Felipe Carvalho

Organizing Information on Singing Technique - Unto Caesar what is Caesar's

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Alright, I don't want to discuss the religious aspect of the title. The meaning intended is "don't mix apples with oranges".

Since I started to search for information about singing technique a long, long time ago, and also later when I began participating on online singing communities, a constant problem and complaint is that it's just all too confusing. Too many terms with similar meaning, discussions that many blame on terminology and invention of new terms that try to fix the problem only to then become a part of the problem itself, and so on.

However, at the same time, it's been also my experience in direct exchange with skilled singers, that the terminology ceases being a problem when both sides are competent enough and share at least a few similar skills (which is very often the case).

Which indicates an underlying common organization. Problem is, this is often just intuitive/practical. So what could that be?

Here are the things that seem to be present when talking about technique with different people from different backgrounds (trained singers from different methods):

Perception - How something sounds like, what are the qualities you can identify on it by listening.

Practice/Execution - How to do it, references and exercises that leads to a certain idea.

Sensations - How it feels like to do something, a reference of sensation.

Mechanics - What is actually going on, how and why these other things happen.

 

And now I will try to clarify the problem by comparing classical covering with CVT curbing:

Covering:

Perception - middle to high intensity / cry

Practice/Execution - Try doing a dopey voice/Change vowels to UH

Sensations  - Voice against the nose/Vibrations on the upper part of the head

Mechanics - Back of the tongue elevates/Soft palate elevates/Keep considerable amount of twang/reinforcement of 3rd and 4th partials.

 

Curbing:

Perception - Held Back / middle intensity / cry

Practice/Execution - Try to make stomach aching voice. Change vowels to UH and IH

Sensations - Sensation of hold on the throat area.

Mechanics - Keep closure levels "middle" / middle level of constriction on the epilarynx / more "equal" level on the spectra up to around 3KHz,

 

And that's where confusion comes from. First because often technical definitions have a primary focus. CVT has strong focus on Perception, how things sound like. While classical technique focus a lot of execution and sensation. Other technical approaches are more about the mechanics.

At the same time even if their focus is fixed in one or two key aspects, they all need to address each of these aspects at least to some degree, otherwise the search becomes blind.

The result is that from CVT perspective, Covering is curbing, since the quality description seems really fit for it. But from classical perspective, Covering is not Curbing because the orientations to produce Curbing will not lead to the same mechanical principle and execution, and this matters quite a bit. Even if the quality is indeed similar, it's different enough to bring a different flavor when both are used on songs. A cry is present on covering but it's at the same time darker and more "floaty" sounding during phrasing than on curbing.

Using covering to sing Soul for example is not very effective, it just does not fit in as well as curbing even if the quality is almost there. And using curbing on Power Metal gets extremely taxing when you go past a certain point in pitch.

 

So when you are looking for information on technique, try to understand where what is being said about the said technique fits. This can really help avoiding confusion and keeping things organized, as well as will open up possibilities to conciliate apparently opposing views (which often leads to better understanding). It will also help you identifying problematic information sources that either ignore some of these key elements but refuse and even act with fear and spite towards one or another of these aspects.

And of course remember, the very least anyone talking about technique should be able to do is to sing using it.

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Iz goood... add to that, ... voice technique in a lot of ways is an art form that is attempting to make sense out of another art form, with little to no regulation. Also, the participants all have vastly different voices, sensations, perceptions, capabilities, and on and on... It is sort of a mess, but we do our best. The profession has come a long way that's for sure.

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It's the same with sport, btw... way too confusing... 

Last year, I switched from golf to tennis, and it was a nightmare. I hit my first ball off the fairway (furry ball, what do you expect!), and some bozo shouted "out". Like I'm blind?

Anyway, I was just getting out my sand iron to play my next shot, when the other guy's caddie picks up my ball and wanders off with it.

So, to simplify everything, the first thing I think they should do is make all the words the same. That will make switching sports hassle free.

Then they should condense ALL the rule books into one. The rules. That way you have a single format and you know where to find everything easily. You can print any differences in a different colour, to make everything clear.

