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Let's talk tounge position

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So the tongue behind the bottom teeth or on the floor of the mouth, does this really work for all styles and genres of singing?  From my experience with a vertical embouchure it's easy to maintain but with a more horizontal embouchure it becomes increasingly difficult.  Obviously on some consonants your tongue has to touch the roof of your mouth or rise above your bottom teeth but others can be shaped entirely with the throat through practice.  Free motion of the tongue feels a lot easier but does have an affect on tone and timbre.  Can you make all sounds desired with this technique or is counter intuitive movement of the tongue necessary in some cases? But how much does it actually affect support?  What would be helpful for someone having trouble with keeping their tongue low?  Sometimes it sounds like I have mush mouth when I sing this way.  I've posed alot of questions, I know you guys wont answer all of them lol but any reasoning, advice or experience with tongue movement/placement would be appreciated.

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What sounds best? whats most practical? if something sounds weird, why would you do it?

so far I havent tried to actually 'do' anything with my tongue. The times I did try to hold it any certain way it just felt and sounded totally useless and unnatural

I was unware that my tongue did anything until by chance I was singing in the bathroom one day and happened to glance into the mirror while I made an "e" and it looked like I swallowed a frog lol

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26 minutes ago, JonJon said:

What sounds best? whats most practical? if something sounds weird, why would you do it?

so far I havent tried to actually 'do' anything with my tongue. The times I did try to hold it any certain way it just felt and sounded totally useless and unnatural

I was unware that my tongue did anything until by chance I was singing in the bathroom one day and happened to glance into the mirror while I made an "e" and it looked like I swallowed a frog lol

I think the mush mouth can be avoided through added support and proper throat shaping to counterbalance the tongue position.

 Also some singers their tounge shakes when they do vibrato and there is such thing as a tounge roll instead of a Lip roll.  That would be interesting to learn

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 I think a good policy is to do everything for a reason. If there is a reason to set your tongue a certain way, then go for it. But if you have to then try to do 20 other things to counteract the tongue position, then what good is it?

Like everything else in singing, opinions on tongue position vary. There isnt a universal approach is there?

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3 minutes ago, JonJon said:

 I think a good policy is to do everything for a reason. If there is a reason to set your tongue a certain way, then go for it. But if you have to then try to do 20 other things to counteract the tongue position, then what good is it?

Well because the more support you have and less extraneous involvement of the articulators you have the better.  You'll have a more balanced approach to singing it might not seem easy at first but it would become more natural with practice I assume

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3 minutes ago, Collin571 said:

Well because the more support you have and less extraneous involvement of the articulators you have the better.  You'll have a more balanced approach to singing it might not seem easy at first but it would become more natural with practice I assume

we'll have to see what others say

sometimes things that seem "logical" arent really the best way in the end.   In golf there are schools of thought that say one should do everything possible to get the "hands" out of play at all points. In other words dont really on 'feel' because feel varies a lot under pressure blah blah. But then you find that many of the major tourney winners are "feel" players and they RELY on their hands

What may work in certain scenarios may still NOT be a universal rule

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To me, tongue is like the slide on a trombone. Adjustable to achieve resonance throughout the range. The movement that should be less is the jaw, And probably the worst habit to over come is using the jaw moving forward to articulate because it will pull EVERYTHING in your throat forward and out alignment, When opening the jaw, only open as much as necessary, with the jaw opening down, not opening forward and down.

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What's a tounge? All kidding aside, I have found that pressing the tongue against the front teeth does not help me. In fact, it ends up creating tension in the throat and messing up the resonance of my head voice. In my experience, drawing the tongue slightly back from the front teeth and raising it in the back of the mouth gives me the best results. 

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Tongue position in singing is mostly about what the back of the tongue does, not the tip of the tongue imo. A general guideline is the NG position of the tongue. It is often described as the back of the tongue lifting towards the soft palate and the tip of the tongue resting at your lower front teeth.

However, depending on the anatomy of the tongue the tip of the tongue will not always be at the lower front teeth. In my opinion it is best to keep the tip of the tongue released at all times, except for the consonants that need it to move up (like L, R or N).

Here is a simple excercise for a useful tongue placement:

- close your jaw
- swallow
- notice how the swallowing creates a low-pressure in the area between tongue and palate that "sucks" the tongue towards the palate
- let the jaw drop in a relaxed way and notice that you can actually sustain that low-pressure and keep the tongue sucked to the palate
- now phonate an NG and notice how the tip of the tongue will drop down in a relaxed way

This is my way to set up a relaxed NG position. There is only a slight tension neccessary in the back of the tongue. The front of the tongue should be relaxed as well as the jaw. It does not really matter where the tip of the tongue will fall.

Now try to form vowels with the back of the tongue. Make sure the tip stay relaxed for all vowels. When you make consonants that require the tip of the tongue to move, first make a vowel (like A) with the back of the tongue, and after that just move the tip of the tongue up to make the consonant you want while keeping the back of the mouth in the same shape as for the vowel.

