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Alexifer
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Hey guys this is my first post and I thought I'd just get into since I'm starting from scratch.

Today I just discovered that I must keep my larynx in a neutral position (generally) and I am trying to increase my vocal range right away. So I'm just wondering, when you started, did you find it hard to get any higher than a semi-tone or two without noticing a rise with the larynx?

I think I can understand the concept of what I am supposed to be expanding upon but it will barely open up. Is this the struggle most people have had? and if it is, I guess I have my work cut out for me haha =/

Thanks

-Alex

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Hey guys this is my first post and I thought I'd just get into since I'm starting from scratch.

Today I just discovered that I must keep my larynx in a neutral position (generally) and I am trying to increase my vocal range right away. So I'm just wondering, when you started, did you find it hard to get any higher than a semi-tone or two without noticing a rise with the larynx?

I think I can understand the concept of what I am supposed to be expanding upon but it will barely open up. Is this the struggle most people have had? and if it is, I guess I have my work cut out for me haha =/

Thanks

-Alex

This is a lie, keep it where you feel you get the sound that you want while feeling at ease with it. In general raising the larynx at high notes will according to most people make it easier. But must of this has been discussed in the last thread.

Cheers!

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Alexifer, I experienced the same thing when I started and went through different phases.

Extremes I'd say are limiting so learn how to control it and use it when needed.

Nowadays I just let it do its job unless I want it to do sth different.

One thing is , if you're starting now - forgive me if I'm mistaken - look up a vocal coach , just for the very 1st steps ; you'll avoid tons of pitfalls.

Thanos

PS. I'm an amateur.

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If you don't want the sound to get too bright as you go up in pitch, you can experiment with putting a slight "dumb" sound to your voice (like you're imitating a dumb cartoon character with a slightly deep voice). Most singers want their high notes to be "full", which have both high and low overtones. The low overtones can be produced by "opening" your throat a bit, which can be done by yawning, using a dumb sound or a cry sound, among other things and the high overtones can be produced by increasing twang and/or raising your larynx a bit. Both need a slight increase in breath support.

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You don't need to keep your larynx in a neutral position at all. Naturally the larynx will wish to rise with higher notes - as long as the rising isn't too high and the swallowing muscles aren't constricting this isn't a problem.

I teach, and my ENT colleagues support me in this, that the larynx must choose it's natural position for each note, and that this may vary depending on the height of the note and the vowel used. Any deviation from this is purely for stylistic reasons and nothing to do with vocal health - it should therefore be a conscious choice on the part of the singer to make the sound resonate in a particular way.

Now if you're sure you want a neutral larynx sound, then you can basically send all your vowels towards 'euh' - the schwa as you go up, whilst adding a little cry as you approach the end of your speech quality. This should help you with that.

Always bear in mind, however, that it isn't a necessity to keep the larynx neutral - just a stylistic choice.

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Not really. You don't need to change the word. A neutral larynx position is a stylistic choice, that's all. Your larynx isn't relaxed when you sing in any case, so there's no need to change the term.

I often struggle with the use of the word 'relax' when talking about singing - so many teachers yell on about it 'relax!' - relax what? When? There's not enough information in the word relax in my opinion - and you can't relax everything, you'd fall down! So I prefer to think of the singer as 'energised', 'engaged' and 'active'.

Neutral larynx position is perfectly fine as a term. It's just not necessary for good technique - only if you want to make a particular sound.

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Not really. You don't need to change the word. A neutral larynx position is a stylistic choice, that's all. Your larynx isn't relaxed when you sing in any case, so there's no need to change the term.

I often struggle with the use of the word 'relax' when talking about singing - so many teachers yell on about it 'relax!' - relax what? When? There's not enough information in the word relax in my opinion - and you can't relax everything, you'd fall down! So I prefer to think of the singer as 'energised', 'engaged' and 'active'.

Neutral larynx position is perfectly fine as a term. It's just not necessary for good technique - only if you want to make a particular sound.

allan, i spent time doing specific exercises to help sing with a lowered larynx which has been invaluable for me.

maybe i'm wrong, but it seems like this helped me twang easier as well?

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Twang is generally easier for most people with a slightly higher laryngeal position.

Singing with a lowered larynx affects the harmonic structure of the voice, slightly changing the formants - this makes the voice sound somewhat darker. If it fits with the style chosen, then - as long as the larynx is being correctly lowered (no yawning, for example), it's no less healthy than singing with a mid or slightly high position. Think of it as a sound colour thing.