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7 hours ago, Robert Lunte said:

Iz goood... add to that, ... voice technique in a lot of ways is an art form that is attempting to make sense out of another art form, with little to no regulation. Also, the participants all have vastly different voices, sensations, perceptions, capabilities, and on and on... It is sort of a mess, but we do our best. The profession has come a long way that's for sure.

Oh yeah, it IS confusing to begin with, I dont think there is a way to escape that. The idea is to improve things a bit, not to solve it.

o

3 hours ago, kickingtone said:

It's the same with sport, btw... way too confusing... 

Last year, I switched from golf to tennis, and it was a nightmare. I hit my first ball off the fairway (furry ball, what do you expect!), and some bozo shouted "out". Like I'm 

? err... Ok I guess.

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9 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

And of course remember, the very least anyone talking about technique should be able to do is to sing using it.

   There are plenty who use a technique without knowing how to express what they are doing.  Technique is a term that means "how you do that thing you do".  Being able to hear a technique or recognize technique when it is being used is just as important.

   If you cannot talk about it before being able to use it....you may never be able to use it. How else are you going to get straightened out when you are missing something?

    In many "methods" you do not sing a song using a particular "Technique". You use many "techniques" within a song sometimes a single phrase and sometimes a single word. Here is one where you hear many "Techniques" throughout the song. Not just "Curbing" "Covering", "Beltng", "flipping" "Head Voice", Chest Voice", "Mixed Voice"  It is all here.

 

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An obvious omission from the list of elements in the OP is "INTENTION".

A classical singer whose vocal method intends to deliver 2 octaves of consistent sound to the furthest reaches of a large auditorium has different INTENT from a contemporary singer delivering 3 and half octaves of medley into a microphone.

The classical singer must pick vowels that are going to travel to the back of the auditorium. That is the predominant constraint. Also, classical techniques may address the passaggio in an entirely different way from contemporary techniques, making "covering" unnecessary.

An etic problem arises when someone assesses classical singing from a contemporary standpoint, and misconstrues the vowels being used as resulting from purposes required within a contemporary technique, when all the classical singer is doing is specific to a classical INTENT of being heard at distance.

So, ironically, I think that the OP has fallen straight into the trap that he claims can be avoided with "organization".

But I think he really means "standardization" -- which will become a futile exercise in I'm-right-and-you-are-wrong-so-do-it-my-way.

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8 hours ago, MDEW said:

   There are plenty who use a technique without knowing how to express what they are doing.  Technique is a term that means "how you do that thing you do".  Being able to hear a technique or recognize technique when it is being used is just as important.

I think that there are various stages in any education. The more primary the education, the more important psychology comes into the necessary teaching skills. Teaching "how to get it" can be more challenging that teaching "how to do it". Not only should the teacher be able to recall the challenges he faced when learning, but also recognize when a student has a different set of challenges. Maybe the student finds something easy that the teacher found difficult as a beginner. The teacher has to pick up on this, and not hold the student back by forcing them through unnecessary, or creative and abstruse exercises to "fix" a conceptual challenge that doesn't exist. I would say that that is the most dangerous kind of teacher -- the one who automatically anticipates their own personal limitations in their students. They can end up doing the opposite of teaching -- confusing what comes naturally to the student.

So, any teacher showing signs of not being able to think out of the box -- RUN FOR THE HILLS!!

 

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2 hours ago, kickingtone said:

the one who automatically anticipates their own personal limitations in their students. They can end up doing the opposite of teaching -- confusing what comes naturally to the student.

So, any teacher showing signs of not being able to think out of the box -- RUN FOR THE HILLS!!

The same problem occurs when you Teach by recalling how you, the teacher, achieved a "Technique" or reached a goal or "Found" a coordination. A person tends to believe that the action they used to find a sound "Like Cry" "Twang" "Yawning sensation" is the element that caused the sound in the first place.

 There is one very good Opera "Teacher" who shows how stopping the breath at different "Points on the chest"( I am paraphrasing) allows for different sound characteristics. That is how he coordinates his voice it is not what causes the difference. As Kickingtone mentioned it is the intent and the method is just a way that THAT teacher solidified his intent with the coordinations. He wants a lighter or thinner sound, he believes that stopping the breath at a higher level in the chest brings about that sound. It does not. It is his intent to make a brighter sound. The coordination is so embedded in his muscle memory that the sound he intends is coordinated automatically.

