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Chest vs Head (HEEEEEEELP!)

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PopVlad
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Hey guys,

I really need your help with this one…been going over it a million times myself ;(

Basically, I can produce high notes (mid range) using two different vocal configurations.

There’s chest, which feels pulled, but somehow very natural. Feels like “my” voice, if you know what I mean. With that configuration I can barely go above G4 (G4# at best).

Then there’s head. It feels much more free and I can sing in the E4-C5 range fairly easily…buuut…even though I try to drop the jaw and use support it is not how I would like to sound coz I feel a “disconnect” from my voice, no, not that I crack, coz I don’t, but it just feels lighter than I would want.

And I know it’s not really a sound preference for me, because, like I said, the two feel profoundly different. I just don’t know which one is right

I would really need some advice on what I’m doing in those clips. A spectrogram would be ideal. But anything goes, really)

Below is a link of me doing a G4 in chest, then in head and then I’m doing what my teacher suggests…

It is a downward scale from, say, an A4. And I’m meant to get as much chest as I can without pulling. That is supposed to eliminate the issues that I'm having, but doeas it?

Please, guys, help me out)

http://www.box.net/shared/hfz9elkk6o

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In the C4 to A4, you can avoid the break by starting C4 in head voice and then it's smooth sailing to A4. I believe that is what Robert means in bridging to headvoice sooner.

The 3rd sample is a belt and yes, you are carrying "chest" high in that one.

In the head voice sample (2nd sample) you can "darken" that sound with vowel color such as eh or oo.

Also, be mindful that while headvoice "feels" light when you sing it, it can sound heavy, depending on vowel color and even some rasp on top of that. That is, just because the note felt light for you to sing doesn't mean it sounded light to a listener outside of your body.

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Basically, I can produce high notes (mid range) using two different vocal configurations.

There’s chest, which feels pulled, but somehow very natural. Feels like “my” voice, if you know what I mean. With that configuration I can barely go above G4 (G4# at best).

Then there’s head. It feels much more free and I can sing in the E4-C5 range fairly easily…buuut…even though I try to drop the jaw and use support it is not how I would like to sound coz I feel a “disconnect” from my voice, no, not that I crack, coz I don’t, but it just feels lighter than I would want.

And I know it’s not really a sound preference for me, because, like I said, the two feel profoundly different. I just don’t know which one is right.

PopVlad: They are both right. It all depends on what sound you are looking to make.

Listening to your examples, what I was prompted to write is: needs twang in everything. You have a little going in the scale up to A, but even that one needs more.

Then, it occurs to me to suggest the upward scale on some vowels that have lower 2nd formant, so that you can experience its alignment to the 3rd harmonic. The vowel that does this earliest on the upward scale is /u/ (oo) and /o/ (oh) is not far behind it. Start on /u/ at the A below middle C, and then sing the chromatic scale easily upward until you find the note that feels the fullest without being pushed. It will feel pingy on its own, without you having to 'do' anything to make it. It could also feel suddenly 'heady', but in a very firm manner. Then, from that note, sing up a whole step and change to /o/ (oh), and one more whole step to a dark /a/, as in 'father'. This vowel sequence has F2 that rises progressively, so whatever formant/harmonic alignment you find for the /u/ will likely be maintained for the other two note/vowel combinations.

If you want some help finding the starting point for this, record an A to A major scale on each of the 3 vowels (oo, oh, ah), post them here, and I will do a spectrographic analysis of each and tell you which vowel/note combinations get you into this ringy head tone.

Looking forward to your posts.

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ronws, thank you for your reply and I agree that the sound is perceived very differently from the outside of your head)

but still, it's not really a sound preferance as it is a "configuration" preferance as I don't want to be limited to singing just a G4 (which in first scenario (chest) I am ).

Steven, thank you so much already. I've recorded an A3-A4 scale on oo, ah and oh. I'm very tired right now and I believe I messed up the pitches in the beginning, but since I'm not gonna be any freshier tomorow (lots of work atm), the file stays ;) It's available via the same link.

Looking forward and thanks!

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Hey guys,

I really need your help with this one…been going over it a million times myself ;(

Basically, I can produce high notes (mid range) using two different vocal configurations.

There’s chest, which feels pulled, but somehow very natural. Feels like “my” voice, if you know what I mean. With that configuration I can barely go above G4 (G4# at best).

Then there’s head. It feels much more free and I can sing in the E4-C5 range fairly easily…buuut…even though I try to drop the jaw and use support it is not how I would like to sound coz I feel a “disconnect” from my voice, no, not that I crack, coz I don’t, but it just feels lighter than I would want.