If it worked for you Videohere - so much the better ! Like so many things, singing is a dynamic interplay of different muscle groups (which is why anatomy is less important than physiology) - what works for one person may not work for another - it all really depends on where you're going from (current vocal blocages) and where you want to be (vocal and stylistic goals) - if the lower laryngeal position helped you get from A to B - then that's great! I'm a great believer in using whatever works for the individual singer.

I just think it's important to lay the old myth about it being healthier to rest.

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allan, i spent time doing specific exercises to help sing with a lowered larynx which has been invaluable for me.

maybe i'm wrong, but it seems like this helped me twang easier as well?

I think twang is easier done with a higher larynx.

Bob, Ronron, chanteurmoderne: Based on what I learned a couple weeks ago, we could be lumping multiple resonance effects using the term 'twang'.

In my current thinking, there are three physical characteristics that interplay, and varying any one of them changes the tone quality.

Unless I have this incorrect (which sometimes happens, still learning), contemporary twang as used by Estill, TVS and CVT is made using a higher larynx, a narrow epilarynx, and a narrowed pharynx. In contrast, a lowered larynx, narrow epilarynx with a narrowed pharynx will have a similar sound, but not identical. The latter would be a more 'pharyngeal voice' configuration. Full operatic/classical would be a neutral or lowered larynx, narrowed epilarynx, with a widened lower pharynx, which would produce a singer's formant, which contains the high-frequency resonances of the twang, but with lowered vowel formants leading to a darker vowel quality.

How does that fit with the ways you use your own voices?

chanteurmoderne: BTW, I really like the way you write about these things. A point back at ya.

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Bob, Ronron, chanteurmoderne: Based on what I learned a couple weeks ago, we could be lumping multiple resonance effects using the term 'twang'.

In my current thinking, there are three physical characteristics that interplay, and varying any one of them changes the tone quality.

Unless I have this incorrect (which sometimes happens, still learning), contemporary twang as used by Estill, TVS and CVT is made using a higher larynx, a narrow epilarynx, and a narrowed pharynx. In contrast, a lowered larynx, narrow epilarynx with a narrowed pharynx will have a similar sound, but not identical. The latter would be a more 'pharyngeal voice' configuration. Full operatic/classical would be a neutral or lowered larynx, narrowed epilarynx, with a widened lower pharynx, which would produce a singer's formant, which contains the high-frequency resonances of the twang, but with lowered vowel formants leading to a darker vowel quality.

How does that fit with the ways you use your own voices?

chanteurmoderne: BTW, I really like the way you write about these things. A point back at ya.

steve and others, i can't say for sure, but when i sing with a lowered larynx (new to me) i seem to be able to get some high notes, b4 and up (in conjunction with vowel mods.) much easier than i ever have before.

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steve and others, i can't say for sure, but when i sing with a lowered larynx (new to me) i seem to be able to get some high notes, b4 and up (in conjunction with vowel mods.) much easier than i ever have before.

Bob: And think of how short a time it has been, and you have accomplished so much in that time. Its cool-exciting, eh?

One of the benefits or effects of the technique you are currently using is that your 2nd vowel formant is lowering so that it aligns with an harmonic. This is what gives you the 'ping behind the nose' sort of resonance sensation you are feeling. That sensation goes with the presence of the powerful harmonic.

Its not the only way to sing, but many people do like that sound. When all the components of the technique are in place, the sound is stunning. You are on your way toward that.

BTW, you asked what to do to help the C#5 come along. If the C works well with the oo as in 'foot', drop the jaw just a teeny bit, and smile just a smidge (some experiment require to find just the right amount) and you will align the resonances to the harmonics of the C#5. FYI, you cannot insist that the sensation be the same as the C was. Don't try to make it. Just sing it easly, and well, and then extend your senses to what you are feeling.

The principle that I am applying is a note-by-note vowel modification to optimize resonance on every note up there. Its not one-size-fits all. That is why some experimentation (or playing around) is needed there to find just the right vowel shade.

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Steven, I totally agree - modern twang is generally produced on a higher larynx - mostly because it's used heavily to create a kind of fake belt above the point where H2 doesn't want to align with F1 any more - the sharp sneering sound of the twang, coupled with the lifting of the larynx to kind of 'postpone' the cut off point is a great way to keep a belt type sound as you go up.

There's no reason why twanging on a lower larynx should be impossible at all - every operatic tenor I work with twangs like a mad man!

I've found, though, over the years that most people find twang easier to access on a higher larynx - probably because it sits well if you raise all the formants - smiling helps too. Once you've found it there, though, it's usually quite easy to make it with other laryngeal positions too.

I agree with what you wrote on another thread that twang and laryngeal raising tend to happen together, but that doesn't mean that the one produces the other or is even necessary for the production of the other.

