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Using too much air/breath while singing? What's wrong?

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I believe I am using too much air while singing clean vocals, this is great for when I want a breathy tone and when the song calls for it, but the thing is I don't know how to cut back on the air without letting my voice distort. Whenever I cut back on the air, vocal distortion kicks in, and my vocals get a grunge like rasp tone.

I've discovered that whenever I sing anything above F#4, I can't sing it without vocal distortion kicking in. I don't believe it's an issue involving breath support, because I can sing all the way up to A4 comfortably, even though I can only sing above F#4 with a distorted tone.

Too much air dries out my vocal chords pretty fast whenever I sing clean, and I often have to pause between lyrics and inhale fast so I can get enough breath for the next phrase, I manage to do it flawlessly, but it is annoying.

Why can't I cut back on the air without my vocals distorting into a grunge/raspy tone?

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3. things to try without hearing you.

1. Breathe in a good low breath with your good posture (high sternum) as you start to sing don't let this posture fall.

2. Do ng to clean onsets. When you peel your tongue away from the vowel do not let the buzz behind your nose leave. 

3. Do scales up to d4 with good breath underneath you and a clean consistent tone. Really think about it

I helped the singer Terry from Great White with the same problem, but I worked with him on Skype, slightly different than what I gave you but similar.. Don't be breathy below d4 on those easy scales concentrate. Above that things start to change so get that solid

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Something that helps me is to completely relax my face and vocal tract. Try to make everything feel as droopy as possible. And then do sudden onsets at lower volumes so you're not pushing out a bunch of air on the folds to create volume. Then start swelling volume without pushing more air, relying more so on vowel/vocal tract changes.

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Agree on most points brought up here.
Before approaching the F4 and anything above that - make sure your notes below that (C4-E4) are clean, solid, have a core and feel relaxed in the throat. You should be most of the engagement from the mid body area, not the neck.

Your issue is thinking you need more air to sing higher - nope. It takes less air to sing higher, but the air is more refined/targeted because the smaller glottal opening producing the tone. Pay attention to how much compression you use on the D4 and apply that to the notes above. Tweak ONLY if it needs it. Makes sure your face looks relaxed. A distorted face is a telltale sign of a poorly executed phonation.

If lessening the air causes distortion, hold back the sound more. Think in the opposite direction of the sound. This will create more glottal compression and reduce the rasp. But be cheap with the throttling back - too much and you'll choke off the sound. Experiment. Most of voice training is discovery through trial and error.

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Distortion is a wild card. It appears at different points in your vocal range differently for many people. When, where and how your voice distorts is a personal and unique thing, compared to others. It could be that your anatomy favors distorting at that frequency, and that level of reduced respiration pressure. If that is the case, it would not be something you want to necessarily avoid. A natural distortion in your voice is something you should explore or at least let it come through and don't be afraid of it. Especially if you are a rocker. It could be a blessing in disguise. 

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Here is something you can try to increase efficiency:

- Breathe out quickly, strongly and relaxed, then hold your breath
- This will put the lungs on a niveau below resting level in terms of air contents
- Then sing the notes you have trouble with, without breathing in, aim for a glottal onset

The low amount of air in your lungs makes it extremely hard for your exhalers to "push too much air" in this situation. You will also feel that this is very intensive "work" for your exhalers. The lungs provide some "resistance" to them in this case. The goal is to try to get the sensation in terms of phonation into your muscle memory, mainly the strong resistance of your folds (the exhaler activity triggers that) against the airflow.

The difficulty in "real singing" after that is, that the inhalers have to do what the lungs do in this excercise. They provide "resistance" against the exhalers to make them not push too hard. But the excercise gives you a good sense for "fold resistance" and "closure".

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Pobert: You stated...

"I believe I am using too much air while singing clean vocals?" 

I would ask when you say "too much air" are you saying air volume (amount of air) or too much air velocity, the speed of the air going across the vocal folds?

 

 

 

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On 2/12/2016 at 11:57 AM, Kevin Richards said:

Your issue is thinking you need more air to sing higher - nope. It takes less air to sing higher.


