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A breakthrough and a question about it...

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Jeran
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Hello!

I've recently made major improvements in my voice, thanks to a lot of work on my head voice. For the last couple of weeks, I've spent an hour or so a day bringing my headvoice lower and lower. I find a spot where my head voice is very weak, and hammer on it for a few minutes. I stay on a vowel and just practice staying on the note until I run out of breath. I try and bring in as much resonance as possible, until I've strengthened it to where it's strong and full. It starts out really breathy, and I manage to make it less so. I've been working the head voice note by note, and vowel by vowel. I have found that when my voice breaks or frys while singing, the head voice on that note isn't strong enough to match the other notes around it, causing it to break. It seems to me that a clear, strong head voice on every note and on every vowel is key to singing anything, regardless of where the note is, because you can't twang what you don't have. This is the breakthrough for me.

The question is this: Is there a better way of strengthening the head voice, and how do I work on taking it as low as I can? I've got it down to about middle C, and I assume it's hard to strengthen down there because the chords aren't able to close so low. Is this correct, and can anyone suggest a way to make middle C in head voice just as strong as C5?

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If you've got your head down this low, why not working on bridging instead ? Is there a special sound you're after or something like not wanting to sing in chest ever, or having a break at or below middle C and not higher ? Otherwise I'd pretty much say you've got it as low as you would ever need it to be.

I agree on the clear strong head voice on all the notes it covers, though, mostly because you'd want it to be usable. But I don't think that the breaks and your head voice are connected. I think it is more a problem of support and resonance. Probably a vowel conflicting with the way you phonate the sound. As far as I know, the folds are plenty able to adduct on middle C. Unless maybe, you're a woman ? Didn't quite think of it, but it could be a low note for a woman.

As far as suggestions, well. Thinking the sound back and relaxing, while playing around with support to find the right amont of it could help you. Maybe some descending sirens would place the voice better too. Once you've got a rough feeling for how it resonates, you can try mimicing and adjusting things.

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It's funny you should mention that, Jeran. Because one of Robert's main points in his system is bridging early. The break still exists, you just took the bypass before getting to it. Like getting to use the HOV lane to get around traffic.

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Yeah, Ronws. My idea is to make my low head voice as strong and chesty as possible, to act as a sort of safety net. If I feel any sort of pulling, I want to just as easily be able to sing it in head voice. I figure the lower I can take it, the earlier I can use it.

I take Steven Tyler as an example. In his later career, it seems like he's in head voice more and more, and considerably lower. In the mid 70's, he uses mostly chest, with his trademark screams as an effect, not a main part of his technique. In the mid to late 80's, it seems like he's taking his chest voice higher, then bridging into head voice as more of a main technique. In the mid 90's, Tyler was at his highest, seemingly bridging into his head way earlier, and taking his melodies well into the high range as a main part of his technique. So, as my favorite singer, I take my inspiration from him.

Ronron, I'm a guy, and DO want to work on bridging, but wouldn't it be easier if the head was stronger to give chest something to release into?

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but wouldn't it be easier if the head was stronger to give chest something to release into?

jeran i'm an advocate of developing the range from the very, very lowest to the very, very highest with the goal being a balance so that the transition (up or down) is virtually imperceptible.

one of the best ways to improve your upper range is to improve on your lower. a lot of us are hanging out in the c5 and up areas, often neglecting the c2 region.

b.t.w. my friend went to school with steve tyler....real name (tallarico)

he was a pretty weird guy in school.

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Ronron, I'm a guy, and DO want to work on bridging, but wouldn't it be easier if the head was stronger to give chest something to release into?

I have nothing against developing low head tones. I just... Don't know. It must depend on the actual people. It does actually make some sense to me. I just never really thought about I guess, though I sometimes wish I could go to head even sooner. But I normally find it at the right spot and strong enough. Too strong sometimes, but that's just me :P

often neglecting the c2 region.

Not everyone has this :(

As to the whole developing the highs to better the lows and vice versa, I didn't believe it at all. Then I noticed I slowly grinded a few semitones in my lower range, to the point where I think I can now have a clean A#2 on some days, and I haven't been in the low range since forever. But Jeran seems to focus more on middle/middle high range. Which is, I think, the trickiest part of the voice.

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I have nothing against developing low head tones. I just... Don't know. It must depend on the actual people. It does actually make some sense to me. I just never really thought about I guess, though I sometimes wish I could go to head even sooner. But I normally find it at the right spot and strong enough. Too strong sometimes, but that's just me :P

Not everyone has this :(

As to the whole developing the highs to better the lows and vice versa, I didn't believe it at all. Then I noticed I slowly grinded a few semitones in my lower range, to the point where I think I can now have a clean A#2 on some days, and I haven't been in the low range since forever. But Jeran seems to focus more on middle/middle high range. Which is, I think, the trickiest part of the voice.

just a suggestion. i've read that a lot.