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@kickingtone No I do not agree one bit.

For starters intention is obtuse, it´s the kind of thing people bring up to try to avoid a direct consideration of actual results. I sure could add "reasons to do it" or even better, "benefits AND problems" because almost all techniques have their up and downsides, but it deviates from the purpose of the thread, to avoid confusion, for the simple reason that these are not the kinds of things that will have people asking "what is the difference between falsetto and mixed voice".

Also intention adds guessing and opens up room for all sorts of rethorical games as justification for a particular concept, not unlike what you are trying to do here, attributing some imaginary motive to my intention, instead of considering the substance of what I posted:

" But I think he really means "standardization" "

But even so, sure, if people feel it helps them organize the information they collect on it better, then by all means consider where you will apply it, or if you feel so also the intention or astrological sign of the person proposing the idea.

This is my consideration from my practical experience, which is quite extensive, I've been in contact with all kinds of singers and teachers for years and these seem to be the common points that we use to communicate ideas with little to no confusion, even when there is no common background besides simple competence, even when in the case of vastly different terminologies.

As for ethical problems on misconstruing vowels, that's just trying to distract and create an illusionary wall to protect ideas from being appreciated in detail. I don't recall agreeing to any ethical code and would never agree to follow this type of thing. Should a technique not work on the proposed context it will fail the filter I stated is most important: The "must sing with the technique" part. 

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13 hours ago, MDEW said:

 There are plenty who use a technique without knowing how to express what they are doing.  Technique is a term that means "how you do that thing you do".  Being able to hear a technique or recognize technique when it is being used is just as important.

   If you cannot talk about it before being able to use it....you may never be able to use it. How else are you going to get straightened out when you are missing something?

    In many "methods" you do not sing a song using a particular "Technique". You use many "techniques" within a song sometimes a single phrase and sometimes a single word. Here is one where you hear many "Techniques" throughout the song. Not just "Curbing" "Covering", "Beltng", "flipping" "Head Voice", Chest Voice", "Mixed Voice"  It is all here.

This is all true to some extent, on the second point I have some contends with because often when people go out of their ways to defend ideas before they can properly use them, they create all sorts of psychological attachments to it that are just unecessary.

But I don´t think any of it is in conflict with the notion of filtering the information you gather on the basis of the competence of the source. I mean if Marvin Gaye had something to say about singing back when he was alive, he surely would pass this, no?

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3 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

As for ethical problems on misconstruing vowels, that's just trying to distract and create an illusionary wall to protect ideas from being appreciated in detail. I don't recall agreeing to any ethical code and would never agree to follow this type of thing. Should a technique not work on the proposed context it will fail the filter I stated is most important: The "must sing with the technique" part. 

"Etic" not "ethical".

Etic -- from the standpoint of the outside observer.

3 minutes ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

@kickingtone No I do not agree one bit.

Well, that's what discussion is all about.

I have ILLUSTRATED my point regarding the INTENT of the classical singer and why it is important to any discussion about technique. No one is forcing you to accept it.

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8 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

I have ILLUSTRATED my point regarding the INTENT of the classical singer and why it is important to any discussion about technique. No one is forcing you to accept it.

And I have explained that intentions are slave to the result achieved. Using caps will not bring more substance to your argument.

About "etics" sure my mistake I understood as ethic because I did not know the term.

Even so it seems yet another attempt to distract, since the idea of etic is having an objective "outside" look at a given culture, so a contemporary appreciation of classical techniques and its vowels is perfectly aligned with it.

More importantly the opposite would be emic, which is where I fit regarding classical technique since my training is classical to begin with. There is absolutely no "problem" on being either, as long as there is an attempt to be objective.

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We disagree, and that is fine.

I say that the INTENT of the art form is important when discussing the technique it uses. You say it is a distraction.

We've made our points, and can move on.

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3 hours ago, MDEW said:

It does not. It is his intent to make a brighter sound. The coordination is so embedded in his muscle memory that the sound he intends is coordinated automatically.

