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Geoorgee

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1 hour ago, Geoorgee said:

Hello, I really want to improve my singing, I do not know what exactly to do though, other than singing in general.

Please give me advice on what I might be doing wrong or bad.

 

Right/Wrong is not as clear-cut as some people like to make out. Some people will assume that you are trying to sound like Ed Sheeran. Other people will assess your voice in its own right. Some people will assume that you are trying to be faithful to some particular version of the song. Other people will allow small variations. Some people will assume that you mean to be in absolute pitch (if they can't play what you are singing on their guitar, they will say that you are "pitchy"), others are fine with relative pitch. Then there is emotional content and expression, which people read differently. Some people will assume that you are going for one emotion (even if you are not), and they will give you "advice" without even finding out. So, one has to be careful...What you are aiming for is very important when assessing vocals.

In terms of pitch, there are discrepancies between what you are singing and the official version I found on YouTube. If this is unintended, then that could be a place to start making adjustments.

Ed Sheeran is using quite a light coordination, and a rounder tone. Do you intend to use basically a similar timbre and emotional delivery to Ed Sheeran's, or are you going for something different? If so, how would you describe the difference?

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Ed Sheeran sings the song in a softer and rounder tone all in all. If I tried that my voice would sound way less strong, hence I am trying to sing it with a slightly more powerful voice. About the pitch, I intentionally sang it a little lower to not strain too much.

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1 hour ago, Geoorgee said:

Ed Sheeran sings the song in a softer and rounder tone all in all. If I tried that my voice would sound way less strong, hence I am trying to sing it with a slightly more powerful voice.

That is fair enough if it is an artistic choice. The song is about "hurt". Ed Sheeran seems to have gone for a "sympathetic" vibe, allowing him to empathize or identify with the words of the song. His delivery is a result of an emotion.

You can sing it bolder or stronger, but it is not clear to me which emotion you are expressing in this song.

A singer could have chosen the message, "I came through it like a BOSS!" That would be a legitimate reason to sing it bolder or "rockify" it.  Or you could go for a spiritual, "I'm all the stronger for it"  message, where you sing out in a more solid, and celebratory tone.

But these physical tone choices come from choice of sentiment.

You seem to have gone for "bolder, but faltering/plaintive" at the same time. It confuses me as to what the sentiment is.

1 hour ago, Geoorgee said:

About the pitch, I intentionally sang it a little lower to not strain too much.

Yes. I was going on relative pitch, not absolute pitch. You are not being faithful to the original tune. Some of that could be a choice, but I think that some of it is due to unintentional lack of projection in the higher harmonics.

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1 hour ago, kickingtone said:

That is fair enough if it is an artistic choice. The song is about "hurt". Ed Sheeran seems to have gone for a "sympathetic" vibe, allowing him to empathize or identify with the words of the song. His delivery is a result of an emotion.

You can sing it bolder or stronger, but it is not clear to me which emotion you are expressing in this song.

A singer could have chosen the message, "I came through it like a BOSS!" That would be a legitimate reason to sing it bolder or "rockify" it.  Or you could go for a spiritual, "I'm all the stronger for it"  message, where you sing out in a more solid, and celebratory tone.

But these physical tone choices come from choice of sentiment.

You seem to have gone for "bolder, but faltering/plaintive" at the same time. It confuses me as to what the sentiment is.

I did not quite aim to deliver any message. I am quite new to singing in general, thus I am just trying to sound better at the moment. I could attempt to sing similar to Ed Sheeran’s version, but it would sound rather weak.

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23 minutes ago, Geoorgee said:

I did not quite aim to deliver any message. I am quite new to singing in general, thus I am just trying to sound better at the moment. I could attempt to sing similar to Ed Sheeran’s version, but it would sound rather weak.

Hi, I am not suggesting that you try to sing like Ed Sheeran. I am only trying to say that "better" has to be relative to some aim that you have. Otherwise, how do you monitor what is better?

Do you mean you want to project "better"? Follow the precise melody "better"? Breath more comfortably? Find the song easier? Practically anything else is going to be relative to some emotional content, message or vibe.

If it is about improving ease or comfort, my question would be what do find least comfortable.

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5 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

Hi, I am not suggesting that you try to sing like Ed Sheeran. I am only trying to say that "better" has to be relative to some aim that you have. Otherwise, how do you monitor what is better?

Do you mean you want to project "better"? Follow the precise melody "better"? Breath more comfortably? Find the song easier? Practically anything else is going to be relative to some emotional content, message or vibe.

If it is about improving ease or comfort, my question would be what do find least comfortable.

I misunderstood that then, i am sorry.

