Jump to content

Does "Middle" start in different places for different people?

Rate this topic


Rozzy73
 Share

Recommended Posts

Rather than hijack the other related thread, I thought I should start my own about how range/voice type relates to your breaks and getting into middle and head voice. I had classical training when I was younger and started taking lessons this fall with a guy who was basically reteaching me classical. I was labeled early on a bass/baritone and I've spent 20 years in chest voice.

About two months ago, I discovered Set Your Voice Free and started doing those exercises along with the classical exercises my teacher had given me. I've since stopped the "classical" lessons. The "modern" exercises have already improved my range more than classical ever did, but I've hit a bit of a wall and I'm wondering what to do about it.

Love says that middle starts around E or F above middle C and runs all the way up to B. Is this an over simplification? Does it vary significantly from person to person depending on natural range? From what I can tell from both feeling the sound and listening to recordings, I feel like I'm getting into middle around middle C#/D and getting to the top of middle by F#/G. I can "cry" up to about Ab, but I lose Ab pretty quickly and it sounds strained. I basically need to scream if I want to touch A, but it's brick wall unless I jump into my weak head voice. It feels different when then I first started the new exercises and got to the top.

So my questions:

1. It possible that G maybe Ab is top of my middle and I'll need to find techniques to both improve and bridge into my head voice?

2. My "middle" tone feels pretty for D, E, and F, but for F# - Ab, my tone gets increasingly weaker and for a strong and sustained tone, I need to "sing out," increasingly so I as I climb. What's that all about? And is this "pulling chest"?

3. Is the root the problem a weak head voice? Do I need to work on my head voice to strengthen to top of my "Middle?" If "middle" basically a mix, is the problem that beyond Ab, I can't mix enough strong head voice into it and I can't pull chest any higher? That would seem to make sense, but it's just a guess.

4. Love doesn't really talk about head voice much. For what I sing, I don't need to be able to wail in head voice, but it would really help to be able to sing to A or Bb. If my A were where my G is and Bb was where my Ab is now, I would be perfectly happy. Can I just keep up with the "middle" exercises, or will I need to venture into the unfamiliar territory of head voice to get there? I don't waste my time on "middle" I'm I'm not going to get there without starting to develop head voice.

I'd love to get your thoughts, especially from the folks who have transitioned from "classical" singing technique.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was labeled early on a bass/baritone and I've spent 20 years in chest voice.

Love says that middle starts around E or F above middle C and runs all the way up to B. Is this an over simplification? Does it vary significantly from person to person depending on natural range? From what I can tell from both feeling the sound and listening to recordings, I feel like I'm getting into middle around middle C#/D and getting to the top of middle by F#/G. I can "cry" up to about Ab, but I lose Ab pretty quickly and it sounds strained. I basically need to scream if I want to touch A, but it's brick wall unless I jump into my weak head voice. It feels different when then I first started the new exercises and got to the top.

Rozzy73: Hmmmm. I am a lyric bass, and my middle voice starts about the D below middle C, and goes up to middle C or so, depending on vowel. I may be completely off-base here, but the 'middle voice' range you attribute to Love sounds more like the middle voice range of a female singer, not a bass-baritone. For a Bass-baritone, the E above middle C would be at the lower end of the head voice. Or, its possible that we are not referring to the same note when discussing Middle C.

Lets get this part figured out so that we are discussing the same notes, and then the answers will be easier!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe my idea of middle c is off, but I'm talking about first C above the bass clef, and if reading treble clef as a male singer, the C in the middle of the clef. I guess it would be the C below the clef for a woman. I think this is C4? So the note in question is a D4, right?

So I think the D where your middle starts is the same D that I'm thinking is the start of my middle.

