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Help, I'm confused and...and...well, I'm confused.

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Bugma
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This past Sunday, I was at work with my boss and a fellow coworker at the local Tuesday Morning. It's a very relaxed atmosphere, and it's a pretty cool place to work. So cool, in fact, that my boss let me sing over the intercom when we were closing down the store (there were no customers there of course). The only problem? I can't sing very well. Oh, my parents lie to me and tell me that I sound like Frank Sinatra *cough*totalgarbage*cough* but I know better. I record myself on a regular basis and I do not sound anything like him. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that saying that I sound like Frank Sinatra is an insult to good ol' Blue Eyes.

But I digress. The real reason I am here is because I want to learn how to do three things which are my biggest hurdles:

A) Get rid of my nasal quality

2) Learn to annunciate properly (I tend to mumble and over-pronounce the "s" sound)

D) Extend my range

The one that has me stumped is extending my range. I have a fairly deep speaking voice, and I can go deeper when I "sing" if you can even call it that. So when I started looking at instructional videos on how to increase your range, I figured that the logical choice would be to go up in pitch. The problem with this is that I seem to hit a ceiling where I can't go any higher without sounding nasal or without a "full" or "thick" voice like what I can do in the low end of my limited range. The bigger problem here is that my voice breaks apart at that ceiling and I can't go any higher at all without sounding like a dying guinea pig. And there's an even bigger problem; I have a cold right now, so I can't really practice singing at all without sounding like crap. So I don't know what the practicing that I've been doing is doing.

What do I want to achieve? I want to have this kind of vocal range, whether I have to go lower or higher. But I have a feeling that I'll have to go higher, and that's going to be a pain in the fanny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT-sC33vB5M

No, I don't want to sound exactly like Josh Groban, but having his incredible vocal range would be very nice. I'd just like to be able to sing in front of other people and make them smile because they're touched on an emotional level by my voice, not because of how funny my voice sounds. Unfortunately I can't record and upload a proper sample of my voice at the moment, because as I mentioned earlier, I am sick and can't sing "as well" as I could if I weren't. Not to mention the fact that it's almost 2am here and I don't have a soundproof room in the house where I can sing without disturbing the rest of the family.

I'm new to all this "learning how to sing properly/well" stuff and I don't know all of the technical terms and jargon yet, so any replies in layman's terms would be very much appreciated.

This is Bugma signing off. Goodnight America.

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Let me guess. That ceiling you're speaking about lies around D4 (say, from B3 to F4, where C4=middle C) ?

Well everyone hits it, as far as I know. The very note where it starts to happen will vary from voice to voice, and the way to deal with it will vary from method to method. Range extension is something that is pretty natural and easy once you've got at least one method. To go higher, I mean. Your lowest note is pretty much defined by genetics, and you probably already are close to it. Unless you start smoking and drinking a lot, and abusing your voice, which doesn't seem to be a healthy route to follow.

As far as pronunciation is concerned... Well, you will learn that you will have to sacrifice some of it in the high middle and highest range. Otherwise, the only advice I can give you here, is to just pick some text up, and read it aloud, exagerating the pronunciations as if you were speaking for an audience in a theatre. But trying to do the vowels with your toungue (especially the back) instead of your lips, as it will save you time farther down the road. As far as the standard jaw positioning should go, you can try to look at the ceiling with a loose jaw, and keep that opening when you get back to a natural head positioning (this precision is because I think mumbling can come from a very closed mouth. It'll be good to you anyway, since singing with your mouth closed is not all that enjoyable :P).

I'm pretty certain though that you don't sound as bad as you think you do. It is a normal reaction to find your voice sounding bad, especially when recorded (because it is different than what you hear when you use it everyday, and your recording equipment is probably not that good either). You probably aren't that nasal either, but we would need a sample to help you more, I guess it'll come soon :)

The jargon will surely come, too, but I wouldn't get too bothered by it, as it changes from method to method, person to person. Singing is very personal, and so tends to be the jargon.

I have listened to " you raise me up ", and am very confident you will be able to do it. It's not very high, so it's definitely doable once you get a bit more training. But depending on your voice type, it might be of varying difficulty.