What I mean by singing better, is to project better, practically just to sound good in general. I am also trying to learn how to bridge chest- and head voice, though my head voice sounds simply high-pitched and mickey mouse-like, that doesn’t have anything to do with the recording though.

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56 minutes ago, Geoorgee said:

I misunderstood that then, i am sorry.

What I mean by singing better, is to project better, practically just to sound good in general. I am also trying to learn how to bridge chest- and head voice, though my head voice sounds simply high-pitched and mickey mouse-like, that doesn’t have anything to do with the recording though.

That's ok... projection involves mastering a number of things in some order that is different for different people.

To start with, I think that it is important to know how the voice works, what gives it power and what doesn't give it power. This is so that effort is channeled efficiently.

So, we have to understand that projection comes from resonance, and resonance comes from accurate tuning, NOT force or blasting. (You probably know that, already. :))

Then we find that accurate tuning requires good coordination, which requires relaxation -- no tension.

But it is useless just telling people not to be tense, you have to describe a method that does not require tension; then the tension can be removed.

That sounds like a whole lot of complicated steps, and it could well be, but my recommendation would be to start with something called "breath support"...

This will teach you how to breath in for singing -- how much and where to send the breath.

And it will teach you how to breath out in a way that allows you to relax, and take the stress away from other working parts of your voice, so that they can freely contribute to resonance and projection.

The breath support system I recommend is called appoggio, but it may not be easy to follow. You can google/YT it.

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1 hour ago, kickingtone said:

That's ok... projection involves mastering a number of things in some order that is different for different people.

To start with, I think that it is important to know how the voice works, what gives it power and what doesn't give it power. This is so that effort is channeled efficiently.

So, we have to understand that projection comes from resonance, and resonance comes from accurate tuning, NOT force or blasting. (You probably know that, already. :))

Then we find that accurate tuning requires good coordination, which requires relaxation -- no tension.

But it is useless just telling people not to be tense, you have to describe a method that does not require tension; then the tension can be removed.

That sounds like a whole lot of complicated steps, and it could well be, but my recommendation would be to start with something called "breath support"...

This will teach you how to breath in for singing -- how much and where to send the breath.

And it will teach you how to breath out in a way that allows you to relax, and take the stress away from other working parts of your voice, so that they can freely contribute to resonance and projection.

The breath support system I recommend is called appoggio, but it may not be easy to follow. You can google/YT it.

Thank you very much! The appoggio system does seem very useful and there are quite a few tutorials on that. I will give it a try. I do have one last question though if I may ask, as already stated is my head voice rather ridiculously sounding, I would compare it to Mickey Mouse, do you have any advice on how to sound deeper and less light?

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4 hours ago, Geoorgee said:

I did not quite aim to deliver any message. I am quite new to singing in general, thus I am just trying to sound better at the moment. I could attempt to sing similar to Ed Sheeran’s version, but it would sound rather weak.

    My own opinion is that having a message to deliver or having an intent in itself will add some of the qualities that may be missing. The idea that you are delivering a message that you wish for other people to hear can add confidence or power to the voice that might be otherwise hindered by some insecurity.

    One of the aspects of singing that you will hear about when seeking to improve is DELIVERY.  Some people will view this as how you start the tone or the physical setup of the voice before starting a phrase. Whether you attack the tone forcefully with full cord closure or soft or breathy etc. But all of this still relies on what Emotion or Message you will be delivering.

     Phrasing is another aspect, this also depends on your intent, What the words are saying and how you say them or what emotion you wish to project.....which is another point you brought up. Projection. Which will be enhanced when you have a reason to be singing and know what the story is that you are singing about. 

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2 hours ago, Geoorgee said:

Thank you very much! The appoggio system does seem very useful and there are quite a few tutorials on that. I will give it a try. I do have one last question though if I may ask, as already stated is my head voice rather ridiculously sounding, I would compare it to Mickey Mouse, do you have any advice on how to sound deeper and less light?

Sure... my preferred way to a fuller head voice is to sing "in the mask", as it is called (also discussed at length online.)

For me, breath support had to come first (may be different for other folk). Finding "the mask" required a lot of relaxation because you have to "activate" muscles in the vocal tract and mask that are not used to moving independently. You are trying to tease open independence of action between muscles that have "rusted" together over time. So breath support really has to be doing its job sufficiently to leave everything else free. (Poor breath support would try to involve and tie these muscles up in helping to control breathing.) That's only my experience. Other people may find singing in the mask comes more easily and naturally.

 

Trimble also has videos on appoggio. But I find that Tenelli's series of videos breaks it down better. These guys really know their stuff.