Same goes for the embouchure btw. You can do whatever you want with it to change your sound in the way you want. Just make sure that setting up the pharynx and back of the tongue (sometimes called "throat shaping") always has priority over anything else. If your focus is on the embouchure or front of the tongue, chances are that the pharynx and ultimatively the throat will constrict.

 

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On 10/7/2016 at 11:56 PM, Collin571 said:

does this really work for all styles and genres of singing?

The benefits you gain from it works for all styles.

On 10/7/2016 at 11:56 PM, Collin571 said:

a vertical embouchure it's easy to maintain but with a more horizontal embouchure it becomes increasingly difficult.

Vertical embouchure positions are more intuitive for the body, that is why its "easier" but that doesn't mean that a slightly horizontal orientation doesn't have a list of benefits that to offer.... explained in The Four  Pillars of Singing. Namely, a vertical position requires more movement of the mandible and that can prove to be less efficient then training your articulators to shape the phonetics of singing with less movement. There are and amplification and sound color benefits to horizontal orientations as well. 

On 10/7/2016 at 11:56 PM, Collin571 said:

Free motion of the tongue feels a lot easier but does have an affect on tone and timbre.

Regardless of the orientation of your embouchure, you have to have free motion of the tongue to articulate most consonants and diphthongs. To not do so, would to literally be singing with no movement of your mouth, on one big homogenous vowel and you would sound like a complete idiot, which no one in the history of singing technique has ever suggested that you do.

On 10/7/2016 at 11:56 PM, Collin571 said:

But how much does it actually affect support?

Tongue leveraging, as demonstrated in  4Pillars, have valuable intrinsic support benefits, such as helping to keep the larynx down through the passaggio and adds to TA engagement for belting. I find it to be particularly favorable when singing vowel onsets (glottal attacks / attack & release ) onsets.

On 10/7/2016 at 11:56 PM, Collin571 said:

Sometimes it sounds like I have mush mouth when I sing this way. 

Then you are misunderstanding how tongue leveraging is used. As I pointed out above, if you are sounding like one big homogenous mush vowel, your not getting it and that certainly is not what I am advocating.  Your wasting your time, because you are misunderstanding what the tongue leveraging idea is about and clearly not doing it properly... TAKE A LESSON.

On 10/8/2016 at 1:11 AM, Collin571 said:

it might not seem easy at first but it would become more natural with practice I assume

YES, you have to practice. It does become 2nd nature eventually.

On 10/8/2016 at 1:35 AM, Collin571 said:

Right, I've seen Rob and Daniel advocate this tongue position.

Hmm, might be something to it... 

On 10/8/2016 at 5:41 AM, ronws said:

Adjustable to achieve resonance throughout the range. The movement that should be less is the jaw,

Yes, one of the main benefits of the horizontal embouchure position, + leveraged tongue.

On 10/8/2016 at 9:57 AM, muffinhead said:

I have found that pressing the tongue against the front teeth does not help me. In fact, it ends up creating tension in the throat and messing up the resonance of my head voice.

Then you are also not doing it correctly and/or there are other things you are doing that are impacting your lack of resonance. I have never heard of anyone getting tension from tongue leveraging. Clearly, your doing it wrong. TAKE A LESSON.

21 minutes ago, VideoHere said:

Pressing no, resting yes.

"Pressing" or leveraging the tongue in a reasonable way, has a lot of benefits Bob, once you get the feel for it and it becomes 2nd nature. 

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    For those of you who still have a little wobble in the passaggio or are just flipping into falsetto....... (I am not a teacher but i did stay at a holiday inn) and you want to find out about this tongue anchoring or tongue position issue............stick out your tongue (yes, go ahead) siren an Eh through the passaggio..........keep the tongue out and flat......................

     Get back to me on your results. Then we will talk about what happened and why..

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Does anyone know if it is possible to roll other consonants or tounge trill on consonants other than r Like maybe L or N.  I suppose it's not possible on plosives but other consonants maybe.  I want to learn to tounge trill because I speak some Spanish and I feel like it will help with friction of certain consonants.

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8 hours ago, Robert Lunte said:

The benefits you gain from it works for all styles.

Vertical embouchure positions are more intuitive for the body, that is why its "easier" but that doesn't mean that a slightly horizontal orientation doesn't have a list of benefits that to offer.... explained in The Four  Pillars of Singing. Namely, a vertical position requires more movement of the mandible and that can prove to be less efficient then training your articulators to shape the phonetics of singing with less movement. There are and amplification and sound color benefits to horizontal orientations as well. 

Regardless of the orientation of your embouchure, you have to have free motion of the tongue to articulate most consonants and diphthongs. To not do so, would to literally be singing with no movement of your mouth, on one big homogenous vowel and you would sound like a complete idiot, which no one in the history of singing technique has ever suggested that you do.