Or maybe Love as a different idea of "middle" than you? I think around here it's people are calling this "mix".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rozzy73: Hmmmm. I am a lyric bass, and my middle voice starts about the D below middle C, and goes up to middle C or so, depending on vowel. I may be completely off-base here, but the 'middle voice' range you attribute to Love sounds more like the middle voice range of a female singer, not a bass-baritone. For a Bass-baritone, the E above middle C would be at the lower end of the head voice. Or, its possible that we are not referring to the same note when discussing Middle C.

Yes it sounds like my middle range, though I was starting to feel like a freak. I'm working in the Love book too and he's pretty convinced women's chest voice goes up to Bb4, as mine did back in my professional career, but it seems awfully hard now. I don't know if my hiatus from singing just uncovered the underlying range limitations that I pushed past or if something has changed. I emailed him and he encouraged me to build my chest range back up slowly but I'm still a little leery.

So I'm interested in the answers here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes it sounds like my middle range, though I was starting to feel like a freak. I'm working in the Love book too and he's pretty convinced women's chest voice goes up to Bb4, as mine did back in my professional career, but it seems awfully hard now. I don't know if my hiatus from singing just uncovered the underlying range limitations that I pushed past or if something has changed. I emailed him and he encouraged me to build my chest range back up slowly but I'm still a little leery.

So I'm interested in the answers here.

For my wife, the Love's exercises are spot on. She starts at F and her chest goes exactly to Bb4, and she uses "middle" for B-Db. At E, she's in head and runs it up to A. She found middle pretty much instantly and instantly starting ripping Bb's and C's with much better tone, nice and full without strain. Fortunately she has a strong head voice and think this helps give her really good middle tone. I've been doing the the exercises 4x as long with the same or less result. I guessing it's because she has a strong head voice to mix in with with chest and I don't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, Steven is spot on. I, too, have read "Set your voice free." And my only complaint of that book is no time is really spent on head voice and transitioning from "middle" to head voice.

Granted, the majority of songs are sung in "middle" and upper chest, but most of us want to develop all of our range, which is certainly an advantage that both 4 Pillars and Raise Your Voice have over these other teaching regimens. In 4 Pillars, it's called bridging and connecting. In a nutshell, and I'm not spilling the beans of technique, you are transitioning to the config for the next part of the range before the passaggio will occur. Thereby making the weakness go away. And when this transition requires less air velocity and weight, the sound is compensated by using a vowel sound that has sound characteristics that sound beefier than what they are.

To paraphrase Geoff Tate about the break, he doesn't even "go there." He transitions early into head phonation and weight or the song is structured to avoid the break entirely. You don't go through the break but around it. But the break still exists.

In the "set your voice free" there is still the first passaggio it's just that the style has you using a "middle" register phonation thorughout your "chest" and "middle" range. You haven't erased the break. You are simply in a "mode" that doesn't encounter it, which will change the way you sound but any problems in volume are compensated by amplifaction and mic placement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my wife, the Love's exercises are spot on. She starts at F and her chest goes exactly to Bb4, and she uses "middle" for B-Db. At E, she's in head and runs it up to A. She found middle pretty much instantly and instantly starting ripping Bb's and C's with much better tone, nice and full without strain. Fortunately she has a strong head voice and think this helps give her really good middle tone. I've been doing the the exercises 4x as long with the same or less result. I guessing it's because she has a strong head voice to mix in with with chest and I don't.

Rozzy73: As a way forward with this, lets consider what makes any part of the voice 'strong'. Vocal 'strength' (or lack of it) comes from two things: the characteristics of the phonation, an the characteristics of the resonance. In current voice science thinking, these are not independent, but rather form a 'coupled' system, in that what is going on with resonance affects the phonation. Briefly, a tone which has a good resonance adjustment will phonate more efficiently, too.

Considering the entire scope of the vocal range for a moment, consistent character of phonation happens when the muscles of the larynx make the small adjustments of action, note-to-note, that keep the glottal open/close cycle consistent. Doing that involves creating some freedom of action at the level of the larynx, and in coordinating that action with the breath. That is why concepts of 'support' are taught... the breath is part of the coordination.