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I think we'll be the judge of whether your voice sounds like "crap", or not. Some higher notes resonate in or behind the soft palate. To sound nasal is to sing through the nose, not behind it. Secondly, just curious, if you did sound nasal, what is wrong with that? Mechanical question, where are you going to resonate if you chop off your head?

Anyway, you can learn to extend your range. I would like to hear what the dying guinea pig sound is. Some people pay good money to have people teach them how to sound distorted and you might have a natural sound. My only tip is, whatever that sound is, don't tip toe around out, push through it, sell it, make me buy it.

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Don't worry, your problem is the problem of everyone here, it is called the passagio ;-).

And you know what there's no problem having a deep voice, real deep voicees are really rare, and i have to say i love those kind of voice!

And for getting more range, if you train well you'll have no problems at all, i've got a friend who is a real low baritone (the bass player in my band) and sing high songs way better than me ;-)

Just get a good program, a good teacher and work on it ;-)

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First I would like to begin by saying, good morning world and all who inhabit it. And if it's not morning where you are...well, you're not important.

I merely jest. Here is a sample of my voice, though I don't sing and it's over 7 minutes long. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing sounds of my hacking and wheezing as I try some vocal fry (which is rather ironic because my vocal range is fried from being sick) lip trills, and reverse phonetics. I didn't bother putting this in the Vocal Samples section of the forums because it's really not a sample of a song, and I wanted to keep everything in one neat little place. So here I am.

http://www.box.net/shared/qia4d33tqr

And as a bonus, here's me narrating the opening cinematic to World of Warcraft: Cataclysm as Deathwing (he's the BFD (Big Fing Dragon)) that can ignite the air behind his wings and anything that it touches. This is just to get an idea of how deep my voice is in the morning (especially when I'm sick, which is rather tragically ironic). The audio sample is completely unaltered, and was recorded with Audacity.

http://www.box.net/shared/ikfv5yjv9n

And here's the official cinematic intro for Cataclysm, for you WoW fans out there (if they even exist on these forums).

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Great voice dude! I wonder how much it lightens once the "morning voice" disappears. I would suggest recording a song of you singing something(even if it's just a couple of lines.) From your siren, you seemed to have a balanced air flow, which is a GREAT start!

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Why thank you! Here is me singing the first couple of parts to "You Raise Me Up." This is closer to what I sound like after the whole "Morning Voice" phenomenon wears off:

You Raise Me Up

I recorded this with my Logitech desktop mic, and I am thinking about putting a sock over the mic so that the breathing becomes less obvious. Your thoughts on this idea?

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Why thank you! Here is me singing the first couple of parts to "You Raise Me Up." This is closer to what I sound like after the whole "Morning Voice" phenomenon wears off:

You Raise Me Up

I recorded this with my Logitech desktop mic, and I am thinking about putting a sock over the mic so that the breathing becomes less obvious. Your thoughts on this idea?

I have a bout the same mic as you do. I took a piece of paper towel and a twistie-tie and secured it that way to block the breath and labial stops, such as p and b.

So, either my hearing is messed up or you are joshing us. Exactly what is wrong with your voice? All this heartach and grief about how "crappy" your voice is. I'm still waiting to hear the crap. Try making a mistake so that you can honestly say you have a problem. Seriously, your voice sounded fine. Why is it that some people come in saying "Oh, my voice is a lethal weapon and I've hurt people with it" and it turns out have golden, warm tones? Is it false humility? Or simply the result of a skewed self appraisal thanks to unneeded crap from those around us? Sometimes, I think my dog is better "people" than some people that affect us. By the way, my dog sings along with the opera singers on the JG Wentworth commercials. And he has a pretty good tone, too. I'm getting a just a little jealous.

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I have a bout the same mic as you do. I took a piece of paper towel and a twistie-tie and secured it that way to block the breath and labial stops, such as p and b.