LiVigni makes a related point. If you try to change a student's technique without changing their intent, they may simply try to continue with the same result using the altered technique.

So, to change the sound, you also need to address the INTENT.

That is why I like teachers like LiVigni and Tenelli. They have a natural grasp of psychological factors that other people are simply blind to.

 

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43 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

I say that the INTENT of the art form is important when discussing the technique it uses. You say it is a distraction. 

Nope, you said that intent is an obvious omission of the list, and I am saying that intent is a obtuse idea and does not help with solving confusion, for example, at first you were relating intent with a specific requirement of classical singing:

6 hours ago, kickingtone said:

The classical singer must pick vowels that are going to travel to the back of the auditorium.

And then:

28 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

If you try to change a student's technique without changing their intent, they may simply try to continue with the same result using the altered technique.

Which is perceived quality (sound/result), and how to do it.

 

 

Even if you feel you can move on, because I made this thread to address confusion I will of course criticize replies on it, specially when they lead to the exact opposite.

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6 hours ago, Felipe Carvalho said:

But I don´t think any of it is in conflict with the notion of filtering the information you gather on the basis of the competence of the source. I mean if Marvin Gaye had something to say about singing back when he was alive, he surely would pass this, no?

      A technique either works or it does not work. If the technique is described as breathing into the back and "setting your larynx position" with a yawn and a grunt or "glottal stop" at a certain position and you start your emission from that position and there is no need for a passiggio it sets the voice. Then when you do that, the technique should work without any more instruction. What happens is the teacher tells the student "Do this physical action" while intending "This sound". When that does not work, the teacher either says you are not "liftnig your palate" or "You let go of the position" and precedes on other things. When the student finally makes that sound or emission the teachers says "There you got it"  "Once the student got it" no matter what he did to get that position or coordination or technique, He believes he got it the way the teacher said he did. After all the teacher "knows" and the "Student" does not.

     I can make my voice sound like Hulk Hogan. It is a technique. It is a way I set up my voice to make that sound and achieve the tone and accent of the wrestler. The set up is exactly as described for "Appoggio" and " Breath Support". I should get the same tone as the set up for "Appoggio" But with the added distortion of "Leaning the voice" with the same results of no Passaggio but it does not work. And if i "Stop" my breath a little earlier or a little later my "Tone" should be lighter or Darker" according this particular teacher who has sung in operas for years and was one of the "Great tenors" not only according to himself but others.

    Just because you can "Do" something does not mean you have the means or the knowledge to translate how you did it. And just because you cannot "Do" something does not mean you do not have the means to translate how it is done.

   Yes we want to consolidate  working techniques and a means to translate it. We need input from Singers who can do. Scientists who can observe and research AND those who cannot to test it on. Either it works as described or the description is wrong in some way OR missing aspects that make it work.

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18 hours ago, MDEW said:

    Just because you can "Do" something does not mean you have the means or the knowledge to translate how you did it. And just because you cannot "Do" something does not mean you do not have the means to translate how it is done.

mdew singing is a skill, and the nature of the knowledge involved is mostly experiential/practical (you learn by doing).

Someone that can not do just never learned, and so should not be considered a reliable source, that's all. Only exception would be someone that is currently restricted by some physical problem but was able to perform in the past.

Even on that more scientific video on twang that I linked on the other thread, there are examples provided of the coordination happening and being used. Yes scientists can investigate aspects of the problem without being skilled themselves by filling the gap we have with lack of visual feedback. But very *rarely* they make content with the specific intention of training singers, they often do not propose any solution. When they do, the practical example usually follows, think Ingo Titze straw video for example.

And to be clear also, my point is not that if you begin writing down stuff about techniques in a list as I did up there you will learn it, I did that so that the example was more clear.

My point is to realize that these underlying aspects will *always* permeate the conversation when singing technique is being addressed and to make an effort to not mix one with the other. A very common problem for example is mixing up mechanics, sensations and references/instructions.

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  Absolutely, you learn by doing. With singing you cannot "Feel" or "see" what the muscles are doing. You may get sensation of the result and sounds of the result but the cause is unknown. When you get only those who can do, as far as singing goes, you get conflicting ideas because they think one thing is the cause when another is happening to cause the sensation or sound.