There also appears to be several things happening when people are talking about twang - there's the narrowing effect everyone knows about, but there also appears to be a different kind of thing that people often call twang which is a middle constrictor kind of narrowing of the pharynx - I suspect (although haven't had time or funds to research it properly yet, so this is just a hypothesis) that this may well be responsible for the 'slendering the tone' effect that many lyrical singers speak of as they cross over the passagio area. Acoustically, it would be interesting to see what this gives us - my guess is a lower peak than the usual 3-5 KHz.

Sorry, blabbering now! Anyway, yes I agree twang and laryngeal raising do not necessarily go together. :)

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thanks so much steve. yes, i have been hammering away at this. in conjunction with a slight belly push, i have hit the c5 moving onward to the c#5. i remember when i didn't even know what a c5 was, where it was, or what the hell it even meant...lol!!!

i find you can get some rich "operatic-ish" sound that when used have helped me a lot with lou gramm, and chris cornell vocals.

you know, it's almost as if the sound is produced by a slight, simulated "gagging" gesture/move...ever hear it explained that way? leave it to me to dare to explain it in "street terms" lol!!!

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Twang is generally easier for most people with a slightly higher laryngeal position.

Singing with a lowered larynx affects the harmonic structure of the voice, slightly changing the formants - this makes the voice sound somewhat darker. If it fits with the style chosen, then - as long as the larynx is being correctly lowered (no yawning, for example), it's no less healthy than singing with a mid or slightly high position. Think of it as a sound colour thing.

If it worked for you Videohere - so much the better ! Like so many things, singing is a dynamic interplay of different muscle groups (which is why anatomy is less important than physiology) - what works for one person may not work for another - it all really depends on where you're going from (current vocal blocages) and where you want to be (vocal and stylistic goals) - if the lower laryngeal position helped you get from A to B - then that's great! I'm a great believer in using whatever works for the individual singer.

I just think it's important to lay the old myth about it being healthier to rest.

Outstanding post and something I have tried to say, with perhaps mixed results. Every person is different. Two people can do the exact same thing at the same note and it will still sound different. Which brings in the wisdom of Vendera. Trying to sound exactly like another singer will usually result in failure. Unless, of course, through the crap shoot called genetics, you happen to have matching physiology. Here's the deal about genetics, from my limited understanding. I found out through researching canid genetics but the principles are the same for humans. First, there is mytochondrial DNA (mtDNA). That is always contributed by the mother. For example, a female wolf bred with a dog will result in a wolf with wolf-dog characteristics. Humans are the same. Nuclear DNA (nDNA) is the result of contributions from father and mother. And it is a shufffle each time. That is why siblings can look and act so different, from the same parents. Why a litter of 5 dogs have so many looks from the same dam and sire. And so it is with the individual physiology and neurology that makes up each human. You could, for example, the same physiology as Ronnie James Dio but have a different neurology or how the nerves control the muscles and have a totally different sound. Or have the same neurology but different physiology and have a different sound.

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Thanks, Allan. As I said, I first got into genetics by reading about canid genetics. There is a great debate that dogs evolved from the gray wolf. I don't think they did. But a researcher named Robert K. Wayne at UCLA in 1995 found a 98 % similarity between dogs and wolves, but only in one singular locus of mtDNA. And no attention was given to the very real practice of breeding dogs with wolves, accidently or on purpose. It is more accurate to say that they came from common canid ancestors. Anyway, what is important is that nDNA really does shuffle like a deck of cards with each conception, even with pups in a litter, let alone humans. Even human genetic twins will have small variations, not readily seen on a DNA screen as one might see in forensic case studies. This is a survival mechanism. We are all mutations. Lucky mutations have a better chance of survival. But genetics do control physiology and neurology. There is a limit to what a person can do. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger understood this in his book, "Diary of a Bodybuilder." What helped him to become the only bodybuilder to hold a world title 7 times in a row (he could have made 8 but retired from it), aside from his spectacular focus and determination and hard work, was genetics. He understood that you could do the very same regimen he did and still look different.

The same can be said for the voice. In some ways, it may not ultimately matter if we know the exact techniques a singer uses because how our own muscles and nerves operate, how our own physical construction is will be different. As well as life experiences. Tom Jones had a broken nose from a fight. Later, as part of the grooming to make him a "superstar," he was given corrective surgery to fix that. And, I am sure, there were resonance changes at each stage.

Eric Clapton had a "warmer" or "dustier" tone before he quit cigarettes. Our own Mike, here, has found it easier to do somethings he struggled with before after having a tonsilectomy.