I have recently also discovered Jack LiVigni, who provides some additional insights that Tenelli and Trimble do not discuss..

They are all classical tenors, but the technique is a sound basis for contemporary singing. It is just so much more transparent with classical singers, I think. They do not tend to add effects that may confuse the ear. You can always add what you like on top of these fundamentals.

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I too recently found Jack LiVigni on youtube. I have told a story on here about having an experience of freedom in the voice that I have not been able to reproduce. LiVigni tells of the problem people have with opening the throat and tilting the larynx while maintaining cord closure. He gives examples of how to do this in his video. I believe that what he describes and what I did on that day are the same thing and the trigger for me was the idea of closing the cords towards the  BACK of the larynx. Some how this helped me to keep the larynx stable and tilted while singing the higher notes when normally I would hit a wall or flip into a falsetto sound.

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9 minutes ago, MDEW said:

I too recently found Jack LiVigni on youtube. I have told a story on here about having an experience of freedom in the voice that I have not been able to reproduce. LiVigni tells of the problem people have with opening the throat and tilting the larynx while maintaining cord closure. He gives examples of how to do this in his video. I believe that what he describes and what I did on that day are the same thing and the trigger for me was the idea of closing the cords towards the  BACK of the larynx. Some how this helped me to keep the larynx stable and tilted while singing the higher notes when normally I would hit a wall or flip into a falsetto sound.

Yes, vocal fold closure can roll into place from the front or back of the cords. It sounds much better than randomly slapping the closure into place. Sometimes I find it easy to roll the closure into place from the front or back of the folds. But sometimes, depending on context, the option reduces to one. I think, however, that both options will become available with practice in those situations.

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41 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

Yes, vocal fold closure can roll into place from the front or back of the cords. It sounds much better than randomly slapping the closure into place. Sometimes I find it easy to roll the closure into place from the front or back of the folds. But sometimes, depending on context, the option reduces to one. I think, however, that both options will become available with practice in those situations.

   On that day I was trying to maintain head resonance while keeping vibration in the chest also. There was also an idea of keeping the larynx in contact with the spine. I think this is what allowed me to close the folds from the back.

    Whatever it was I could reproduce the configuration. However my concentration was broken and the configuration was lost....until now.

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19 hours ago, MDEW said:

   On that day I was trying to maintain head resonance while keeping vibration in the chest also.

What I like about the Bel Canto pedagogy is that the classical equivalent "chiaroscuro", which is the superposition of those head tones on the chest tones, is built into the foundation of the method. Tenelli goes into it, in his videos. Rather than approach the vocal range through "bridging" of different registers, he teaches finding a natural, single chiaroscuro placement. You start in a narrow range around the "sweet spot" of your range, and expanding your range out from there. The appoggio breath support method automatically takes care of handling the passaggio.

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7 hours ago, kickingtone said:

What I like about the Bel Canto pedagogy is that the classical equivalent "chiaroscuro", which is the superposition of those head tones on the chest tones, is built into the foundation of the method. Tenelli goes into it, in his videos. Rather than approach the vocal range through "bridging" of different registers, he teaches finding a natural, single chiaroscuro placement. You start in a narrow range around the "sweet spot" of your range, and expanding your range out from there. The appoggio breath support method automatically takes care of handling the passaggio.

    It seems I am still looking for that configuration I was talking about. I have watched the Tenelli videos and Michael Trimble I believe I am taking the breath as they are describing things. From what I understand the passagio is either supposed to be non existent or automatic when you use appoggio. The throat and larynx are taken out of the equation as far as singing goes. But it is not, as far as I can tell. Pavarotti and others still mention the turn of the voice and the passage from one resonance to another or they mention covering and modifying vowels. Trimble says that covering or modifying is not necessary. They both mention the open throat as in the first half of a yawn. The only reason I mention this is that there is a position of the larynx and a coordination that must be in place for this to work.

    Taking in the breath as described is supposed to position the larynx and set the coordination automatically. I can maintain cord closure through the passaggio with better control this way, but there is still too much pressure and "Holding" cord closure is necessary.For me that is.

     On the day of my vocal freedom. I could identify the coordination and repeat it. It was something that I initiated by thought and the closure seemed automatic. With this coordination the middle and higher register was as easy to produce as speaking and sounded as full or even deeper. I remember thinking that I had never made that sound before, let alone the coordination. When I was making this sound and using this coordination, it did not feel as if I had to do anything with the larynx or vocal cords. But, something was done in there when I initiated the coordination.