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Several years ago, Aerosmith was playing in Dallas and Steven Tyler called a local radio station and talked with the dj a while. He told of how his daughter Liv had called him and said she had a new script to audition for. In the script, Ben Affleck was her boyfriend and Bruce Willis was her dad. And Bruce was driving golf balls off the helicopter deck, aiming at a Greenpeace ship, nearby. Steven thought that sounded way cool and that she ought to do it. She said there was one thing, though. The director was a huge fan of Aerosmith and really wanted a song of theirs for the movie. And that is how "Don't Want to Miss a Thing" came to be.

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I also worked on taking the "head voice" very low. I think it have really helped me to loose some weigth.

But you know what now i can't say if use "chest" or head" voice when i'm singing. Especially on middle voice. In my cover "review and critique my singing" of Richie Kotzen really i can't say.

But honestly, my singing is better now that i've decided to don't care too much about "chestvoice" and " headvoice". I prefer think of the singing in terms of "full" or " light" voice.

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C2 might be rare for a baritone but F2 and G2 are pretty much standard starting points (for me anyway) so not a million miles away. I know a semitone here or there means you can or can't quite sing something in the key it's in but I wonder if we get too obsessed with "counting the octaves"?

And there are, at the end of the day, well established techniques for "managing" notes outside your range without detracting from a performance?

Every note counts in a song (in the music genres where notes are differentiated sufficiently to hear them anyway) so straining for something you can't deliver full value on makes no sense. Better to concentrate on quality? Destroying your vocal shape in order to still only deliver a poorly performed song and making it likely you'll be in no fit throat condition to sing the next one is a high risk vocal strategy?

I think we have two types of singers on this website; the effect makers and singers. Removing all musicality from a "noise" in order to produce it at the right pitch and intensity makes sense in the heavy metal world and that's fine. Singers wanting to deliver a song where they play a part in producing a piece of music will probably have different objectives when it comes to range preferring to look for reinforcement rather than extension.

It all comes down to choosing material you can "sell"; visually (a middle aged man singing Shania Twain?), mechanically (too fast, too much breath control required?, technique wise (unachievable steps as in many contemporary show tunes) and musically (suited to your range and timbre).

This from 680News commenting on Placido Domingo's return to baritone roles says it all for me, "His is not the ideal Verdi baritone, lacking the timbre in his lower voice that can boldly slice through thicker parts of the orchestration. Yet, he is so much a musician that he turned Boccanegra into a sympathetic and noble triumph, with silky softness substituting for polished power." You can read the whole review at http://www.680news.com/entertainment/article/18650--review-domingo-takes-it-down-a-notch-sings-baritone-in-simon-boccanegra?ref=topic&name=TIFF&title= .

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Jeran - I think your idea of working on head throughout more of your range is a good one.

Head voice is what CVT would call Neutral, and can be sung throughout the entire range. Actually I can get lower in Neutral than I can with a chest voice. However, in the range of C3 - C4 my head voice is weak and not very controlled. I had a project where the song was pretty low in my range and the producer wanted me to sing "breathy". The only way you can safely add breath is with Neutral or head, so I had to work on this for a couple weeks to strenghen the coordination. Since that project was completed I stopped working on it. I need to get back to practicing this.

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Briesmith - the idea for me is to get the range and power needed to be able to artistically choose how I want to sing a song. I personally work on my current range and timbre just as much as I work on new coordinations and styles. I feel that not working on what you can't do is limiting, and if you're singing as an artist, shouldn't you be able to pick and choose any tonal color to interpret the song any way you'd like to?

I totally see the merit in strengthening what you already have, but more so, I see the merit in being completely well rounded as a singer, so as not to limit yourself.

I think what you may call "effect making" is another person's idea of singing. It's such a personal thing. Personally, I'd like to be able to call on all effects in my singing, and that's what I'm going for.

Guitartrek, C3 to C4 is what I'm working on strengthening, as well.

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I agree, Jeran. I, too, am guilty of singing something out of my genre and even out of my gender. I have sang along with Sarah Brightman to "Time to Say Goodbye." I'm sure my high notes don't sound the same as hers. Who cares? It was fun.

I'm wondering if the effects comment is directed at some of the techniques we use to sing a note. Techniques such as pronounced twang, vowel coloring, and for some, adding rasp on top of that. Well, it may not fit in Mozart's "Requiem" but it works for pop and rock music. And it is valid, in its own way, in my opinion. And most of us in this forum are into hard rock and heavy metal.

Then, again, I have a fairly clean voice, even in the high end. So, I'm not sure if I am a singer or an effect-maker, either. I could just state prgamatically that if I have hit the note as I intended with the effect intended, then I have succeeded.

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