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Jamie Vendera zipping

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MB20
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So I'm making my way through Raise Your Voice and I've come to the part about zipping the vocal cords and am slightly confused. Does this happen naturally when singing high or is it a technique? I have only ever heard of "zipping" the vocal chords when referring to whistle register. I was under the impression that when singing high, the vocal cords stretch and become thinner. Does this zipping technique allow you to go even higher than when thinning the chords or does it achieve the same means as thinning the cords through the use of different technique?

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So I'm making my way through Raise Your Voice and I've come to the part about zipping the vocal cords and am slightly confused. Does this happen naturally when singing high or is it a technique? I have only ever heard of "zipping" the vocal chords when referring to whistle register. I was under the impression that when singing high, the vocal cords stretch and become thinner. Does this zipping technique allow you to go even higher than when thinning the chords or does it achieve the same means as thinning the cords through the use of different technique?

MB20: Its interesting that you ask. There is some question as to whether it happens it all, as even the strongest proponent of it, Seth Riggs, has never bothered to produce any conclusive video evidence of it. Its taken on a status somewhat like an urban legend.

However, assuming for a moment that it does happen, it could not happen as a technique. Other than the muscles which cause the adduction of the vocal bands (by moving the arytenoids together) there are no muscles which push the vocal bands together.

But, it may happen anyway, as a result of the characteristics of vocal band tissue elasticity and glottal motion. Slow-motion video of the phonation cycle shows that the glottis begins each open phase by opening first at the 'front' end, and that the opening motion proceeds backwards very rapidly. For most of the range, this motion reaches the 'back' end of the bands before they close, so they vibrate over a significant length.

As rapid as it is, this opening motion, front to back, takes some time, and varies as a function of tissue elasticity and tension in the vocal bands. Under certain circumstances, high pitch or others not yet identified, the opening motion may take longer than the open phase of the phonation, so the vocal bands don't get open all the way to the back before they close. As I mentioned, there has not been a systematic laryngeal study to show this conclusively. But, while IMO the possibility is there, the general laryngeal studies of singers do not show this happening on any predictable basis.

In summary, if the glottis appears to get shorter for very high pitches, its not because the singer is 'doing' it. Its just happening as a result of normal singing technique.

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What Steve said, amen. My mental visual is that a small part of the stretched or thinned out folds are vibrating very fast, by means of steady breath support and the resonation is behind the palate, most especially on high notes. However, zipped cords is a good mental mnemonic, even if that is not what is technically happening.

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Jaime got the imagery from Thomas Appell, I believe. When I read Thomas's book, I wondered about the veracity of the zipping thing.

Jeran: As Ronws said, this is perfectly reasonable imagery to use with a singer. With it, the process of rising pitch is imagined as a smoothly progressive process, and not 'switching from this to that' technique. The idea of imagery of this type is to create a frame of mind in the singer that stimulates the desired physical response. One finds the same sorts of thoughts in all of the physical sports.

Its one of my hopes that I can do research in this area in 2011 to determine if it actually happens, and in what note ranges if it does, how that might vary by voice type, etc. It will not be possible to determine experimentally if this never happens, but it will be definitely possible to determine whether it always , or even frequently happens. If am able to coordinate such a study, I'll be sure to let everybody know.

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I should clarify, and my image is clarified thanks to your postings, Steve. When I say a small part of the folds, I don't mean zipped up like a zipper. I think more just the finer outer edges, rather than total thick fold involvement.

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i really don't know about the zipping theory, but lately i can feel (but not really feel) like the folds have come together like when someone puckers their lips to give a kiss...plus i feel (but not really feel) like my soft palate has elongated upwards and has come to a point. when i'm singing powerfully and i hit this soft palate pocket the note has such a ring and a lift it tells me i've got to be doing something right. i sound like an opera singer (but not really an opera singer). i have never sung like this before, nor have i ever experienced this before.

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