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A vocalist in search of help

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guitarheaven
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I've had singing lessons for almost a year now. My tone and control has improved quite a bit, but not my range. My range is G2 to D4-E4, but I need to yell to hit E4. I've browsed around this forum and read a lot of bridging or overdrive (pulling chest?) and am wonder how to extend my range. Would working on pulling chest be an unsafe and or unreliable way to gain range? Also at this point, I'm not sure if I'm using falsetto or have accessed my head voice. I've included a portion of Somewhere over the rainbow. I just recorded it live, so forgive any mistakes.

http://www.box.net/shared/zcgi88e138

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Hi guitarheaven, I apologize no one has reached out to you yet...

I will say this,,, based on my experience, you definately have a nice instrument. You could become an amazing singer if you had the right teacher and practiced. Like most people, you can learn to sing great... and you have a very pleasant, lighter harmonic to your singing that could be harnessed to do really amazing things.

Heck no, you dont want to "pull chest"... this essentially means your singing too high in the chest voice, it is not something people are advocating on this forum and is not something you would train to do.

I dont hear Falsetto in your rendition of this classic tune...

I could fill four pages on what it takes to develop range, but will leave you with this... you need to work on sirens, up and down very slowly and begin the process of building muscle memory for the timing that is involved in learning to bridge and familiarizing yourself with your head voice placements. There is more to the bridging story, such as laryngeal configuration and exploration into vocal modes that help make it all come together and insure a big, "chest-like" tone in the head voice... but first, you must calibrate the timing of your chest/head registrations and get to know your head voice resonant placements.

I know it sounds confusing and it can be... I can help you learn how to do it if you like.

Hope this helps.

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I've had singing lessons for almost a year now. My tone and control has improved quite a bit, but not my range. My range is G2 to D4-E4, but I need to yell to hit E4. I've browsed around this forum and read a lot of bridging or overdrive (pulling chest?) and am wonder how to extend my range. Would working on pulling chest be an unsafe and or unreliable way to gain range? Also at this point, I'm not sure if I'm using falsetto or have accessed my head voice. I've included a portion of Somewhere over the rainbow. I just recorded it live, so forgive any mistakes.

http://www.box.net/shared/zcgi88e138

i'm just a singer, but may i make a couple of suggestions?

a major prerequisite for singing dynamically with range is breath support.

first things first...it sounds to me like you need to start out developing your breathing and support...there are tons of stuff you can find on you tube. programs and books. you want to develop a nice consistency and longevity of breath and tone.

that song is known for being a challenge b.t.w..

next, regarding chest pulling... i am, was, am at times, the consummate chest puller...i believe personally it can be done safely, but i don't avocate it if you're just trying to develop your range from a beginning standpoint.

range, and don't let anyone fool you, no one here will, comes with consistant practise over time. you need to train the muscles and strengthen muscles and develop coordination with the end goal a seamless transition from your chest voice to your head voice..

what else can i say? it's gonna take work. hope i've helped

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Thanks for the feedback guys! And to be honest, I've been trying to work on breath support, but I just don't really get it. When I am supporting correctly, I never know it. Do you guys have any tips for knowing when you're supporting correctly (sensations and such)? And Robert, The last descending line is partially in falsetto. I start in falsetto on the D4 and then switch to chest on the Bb.

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What I heard, in my layman's perspective is that your notes were better centered in the high stuff, full or falsetto. It sounds like you had breath support in the higher stuff. If you bring that need to commit down to the lower notes, you might find the breath support you are looking for. You sound like a tenor who was reaching for baritone in places.

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Thanks for the feedback guys! And to be honest, I've been trying to work on breath support, but I just don't really get it. When I am supporting correctly, I never know it. Do you guys have any tips for knowing when you're supporting correctly (sensations and such)? And Robert, The last descending line is partially in falsetto. I start in falsetto on the D4 and then switch to chest on the Bb.

i wrote this a while back...hope it helps..bob (videohere)

i would like to post this as an aid to those folks who maybe get a little confused with all the different terminology and definitions for what i consider to be the foundation of great singing, "breath support."

here, in plain language, is my perception of what it feels like:

1. the lower abdomen seems like it's filled with compressed air during singing all the way to the lower back.

2. there is a feeling like your exhale is suspended and can be suspended for an unusual amount of time.

3. it feels like you can stop at any point in an exhale (even at the end) and before inhaling a new breath, still generate the pressure required to hit a note.

4. it can feel like no air was used to sing, particularly on loud, full voice high notes.

5. you can litterally feel like you've lost the ability to exhale.

5. you feel empowered, like any note is possible or any duration is possible.

6. when you have engaged the support somehow you have drawn yourself away from your throat area, so that the vocal chords stretch or adjust independent from the throat. it's as if the throat is a passive cylinder holding up your head and the vocal chords are nowhere near that cylinder. the vocal chords almost seem like adjustable valves, free to be altered.

again, this is just my perception and explanation of what it feels like.

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A couple more questions, my teacher told me that trying to keep my lower stomach expanded while singing would initiate support but also said that my abs shouldn't be tense. I find that when I try to keep my lower stomach expanded, my abs are engaged, but not necessarily rock hard. Is this alright? My next question is one about vocal analysis. In Another One Bites The Dust from 1:11-1:30, how is Freddie producing the sound? Is he belting?

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Apologies to your teacher but I think it is phrased awkwardly. The abdominals should be supple and free to move. For that is where support comes from, not the ribs and the diaphram is an inhalation muscle with a natural reaction to relax, which causes air to rush out. And the diaphragm is autonomic. You hold your breath by raising the larynx and closing off the windpipe, not by "stopping" the diaphragm. Anway, you should breath from the belly but do not hold it rigid in either convex or concave position. If you hold the stomach rigid, then you are forced to breath with the ribs, which is shallow and causes undue strain in the neck. You are then strangling yourself and your notes.