Applied specifically to your situation, Rozzy73, IMO what is not yet happening is the consistency of the phonation. For bass, bass-baritone and the larger baritone voices the challenge is to discover how to let the laryngeal changes happen smoothly while ascending the scale. Its been my personal experience as a lyric bass, and also as teacher of these voices, that the lower male voices are prone to oversing some in the note range from Bb3 (next to middle C) to Eb4 (just above middle C). We can get away with this because of the strong vowel resonance available in that region of the voice. In the ascending scale in that region, unless a compensation is made, the voice loses some of this resonance help, and the oversung phonation cannot be sustained without strain or sudden cracking.

Let me say at this point that I had this same problem for a number of years before I found out what needed to be done about it. My voice dropped like a rock, from soprano to bass, the summer of my 14th year. At 16, the top note I could sing without strain was middle C, the same place on the keyboard you have identified, and attempting anything above that caused a very strong clutch of constricting tension in my throat.

Working my way through that situation involved two things: taking almost all of the exhalation force off of the voice, via support technique, and re-tooling my approach to that Bb-to-Eb range so that the laryngeal muscles could make the needed adjustments.

The process of doing this is very accessible. The exercises are very direct, and not difficult at all to learn. If you are interested, I will send you the references to the places on this site where I have described them in detail, and you can take it from there if they make sense to you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Again, Steven is spot on. I, too, have read "Set your voice free." And my only complaint of that book is no time is really spent on head voice and transitioning from "middle" to head voice.

In the "set your voice free" there is still the first passaggio it's just that the style has you using a "middle" register phonation thorughout your "chest" and "middle" range. You haven't erased the break. You are simply in a "mode" that doesn't encounter it, which will change the way you sound but any problems in volume are compensated by amplifaction and mic placement.

ron, i respect what you're saying here, but i guess it's a matter of how you interpret roger love's book and cd.

i saw the exercises on that cd, which i still use, as absolutely designed to help you transition smoothly from chest to head voice, goog and gug for an example, but middle was emphasized to assist with the transition. i think it all comes down to those terms, head, middle, mixed, falsetto, they are all so confusing and their meaning varies like night and day depending on the author or instructor...

but i saw love's cd as definitely designed to build the coordination and strength to increase range and transition from chest to head via a developed middle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then we may define that different people have a different note they must get to head voice on. Nor does Love dis head voice but, by his own words, he is more concentrated on people finding their middle voice. Does he work with people in head voice? Sure. He coached the Beach Boys, for example. Head voice abounds there. And perhaps he doesn't spend much time on head voice because many people can sing chest and head but crack in the "middle." I just wished he could have covered more about head voice than I remember from the book, which I read last week.

I'm not dissing Roger, either. As I have said and any one can verify, most popular songs are in what he calls the middle voice.

And to be fair, there are other viable systems, such as 4 Pillars, that view it as one voice. not necessarily chest, middle, head, partially as a mental imagery or mnemonic to help one psychologically get past a break. But such systems still do not discount the existence of a break.

Another value of Roger, though I disagree with speaking and singing as being similar, is that perhaps some of that dichotomy is that we don't speak properly. That our speaking should be more like singing. In another thread, I plain out and out stole a technique from Roger and it was seemingly dismissed as non-consequential with a giggle. And that was to learn to phonate at your proper speaking pitch. Take the word hello, which most people speak with pitch variations. When you hit the "lo" part, hold the note and notice how fully you are adducting. That is where you should. Ingenious and totally effective. As well as the 1 1/2 octave jumps, by which the mechanics, by taking it out of your conscious "I must struggle to get there" constraints, get you into middle in a hurry. I'm not saying that Roger is deficient. For working on high stuff, until I can afford the 4 Pillars, I would go to Jaime Vendera's book. Which certainly has exercises and techniques that Roger may not advocate.