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58 minutes ago, MDEW said:

    It seems I am still looking for that configuration I was talking about. I have watched the Tenelli videos and Michael Trimble I believe I am taking the breath as they are describing things. From what I understand the passagio is either supposed to be non existent or automatic when you use appoggio. The throat and larynx are taken out of the equation as far as singing goes. But it is not, as far as I can tell. Pavarotti and others still mention the turn of the voice and the passage from one resonance to another or they mention covering and modifying vowels. Trimble says that covering or modifying is not necessary. They both mention the open throat as in the first half of a yawn. The only reason I mention this is that there is a position of the larynx and a coordination that must be in place for this to work.

    Taking in the breath as described is supposed to position the larynx and set the coordination automatically. I can maintain cord closure through the passaggio with better control this way, but there is still too much pressure and "Holding" cord closure is necessary.For me that is.

     On the day of my vocal freedom. I could identify the coordination and repeat it. It was something that I initiated by thought and the closure seemed automatic. With this coordination the middle and higher register was as easy to produce as speaking and sounded as full or even deeper. I remember thinking that I had never made that sound before, let alone the coordination. When I was making this sound and using this coordination, it did not feel as if I had to do anything with the larynx or vocal cords. But, something was done in there when I initiated the coordination.

Did you record yourself?

I always record key moments. And I still have some of my beginner clips. Even though I am not into classical music per se, they seem to show this flirtation with classical technique. It was the only technique that immediately appealed to me, which is strange.

These tenors do all seem to have different slants on the same thing, and Trimble is definitely a traditionalist and purist, who will cite Caruso religiously.

But my own understanding of what they are saying generally is that the RESISTANCE to what you intuitively want to do in the passaggio is minimal when you use appoggio. So, when Trimble says he is doing "nothing" -- "look" <wobbles his chin and larynx with his hand> "it all free down here" -- I think that he is saying that he is doing "nothing special". Tenelli does talk about the passaggio in one of his videos (I forget which), and even advises you to let your voice crack and not to fight it. So he acknowledges the break, but suggests that it will become less of an issue automatically. Interestingly, he also lets on that a crack is a rare but normal event for a tenor, and his voice may crack 3 or 4 times in a night's performance.

I also think that they suggest that some of the Bel Canto configuration specific to projecting maximally without a microphone also causes the larynx to be placed by default. The yawn configuration, needed to make the scuro carry, and balance the chiaro, will tend to place the tongue, open the pharyngeal space and tilt the larynx. So, "doing nothing" in the throat area may simply be Trimble's way of saying that the way you would instinctively or naturally mimic the chiascuro sound automatically configures the larynx.

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1 hour ago, MDEW said:

     On the day of my vocal freedom. I could identify the coordination and repeat it. It was something that I initiated by thought and the closure seemed automatic. With this coordination the middle and higher register was as easy to produce as speaking and sounded as full or even deeper. I remember thinking that I had never made that sound before, let alone the coordination. When I was making this sound and using this coordination, it did not feel as if I had to do anything with the larynx or vocal cords. But, something was done in there when I initiated the coordination.

One of the earliest puzzles I faced was being told that I wasn't using "full cord closure". What I realized later was that people who used a lot of edge in their singing, or liked to use "non-essential" twang, would keep saying "add edge", "add twang" -- "your vocal cords are not closing completely",  basically trying to push you into a particular style which had nothing to do with achieving full cord closure. Fortunately, I ignored the advice, and used my common sense!

This is one of my very first clips I posted for review as a complete beginner. Someone here even called it falsetto, LOL!

I don't have a twangy voice, I don't think twang when I sing, and my favourite songs tend not to be twangy, with a few exceptions. So, to pursue my own taste, I was forced to ignore the advice.

 

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Sounded pretty good for a beginner.

The Bel Canto idea of nothing in the throat and movement in the abs, tone in the head really messed me up. And the idea that singing should be free and easy. There is nothing free and easy in the Bel Canto method or the Classical singing they call Bel Canto. It is more like vocal acrobatics and weight lifting.

   I still think I had the breathing down. Breathing deep, expanding the rib cage etc. but I was singing too soft and into the "mask". trouble was that it was all head tones and low tones....no middle. Nothing was coming out of the mouth.I had natural twang from being a southerner. Too much twang and not enough cord.

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My understanding of "breath deep" is to breath "far into the lower back". Of course, I know that air doesn't actually go there, but that is the sensation when the trunk muscles are used to allow the diaphragm to descend AND create just the correct amount of opposition to it. I like to view those muscles, and the pelvic floor,  as the anchor, and the diaphragm as a trampoline for the air. All the bracing is done in the trunk muscles. Everything else above, rib cage to larynx, is "kept in place" by "sitting" on the air pressure acting like a cushion on a trampoline. I have heard it called singing on the air, not with the air.