So, as I pointed out in another thread, some time ago, if you want a singer that sounds like Robert Plant, you're going to have to hire Robert Plant. You might hire Jack Russell from Great White and he does sound very similar, but it won't be exactly the same. Flip side of the coin, you can have two different people sound quite similar while not looking alike. To me, Glen Danzig sounds like a young Jim Morrison. At times, with a certain mix, Billy Corgan sounded like a softer version of Mick Jagger.

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If you don't want the sound to get too bright as you go up in pitch, you can experiment with putting a slight "dumb" sound to your voice (like you're imitating a dumb cartoon character with a slightly deep voice). Most singers want their high notes to be "full", which have both high and low overtones. The low overtones can be produced by "opening" your throat a bit, which can be done by yawning, using a dumb sound or a cry sound, among other things and the high overtones can be produced by increasing twang and/or raising your larynx a bit. Both need a slight increase in breath support.

you said it man.

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Thanks, Allan. As I said, I first got into genetics by reading about canid genetics. There is a great debate that dogs evolved from the gray wolf. I don't think they did. But a researcher named Robert K. Wayne at UCLA in 1995 found a 98 % similarity between dogs and wolves, but only in one singular locus of mtDNA. And no attention was given to the very real practice of breeding dogs with wolves, accidently or on purpose. It is more accurate to say that they came from common canid ancestors. Anyway, what is important is that nDNA really does shuffle like a deck of cards with each conception, even with pups in a litter, let alone humans. Even human genetic twins will have small variations, not readily seen on a DNA screen as one might see in forensic case studies. This is a survival mechanism. We are all mutations. Lucky mutations have a better chance of survival. But genetics do control physiology and neurology. There is a limit to what a person can do. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger understood this in his book, "Diary of a Bodybuilder." What helped him to become the only bodybuilder to hold a world title 7 times in a row (he could have made 8 but retired from it), aside from his spectacular focus and determination and hard work, was genetics. He understood that you could do the very same regimen he did and still look different.

The same can be said for the voice. In some ways, it may not ultimately matter if we know the exact techniques a singer uses because how our own muscles and nerves operate, how our own physical construction is will be different. As well as life experiences. Tom Jones had a broken nose from a fight. Later, as part of the grooming to make him a "superstar," he was given corrective surgery to fix that. And, I am sure, there were resonance changes at each stage.

Eric Clapton had a "warmer" or "dustier" tone before he quit cigarettes. Our own Mike, here, has found it easier to do somethings he struggled with before after having a tonsilectomy.

So, as I pointed out in another thread, some time ago, if you want a singer that sounds like Robert Plant, you're going to have to hire Robert Plant. You might hire Jack Russell from Great White and he does sound very similar, but it won't be exactly the same. Flip side of the coin, you can have two different people sound quite similar while not looking alike. To me, Glen Danzig sounds like a young Jim Morrison. At times, with a certain mix, Billy Corgan sounded like a softer version of Mick Jagger.

true ron, but it's fun trying to emulate a whole bunch of these people and the next thing you know some of it rubs off on you.

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How does that fit with the ways you use your own voices?

I'm 50% certain I don't know how to twang, but I tend to prefer my voice with a high larynx. Trying to get a low larynx actually makes me not feel where my pitch is. But then, my highs sound kinda very high, which sometimes I don't want.

true ron, but it's fun trying to emulate a whole bunch of these people and the next thing you know some of it rubs off on you.

Don't we all have a singer that we sang along to, and who made us actually want to learn to sing ? :)

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my aunts said they used to remember me sitting in a corner singing that old lloyd price tune "personality." i was 7 or 8. then the catholic school nuns got a hold of me and threw me head first into a singing role as a singing little christmas tree. i used to love to sound like elvis..what a tone....i was 10.

steve, what were you singing at that age?

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Bob: At age 8, I started singing in the boy's choir at church. Certain hymns come to mind from that. I think the first Elvis song that attracted my attention was called 'Kiss me Quick', which had a really catchy rhythm. That would have been about age 10 or 11. By then my awareness had extended to artists like Bobbie Vinton, Jan & Dean, The Beach Boys (think Surfer Girl, In My Room, etc., and the rock-and-roll tunes ) and of course the Beatles. I remember watching them 'live' on the Ed Sullivan show 4 weeks in a row on their first US tour.

I started taking solo voice lessons about age 11, as well. I learned Cherubino's aria from 'The Marriage of Figaro', 'Oh, for the wings of a dove' by Mendelssohn and Amahl's tunes from 'Amahl and the Night Visitors' by Menotti.

I can still hear most of these in my head whenever I want.

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