Neat trivia I am sure you remember. He was asked to help a young man who couldn't really sing much past a limited range and not very centered on that, did not write his own songs, didn't play any musical instruments, but had the right look and fashion for the time. Needless to say, Roger wasn't all that interested in that challenge. That "challenge" was Billy Idol. I've seen a show of Billy Idol singing unplugged and he has done well with what he has. So, that's no slam against him. Just a funny bit of trivia.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond, and you were really the perfect person to address this issue. You are the first vocal expert I have met who has walked in my shoes. My voice actually didn't drop until I was 16. My sophomore year, I sang 1st tenor. I returned from summer break singing low F and topping out at D - right where my middle starts. My senor year I was all-state choir singing "O Isis und Osiris." I understand what you are saying about about over singing in that range. I know I have tendency to do it and I've been working on getting away from it. I didn't realize it has such wide reaching consequences.

Please, point me in the right direction and I'll trying whatever you recommend. I really appreciate this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My voice actually didn't drop until I was 16. My sophomore year, I sang 1st tenor. I returned from summer break singing low F and topping out at D - right where my middle starts. My senor year I was all-state choir singing "O Isis und Osiris." I understand what you are saying about about over singing in that range. I know I have tendency to do it and I've been working on getting away from it. I didn't realize it has such wide reaching consequences.

Rozzy73: Before we begin, here is a clue about terminology on this site: The word 'passaggio' is very often used for what you are calling the 'middle voice'. If you do a search here for that word, you'll get access to what everybody has said about it, not just my opinion.

Even before reading the detail links, I think it will be useful to summarize the important concepts of this, on which the exercises are based:

1) Vowels have two formants, strong resonances, that move in frequency to form what we hear as different vowels. When one or both of these resonances aligns with one of the harmonics of the sung tone, not only does that harmonic get quite louder, but there is some cushioning of the vocal bands as a result of the resonance.

2) The alignment of the resonances changes as the scale is sung. Of particular importance is the relative position of the 2nd and 3rd harmonics with the lower vowel resonance. When the resonance is just above the frequency of either of these harmonics, the voice gets a huge boost in power, and the cushioning effect is pronounced. This is the area where lower voices tend to oversing, overpressuring... because they can get away with it. This area ends when the 2nd harmonic passes the lower vowel resonance, what is called in classical singing the 'primo passaggio'.

3) The lower entry point for the passaggio varies by vowel. Ee and oo have the lowest entry points. Oh, ay, eh and Ih have intermediate ones, and Ah has the highest. The entry point varies by voice type, too. Basses have the lowest, followed by bass-baritone, baritone and tenor in an upward progression. This is what makes the differing voice types have different timbre when singing the same note.

4) Once the singer reaches the place in the scale where the 2nd harmonic has risen above the lower vowel resonance, the cushioning is lost very rapidly, and if the singer is overpressuring, the voice strains and can crack. This is why it is vital to remove the overpressuring.

5) Twang and singer's formant provide projection and brightness to the voice without increasing the vocal effort.

6) Some voiced consonants have a benefit for training the large voice, in that their performance causes changes in the pressure ratios below and above the glottis. This helps the singer experience the sensations involved when the voice is not overpressured.

Here are the links to the articles.

On the main site, two articles about passaggio:

http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profiles/blogs/male-voice-passaggio-101

http://www.themodernvocalist.com/profiles/blogs/male-voice-passaggio-102

At the next link, check out post #29 (numbers on the right hand side of each post) for a good summary of exercises for estabilishing breath balance for singing.

http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=45&p=2

The use of semi-occluded consonants, and specific vowels. See post 12 at this link:

http://www.punbb-hosting.com/forums/themodernvocalist/viewtopic.php?id=1315

I hope this helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Then we may define that different people have a different note they must get to head voice on. Nor does Love dis head voice but, by his own words, he is more concentrated on people finding their middle voice. Does he work with people in head voice? Sure. He coached the Beach Boys, for example. Head voice abounds there. And perhaps he doesn't spend much time on head voice because many people can sing chest and head but crack in the "middle." I just wished he could have covered more about head voice than I remember from the book, which I read last week.