I also like to think of it as the larynx bearing down on the cushion of air, rather that me deliberately feeding the air to the larynx. So, effectively, the sensitive muscles of the larynx are engaged in a leaning process (appoggio) into the air, and the air then says, "ok, let me out". (btw this also encourages me to think DOWN and low larynx, rather that feeding pressure "up".)

Trimble has an excellent phrase, "the air moves everything". I understand this to mean that you are not feeding the air anywhere directly. You lean into the air, and the air, the pressure and the resonance want to go places. Those places have to be relaxed and responsive, responding to the sensation of the natural air pressure and movement. So nothing is forced. In that sense, you are "not doing anything". For example, if the singer has opened the mask, the air and pressure will flow that way, and the mask will respond. You are not telling the mask how and when to respond, the air is. Everything is informed by the air.

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6 hours ago, kickingtone said:

I also like to think of it as the larynx bearing down on the cushion of air, rather that me deliberately feeding the air to the larynx. So, effectively, the sensitive muscles of the larynx are engaged in a leaning process (appoggio) into the air, and the air then says, "ok, let me out". (btw this also encourages me to think DOWN and low larynx, rather that feeding pressure "up".)

    I did not start to feel this until I posted a song here and was told I was not supporting and I was singing in the nose(at the time I was sure I was doing everything according to people like Trimble and Tennelli, Miller, Lehman....). I thought I would be a jerk and record with the worse possible technique I could think of. Too much air and the sound being held back enough to close off the throat completely. I really had to push to get the sound out. The coordination was a combination of an old man wheezing and Bullwinkle Moose from the cartoon of the 60's. The wheezing sound comes from allowing the false folds to be engaged so you hear the sound of the air flowing. The bullwinkle moose sound is a raised larynx with a flat tongue that touches the roof of the mouth and the sound seems to travel up the back of the pharynx. I posted the song with this voice and then was told I sounded better than ever and had found my singing voice. Whatever I was doing keep it up.

    A curious thing did happen though, I felt the lean of the larynx on the breath and a vocal cord compression (resistance to the breath) that I had not heard or felt before in my voice. Also a natural vibrato occurred  that I could control.

    I ended up keeping the "Lean and Compression" and discarded the false fold engagement  when I sing. Sometimes I need to add the false fold to find the compression again.

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3 hours ago, MDEW said:

    I did not start to feel this until I posted a song here and was told I was not supporting and I was singing in the nose(at the time I was sure I was doing everything according to people like Trimble and Tennelli, Miller, Lehman....). I thought I would be a jerk and record with the worse possible technique I could think of. Too much air and the sound being held back enough to close off the throat completely. I really had to push to get the sound out. The coordination was a combination of an old man wheezing and Bullwinkle Moose from the cartoon of the 60's. The wheezing sound comes from allowing the false folds to be engaged so you hear the sound of the air flowing. The bullwinkle moose sound is a raised larynx with a flat tongue that touches the roof of the mouth and the sound seems to travel up the back of the pharynx. I posted the song with this voice and then was told I sounded better than ever and had found my singing voice. Whatever I was doing keep it up.

Ha! ha! Careful!  I'm sure a couple of the dry roasted peanuts I was eating shot out of my nose when I read this. I'll have to check the other side of my office.

3 hours ago, MDEW said:

  A curious thing did happen though, I felt the lean of the larynx on the breath and a vocal cord compression (resistance to the breath) that I had not heard or felt before in my voice. Also a natural vibrato occurred  that I could control.

    I ended up keeping the "Lean and Compression" and discarded the false fold engagement  when I sing. Sometimes I need to add the false fold to find the compression again.

Maybe you've already naturally got the closure, and you don't need to do anything consciously?

For me, the big deal was trying to find the mask, so that the head tones could start projecting more. I had to wake up some dormant mask muscles! It wasn't pretty.

i didn't know how to make the resonance go into the mask instead of defaulting to the pharynx.

This exercise, which is more of an exploratory thing than for regular repetition, blasted awake some of those muscles. I started to feel where the vibration was happening and the muscles being shocked into response (which is why it is not meant to be a repetitive exercise). Sometimes, control has to take a back seat and come later. The priority here was to relax and let the air rattle whatever it wanted to rattle, without me tensing up. Then I could learn to accommodate what the air/resonance naturally does, in line with Trimble's "the air moves everything".

I still have to learn to keep my diaphragm much steadier in my sirens or held notes. But you can still hear a bit of non-linear aliasing as the mask resonance snaps into place (at 7 to 8 seconds).

 

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