So, either my hearing is messed up or you are joshing us. Exactly what is wrong with your voice? All this heartach and grief about how "crappy" your voice is. I'm still waiting to hear the crap. Try making a mistake so that you can honestly say you have a problem. Seriously, your voice sounded fine. Why is it that some people come in saying "Oh, my voice is a lethal weapon and I've hurt people with it" and it turns out have golden, warm tones? Is it false humility? Or simply the result of a skewed self appraisal thanks to unneeded crap from those around us? Sometimes, I think my dog is better "people" than some people that affect us. By the way, my dog sings along with the opera singers on the JG Wentworth commercials. And he has a pretty good tone, too. I'm getting a just a little jealous.

To be honest, there wasn't really anything wrong with the fundamental sound of my voice. The problem was that I was shaping it incorrectly.

To use a comparison here, let's say that the voice is a block of stone, and the techniques that are used to shape it are the hammer and chisel. My block of stone was perfectly fine from the beginning, but I didn't know how to use the hammer and chisel properly, which means that the structure turned out poorly. Now that I know how to shape and mold my voice properly (somewhat, I'm still learning), the form will be much more pleasing to listen to; or for this comparison, to look at.

Here's another audio file that I recorded earlier this evening. This is also in the Review and Critique thread.

http://www.box.net/shared/o5scx0pcv5

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Your voice is very pleasant. And also very very deep, and I'm certain it's not the deepest you can go. To the point were I actually wondered if you weren't an octave lower. But then, a friend asked me if I wasn't half an octave higher last time she heard me sing, and furthermore, I tend to not trust my organic pitch recognition system :]

Your enunciation seems fine.

Actually singing alone with you and then the original singer, I am pretty sure you were lower, but this things happen when singing a capella. As Videohere would tell you, it's better to be able to do a song very well lower than to do it very bad in its original range.

And you speak way too much. Just write it down :P

pleasing -> pleasant. Thank you Steven

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Your voice is very pleasing. And also very very deep, and I'm certain it's not the deepest you can go. To the point were I actually wondered if you weren't an octave lower. But then, a friend asked me if I wasn't half an octave higher last time she heard me sing, and furthermore, I tend to not trust my organic pitch recognition system :]

Your enunciation seems fine.

Actually singing alone with you and then the original singer, I am pretty sure you were lower, but this things happen when singing a capella. As Videohere would tell you, it's better to be able to do a song very well lower than to do it very bad in its original range.

Ronron: I agree with your assessment... this is a very pleasant, natural-sounding baritone.

Bugma: lets hear some more recordings! Very enjoyable.

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I re-read your original post and I listened to your monologue on the extended version of "You Raise Me Up."

First off, let me tell you what others have told me when I sing baritone. You have a warm tone and great texture in this part of your vocal range. And, like Ronron said, you could probably go lower. You might even get away with doing the Caiaphas role in "Jesus Christ, Superstar." In fact, I would totally get off on hearing you doing "Ah, gentlemen, you know why we are here. We've not much time, and quite a problem here."

In your higher notes, I hear your breath more prominently. In the low range, and Steven can explain this better than I can, you have the right adduction of vocal folds and the right breath support. A low note is a slowly vibrating note in a big resonating space, even using some of the mouth for space. A higher note has a slightly tighter adduction, slightly more breath support (consistent but not overblown breath pressure, akin to slight abdominal pressure when sitting on the commode), and a smaller resonating space, not as much mouth. And higher notes are also somewhat brighter. Well, resonating space can be changed by smiling and the mental image is to picture the note at or near the soft palate, co-mingling with your epiglottis (that flappy thing hanging down at the back of your mouth.) Tighter adduction is brought on from the top down. What I mean by that is often a vocal coach (which I am not) will ask you to cackle like a witch or quack like a duck. This does not mean that you will sound like a duck or a witch (I know a few real witches and they don't cackle except as a goof on themselves). What it does is help you re-train the folds to adduct more fully. A high note involves folds at that are stretched out farther than when they are thick for low notes. What's also important is that a smaller section of them is vibrating for the higher notes. This also results in less "breathy" notes. Now, when you do this, you are going to think "I'm doing falsetto." You are not, when you do that. Falsetto is a tonal quality involving incomplete adduction and the escape of lots of air.

