Sign in to follow this  
EveryVoice

Stable Larynx - is it the perfect placement for singing?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hey!

I know many people say that the larynx can be raised and lowered for different sounds and effects. But i'm wondering.. is the larynx in the neutral position the 'proper' and perfect placement where sound is created from? Lately I have been going throughout my range at all different volumes and intensities trying to keep my mouth as small as possible. No big, wide 'Ah' vowels or anything. Just a very relaxed mouth without changing the shape.. and just feeling a change in the throat, such as from 'Ah' to 'Ee'. Now when I do a Lip Roll going from a low chest note up to a higher heady note, my larynx stays completely stable. Just in the position that it's in when i'm relaxed and talking comfortably. Should my singing come from the same place as when I do lip rolls, with the stable larynx? I'm trying to get to a stage where I can also Hum all my singing.. soft and powerful with a stable larynx. Humming is quite difficult for me at times because it can cause my larynx to move and tense up but if I Hum when I come off the Lip Roll, it seems to be fine and just feels like the Lip Roll. Then all I need to do is drop my jaw to make a vowel. 

Oh also.. when I do vocal fry on low and high notes, this keeps my larynx totally stable. I can't seem to make the screamy vocal fry sound if my larynx is slightly too high. I can only make the sound when it is in it's proper place. Remember, this is when i'm not opening my mouth extremely wide, which I think seems to 'force' cord closure. So it makes me think that the stable larynx is the proper and healthiest placement for all notes low and high and at all intensities.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In short... no..

If during your lip rolls you're changing registers from m1 -> m2 at a low volume then your larynx is going to stay more or less stable. But rarely does this translate for a male in contemporary singing in my experience..

There is no "perfect placement" for the larynx. A high larynx will TEND to make you sound like a dying chicken if you take it too far.. so it's usually discouraged. But every style, every note, every vowel, every register is going to have movement in the larynx naturally. It can't be avoided!

There might be some styles which a more or less neutral larynx are needed.. but I really can't think of any off the top of my head.

Hey man! Thanks for replying so quick!

I used to be the high larynx guy that sounded like a dying chicken. Squeezing for every note. 

Are you sure it's a definite 'No'? Because I can sing on every vowel and keep the larynx in the same, still place. I can start on the 'Ah' and just move my mouth to 'O', 'Ee', etc. Not with loads of power yet but a decent amount. Just like if someone sung lightly in a verse. The vocal fry really helps too. I like to hold the note with too much vocal fry, which creates the scream and then alternate between the scream and the actual note.

Check out this guy the guy below. I'm trying to watch his larynx.. it's quite difficult because he does seem to be leaning forward but I can see where it bumps out and it does seem to be stable, even when going high. He does seem to use the vocal fry for the scream effect too. This guy seems to be able to sing really high without squeezing. His cover of Frozen's 'Let it Go' is crazy! But to me his larynx does look pretty stable for most of the singing. 

-

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's best idea to push it up or down (both can create excess tension), but let it do its thing. Every vowel will have different changes on the larynx height. If you fight or try to 'control it' I think that would cause more tension than letting it do the thing.

I remember back in the day I read material form SLS that was obsessed with larynx height, and it made me paranoid and self conscious. I literally sang holding my larynx because the instruction was so heavy on this. 

When I let go of all of that fear, it helped me a lot with my voice. Work towards a long term goal of getting your larynx where it works for you for any vowel throughout your range, but if it goes somewhere else in the meantime, it's not a big deal, imo and for me it found its place a lot easier when I wasn't worried. To make matters even more ridiculous, anxiety raises larynx height. It's a psychosomatic response. So getting people worried about their larynx and then talking about how 'bad' it is when it raises, is counterproductive to say the least.

You'll find the right destination when it sounds good, is sustainable, and doesn't send you hoarse or cause you unnecessary tension and if you keep training for easier sounds it will. But in the meantime, it's my view that the single worst thing you can do is worry about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the replies. As many of you will know.. Brett Manning's Singing Success does focus on the neutral larynx a lot, and I actually find the program really great. Take a look at Singing Success coach Jesse Nemitz between 2:30 - 2:50. It's difficult to see but look how stable his larynx is. I watched many more better quality videos of his with better camera angles and he keeps his larynx completely stable on every note. Even when the sound is less heady and there's more weight into it. The only time it moves up and down ever so slightly is when he's sustaining a note and using vibrato.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, to me, "stable larynx" just means that it rises and lowers in a controlled way. The larynx WILL have to rise for higer notes and lower somewhat for lower notes. Forcing it into one static position is usually a mistake imo.

But yes, excercises like lip trills are very advantageous for getting in control of your larynx. They create a condition in your vocal tract that makes phonation very efficient and makes it very easy to control the larynx smoothly. However for more metallic/powerful sounds you usually have to open the vowels from that position.

The larnyx can be high or low depending on your desired sound color, it is more about control and stable/controlled movement (!) than stable/constant position.

The thing with Singing Success "neutral larynx" is really that this neutral larynx is a bit raised basically from the get-go. If it is already raised it does not need to raise further until the very high range. As you will notice the sound color is pretty bright on pretty much all teachers in SS including Jesse.

BTW that Let it Go cover makes my throat hurt...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/13/2015 at 8:53 PM, EveryVoice said:

Hey!