And I know it’s not really a sound preference for me, because, like I said, the two feel profoundly different. I just don’t know which one is right

I would really need some advice on what I’m doing in those clips. A spectrogram would be ideal. But anything goes, really)

Below is a link of me doing a G4 in chest, then in head and then I’m doing what my teacher suggests…

It is a downward scale from, say, an A4. And I’m meant to get as much chest as I can without pulling. That is supposed to eliminate the issues that I'm having, but doeas it?

Please, guys, help me out)

http://www.box.net/shared/hfz9elkk6o

hi pop...

i'm going to play "name that tune" with you.... in examples #1 and 2 i'll bet you were singing a little piece from jon secada's "angel?"

let me know because i do that song, and do it the "chesty" meaty way secada does. that "give" is a bitch of a note. you've got to get rid of the "g" consonant, just touch it lightly then be ready to support well as you go with the "ive" with a nice open throat resisting the urge to punch the "give" but rather "press" the "give."

the give is actually a 2-note melody. let me know. i'm so aware of this tune because secada is one of my favorites, and it took time to figure out the song.

also, note that he rarely sings that song in that key live.

steve fraser is so right when he says you can sing it both ways. i struggle with that issue all the time. sometimes a lighter heady sound just dosen't cut it with me.

as we speak, i'm trying to see if i can pull off "alone" (heart) light and heady and my intuition says "yeah" but i'm not comfortable with it yet psychologically.

bob

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Hey bob, yep, that's the one)))

Great song, couldn't agree more!

And I know what you're saying about the g consonant, I guess, I'm using it as a crutch for the time being. To get that chestier sound out.

Another thing is that a G4 is always tricky to me because it's so "in between the modes")

If an A4 feels like all head and there's no other way (at least for now) for me to sing that note, that G4 goes both ways)

Thank you for your feedback!

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Hey bob, yep, that's the one)))

Great song, couldn't agree more!

And I know what you're saying about the g consonant, I guess, I'm using it as a crutch for the time being. To get that chestier sound out.

Another thing is that a G4 is always tricky to me because it's so "in between the modes")

If an A4 feels like all head and there's no other way (at least for now) for me to sing that note, that G4 goes both ways)

Thank you for your feedback!

sure thing. i'd go for it the chesty way...not in the chest register though, still head with some chest ....you can do it!

just be all warmed up....focus the notes into the soft palate, relax the jaw, mouth open and support the tone...the "give" sounds like it's pushed, but it placed with support and lean. it's a pretty physically demanding note.

secada has some set of pipes, but never sings in those keys live. check him out.

these overlap notes can confuse a lot of singers, myself included.

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Hey bob,

Thanks very much for the tips - I'll try them out!

I even got a backing track for the damn song)

Btw, how are you handling those high A's (like on the word "shine") in the song, bob? Do you let go more?

Hopefully, with your help and the feedback from Steven I'll be able to nail that song)

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Hey bob,

Thanks very much for the tips - I'll try them out!

I even got a backing track for the damn song)

Btw, how are you handling those high A's (like on the word "shine") in the song, bob? Do you let go more?

Hopefully, with your help and the feedback from Steven I'll be able to nail that song)

the "shine" i do lighten up, yes.

i.m.o., the toughest parts are:

that first "give"

"you gave me a reason" i have to remember to disconnect briefly between "you" and "give" rather than taking the phrase on one breath.

"and baby i" the extended "i" around the 2:30 minute mark is challanging.

also, don't relax the support as you do the less intense, softer, lower-volume parts...

but when you get that reinforced falsetto "shine" the crowd starts clapping and you feel like it was all worth it.

it's a beautiful song. i also do "just another day" another challenging piece.

hey, but's how you grow...these songs are like bench presses but with more weight on the bar....lol!!!!

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Thanks bob,

Even though I'm sure you have mastered the "angels" (and I would LOVE to hear an audio), have you ever tried that Steven's suggestion above about starting with an "u" as you go higher?

Until today I didn't realize that the "can read the future" part was the easiest for me. And the "future" word is also a G4, I believe.

For some reason I can "add chest" to the uuu no problem.

But before I start doing scales on "uuu" (as in future) I realy want to see what Steven digs out of those spectrograms)

Any thoughts?

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Some pitches have vowels that work better than other. Using this to your advantage by directing slightly the vowels towards them is a usefull skill to master, and is called (I think) covering.

It's really a LOT easier if you sacrifice just a tiny bit of the vowel identity. It's not even noticeable if you don't pay (sometimes very) close attention to it. Other people can tell you more about this than me, as it is something I'm just starting to feel (I mean, in a not-forced-to-way (sometimes I just get caught in a configuration, and find myself forced to direct everything towards Eh or uh <_<)).

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Oh, this is great, Ron, i feel that i'm making little discoveries with each post)

I could be covering, yes, but you know what else? I noticed that when I sang UUU I always droped my jaw some and that helped immediately.