   That is how you get different schools of singing. From people who can do and teach what they believe they are doing to get the end result. Some believe that the breath pressure and desired tone is what causes other things to coordinate on their own. Others believe that the properties of vowels and the properties of their formants cause the results and shape the coordinations. Others may use things like placement and the feeling of vibrations in different areas of the body to "coordinate" the voice.

    I can make the sounds, I can cause the vibrations to go where you are supposed to "Feel" them but i do not "produce them" as described by other singers or teacher who produce them, or perhaps there is another quality that "I" deem incorrect for myself. Maybe I am not doing another thing that has not been described. Therefor I do not propose that I am doing things correctly and everyone should produce them my way.

    But you do get that from some other singers and teachers. They can insist that they are doing one thing when another is taking place....At least what other people who can DO believe is taking place. One was mentioned before. He believed and proposed that he WAS NOT covering yet it was mentioned that he WAS covering whether he believed it or not. Two competent singers who CAN DO who believe something different. Both are qualified to say what they are doing or what they perceive.

    Another teacher who insists that he does not use "Twang" but uses "Open Throat" "Bel Canto" yet his "Mantra" is that the singing and training is in the "Bright AH". The AH vowel of itself does not have properties of "Twang". The "Bright Ah" is produced with "Twang". Again a competent Singer and teacher who believes one thing and does another.

    How about another competent singer who advises sitting on a chair and pushing and grunting to train support and the passaggio. What happens when you do that is that the throat, vocal cords, and false folds close to protect the body. You do not need all that pushing. just making sound closes the vocal folds. The False folds can be closed and trained by  making a HHHuh sound. the tighter they close the more pressure is built up in the lungs. You can teach this by using the voiced HHHUH and breathing without the noise.Breathing With the hhh sound the false folds are approximated breathing without sound the false folds are retracted. Or speaking while "Holding your breath" closes the false folds. The throat can be narrowed or widened by itself without the need to Push on anything. He is competent and has degrees in singing and music and sings Opera. Yet he is teaching something totally unnecessary and believes this is the best way.

    These are the same people who try to keep others out of the conversation because they cannot KNOW anything until they can achieve it in the same way as they describe.

    Each of these teachers would try to keep the others out of conversations because the other must not be competent if they believe such things.

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2 hours ago, MDEW said:

Some believe that the breath pressure and desired tone is what causes other things to coordinate on their own. Others believe that the properties of vowels and the properties of their formants cause the results and shape the coordinations. Others may use things like placement and the feeling of vibrations in different areas of the body to "coordinate" the voice.

I think that the different methods can also produce distinctly different results, and are not necessarily interchangeable. Some of the analysis is not even germane to how many or most people learn.

As I am typing this, it can be shown that "the muscles moving my fingers" are in my forearms. Did I need to know that to learn how to touch type? I don't recall ever considering such a fact. Sure, there can be applications for such information. For example, it would be handy in dealing with repetitive stress injury -- or, if your "fingers are getting tired" understanding why massaging them is unlikely to help -- or being more aware of the importance of relaxing your whole arm. But I am sure that there are thousands of typist who can type faster and more accurately than any  of us in this thread can, but who think that their typing muscles are in their fingers.

(Same with playing guitar, I guess.)

The core learning is going on at the level of sensation and association. Strength in the field actually comes from all the variations. Trying to standardize that would be rather naive. Trying to standardize the description of what is going on would also be naive. Fortunately, it is futile -- it won't ever happen to any substantial degree anyway.

Your point about false positives is interesting. Perhaps we can eliminate elements from our technique that are not mechanically necessary (when we only think that they are). But, maybe they are psychologically helpful for that individual. Is technique therefore not something that is customizable, or even NEEDS to be customized (even from a mechanical perspective) to work efficiently for each individual? That is another reason to be sceptical of creeping standardization.

 

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4 minutes ago, kickingtone said:

The core learning is going on at the level of sensation and association. Strength in the field actually comes from all the variations. Trying to standardize that would be rather naive. Trying to standardize the description of what is going on would also be naive. Fortunately, it is futile -- it won't ever happen to any substantial degree anyway.

