Sign in to follow this  
Carlos Miguel

Tips for Expanding Range Healthily

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone,

I was wanting to ask for the best tips to expand my chest voice range healthily. I want to be able to sing like Bruce Dickinson with a lot of power, control and vibrato in a high chest register and I would really appreciate the help.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You posted to the Classical technique board and want to sing like Bruce Dickinson? Did you mean to post this in the general discussions, or do you really want to sing Bruce Dickinson songs in Opera? I'm not messing with you, I just want to be clear before answering. I can move the discussion if you posted in Classical by accident. You'll get a lot more replies for contemporary voice in the general discussion area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 things:

 

1) no matter what your goals, you have to stay healthy so just keep that in mind. Warm up with some light stuff and gradually work into the higher and heavier stuff etc. Its not THAT hard to work yourself into some mild vocal cord swelling so if you start noticing some extra rasp all of a sudden or it sort of starts getting harder to reach some of the higher headvoice notes all of a sudden, you may have overworked yourself in the short term.

 

Look into humming, lip bubbles/trills, straw exercises and other "semi occluded" exercises etc as a means of rehab and just general vocal health.

The more rehab, "prehab" and other recuperation techniques that an athlete follows, the more intense and more confidently he can train...without time wasting setbacks

 

 

2)  You didnt specify an exact range, but Bruce and Dio and the others arent really pulling "chest" way up. Everyone has their own definitions and opinions etc, but once these guys get into a certain range its starts to become a blend of "chest" with head voice in other higher resonating areas etc

So basically IMO we are talking about "mixed voice" no matter how we cut it. Bruce and Dio just have a stronger and "chestier" blend of chest/head.

In essence, a basic tenor will have a passagio somewhere around d4 give or take a few notes. Thats where, with average support and intensity etc, he will start to feel a need and desire to shift into some higher resonance. If he is untrained he will either get real shouty and choke out a few notes higher, or he will "break" into falsetto

A trained singer sort of has two choices:

a ) He is able to gradually and seamlessly "mix" the chest voice into headvoice so it gives sort of an illusion that he is pulling chest all the way up etc. if they are going to G5 or A5 then there is no question they are blending into headvoice

b ) He can sort of lean into it and hold on to chest and NOT go into headvoice. The catch is, he aint going to be able to go as high. Generally maybe C5, maybe E5? This is a different sound than a mix...this is more of a belt

 

I assume that some singers only ever use the "b" approach...maybe a guy like Stevie Ray Vaughan who pretty much had a career from B4 and below

 

If you want the "a" approach of Bruce, Dio, Cornell, Coverdale, pretty much any rock guy, then you can sort of take a 2 pronged approach. Yes, definitely continue to strengthen and build your pure "chest" voice for when you want to belt. But you also need to develop your headvoice so you can do those good powerful mixed voice sounds

 

 

off the top of my head, there are 2 main sort of headvoice sounds.

1) a sort of "hooty" falsettoey sound which to me feels like its resonating "in the back of the head" (really just in the back of the throat, nasopharynx). This will obviously show itself pretty easily on closed vowels like oo's and ee's. I developed this pretty quickly since I used to sing along to the radio with the BeeGees etc when I was a kid. You can also just be in pure falsetto with this sound unless you learn to "twang" a bit to get some cord closure.

2) The more nasal type of "pharyngeal" voice which sounds like a witch cackle or maybe even a duck 'honking'. In general this is more easily accessed with a more open vowel like an 'aa' or 'ah' or 'eh'. This is going to be more of your basic high rock voice sound.

I was sort of stuck at f#5 and barely g5 for a good while because I was only using the hootier type of headvoice. Recently I started training more of the pharyngeal voice and just in the last week I have touched A#5 a few times on sirens. This is the route to C6 and higher IMO

 

Keep in mind there will be another passagio somewhere around f5 give or take a few notes. This is the one that was killing me. I was trying to go higher using the more closed type of voice (mouth barely open, note in back of head) and it just wasnt going to work. Then once I started working the pharyngeal aspect more I started hitting that 3rd passagio and opening the vowels more and the mouth more and all of a sudden im finding some success going on up to A5 etc

The "open" or 'closed' thing can be like juggling in a sense, at some point in your range or for some sounds you want to open it up, at other points you want to keep the sound more closed. You have to experiment a bit

Jens made a vid for me like a year ago on the subject. Though he worded it differently, the concept is the same. At that f5ish area, it helps to move the sound forward and open it up into the pharyngeal voice etc. It took me a year to sort of get it because I wasnt training the pharyngeal aspect. I had to wort of wake up that part of my voice before I could learn to direct the sound into it etc

 

you need a lot of energy and support to go higher etc, BUT the sound itself will seem almost 'smaller' and way more tightly focused

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always reinforce that "expansion of range" is not really a sort of technique, you won't be just drilling your voice to "get it to go" higher and higher. It may work to some extent, as you find somewhat better ways to do it by chance, but you would be ignoring the core of the thing.

Your range is there, you already have the muscles, soft tissue and ligaments that are necessary to do it, there is a bit of tissue adaptation that will happen over time but its not what gets in the way.

The problems that restrict your voice from performing whatever range you want, and specially in the mid-high range like Dickinson did so well, is learning how to reduce the stress and effort, and improving the quality. This gives you more headroom, more freedom to go up and down.

There are several things in technique, from breathing, to support, twang, adjustment of vowels and registration that should be working together to help you achieve that, its not one thing, but a collection of measures that you apply in ballance. Too little and you get restricted, too much or unballanced, and you will not have the quality, control and power that you want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

Your range is there, you already have the muscles, soft tissue and ligaments that are necessary to do it, there is a bit of tissue adaptation that will happen over time but its not what gets in the way.

Felipe, I like your post and agree with the premise that much of what people need to expand the range, already exists. That it is just a matter of motor skills and muscle memory "mostly" to get more range... however, again... ( and I see this often on this forum ),... I'd say for people that already have a foundation, can do "something" with their voice and have some fundamental vocal health.

However,... IF... there are many beginners that just don't have the vocal health to do it. You know as well as I do, we get students that are all throaty in their resonance, vocal folds are grinding, lack any musculature to compress the vocal folds, have really bad constriction habits, etc... these people need vocal health rehabilitation. Before you can just count on practicing to get the motor skills to work for you.... MANY people have to heal their voices and it is surprising how many people fit into this group. For some students, the first 4-6 weeks is simply rehabilitation and vocal healing... So these people are NEVER going to get it. They will NEVER build range, bridge the passaggio, etc... until they heal their grindy, windy, throaty, constricted voices.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carlos,

1. Start by rehabilitating the voice and get good vocal health FIRST. ( above ).

2. Start training with a good vocal training program so you can begin to learn how the singing voice work and begin to build the motor skills and muscle memory to do these "tricks" with your voice.

3. Commit to understanding and feeling ( kinesthetics ) the vowels of singing, which means manipulating resonance. The day you realize that singing higher has more to do with shifting resonance, then it does pushing, you are past the beginner level... .and your eyes are opened to a whole new understanding of singing. It is a LOT about resonance and controlling that resonance. You can't get around it, you HAVE to learn it and do it if you are going to sing great.

4. Apply the new motor skills, strength and understanding of vowels to real songs, lyrics and passages in songs. Each song is like a puzzle to solve. More then workouts, so you want to actually begin to do it as much as possible.

That is how you expand range... essentially, you become a serious, practicing singer... sorry, no free secret tips here, but that is your answer... which is another way of telling you what the others are also implying as well.

 

Share this post


Link to post
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
Sign in to follow this