This way the tone is chestier and more connected. I wonder if there's a certain note I should start dropping my jaw on. An Eb4, maybe?

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Thanks bob,

Even though I'm sure you have mastered the "angels" (and I would LOVE to hear an audio), have you ever tried that Steven's suggestion above about starting with an "u" as you go higher?

Until today I didn't realize that the "can read the future" part was the easiest for me. And the "future" word is also a G4, I believe.

For some reason I can "add chest" to the uuu no problem.

But before I start doing scales on "uuu" (as in future) I realy want to see what Steven digs out of those spectrograms)

Any thoughts?

i'm presently learning all about vowel modification, because as steve fraser has taught us, that's one of the pathways to easier, more resonant higher notes. the only catch is you have to experiment for yourself which modifications are needed (if any) per your individual voice, per note. this is primarily for higher notes, as in break, post-break notes.

some people vowel mod. instinctively, but others i think need to be taught. i hear ken tamplin is great for demonstrating the technique so even i can understand it....lol!!!

for example, when i sing "and baby i, i tried to forget you" i sing the "i" as an "ah" which resonates and carrys better than singing an "i" (as in "eye") which would tend to constrict more.

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Some pitches have vowels that work better than other. Using this to your advantage by directing slightly the vowels towards them is a usefull skill to master, and is called (I think) covering.

It's really a LOT easier if you sacrifice just a tiny bit of the vowel identity. It's not even noticeable if you don't pay (sometimes very) close attention to it. Other people can tell you more about this than me, as it is something I'm just starting to feel (I mean, in a not-forced-to-way (sometimes I just get caught in a configuration, and find myself forced to direct everything towards Eh or uh <_<)).

Excellent layman's definition of covering, at least as how I understand it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks guys! Appreciated)

Steven, did you have any chance to analize the vocal samples I'd uploaded? Pleeese)

PopVlad: Yes, I have listened and analyzed them some. This is what I heard:

1) This comment is not so much about tone quality as it is about pitch accuracy: Your major scale is going off-track between the 5th and 6th note, so that you are ending on Ab instead of A natural. Play this on a keyboard, and sing along with it to get a better sense of the intonations.

2) Generally, i hear that you are lightening registration on the way up, and that is good. But, you are not going into 'head voice' really, which would be otherwise called curbing. Rather, you are retaining the resonance adjustment of the lower notes, probably better called overdrive.

I suggest to assist in the pursuit of head voice that you change to different vowels, those whose passaggio points are lower, for example Eh and Ih. Set an embouchure and laryngeal height, and let them stay constant as you sing the upward scale. When you feel that you have to start to yell.... don't . Let the vowel darken, and continue on up on the scale 4 more notes.

Write back if you want more specific exercises.

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I suggest to assist in the pursuit of head voice that you change to different vowels, those whose passaggio points are lower, for example Eh and Ih. Set an embouchure and laryngeal height, and let them stay constant as you sing the upward scale. When you feel that you have to start to yell.... don't . Let the vowel darken, and continue on up on the scale 4 more notes.

Never done that, I think I'll try it too :)

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Steven, you have mentioned curbing in your last post.

Could you please have a listen to the below and tell me if you consider this curbing?

http://www.box.net/shared/n64in4f6lr

PopVlad: I think that's just a little on the Neutral side of Curbing, but it sounds like it has some of that feel. Others who know CVT could correct me. I am just learning this lingo, and while I think I have Overdrive pretty well understood, the various sounds of curbing are not so firm in my grasp yet.

Anybody else got ideas here?

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You are in off-center curbing until the see, when you switch to neutral. To curb the 'see' add support, apply the hold and use the 'ih' vowel. See would become sih (like sit). You are close, perhaps sing the passage with just the ih vowel until you can hit it consistently - crying the sound can induce the hold for some. Then maybe try to pronounce the note before see as yuh (like up) - So 'Can yuh sih'

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You are in off-center curbing until the see, when you switch to neutral. To curb the 'see' add support, apply the hold and use the 'ih' vowel. See would become sih (like sit). You are close, perhaps sing the passage with just the ih vowel until you can hit it consistently - crying the sound can induce the hold for some. Then maybe try to pronounce the note before see as yuh (like up) - So 'Can yuh sih'

Agreed.

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You are in off-center curbing until the see, when you switch to neutral. To curb the 'see' add support, apply the hold and use the 'ih' vowel. See would become sih (like sit). You are close, perhaps sing the passage with just the ih vowel until you can hit it consistently - crying the sound can induce the hold for some. Then maybe try to pronounce the note before see as yuh (like up) - So 'Can yuh sih'

IndrasNet: If I understand you, the 'centering' of the curbing is a result of selecting the right vowel(s) for the notes. Am I getting your point?

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