Your point about false positives is interesting. Perhaps we can eliminate elements from our technique that are not mechanically necessary (when we only think that they are). But, maybe they are psychologically helpful for that individual. Is technique therefore not something that is customizable, or even NEEDS to be customized to work efficiently for each individual? That is another reason to be sceptical of creeping standardization.

 

    There are plenty of things that I could not "DO" with my voice because of the "Standard advice" of nothing in the throat. Note in the head(sensations) and Movement in the abs(support) and "Nothing in the throat". The "Nothing in the throat" is what people try to refer to as "Open throat singing".  Also the advice of "Do not try to sound like other singers". Of course at the same time you were supposed to "Mimic" the sounds that the teacher gave you.

    My voice would not coordinate "Because" I was trying to stop movement in the Vocal tract or ""Throat". After I realized that YES things move in the throat and "Mimicing" was necessary and "MY VOICE" is the one with problems. I was free to APPROXIMATE the sound "With Movement in the throat" and replicate other singers(Use their voice not mine) and then RELAX into the sound. The "Relaxing" into the sound is "Open Throat". Not "No movement in the throat", that has been promoted through "Those who can" by using perceptions and sensations.

    The whole point on the other thread of formant tuning is "Changing the shape of the vocal tract" to resonate different frequencies. How you do it varies from teacher to teacher, but the practice and result comes from the "VOCAL TRACT CHANGING SHAPE". A mechanical thing that effects the sound and where the resonance lies within the vocal tract.

   The standardization would be from cutting out sensations and perceptions that are individual and going with the mechanics of what is actually causing the sensations or perceptions or giving the results.   You cannot do that if you only get input from those who can and perceive or believe they are doing one thing when actually doing another.

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1 hour ago, MDEW said:

    My voice would not coordinate "Because" I was trying to stop movement in the Vocal tract or ""Throat". After I realized that YES things move in the throat and "Mimicing" was necessary and "MY VOICE" is the one with problems. I was free to APPROXIMATE the sound "With Movement in the throat" and replicate other singers(Use their voice not mine) and then RELAX into the sound. The "Relaxing" into the sound is "Open Throat". Not "No movement in the throat", that has been promoted through "Those who can" by using perceptions and sensations.

    The whole point on the other thread of formant tuning is "Changing the shape of the vocal tract" to resonate different frequencies. How you do it varies from teacher to teacher, but the practice and result comes from the "VOCAL TRACT CHANGING SHAPE". A mechanical thing that effects the sound and where the resonance lies within the vocal tract.

   The standardization would be from cutting out sensations and perceptions that are individual and going with the mechanics of what is actually causing the sensations or perceptions or giving the results.   You cannot do that if you only get input from those who can and perceive or believe they are doing one thing when actually doing another.

Well, it must be taken for granted that things happen in the throat. After all, that is the source of the sound. But as you sing, and coordinate the necessary changes, where is the major effort FELT? "I am not doing anything" is generally about sensation. Of course, if you are just standing on someone's neck, you can say that you are "doing nothing", The other person would beg to differ. Their "sensation" would be slightly different.

Open throat involves feeling that nothing is consciously changing in the throat. Of course there will be automatic changes. And, if you are familiar with another technique, you may be more sensitive to changes that other people are calling, "nothing", You may even be sensitive to changes during ordinary speech. Or you may have trained in coordinations from some other method that would need to be counteracted, and that you can feel. For example, you may naturally add edge to your voice, and that then needs alterations with pitch.

But the open throat guy is going to keep calling it "nothing". Adding edge wasn't part of his technique. His terminology will not be relative to that.

I wouldn't say that you can't learn from following mechanical instructions. But I would suggest that it seems to me to be a very inefficient and incomplete kind of learning. It looks very clinical and foolproof on the surface, but we are psychological beings attuned to learning in a far more fuzzy way, which is actually a lot more powerful. Just my opinion.

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1 hour ago, kickingtone said:

I wouldn't say that you can't learn from following mechanical instructions. But I would suggest that it seems to me to be a very inefficient and incomplete kind of learning. It looks very clinical and foolproof on the surface, but we are psychological beings attuned to learning in a far more fuzzy way, which is actually a lot more powerful. Just my opinion.