If lessening the air causes distortion, hold back the sound more. Think in the opposite direction of the sound. This will create more glottal compression and reduce the rasp. But be cheap with the throttling back - too much and you'll choke off the sound. Experiment. Most of voice training is discovery through trial and error.

Hello Kevin, I am aware of the fact that you need more air for lower notes and less as you go higher. I understand what you're talking about creating more glottal compression, I just can't seem to find the balance, it's either very raspy or very choked off. Like you said, need some trial and error, shall practice to find the balance.

 

On 2/12/2016 at 0:07 PM, Robert Lunte said:

Distortion is a wild card. It appears at different points in your vocal range differently for many people. When, where and how your voice distorts is a personal and unique thing, compared to others. It could be that your anatomy favors distorting at that frequency, and that level of reduced respiration pressure. If that is the case, it would not be something you want to necessarily avoid. A natural distortion in your voice is something you should explore or at least let it come through and don't be afraid of it. Especially if you are a rocker. It could be a blessing in disguise. 

I totally get you! But it would certainly be nice to have the option of singing clean in the higher notes, and I want to build on that. It definitely is a great thing I have a bit of a grasp on vocal distortion. 

 

20 hours ago, VideoHere said:

I would ask when you say "too much air" are you saying air volume (amount of air) or too much air velocity, the speed of the air going across the vocal folds?

 

 

 

That made me think a great while. Air velocity, I believe.

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One important thing to note is also that the resistance of the folds and the vocal tract plays a big role in support (intrinsic anchoring/support). If you sing with high pressure (which is often required in the higher range or when singing loud), the vocal folds need to resist strongly to make you use very little air despite the high pressure. Some people think that it is only the extrinsic muscles that do this job and what can easily happen then is what is sometimes referred to as "support stacking". Support stacking in turn CAN lead to unintentional distortion when there is not enough pressure to drive the vocal folds into a full vibration.

4 Pillars has some great info on resistance training now I think.

One option to train resistance works like this:

1. Learn the mouth position that is referred to as "the snile" in 4 Pillars (look for Rob's channel for a video on that)
2. Make sure that your upper front teeth rest on your lower lip while doing that posture. Don't open that position on the following excercise, just keep the teeth like that
3. Then hum on NG and imagine that you are projecting your voice out of your eyes into the distance (you can fixate a window or something like that)
4. Then make small crescendos/decrescendos on that NG (get louder and more quiet) again
5. Notice how your abdominals tense when you get louder and release when you get more quiet
6. The posture of NG and snile will do the rest for you and make the vocal tract/folds resist a part of the added pressure, which mains your "loss of air" does not get bigger when you get louder

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It would be much better if you could include a sample.

About cutting back on the air. That's really not what happens, if you try to approach it like this, you will simply kill the pressure you need, and you will distort/creak.

Dan advice is very good. About the coordination of breathing, try this:

Imagine that you have a very light and small feather on your hand, and you want to blow it away way with a quick and short puff of air.

Round your lips as if you were going to say OH, and produce a short and fast puff of air as to send it flying. You can also imagine that you are blowing a candle or a lit match.

Then pay attention to what you do during this movement and it how it feels like on the waist line/ribcage. You will notice that despite being a quite gentle movement, your whole body is working to produce it. The same thing should be behind pretty much all your singing.

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Rosa,

It depends on what kind of cracking.  

There's the crack where you are set up correctly, but you simply aren't conditioned enough to maintain a connection when the resonance shifts, as opposed to the crack because you think you have to do something like transition into something or lighten something to get to the "other side."

 

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9 hours ago, VideoHere said:

Rosa,

It depends on what kind of cracking.  

There's the crack where you are set up correctly, but you simply aren't conditioned enough to maintain a connection when the resonance shifts, as opposed to the crack because you think you have to do something like transition into something or lighten something to get to the "other side."

 

"Good crack, bad crack, you know I had my share.

When my woman left home with a brown-eyed man

and I just don't seem to care ..."

 

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