I'm not dissing Roger, either. As I have said and any one can verify, most popular songs are in what he calls the middle voice.

And to be fair, there are other viable systems, such as 4 Pillars, that view it as one voice. not necessarily chest, middle, head, partially as a mental imagery or mnemonic to help one psychologically get past a break. But such systems still do not discount the existence of a break.

Another value of Roger, though I disagree with speaking and singing as being similar, is that perhaps some of that dichotomy is that we don't speak properly. That our speaking should be more like singing. In another thread, I plain out and out stole a technique from Roger and it was seemingly dismissed as non-consequential with a giggle. And that was to learn to phonate at your proper speaking pitch. Take the word hello, which most people speak with pitch variations. When you hit the "lo" part, hold the note and notice how fully you are adducting. That is where you should. Ingenious and totally effective. As well as the 1 1/2 octave jumps, by which the mechanics, by taking it out of your conscious "I must struggle to get there" constraints, get you into middle in a hurry. I'm not saying that Roger is deficient. For working on high stuff, until I can afford the 4 Pillars, I would go to Jaime Vendera's book. Which certainly has exercises and techniques that Roger may not advocate.

Neat trivia I am sure you remember. He was asked to help a young man who couldn't really sing much past a limited range and not very centered on that, did not write his own songs, didn't play any musical instruments, but had the right look and fashion for the time. Needless to say, Roger wasn't all that interested in that challenge. That "challenge" was Billy Idol. I've seen a show of Billy Idol singing unplugged and he has done well with what he has. So, that's no slam against him. Just a funny bit of trivia.

Id like to just stop before we even start on this for the original post. "Middle" doesnt exist, you are being bamboozled and that is one reason why your here on the TMV forum trying to get clarification about it, because its confusing as hell. Even your source material your expecting to be clear to you, is not. Anywhere you look for answers on "middle voice" or its more popular variant, "mixed voice" you see non-consistency, nebulous foggy explanations and no one can explain it in a way that makes sense to you, right? Thats because the pedagogy is flawed. The fact that no teachers can agree on what a "middle voice" actually is, is the biggest white elephant in the room of "speaky like you singy when you singy like you speaky", me-too, Seth Riggs copy cats.

Ron, Im in favor of your points here. But lets just "call a spade a spade" fellas.... Roger love, as I understand it, it is essentially yet another in a long list of "me too" SLS teachers, which means we inevitably are going to here about the "mystery" middle register. We see this utterly confusing and maddening non-sense about "mixed voice" over and over again. I am on a personal crusade to debunk "mixed voice" talk track, it is confusing students of singing and something or someone has to stand up and reveal the white elephant in the room and start asking questions about it. I present to thee, my Video on the issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNfpeHE6Wls

"Mixed Voice" or "Middle Voice" is one of the biggest bamboozle jobs ever in the history of voice pedagogy. Not because Im denying there is a special resonant placement and physical sensation from about E4-A4 (men) because there is, but because the terminology is confusing. We've seen it played out a million times... more debate and confusion on what the heck "mixed voice" is suppose to really mean. Ask four "singy like you speeky, speeky when you singy" people what "mixed voice" means, and you will get four entirely different responses.

In regards to the problem with "mixed voice" and sometimes, "middle voice" talk track. Using the term "mixed voice" makes students think:

1). You are suppose to be singing in both your chest voice and your head voice at the same time. UTTERLY CONFUSED AND JUST DEAD WRONG!

or

2). There is some kind of mystery third register that sits between chest and head voice. COMPLETE FANTASIA!