I am speaking on the pedagogy. The sensations and "Feelings" or the prosody of speech are better ways to teach. Of course along with a teacher who can hear where the problems lie. Each of us have our own way of learning. Some hands on, some from pictures, some from sensations and some from words. The more you can use for teaching the better.

But knowing which action from the sensation or description is actually causing the results would make for faster teaching or progress, in my opinion of course. 

1 hour ago, kickingtone said:

Well, it must be taken for granted that things happen in the throat. After all, that is the source of the sound. But as you sing, and coordinate the necessary changes, where is the major effort FELT? "I am not doing anything" is generally about sensation.

    It is not taken for granted that things happen in the throat. Most of the pedagogy and teaching try to imply that you have no conscious control over what happens in the throat and it must be "changed" through sensations. At the same time they will tell you that you need more cord closure or compression or TA involvement that is all done through sounds. If you cannot make the sound you need instructions on HOW to make the sound.

    Let us take for example Robert luntes description on one of his "Sounds" used in training. 

   Begin with a Buzzy "MEee"(engage the twanger) feeling the Buzz around the lips and "Mask" area, anchor the tip of the tongue to the back of the teeth, While keeping the Buzzy EE sound Drop the jaw in an "EH" sound, Dampen the larynx. engage support and start an ascending siren. The Buzzy twanged EE that is kept in the lips and mask ensures cord closure the "EH sound is already geared for Tuning in the passaggio and the dropped dampened Larynx is already in position for the resonance shift. Around the passaggio area he tells to shift resonance to the back of the throat. This was a sound I had never produced before.

     It worked the first time. Granted this is an exercise meant to strengthen the coordinations and the muscles used. Not necessarily HOW to sing.

   

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16 minutes ago, MDEW said:

But knowing which action from the sensation or description is actually causing the results would make for faster teaching or progress, in my opinion of course. 

The more information the merrier, provided it is used wisely, of course. Such information may even be more useful to the teacher than the student at first. For me, it is more a matter of which point the information becomes useful, and to what extent. I always like a natural (default) learning approach first, which can then be augmented by analysis and so forth.

17 minutes ago, MDEW said:

    It is not taken for granted that things happen in the throat. Most of the pedagogy and teaching try to imply that you have no conscious control over what happens in the throat and it must be "changed" through sensations. At the same time they will tell you that you need more cord closure or compression or TA involvement that is all done through sounds. If you cannot make the sound you need instructions on HOW to make the sound.

I am not following this. If we are talking mechanics, then it is surely understood that things "happen in the throat", and that is taken for granted.

As for conscious manipulation of the throat, well I would say that all motor responses are a combination of conscious and subconscious (unconscious) actions, converting conscious intent into movement. The causal chain is so complex that it always involves subconscious elements. That would include, say, matching a sound using adjustment and feedback. Reproduction of learned neurophysiological associations and responses is how we do most things, whether it is type on a keyboard, play a guitar, or kick a ball. The idea that we are directly manipulating a muscle is illusory. As per my typing example, the illusion is that the motor response is at the site of the sensation. So, we think they we are telling our fingers to move. But, what is actually happening is that messages are going to muscles in our forearms, which pull tendons in our fingers. Whether seeing it that way -- the "real" way -- would make us more dexterous I highly doubt. Somehow, I think that we are better off with the illusion of our fingertips being controlled telepathically by those sensations hovering about in our cranial region.

I am interest in any example of what you would describe as change that does NOT happen through sensations. Maybe that would clarify your point.

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It is not that changes do not happen through sensations but that other changes take place instead of or along with the intended ones.

My mind goes back to the books written from People like Lilli Lehman and  The singing art of Caruso. Using phrases like Send the tone through your head and imagine swirling currents of air. Feel the sound between your eyes and imagine the voice is like an elevator when raising pitch.....For low pitches sing in front of you and high pitches sing behind you. Think low when singing high. Or to support squeeze your but cheeks together when singing high notes.

 Yes, you are absolutely correct when you say some people can learn like this. I remember several others who have said " I just thought about sending the note through the top of my head and BOOM I was singing A4 in a strong full voice.