I know many people say that the larynx can be raised and lowered for different sounds and effects. But i'm wondering.. is the larynx in the neutral position the 'proper' and perfect placement where sound is created from? Lately I have been going throughout my range at all different volumes and intensities trying to keep my mouth as small as possible. No big, wide 'Ah' vowels or anything. Just a very relaxed mouth without changing the shape.. and just feeling a change in the throat, such as from 'Ah' to 'Ee'. Now when I do a Lip Roll going from a low chest note up to a higher heady note, my larynx stays completely stable. Just in the position that it's in when i'm relaxed and talking comfortably. Should my singing come from the same place as when I do lip rolls, with the stable larynx? I'm trying to get to a stage where I can also Hum all my singing.. soft and powerful with a stable larynx. Humming is quite difficult for me at times because it can cause my larynx to move and tense up but if I Hum when I come off the Lip Roll, it seems to be fine and just feels like the Lip Roll. Then all I need to do is drop my jaw to make a vowel. 

Oh also.. when I do vocal fry on low and high notes, this keeps my larynx totally stable. I can't seem to make the screamy vocal fry sound if my larynx is slightly too high. I can only make the sound when it is in it's proper place. Remember, this is when i'm not opening my mouth extremely wide, which I think seems to 'force' cord closure. So it makes me think that the stable larynx is the proper and healthiest placement for all notes low and high and at all intensities.

It was interesting to read this because I made a similar change to my workouts a few months ago and I'm seeing great results. I do a ton of closed-mouth exercises (eg. humming) as I feel that it removes problematic tension response that occurs when I'm exercising with an open mouth, and allows me to train fewer parts of the instrument in isolation.

I then transition into exercises on voiced-fricatives, which are essentially, very small openings in the mouth beginning with consonants such as "th", "z", and "v". This allows me to train with the soft-palette in a fully raised position, something I care to train with intensity, which isn't possible when singing through the nasals with a closed mouth.

Bridging and connecting has become so much easier and I'm burning in these new muscle-memory habits. My true folds get stronger, faster, as well. Also, I start doing them lightly, but also lean into them as I get warmer.

As for the larynx, I agree with youcansinganything. Vertical movement of the larynx is one of our best stylistic tools for coloring sound. My approach has been to gradually develop mastery over it's movement, rather than be a slave to it's habitual responses that have built up over a lifetime. However, I would never want it to stay fixed or nearly fixed in one position. This would be akin to always painting portraits with a single color. Some emotions are better expressed with a lowered larynx (eg. sadness), and some with a higher larynx (eg. excitement).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/15/2015 at 8:41 AM, benny82 said:

 The larynx WILL have to rise for higer notes and lower somewhat for lower notes. Forcing it into one static position is usually a mistake imo.

Hey benny. Thanks for the reply. I'm just wondering when you say that the larynx will have to rise for higher notes and lower for lower notes. Is this definitely true? My current thoughts is that low and high notes is just a mental thing. It all comes from the same place right? Can't the larynx produce all notes from the same spot without having to move? I can keep it still on lip rolls from low to high but I've just been focusing on the lighter part of my voice. I'm gradually adding more volume and weight. 

 

On 12/15/2015 at 9:55 AM, YouCanSingAnything said:

It's much easier to think of the voice as being a series of movable parts than it is to think of anything being "fixed." Which is weird considering I just made a post about having a "true"/natural voice color.

Variables: 
1. Larynx height (high = bright, low = dark) 
2. Twang
3. Cord thickness (thicker cords = fuller sound, thinner cords = lighter sound)
4. Volume/Cord Tension (louder sounds have a different timbre from quiet ones)
5. Embouchure (spread teeth = brighter sound, open mouth = more cord tension/volume)
6. Registration (m0, m1, m2, m3)
7. Modes (CVT) / Vowels
8. Placement (TVS Modes)

Changing any one of those variables also alters the rest.. the voice is a complete system more than it is a bunch of individual movable parts.

There are sounds I can produce now (which I quite like) with a high larynx that, when I was beginning, sounded like a choking duck. It's not always the larynx's fault.. it could be any of the variables above negatively impacting your singing. In my case... I was just singing too high for my skill level, simply put =p

Daniel Formica simplifies it all as just: Vowel & intensity (I hope I'm not butchering that.) That's really the best way to look at it.. Just record yourself and adjust your vowel/intensity as needed. Be patient and go slow. No rushing.

It doesn't really matter what position your larynx is in if your sound is good. If you sound like a choking duck check in with your larynx and see if you need to lower it... but it's a bad, bad place to fixate on in my opinion.

Thanks alot for the replies man. I totally understand when you say about not rushing. It totally messes me up when I do.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, EveryVoice said:

Hey benny. Thanks for the reply. I'm just wondering when you say that the larynx will have to rise for higher notes and lower for lower notes. Is this definitely true? My current thoughts is that low and high notes is just a mental thing. It all comes from the same place right? Can't the larynx produce all notes from the same spot without having to move? I can keep it still on lip rolls from low to high but I've just been focusing on the lighter part of my voice. I'm gradually adding more volume and weight. 

Well, if you put it like this the larynx don't HAS to rise for higher notes, but it will just sound totally displesant to most people. There are two things that you have to consider on higher notes:

1. The stretch on the vocal folds for creating higher pitches makes the vocal folds drift apart, you need twang to bring them together again, and twang raises the larynx
2. If you keep the larynx stable the formant structure will shift on higher notes, which means you will be very limited in terms of vowel choices. Once the 1st formant is lower than the fundamental note, your voice will sound like a sinus tone without any understandable vowel quality to it.

Actually, the larynx does not HAVE to lower for lower notes, it just sounds better to many. If you keep the larynx very high you can indeed sing from a stable position throughout the whole range and have acceptable sound quality and understandable vowels. However with a low or neutral larynx this does not work. A lot of people still desire a low or neutral larynx quality in the low range because a high larynx sounds comical or childish there, and in that case it has to rise for higher notes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this