Jump to content

Easing tensions in the Digastric Muscle

Rate this topic


gracesong
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi, guys,

Aside from the tongue root pressing down on the hyoid bone, what other factors can lead to tension in the digastric muscle, the muscle under one's chin? Might it be caused by problems with breath support, phonation, or an unduly lowered larynx? What exercises could you guys suggest to combat this tension?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know a few teachers have you run scales while pressing the digrastic muscles with your thumbs. Supposedly, it helps them relax, until they learn to remain relaxed. I've never had a problem with the digrastic muscles, so I've never had to use that much.

I know that people have problems with that sort of constriction while trying to sing through the bridges. Pulling chest and what not.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have tried putting my thumb under the chin and doing exercises, but I'd like to get to the root of the problem and address it that way. I'm guessing that it's an issue of too much chest voice or heavy mechanism in the voice, even when I sing opera. Perhaps learning to sing on the thin edges of the vocal folds would help with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have tried putting my thumb under the chin and doing exercises, but I'd like to get to the root of the problem and address it that way. I'm guessing that it's an issue of too much chest voice or heavy mechanism in the voice, even when I sing opera. Perhaps learning to sing on the thin edges of the vocal folds would help with this.

gracesong: the natural enemy of stiff tension is motion. In this case, I think the motion of the tongue will be helpful to you in reducing overall tensions and rigidity in this region.

Here is a tension-inventory exercise, simply done, that will tell you how much you are carrying in the body and root of your tongue:

- Drop your jaw so that there is about 2.5 cm (1") between your front teeth.

- Smile very widely, almost ridiculously :-) A big, happy grin... like a clown.

- Sing the vowels ah, ay, ee, oh, oo on a single breath while maintaining the wide smile and the jaw drop.

If the tongue is tense, 1 or more of these vowels will not work, and the tension will be highly noticable. For myself, the vowel was oo. In my own previous singing, I had let the lips do too much of the work making the oo, and the tongue became a slacker.

When you find the offending vowel or vowels, repeat the exercise and extend your awareness to the location of the tension. Don't try to fix it yet, just to be aware of it. As you repeat the exercise, this awareness will help you relax it.

IMO, its likely that you'll discover that you had unidentified tensions... hiding behind, but related to, the digastric muscle complaint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for that helpful exercise! :)

Yes, I did notice there was definite tension on the "oh" vowel as well as the "ah" vowel. Strangely enough, the "ee" created a tensionless hollow where the digastric muscle was. I'm guessing that's because of the high arch of the middle portion of the tongue? So, if I were to focus on maintaining that "ng" arch with all vowels, then the tension in the digastric muscle would be relieved?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for that helpful exercise! :)

Yes, I did notice there was definite tension on the "oh" vowel as well as the "ah" vowel. Strangely enough, the "ee" created a tensionless hollow where the digastric muscle was. I'm guessing that's because of the high arch of the middle portion of the tongue? So, if I were to focus on maintaining that "ng" arch with all vowels, then the tension in the digastric muscle would be relieved?

Gracesong: EE and Ay, and also Ih are great for sensing this freedom, and, as you note, Oh and Ah can be problems.

In some singers, there is a tendency to flatten the tongue too much for Oh and Ah, especially the forms of these vowels often sung by American English speakers. Using NG arch is a pretty good way to start those vowels to begin lessening the tendency.

As you do it, a useful mental approach is to start with the arched tongue position, and then to open to the vowel by opening 'upward'... motion of the palate up will cause the vowel to appear without dropping the tongue position at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

I'm having a problem with the digastric muscle too. It always aches or feels sore when I sing. Is this a sign of bad technique? Does this mean I'm strengthening the voice? I woke up today with some soreness. Not sure if I should do exercises today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Okay, I found a couple of things that may work to ease tension.

Just do your exercises lightly, quietly. I find that the muscle gets tight when I'm singing in a loud volume. I think it's all a coordination issue.

Also, do staccato exercises. Do the "uh" sound with a slight fry over it. Do it quietly.

And you can also do tongue trills.

I'm still working on this, but so far it seems to be going fine.

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...