There may be some laryngeal lift but not a lot nor damaging. Mostly, the resonating space is changed by narrowing the vocal column and this effect, in general, is called twang. Another term Steven has used is called singer's formant but it relates to a structural set-up for resonance. The quick way to re-train for changing the resonating space is to smile slightly and drop the jaw a little. Dropping the jaw, with a relaxed tongue will have the tongue behind the teeth and slightly raised in back. This also helps set up the shape of the resonating chamber for higher notes. It's all about physics. A high note is a small note in a resonating space suited for that note. With the right resonance the note, which is a particular frequency is doubled back on itself, which creates a decibel increase, which we hear as a volume increase. Just remember that decibel is a logarithmic function. It is subtle and doesn't take much to have a huge increase.

What is a high note. My mental image involves instruments. While the folds are stretched out like a string on a guitar where the tuning peg has been turned, vibrating a small part of it is like pressing a finger on a fret. Well plucking higher notes requires a slightly more consistent pluck than a low, open string. Resonance. A guitar has a resonating chamber and some will think, I have the whole range resonating in here. Well, yes, you do. But there is a sweet spot for a guitar. A certain part of the range that gets fuller resonance than the rest, depending on type of wood, construction techniques, etc.

For changing resonance, I think of a clarinet or oboe, which is actually a closer model. A reed, akin to vocal folds is vibrated with air. Loose embouchre for low notes, tight embouchre for high notes. And moving the valves on the instrument literally changes the length and/or shape of the resonating space. That is, you could have a tight, high note embouchre going but unless you press the right valves, it just sounds like so much air.

I think I have rambled enough, for now. But essentially, to get a brighter, less breathy sound in higher notes, you need to smile a little, slightly drop the jaw, and "squeak" a little more. It's not that I am trying to get you to hit a C6, though you might be able to. I think you are just looking for fuller sound.

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I tried the smiling and lowered jaw technique and it did work very well. I'll have to keep practicing that one so that I can make the higher range of my voice sound just as good as the lower half.

http://www.box.net/shared/d0vrnm7q7t

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To be honest, there wasn't really anything wrong with the fundamental sound of my voice. The problem was that I was shaping it incorrectly.

To use a comparison here, let's say that the voice is a block of stone, and the techniques that are used to shape it are the hammer and chisel. My block of stone was perfectly fine from the beginning, but I didn't know how to use the hammer and chisel properly, which means that the structure turned out poorly. Now that I know how to shape and mold my voice properly (somewhat, I'm still learning), the form will be much more pleasing to listen to; or for this comparison, to look at.

Here's another audio file that I recorded earlier this evening. This is also in the Review and Critique thread.

http://www.box.net/shared/o5scx0pcv5

bugma, i have the same logitech mic and i use nothing but windows recorder when i send over a recording. you can add a little echo on that program. but you can also download "audacity" for free which has more capabilities.

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bugma, i have the same logitech mic and i use nothing but windows recorder when i send over a recording. you can add a little echo on that program. but you can also download "audacity" for free which has more capabilities.

It's funny that you should say that, because I have Audacity and that's what I've been using to record myself. :)

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Am I the only one who thinks that my voice sounds nasal? I can't help but think that if I got rid of that I would sound much better

You might be the only one to think that your voice is nasal. So, first off, you have to ask why you think your voice sounds nasal? And why it is better to not sound that way, at least to yourself.

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I know that my voice is still nasal because when I hold my nose and sing anything, I can feel my nose vibrating. And every single video I've watched, and every article I've read has told me that sounding nasal is bad.

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I know that my voice is still nasal because when I hold my nose and sing anything, I can feel my nose vibrating. And every single video I've watched, and every article I've read has told me that sounding nasal is bad.

If sounding nasal is bad, don't tell that to country singers. They'll be out of business. Especially Reba McIntyre.

And holding your nose and saying anything will make a buzz in the nose. It doesn't mean that when you sing or speak without holding your nose, that it also sounds nasal.

There may be some nasal sound inherent in anyone's sound. The area behind the sinus is part of resonance. So, come over to the dark side of the force and rejoice in the nasal. Seriously, I don't hear nasal in your voice, but then, again, you aren't singing through your noise or with your nose plugged up.

What might help is to try and form vowels toward the rear of your mouth.

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