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TheHopefulBaritone

How much does face shape affect tone?

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I have noticed that the most lead singers of the bands I like (that would be rock and metal) have quite large lower jaws and wide faces - think David Coverdale, Steven Tyler etc, . In contrast I have a smaller than average (probably) lower jaw and relatively narrow face. Will this have an impact on my tone? I think I have a quite a thin tone. I started singing to emulated my heroes and it would be gutting to think that I'm never going to achieve a decent rock voice because I just don't have the necessary physical attributes. Range is not an issue and I don't have a particularly loud voice but it's loud enough for what it needs to do.

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13 hours ago, TheHopefulBaritone said:

I have noticed that the most lead singers of the bands I like (that would be rock and metal) have quite large lower jaws and wide faces - think David Coverdale, Steven Tyler etc, . In contrast I have a smaller than average (probably) lower jaw and relatively narrow face. Will this have an impact on my tone? I think I have a quite a thin tone. I started singing to emulated my heroes and it would be gutting to think that I'm never going to achieve a decent rock voice because I just don't have the necessary physical attributes. Range is not an issue and I don't have a particularly loud voice but it's loud enough for what it needs to do.

It probably matters but so does everything else and there aint much you can do about it one way or the other. No need to give it any thought.

Bottom line, there are ALL kinds of great rock tones and you can develop your own particular tone. Every singer, including Coverdale and Tyler, have strengths and weaknesses. A thicker or rounder tone like a Jorn Lande, Jim Morrison, Peter Steele, Ian Astbury (or Muddy Waters!) has a certain type of strength built into it and its great, BUT it can sound "blocky" and it might not be as agile as a lighter voice. It will sound great on certain types of songs but not so great on others.

There are many great singers with "lighter" voices. The basic rock tenor voice could be described as "light and bright". Some of my fave lighter singers are Robert Plant, Goran Edman, Ray Gillen, Mark Slaughter, Daniel McMaster

You can take your basic voice type, whatever it is, and maximize it and you'll be fine. First you can learn to support pretty firmly to get a stronger chest vibe going. Also you can learn to shade things back towards a darker basic tone by leaning back towards darker vowels. For instance look at the IPA vowel chart and start playing with vowels in the middle or back (right) of the chart and maybe the bottom (open) side of the chart. So experiment with vowels like bought, bout, bot etc and see how they affect your tone. Then play around with using that basic vowel position as your temporary base of operations to sing whole songs from and see how it sounds etc. Those are the darker warmer vowel positions. But also play with all the other vowel positions and see what sounds best. They all have advantages and disadvantages

 

Even a guy like Paul Rogers is a good one to consider. He had a nice bright rock tone which wasnt shrill but also wasnt huge and dark and boomy. Id say he is a good role model for a basic rock tone. But like I say, if you maximize and strengthen what you have you'll be good to go

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Peace, JJ

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Interestingly enough I have a powerful oo (boot) vowel. In recordings of the choir I'm in when we're called to sing an oo above C4 I can clearly hear my own voice even with 10+ other male singers. However my ah (bat) is weak. In a very simplistic way that chart kind of confirms that. The main issue is that I speak in the right middle section (boat/bert/boy) and that gives me a swallowed tone that I want to get away from. I actually practice speaking (in private of course :lol:) mimicking more forward accents to break the habit when I'm singing!

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2 hours ago, TheHopefulBaritone said:

Interestingly enough I have a powerful oo (boot) vowel. In recordings of the choir I'm in when we're called to sing an oo above C4 I can clearly hear my own voice even with 10+ other male singers. However my ah (bat) is weak. In a very simplistic way that chart kind of confirms that. The main issue is that I speak in the right middle section (boat/bert/boy) and that gives me a swallowed tone that I want to get away from. I actually practice speaking (in private of course :lol:) mimicking more forward accents to break the habit when I'm singing!

and all of what you just said may simply be that you have learned to sing in headvoice and its easier and more comfortable for you. So your headvoice is stronger than your chest and you have gravitated more towards closed vowels.

Im pretty much the exact same way. "ee"s and "ooh"s are very easy for me up high. Well I also want to develop a nice David Lee Roth type of chesty vibe...which is the OPPOSITE lol. So Ill have to start working more on opening up the vowels more and of course on the bat, bet, bait part of the chart

Id say there is definite interplay between chest and headvoice as far as a person CAN lean on head too much and neglect chest, or vice versa. Beginners of course try to use chest for everything and they end up shouting..so they have to develop basic headvoice skills etc. But some better singers can develop headvoice and then start overusing it because frankly its really easy to hit high closed vowels and next thing you know you are really closing everything and your ability to belt strong open stuff can suffer.

Back in the spring of this year I was hitting a lot of the David Coverdale E5s which are all over the "1987" album. Fast forward to November and I did an original song with an E5 but it ended up being this really tight piercing E5 which had more of the quality of something like a Mark Boals G5. In other words it was TOO closed for an E5 and I think its because I have focused so much on getting my range higher. So now I need to do some work on strengthening the more chesty/open middle range

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While physical differences will of course lead to differences in sound, if you sound "thin" its very unlikely its due to it. Both the singers you mentioned used a somewhat low placed, in your face, approach on the low range. I doubt you will still sound thin if you do something similar.

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On 11/27/2017 at 11:28 AM, TheHopefulBaritone said:

I have noticed that the most lead singers of the bands I like (that would be rock and metal) have quite large lower jaws and wide faces - think David Coverdale, Steven Tyler etc, . In contrast I have a smaller than average (probably) lower jaw and relatively narrow face. Will this have an impact on my tone? I think I have a quite a thin tone. I started singing to emulated my heroes and it would be gutting to think that I'm never going to achieve a decent rock voice because I just don't have the necessary physical attributes. Range is not an issue and I don't have a particularly loud voice but it's loud enough for what it needs to do.

Do NOT get hung up on this. There is nothing here. Your ability to sing great rock has everything to do with the inside physiology , to a small extent, ... and your physical strength and ability to articulate singing vowels to amplify and control resonance / formants, to a much larger extent ... which comes from your commitment to train and practice. PERIOD. 

If you don’t train and practice it will never happen for you. If you do, it can and will. The choice is 90% yours ... not due to something out if your control. 

 

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Technique, technique, technique, that is what counts.  The greatest singers don't have anything weird about their voices.  Timbre is a different quality.  Everybody cannot sound like Freddie Mercury or Steven Tyler or Steve Perry.  Their voices are unique to a certain extent.  Even among them, they sound amazing because they have phenomenal technique... 

Good singing is like a flowing river.  It has no discernible changes in pitch, or volume or tonal quality..Everything is a gradual change.  To do this without the listener finding out that you have changed pitch or volume or tone is a skill that all of us have to learn over many years.  The best way to do this is to expose yourself to various forms of singing.  You will find something new about your voice with every different genre.. 

Eventually the dots will connect after you have put the requisite number of hours.. There is no short cut.. It is hardwork and right technique.. 

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