BUNK! If someone comes to you and starts talking about "mixed voices", mystery 3rd registers and all its variants or offers you talk track that kinda centers around the tired old notion that you should "singy in your speaky cause you can speaky like you singy when you singy in speak" stuff....... :| .... ASK FOR YOUR MONEY BACK, POLITELY TURN TO THE NEAREST DOOR AND RUN LIKE HELL!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say that if I have to hit a highish note and want to stay somewhat relaxed, say an A below tenor C, it sets my placement straight immediately by speaking the vowel at that pitch before singing it. Every single time I do this, I find that I was tensing up more than I needed and lifting my larynx up more than neccessary. This idea, or method of finding a good placement, would be related to the SLS philosophy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Matt, thats a good way of explaining it, I actually liked that. I can see how that may be helpful in your belts on a A3, but how does this work on E4 and above? Don't you find it getting a bit unstable trying to phonate speech mode on an E4 without having to phonate Falsetto? You can not engage speech mode above comfortable optimal pitch range for speech mode. On a note that sits higher, such as G4... your options are Falsetto or some kind of twang-like configuration, so how does your approach work on notes that are actually too high for speech mode physiology?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And I tend to agree with you, Robert. That having the middle voice just adds to the break between chest and head. Better to view the voice as one connected thing, top to bottom. And the thing that actually helps me with that, doing soft volume sirens from top down. And rather than envision a note that is high up, I visualise the folds have only permitted a small opening (I know it's not accurate but it helps). As I descend in pitch, everything else adjusts. With the idea that there is a balance between one set of muscles and another and that all notes are issuing from the same place, just resonated differently.

And that's one of the reasons I like "Gethsemane" and I'm sure you do for the students. Because that song has everything. The highest notes and the lowest notes, too, for some people's work in baritone. Some different tonal qualities, as well. Complex lyrics and changing song structures. But I don't much like to say head voice, because that also implies chest voice, another misnomer. I'd just as soon call it high end of the range and low end of the range, as for how pitch goes. Or the parts of elevated melody.

And I didn't mind that Roger referred to it as middle voice. I knew what he was talking about but I don't call it middle voice. To me, it's just another case of adjusting resonance and phonation. And it seems to me that his program is essentially getting you into head voice or at lest a lighter phonation than most have used in their chest voices. That way, there is no break at the first passaggio and one can kind of ease around it at the second one.

Having Steven's words on how to detect the formant in one's singing was helpful, too. I think some coaches still hold to the low larynx or no-tilt larynx school of thought. Which is good for certain styles.

I still don't follow the speach like singing or the son-like speaking because the breathing is different. If singing were truly an extension of speaking, then singing styles would not have to start out by teaching breath support and how to breath differently than you do for speach? And I will absolutely guaranteed you that I can sing way higher than I can speak. Because of the breath support and phonation and resonance, which are totally different than me just speaking. You can hear me speaking in the clip I uploaded trying to understand if what I was doing was the formant or not. That's my natural speaking voice, not affected in any way, not trying sound high and "singerly" like Paul Stanley on stage. Nor low and gravelly, like I'm a big man and tough and macho.

But I do get that notion, first, from Jaime Vendera because I read his book before the Roger Love book. Both do say, let your speaking voice rise where it will, mainly because putting too much affectation or effect in your voice will train bad habits that could later impede the coordination of what you need for singing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matt, thats a good way of explaining it, I actually liked that. I can see how that may be helpful in your belts on a A3, but how does this work on E4 and above? Don't you find it getting a bit unstable trying to phonate speech mode on an E4 without having to phonate Falsetto? You can not engage speech mode above comfortable optimal pitch range for speech mode. On a note that sits higher, such as G4... your options are Falsetto or some kind of twang-like configuration, so how does your approach work on notes that are actually too high for speech mode physiology?

