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The Mantra II

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Note in the head.

People think I am talking about singing purely in "head voice." I am not. But because of the traditional language involved, that is the perception. I will start right and concede that there are other places of resonance in the body, including the chest area. Anything that has or is a cavity can produce an acoustical resonance. Though I may continue to debate how valuable that resonance is to the total sound production. More often than not, what is experienced is a sympathetic vibration that is present when the right resonance of a note is achieved.

Because what I am really talking about is resonance and where the loudest resonance is happening. And it is happening above the vocal folds. And the vocal folds are more than halfway up the neck and the first place of true and useful resonance is the vestibule just above it. And this all happens in the head region of the body.

More importantly, the statement is akin to the bel canto, especially such as that taught and discussed by fellow member, opera singer, published author, and degreed college graduate Debra Lynn. The forward placement.

But physically, the predominant resonance of any note, from basso profundo to leggiero tenor happens in the head region. So, get used to the head region. You are going to be there for a while. And if you are singing higher notes, regardless of voice type, that are above, say, D4, you are definitely in head area. Even the highest tenors, leggiero, have a bridge point around F4 and no later. And I know several people talk about "carrying chest" up to G4 or higher. And some maybe holding onto maximum fold involvement and meeting area in adduction. Or at least think they are. For they are as amateur as I am.

And we are stuck with the language. Even though the sounds you make are originating from the head region, what folds are doing changes depending on pitch. More on that in the next post.

When I do a high note, my sense of where the note feels like it is has subtly shifted. I used to feel it in the top of my skull, which is impossible. But as I have refined what I do, it feels more like it is at the juncture of soft and hard palate, which is more likely to be accurate, anyway.

What about a low note? Same place. I don't feel it in my pancreas. Or my left foot. Or my clavicles nor behind my breast plate. And so, by accident or study, I have learned to feel or "place" the notes in the same place, regardless of vowel. And Debra Lynn is right. Once you achieve that feeling and lock onto it, it frees up your singing for a wide range of expression and volume. Which means the rest of the body adjusts to keep that. I have often said that I let resonance control the note and let the body adjust to keep that.

But others can go on singing in "chest" voice even though, in my opinion, it really is in the head.


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