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A couple more questions, my teacher told me that trying to keep my lower stomach expanded while singing would initiate support but also said that my abs shouldn't be tense. I find that when I try to keep my lower stomach expanded, my abs are engaged, but not necessarily rock hard. Is this alright? My next question is one about vocal analysis. In Another One Bites The Dust from 1:11-1:30, how is Freddie producing the sound? Is he belting?

guitarheaven, like lou gramm, freddie mercury is another favorite of mine, but first off if you intend to sing his songs, some of which are very challenging, know that virtually all of his studio recordings were pitched higher than he sang live.

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Another anecdote about that song. On the commentary track from the double sided Greatest Hits album Brian May say that John Deacon, who wrote the song, had a clear picture of the vocals but couldn't explain it very well not being a singer himself, so he made Freddie sing till his throat almost bled -which probably made a great deal of Freddie's sound on that song.

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I've been thinking, and I realized that I don't know the difference between a supported and an unsupported sound. I had my teacher demonstrate for me, but all I heard was a small difference in volume and fullness of tone. I thought that a supported sound is supposed to sound a lot more different than an unsupported sound? Although my teacher did say that she had difficulty trying to sing in an unsupported way. Do you guys have an clips to compare the two? I would appreciate it.

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I've been thinking, and I realized that I don't know the difference between a supported and an unsupported sound. I had my teacher demonstrate for me, but all I heard was a small difference in volume and fullness of tone. I thought that a supported sound is supposed to sound a lot more different than an unsupported sound? Although my teacher did say that she had difficulty trying to sing in an unsupported way. Do you guys have an clips to compare the two? I would appreciate it.

guitar h,

volume is irrelevant. you can sing very softly yet still have a supported tone. proper fold closure coordinated with breath support is the key.

supported singing will be characterized by resonance, with evenness and consistency of tone. unsupported will likely sound lean and breathy. the tone can waver as well.

breathy falsetto is generally unsupported.

i could see why the teacher was having difficulty doing it. it's kinda hard to do once you've got a handle on support.

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We'll, I've had another lesson with my teacher and she's given me some stuff to work on. I rerecorded somewhere over the rainbow and also a siren/slide thing. I think they're supported but I'm not sure. I'm also wondering if my octave slide is transitioning to falsetto. Also, Bob, yesterday when I was singing, I didn't exactly have the feeling that I was using barely any air, but I found it pretty easy. I'm guessing that's a sign that I was supporting at least somewhat, right?

Somewhere over the rainbow

http://www.box.net/shared/em2un3rk3e

Octave slide

http://www.box.net/shared/xioofz5uj7

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We'll, I've had another lesson with my teacher and she's given me some stuff to work on. I rerecorded somewhere over the rainbow and also a siren/slide thing. I think they're supported but I'm not sure. I'm also wondering if my octave slide is transitioning to falsetto. Also, Bob, yesterday when I was singing, I didn't exactly have the feeling that I was using barely any air, but I found it pretty easy. I'm guessing that's a sign that I was supporting at least somewhat, right?

Somewhere over the rainbow

http://www.box.net/shared/em2un3rk3e

Octave slide

http://www.box.net/shared/xioofz5uj7

you have a nice resonance in your voice.

sorry guitar, i'm more than happy to help out with advice, but as a policy, i refrain from critiquing vocals.

what exercises has the teacher given you for support? if you have good support, one way to tell is you will have no problem singing long phrases or holding out notes.

does that help? remember again, that's a challenging song, and vibrato i would say is a requisite.

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you have a nice resonance in your voice.

sorry guitar, i'm more than happy to help out with advice, but as a policy, i refrain from critiquing vocals.

what exercises has the teacher given you for support? if you have good support, one way to tell is you will have no problem singing long phrases or holding out notes.

does that help? remember again, that's a challenging song, and vibrato i would say is a requisite.

My teacher's given me two exercises. The first one is to breath in for 5 counts, hold it for 5 counts, and then exhale for five counts and repeat without pause. She also told me that when I get comfortable with 5 counts, then I should increase to 6, etc. The second exercise is to breath in and make a 'ssss' or 'ffffff' noise while putting my hands right below my ribcage on the sides. And about the vibrato, I actually don't have vibrato and don't know how to do it. My teacher has told me that vibrato comes with complete vocal balance, which I assume I haven't gotten to yet. Should I just keep working on support and wait for vibrato to come?

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My teacher's given me two exercises. The first one is to breath in for 5 counts, hold it for 5 counts, and then exhale for five counts and repeat without pause. She also told me that when I get comfortable with 5 counts, then I should increase to 6, etc. The second exercise is to breath in and make a 'ssss' or 'ffffff' noise while putting my hands right below my ribcage on the sides. And about the vibrato, I actually don't have vibrato and don't know how to do it. My teacher has told me that vibrato comes with complete vocal balance, which I assume I haven't gotten to yet. Should I just keep working on support and wait for vibrato to come?

for breath support....just a suggestion....if you want to try,

with a warmed voice and a really open relaxed throat, (key requisites) vocalize on your normal speaking voice the word "ha" as is father, try for short, powerful, sharp, stacatto ha's.

not looking for it sound good, just don't tense or lock the throat and try with each "ha" to oscillate your diaphragm, back, abs,. take a short deep breath, and pop out as many ha's as you can one one breath. as you get better at it, start to increase the speed.

again, don't lock up the throat! let the ha come out unrestricted. this should feel like your area below the lungs is bouncing and the ha may have a little throat resonance but no glottal attacks, no restriction.

since you have a formal instructor, maybe you'd like to run it by them and see what they say. i'm just a singer. i happen to love this one.

follow?

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