I never try to go above B/Tenor C at the very tops, because the style I like singing is the Paul Rodgers sort of register I guess, so I must admit I dont have an answer for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Nicely stated Ron, thanks. And in defense of Roger Love, I have never personally trained on his program. I know Roger Love is a great voice teacher and its not my intent to say you cant learn to sing from Roger Love by any means ... Im just singling out essentially the two bugs in the "when you sing it should feel like speaking" crowd that concern me, mainly:

1). Maintaining a neurtal/balanced laryngeal position all the time, for all genre's is not going to provide the kind of techniques, vocal modes and otherwise, sophisticated laryngeal configuration required for most students of singing that wish to sing with great power and boomy head voice phonations. Great phonations, require great technique. You cant expect to sing amazing sounding G4s, with a lazy, dopey, throaty just got out of bed on a Saturday morning, speech mode. Speech mode is a lawn mower folks... Phonating twang, through dark vowels with laryngeal dumping in the head voice, is the sports car.

2). Speech is a vocal mode. We use speech mode, to speak. You can not sing a belty G4 Head Tone, such as what Im demonstrating in the video above in speech mode. Utterly impossible. So... when you get into these crafty marketing terms like "sing like you speak" and all the "when you sing it should be like speaking" messages out there, again, its just sending students down a path of chasing their tails with less in their pockets.

I have never trained the Roger Love system as well, only heard a lot about it and have had some of his former students. If Roger Love is teaching some light mass, softer phonations to assist in the training of register coordination and timing, I would have to say, that sounds promising and is probably very helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And thanks for linking in that video, Robert. As I see it, it makes you more intellectually honest. Rather than call it mixed voice, implying a mix of head and chest, it's bridged head tones, bridging by means of vowel color. And your right and expressed it better than I think I did. What is accomplished in middle voice is what I was meaning by saying that the they have taught a lighter or different phonation to go into and get away from the what? Why, the chest speak thing. In that case, it's actually singing most of the way and thinking that it is an extension of speach, rather than actual speach. And because it is a light head voice, it would seem one has effortlessly reached middle voice but the onsets and structural techniques and sound exercises actually involve covering, though Roger is an adamant opponent to vowel mods or covering. Well, AIC made a chunk of money off of "Man in the Box" and people today, including myself, still love that song, and Staley was covering right in the middle of his passaggio and most listeners never knew it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The one value I have found in the singing like speach thing I get better through lip bubbles. And that is the metering of air. But I have found that the breath support for singing is different than speaking. So much so that pretty much every training system has the first lesson on breathing. You don't start out with Perry's high notes in "Lights." You start out learning to breathe. And Matt, I would say that you are starting the note with a head voice onset, which is different, mechanically, than just speaking the tone at your normal speaking voice pitch and volume.

And even in trying to let my speaking voice lighten, I don't know what the value of that will be, because then I am forcing myself to speak higher than I do. To me, it's easier to accept that I sing really high, most comfortably in the tenor range but that I speak in, I think, mid baritone with something of a dusty voice when I am relaxed. I don't sing well at low baritone nor is low baritone that important to me. I may have only a 2.5 to 3 octave voice but I'm okay with that. My range is right where most of the songs are.

I'm also not sure where Roger gets the idea that the folds could, in ideal circumstances, operate 24/7. They are muscles and tissue and nerve endings and need their rest. And I would find trying to sing while I speak exhausting and tiring and I would lose my upper end.

And maybe different people's milage varies. After reading interviews, I have found that my own natural approach to warm-ups is not all that different from Geoff Tate. I warm up a little here and there, through the day. Nothing extensive or heavy. More like a runner who does fingers to toes stretches, limberly and not extensive just have a gentle warm, supple feeling, saving the main juice for the main event. In fact, pro athletes do absolutely nothing the day before an event. And eat a meal of pasta and sauce and a little bit of salad. The carbs store temporarily to give the boost of energy in the last lap sprint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding Roger Love, prior to using his book I could get into head voice easily but had no idea the fuller sound I could get with the techniques he uses. I assume "middle voice" is just a teaching device, a sound rather than a physical state, and it worked for me. I don't think even my teacher here could have gotten me there as quickly as RL did. I took lessons 30 years ago from a classical teacher, who for some reason never spoke to me of resonance or singing in the mask...he made me sing art songs and I hated it because my phonation was so breathy. I was clueless.