Tongue leveraging, as demonstrated in  4Pillars, have valuable intrinsic support benefits, such as helping to keep the larynx down through the passaggio and adds to TA engagement for belting. I find it to be particularly favorable when singing vowel onsets (glottal attacks / attack & release ) onsets.

Then you are misunderstanding how tongue leveraging is used. As I pointed out above, if you are sounding like one big homogenous mush vowel, your not getting it and that certainly is not what I am advocating.  Your wasting your time, because you are misunderstanding what the tongue leveraging idea is about and clearly not doing it properly... TAKE A LESSON.

YES, you have to practice. It does become 2nd nature eventually.

Hmm, might be something to it... 

Yes, one of the main benefits of the horizontal embouchure position, + leveraged tongue.

Then you are also not doing it correctly and/or there are other things you are doing that are impacting your lack of resonance. I have never heard of anyone getting tension from tongue leveraging. Clearly, your doing it wrong. TAKE A LESSON.

"Pressing" or leveraging the tongue in a reasonable way, has a lot of benefits Bob, once you get the feel for it and it becomes 2nd nature. 

The Horizontal Embouchure helped my support greatly which is probably a byproduct of the articulators being involved less.  Using a Vertical Embouchure it was possible to sustain notes with sensations in the throat that were verging on painful, a very chokey feeling but horizontal embouchure corrected that.

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On 10/12/2016 at 3:26 AM, Collin571 said:

The Horizontal Embouchure helped my support greatly which is probably a byproduct of the articulators being involved less.  Using a Vertical Embouchure it was possible to sustain notes with sensations in the throat that were verging on painful, a very chokey feeling but horizontal embouchure corrected that.

 

On 10/11/2016 at 7:57 PM, MDEW said:

    For those of you who still have a little wobble in the passaggio or are just flipping into falsetto....... (I am not a teacher but i did stay at a holiday inn) and you want to find out about this tongue anchoring or tongue position issue............stick out your tongue (yes, go ahead) siren an Eh through the passaggio..........keep the tongue out and flat......................

     Get back to me on your results. Then we will talk about what happened and why..

     No, I am not saying sing with your tongue hanging out. This is an exercise to find out how tongue anchoring feels and what it will do for you. Sticking your tongue out of your mouth and having it remain flat and keeping a little FORWARD tension on it while creating sound and passing through the passaggio range will allow the root of the tongue to do what it needs to do for the leveraging to happen . When you feel your voice or the NOTE sticking(not getting higher any more) or when you feel as if you are switching to falsetto....... stretch your tongue out more or feel an out ward pull on the back/root of the tongue. The will help keep the vocal folds together and engage a little twang.

    Tongue anchoring as in Four Pillars with the tongue tip against the bottom teeth allows the same action on the back of the tongue WITHOUT having the Tip of the tongue hanging out of your mouth.

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I have a lot of my students stick their tongue out all the way and siren up in full voice, when they're having issues with higher notes. I use it to show them how high they can actually sing without strain. Then we'll hold the high note and slowly pull their tongue in while trying to keep the placement of the resonance. It's one of four different exercises I use to get them effortlessly singing in a high full voice.

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On 10/11/2016 at 6:59 PM, Robert Lunte said:

The benefits you gain from it works for all styles.

Vertical embouchure positions are more intuitive for the body, that is why its "easier" but that doesn't mean that a slightly horizontal orientation doesn't have a list of benefits that to offer.... explained in The Four  Pillars of Singing. Namely, a vertical position requires more movement of the mandible and that can prove to be less efficient then training your articulators to shape the phonetics of singing with less movement. There are and amplification and sound color benefits to horizontal orientations as well. 

Regardless of the orientation of your embouchure, you have to have free motion of the tongue to articulate most consonants and diphthongs. To not do so, would to literally be singing with no movement of your mouth, on one big homogenous vowel and you would sound like a complete idiot, which no one in the history of singing technique has ever suggested that you do.

Tongue leveraging, as demonstrated in  4Pillars, have valuable intrinsic support benefits, such as helping to keep the larynx down through the passaggio and adds to TA engagement for belting. I find it to be particularly favorable when singing vowel onsets (glottal attacks / attack & release ) onsets.

Then you are misunderstanding how tongue leveraging is used. As I pointed out above, if you are sounding like one big homogenous mush vowel, your not getting it and that certainly is not what I am advocating.  Your wasting your time, because you are misunderstanding what the tongue leveraging idea is about and clearly not doing it properly... TAKE A LESSON.

YES, you have to practice. It does become 2nd nature eventually.

Hmm, might be something to it... 

Yes, one of the main benefits of the horizontal embouchure position, + leveraged tongue.

Then you are also not doing it correctly and/or there are other things you are doing that are impacting your lack of resonance. I have never heard of anyone getting tension from tongue leveraging. Clearly, your doing it wrong. TAKE A LESSON.

"Pressing" or leveraging the tongue in a reasonable way, has a lot of benefits Bob, once you get the feel for it and it becomes 2nd nature. 

it's not the vowels I have issue with when singing that way it's the consonants, the vowels sound fine.

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