once said: "The tongue for me is a thing I would not care to think about."

      Another great man once said, when asked about his technique for breath control, "It's not difficult. It's only teachers (sic) who make it seem difficult. It's something instinctive."

      Likewise, it's practically impossible to know whether or not your soft palate is raised or lowered at any given point. If you hiss, your soft palate is completely raised.. but it feels lowered.

      So in practical application none of this matters. What matters is that Ingo Titze and many other voice therapists recommend a high placement. Others don't. So, in conclusion, everyone is wrong and nothing matters.
    • How to SPEAK more top-down?
      @benny82 Well you are the one who said that the position of the NG would lead to "medium" position of the soft palate and that such "medium" position would be desirable and necessary to not sound dopey, I am showing you what the position of the NG is like, and how it sounds like when present on the articulation of vowels on the 3rd video at 00:40 ( a rather dopey vowel btw that is honking due to the nasal flow and sounds unstable, these antagonic tensions are a big part of the issue and why nasalance helps). I am also showing two singers using a closed nasal port (not NG, at all) with very different results in terms of sound quality. There are several studies that shows that the soft palate is not a significant difference on the control of registration of classical singers, some do have nasal leak ON THE PASSAGGIO, others do not. The fact still remains that oral vowels should not have nasal leak and that this can be corrected, specially since we are talking about spoken voice, incomplete velar closure on oral sounds is not desirable. Or in other words, if it will leak or not, nasal or not, honking or not, should be a choice and should not affect registration. The differences in sound quality (dopey and not) are not related to the soft palate, but the positions of the tongue, space on the pharynx and AP narrowing.   Soft palate: lowered = nasal flow, lifted = no nasal flow. The question you asked is a good one, but your answer is incorrect. The soft palate has a indirect relationship with the issue of course, but its not the cause or the solution. You can make people produce nasal sounds, oral sounds, even dopey sounds, but without making sure that the TONGUE is on the desired positon, and allowing the individual to perceive it and develop the control, it will be a blind search for magic. Tongue position + Pharynx space + AP narrowing + Lateral/intercostal support, THEN you learn to open and close the nasal port without messing it up (it will interfere with the tongue position).   What Titze meant by that is really irrelevant, maybe he wanted the singer to be upside down when doing it, who knows. He did not provide ANY orientation to aquire the coordination (whatever it is), just to do the exercise using the straw, hope it will produce the adjustments and that they will carry on to speech. It can happen, but its a shot in the dark. The only reference for speech production that was given was "voice coming from the eyes".  
      The real question therefore is: What will people do when following such instruction of "voice comming from the eyes". That's what my answer is about, the rest is pseudo-intelectual nonsense. And again, its a very poor idea to try to address resonance before working on breathing, support and emission, specially on the spoken voice. Even if you tried to use other directions such as forward, the results will be pretty much random.
    • Suggest us: We make FREE Youtube piano accompaniments for singers
      Maybe ronws can help you learn how to get your work into that karaoke site?
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