Last week I actually requested Caro Mio Ben for my next lesson.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My first actual book on singing was "How to Sing" by Graham Hewitt. We still read on stone tablets, back then. Videos were hand shadows on the cave wall in front of the fire.

I had some chest voice. But immediately started working on developing the head voice. Back then, I could only manage a falsetto tone in head voice. His exercises and imagery, and of course, technique on breathing (lesson number one) helped me get volume and bright tone in the head voice region of notes. I gave my first wife headaches. Not because I was off pitch but because I was so loud that it could physically hurt. It seemed instinctual, and I have seen it again in Lunte's and Vendera's writings, to think top down. Once in head voice, descend while still in head voice and you won't have the break. Conversely, while ascending, think head voice and get yourself there early. In fact, one member here accused me of going into head voice "too" early. And he was right. And so was I. It's good to get into head voice early. And head voice is a combination of breathing, resonance, and adduction.

I think, within a note or two, different people at different vowel sounds will have a break. So, adjusting into head voice before that break helps to get around it. And there are a few ways, such as Lunte suggests with lift up pull back. Essentially, lift your foot off the gas to get a lower air velocity and pull the note back on the throat by means of vowel color or modification. The tone is still "beefy" and resonant even if you aren't singing with as much actual physical force as you were in the middle of chest voice. And that's another thing, too. Don't apply so much force in chest voice so that there is not such a crack in the dynamics. I think if people could learn to sing chest a little lighter but with full resonance, it wouldn't sound like two voices.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And Matt, I would say that you are starting the note with a head voice onset, which is different, mechanically, than just speaking the tone at your normal speaking voice pitch and volume.

Probably a good point, but I find it through speech placement, so that particular aspect of SLS philosophy has given, at least me, benefits

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably a good point, but I find it through speech placement, so that particular aspect of SLS philosophy has given, at least me, benefits

Coolio. Just as I have some imagery or ideas that may not be accurate or all that helpful to others but it gets me where I want to go.

For example, the whole chord zipper thing. According to Steven, who is the most accurate, it's a matter of the chords being stretched for high notes, probably because of larynx tilt. And others, such as Vendera, Riggs, Love, view it as a zipper with the small opening at the back of the larynx. Which is probably a good image to keep the voice in the back of the throat, mentally. However, I have done pretty well thinking of a small, circular opening, right in the middle, thinking it was a contraction. It doesn't matter that I am way off base. It still helps me produce the note I want to produce. Or thinking of fry as "leaky air." Or rattle as a gargly sound caused by a narrowing of the pharynx.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1). Maintaining a neutral/balanced laryngeal position all the time, for all genre's is not going to provide the kind of techniques, vocal modes and otherwise, sophisticated laryngeal configuration required for most students of singing that wish to sing with great power and boomy head voice phonations. Great phonations, require great technique. You cant expect to sing amazing sounding G4s, with a lazy, dopey, throaty just got out of bed on a Saturday morning, speech mode. Speech mode is a lawn mower folks... Phonating twang, through dark vowels with laryngeal dumping in the head voice, is the sports car.

In SS the goal isn't to sing with a neutral larynx 100% of the time.

The goal is freedom, so you can choose to sing with whatever laryngeal position you want to.

In order to do that you need to do the dopey sounds to break the habit of wanting to raise the larynx as you go higher.

Mastering Mix CD 7 exercise 6 demonstrates the different applications of a low, high, and neutral larynx.

The whole point of speech level singing is to help the student sing consistently and authentically, with the freedom to sing with the same range of emotions that we have when we speak. Jesse talks about this in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFiZ1WxYOsc

Also if I've understood Steven Fraser correctly, he mentions there being a part of the voice between chest and head where the resonance is different, and that a change must be made to continue singing higher without losing resonance. This is the middle or mix, and SS talks about using pharyngeal resonance as a connector between chest and head.

I understand you don't like the term mix, but there is a gradual shift between chest and head so there needs to be a middle or mix somewhere.

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...