Kevin Ashe

Physical & Acoustic Vocal Mode Amp & Stomp Toys

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Lately, I've been pondering this metaphor in an effort to effectively convey some ideas about singing to folks who have had little exposure to good singing pedagogy yet, comprehend guitar amplification and effects. 

I'd appreciate any input on this, how it hits you, is it effective, improvements, any debate or opinions are welcomed.

I often think of the physical vocal modes as similar to the knobs on a guitar amplifier. 

1432702413_VocalModeampknobs.jpg.c1dbab1eee1e87691f6070db1f1850e3.jpg

. . . . . and the acoustic vocal modes & effects as functioning like the e.q. and effects pedals.

1012907657_VOCALMODESTOMPBOXES.thumb.jpg.658d0e2041b46508f915b340db595454.jpg

 

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That is a pretty cool concept. One thing is missing though......A sound man to adjust things during a performance.

My effects boxes and tone controls are labeled towards Character voices rather than vocal pedagogy.....I am more familiar with making character voices.

I am now a "set it and forget it" kind of guy. I have been working on "Honesty" by Billy Joel. The sound was kind of OK to me but did not have his punch. Then I made the realization that he is a TOUGH GUY FROM THE BRONX.......I set the "effects array" for New York Gangster and there it was.....The sound I was looking for.

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On 8/7/2018 at 8:18 AM, MDEW said:

That is a pretty cool concept. One thing is missing though......A sound man to adjust things during a performance.

Ain't that true! and put some tape over the "suck" button!  I'll have to think about what the sound guy would be a metaphor of....

My effects boxes and tone controls are labeled towards Character voices rather than vocal pedagogy.....I am more familiar with making character voices.

I thought of it this way because it seems that when we sing, we are always using a blend of physical modes to achieve the phonation we are desiring. The Physical Vocal Modes are first in the line of creating our "base" sound color (not unlike the tone knobs on the amp), then we layer that with effects & coordination techniques.

I am now a "set it and forget it" kind of guy. I have been working on "Honesty" by Billy Joel. The sound was kind of OK to me but did not have his punch. Then I made the realization that he is a TOUGH GUY FROM THE BRONX.......I set the "effects array" for New York Gangster and there it was.....The sound I was looking for.

I wanna hear it dude! :cool:

 

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2 hours ago, Kevin Ashe said:

I thought of it this way because it seems that when we sing, we are always using a blend of physical modes to achieve the phonation we are desiring. Hence, amp dials are first in the line of creating our "base" sound color (not unlike the tone knobs) then we layer that with effects & coordination techniques.

That is a good way of thinking about things. Before I found out about "TheFourPillarsof Singing", The other books and videos I found made me think you were not supposed to "Do" anything other than use support and let your throat relax. Whatever sound came out is what you had to work with. Anything else was manipulation,and manipulation is bad. 

At the same time these teachers were saying things like "Bring the voice forward" "Sing in the mask" "Add Twang" "Tilt the larynx" "Raise the soft palate"..... I was trying to "Let these things happen" without "Doing" anything.    

With "TheFourPillars"  Robert would run through the coordinations......"Hum on an EE sound"...."Open to "EH" while keeping the Twang of "EE""  "Dampen the larynx"..... Not only were you ALLOWED to DO stuff....you were supposed to and instructed on HOW to make that sound..   Of course, these are extreme sounds and what you use for Exercising.  But they also teach you how to control the amount you are using and HOW to dial in more or less of the effect.

I was also under the impression that if you used one effect you wouldn't be able to use another or the one prevented the other from happening......Like if you were adding "Twang" you could not also "Sob".    But, as you show in your Effects box, these are different controls that are controlled by separate actions of the voice box and vocal tract.

I guess if I keep on there is a danger of your head exploding again......

3 hours ago, Kevin Ashe said:

I wanna hear it dude! :cool:

I am still trying to fit the time to record, soon I hope.   I will send you an Mp3 of my progress plus a recording I made of "Honesty" about 10 years ago. You can let me know if I have improved or lost focus over the last few years.....No pun intended but be honest in your evaluation.......I can take criticism, especially when improvement is the goal.

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6 hours ago, MDEW said:

That is a good way of thinking about things. Before I found out about "TheFourPillarsof Singing", The other books and videos I found made me think you were not supposed to "Do" anything other than use support and let your throat relax. Whatever sound came out is what you had to work with. Anything else was manipulation,and manipulation is bad. 

At the same time these teachers were saying things like "Bring the voice forward" "Sing in the mask" "Add Twang" "Tilt the larynx" "Raise the soft palate"..... I was trying to "Let these things happen" without "Doing" anything.

I've heard that criticism of vocal coaches before from other students I've met, personally, my old coaches never discussed much of anything with me, just would hear me sing, listen to me describe what I wanted to achieve in improvement, then start giving me training exercises (scales specific to the goals), I did them, it worked.  At the time, I just did not assume there was anything to learn from them about distortion. I discovered that on my own some years later.

With "TheFourPillars"  Robert would run through the coordinations......"Hum on an EE sound"...."Open to "EH" while keeping the Twang of "EE""  "Dampen the larynx"..... Not only were you ALLOWED to DO stuff....you were supposed to and instructed on HOW to make that sound..   Of course, these are extreme sounds and what you use for Exercising.  But they also teach you how to control the amount you are using and HOW to dial in more or less of the effect.

I was also under the impression that if you used one effect you wouldn't be able to use another or the one prevented the other from happening......Like if you were adding "Twang" you could not also "Sob".    But, as you show in your Effects box, these are different controls that are controlled by separate actions of the voice box and vocal tract.

well said, the voice has so many variables to consider, knowing what they are gives you more options, more options equates to higher probability of success.

I guess if I keep on there is a danger of your head exploding again......

Thanks for your caution about my head's explosive tendencies, it remains fully intact I'm glad to report!

I am still trying to fit the time to record, soon I hope.   I will send you an Mp3 of my progress plus a recording I made of "Honesty" about 10 years ago. You can let me know if I have improved or lost focus over the last few years.....No pun intended but be honest in your evaluation.......I can take criticism, especially when improvement is the goal.

it'd be fun and a privilege!

 

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Just like the vowels can be heard simultaneously, so can the physical modes, as a general rule. For example, you can be twanging and in cry mode at the same time.

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9 hours ago, MDEW said:

I wanna hear it dude! :cool:

I sent a message in the personal message section. If you cannot download MP3s let me know. I will try to upload them to soundcloud or something.

Robert, You can listen also if you want.

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