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7 hours ago, MDEW said:

  Absolutely, you learn by doing. With singing you cannot "Feel" or "see" what the muscles are doing. You may get sensation of the result and sounds of the result but the cause is unknown. When you get only those who can do, as far as singing goes, you get conflicting ideas because they think one thing is the cause when another is happening to cause the sensation or sound.

   That is how you get different schools of singing. From people who can do and teach what they believe they are doing to get the end result. Some believe that the breath pressure and desired tone is what causes other things to coordinate on their own. Others believe that the properties of vowels and the properties of their formants cause the results and shape the coordinations. Others may use things like placement and the feeling of vibrations in different areas of the body to "coordinate" the voice.

    I can make the sounds, I can cause the vibrations to go where you are supposed to "Feel" them but i do not "produce them" as described by other singers or teacher who produce them, or perhaps there is another quality that "I" deem incorrect for myself. Maybe I am not doing another thing that has not been described. Therefor I do not propose that I am doing things correctly and everyone should produce them my way.

    But you do get that from some other singers and teachers. They can insist that they are doing one thing when another is taking place....At least what other people who can DO believe is taking place. One was mentioned before. He believed and proposed that he WAS NOT covering yet it was mentioned that he WAS covering whether he believed it or not. Two competent singers who CAN DO who believe something different. Both are qualified to say what they are doing or what they perceive.

    Another teacher who insists that he does not use "Twang" but uses "Open Throat" "Bel Canto" yet his "Mantra" is that the singing and training is in the "Bright AH". The AH vowel of itself does not have properties of "Twang". The "Bright Ah" is produced with "Twang". Again a competent Singer and teacher who believes one thing and does another.

    How about another competent singer who advises sitting on a chair and pushing and grunting to train support and the passaggio. What happens when you do that is that the throat, vocal cords, and false folds close to protect the body. You do not need all that pushing. just making sound closes the vocal folds. The False folds can be closed and trained by  making a HHHuh sound. the tighter they close the more pressure is built up in the lungs. You can teach this by using the voiced HHHUH and breathing without the noise.Breathing With the hhh sound the false folds are approximated breathing without sound the false folds are retracted. Or speaking while "Holding your breath" closes the false folds. The throat can be narrowed or widened by itself without the need to Push on anything. He is competent and has degrees in singing and music and sings Opera. Yet he is teaching something totally unnecessary and believes this is the best way.

    These are the same people who try to keep others out of the conversation because they cannot KNOW anything until they can achieve it in the same way as they describe.

    Each of these teachers would try to keep the others out of conversations because the other must not be competent if they believe such things.

Well yeah!

I certainly would not extend that ability to sing instantly makes everything you say about singing true. I am saying that lack of ability to sing makes it very unlikely that the advice you are taking from a given source, that can not use the advice they are giving themselves, will be accurate.

And I do not mean degrees or certificates either, I mean just ability to sing simple as that.

In the cases you mentioned, a competent singer and teacher that is saying that he does not use twang and uses open throat and bel canto. Ok. What are these? Watch what he does, what is the instruction to do it, will it lead to twang anyways, is it perhaps a different take on the same? Sensations? Is there reliable information on the mechanics of is going on? What are you observing/seeing the guy do?

Because you see, often the person says "low larynx", but you can SEE the larynx elevating. Or the no twang approach can involve seeking a "resonant tone" with "sensations on the mask". Nothing new under the sun.

Sometimes you will find it's non-sense, because there is conflict on ideas, antagonic concepts. Sometimes however it is worth going through somebody elses strong beliefs and just steal the useful parts. I mean I suspect I know which singer is the first one, I dont find the material online much informative, but I certainly would have some questions (not worth the $$ though :P ).

And I am not saying that this can lead to peace in the vocal world or whatever, that would be super boring. I am talking about the way I organize myself when I talk to people. The second case for example, my first concern would be "how does that sound?". If its a improvement over what I know already, sure lets try it. If its not... What is the point of going through all the trouble? It's a more personal and, why not say it, selfish perspective that I believe can be helpful for moments of confusion.

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