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EvilSoup
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I just can't bridge properly.

I can't sing above E4 and sound good.

Even notes from middle C up to E4 are compromised and don't sound as good as they could.

I feel like I've tried and read everything.

:(

EvilSoup: Just so we know what _not_ to suggest, would you indicate what you have tried already?

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Sirens, vowel modifications, every singing success/mastering mix exercise, every exercise from every SSO (singing success online) videos, every exercise from every youtube video on singing I could find including Eric A and RocktheStageNYC, tons of forum posts I've read, ect ect. :/

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I'm just trying to work on a song I wrote and I just can't get it down.

I recorded a bit of it for you.

3rd line. On the word "outside" I can't sing it without strain.

On the chorus I can hit the note kinda but I don't have much control over it. I have another recorded song that I have the same problem with: http://soundcloud.com/through-the-forests/is-it-really-worth-it

I can belt it out, but it has little control and I have problems with pitch and strain.

Everything else sounds really good below middle C, but in regards to dealing with bridging I feel like I've made no progress at all in the past year.

:|

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Hey dude,

Whats your warm up routine?? I for one need at least an hour before I can start (without strain) hitting big notes and I've only just realised this..

With the bridge, I had to do mine very quietly as quiet as it needed to cover the break then over time it became louder. I am getting to the stage at points where it feels like one voice not 2 separated by this wonky bridge.. You have to show the voice what it feels like not to break (do it as quiet as possible) then you build on this feeling, its definately more feeling that sound, you know when you've locked yourself in chest, I do it all the time the pressure builds and there's no way into head without a shrieky bridge...

Thats what I did anyhow, real quiet and real slow scales where you have to go in and out of the head voice, and then build it up and build it up like you are bodybuilding, lift lighter to get your technique then slowly add weight the physiology of muscle growth is exactly the same.

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I think some of you guys are warming up for WAY too long. I do think it's important to have a long warmup if you're sick or if you just woke up and have to sing early in the morning but normally, if you warm up for that long or even close to it, I think you're doing something wrong, simply. That's my current opinion and I know lots of people (from many different vocal schools) who share it.

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Ok when I said warm up I do my Ken Tamplin stage 3 exercises which after a 30 minute break my voice is totally open, I know some singers who will warm up for an hour doing exercises then go and sing another half hour - 45mins of songs then do a 2 hour singing session... I think thats the thing with the voice, everyone is different, a tongue placement here will sound different with me than you etc.. Thats why there are so many teaching techniques..

I for one get acid reflux and I have found I need to warm up a lot to remove any phlegm and nastiness from that area, in fact I will warm up for a weekend gig on the Monday! But in a days context I will have an vocal exercise session : burbles, scales, intervals, vowels, pushing my chest as far as I feel, then breathing exercises.. all this does come to about an hour, when I actually feel I am warmed up I will tackle a warm up song or 2 then I will rest until I leave for the show, which is annoying cos sometimes you can waiting around for hours talking over live music before getting to the stage, but that hour I put in and my muscle memory kicks in and I'm fine...

So you are correct I am not actually doing a warm-up I am actually doing a full exercise routine..

Jonpall: Do you have any warmup tips that we could employ so that we are not spending so much time when it is not needed!

Cheers

Mike

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Lip bubbles, sirens and maybe a few scales sometimes work for me, although most of my time now is spent working on songs with all kinds of speeds, slow and fast, one line at a time, one word over and over, or the entire thing over and overt, etc. It took me a long time to accept this way of training but right now it's working well for me.

You can also try to warm up like Jimmy Barnes:

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evil, before steven comments, just a guess here, it sounds to me like you're using up air too fast rather than containing it more. your air management seems a little lax....hope i've helped. bob

and man, as a friend... lose the "i can't" mentality...that alone can do you in.

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I knew someone would bring that up haha. I know I can, it's just I can't seem to teach myself how to do it. I've been trying to learn it for a few years now diligently, but it just hasn't happened for me.

As far as air management, compression is actually quite unconnected to bridging, take a listen to this lesson here: http://cwehden.tumblr.com/post/1204557547/thevoiceblogpart4

I can hit that note more compressed, but it just gets more squeezed sounding. Technically I shouldn't be using as much air as I'm using, but since my cords don't seem to thin out much up there I need the extra air to vibrate the thicker cords. The layrnx is mostly fine, sometimes it raises a little but it's not cutting off anything.

I don't feel any tensions in my jaw, face, or tongue. Vowel modifications help things go a bit easier but the strain sound and lack of true control is still there.

Doesn't have anything to do with warming up. My tone is balanced and everything seems to be working fine below middle C. My breath support is fine.

The only thing I can deduce is that my vocal cords aren't thinning out, and that I'm carrying too much weight into my upper registers.

I need to thin them out somehow, but my cords are really stubborn. :/

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I'm just trying to work on a song I wrote and I just can't get it down.

I recorded a bit of it for you.

3rd line. On the word "outside" I can't sing it without strain.

On the chorus I can hit the note kinda but I don't have much control over it. I have another recorded song that I have the same problem with: http://soundcloud.com/through-the-forests/is-it-really-worth-it

I can belt it out, but it has little control and I have problems with pitch and strain.

Everything else sounds really good below middle C, but in regards to dealing with bridging I feel like I've made no progress at all in the past year.

:|

Just listened to those clips of yours...

Man, I love your songwriting and the sound of your voice! Very cool!! :)

I'm off to a bit of experimentation tonight and if a certain thing works for me I'll try to remember to share it here.

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Sirens, vowel modifications, every singing success/mastering mix exercise, every exercise from every SSO (singing success online) videos, every exercise from every youtube video on singing I could find including Eric A and RocktheStageNYC, tons of forum posts I've read, ect ect. :/

EvilSoup: Ok, thanks.

I listened to your two recordings. You have a big instrument, and coordinating things to bridge well is challenging in a big voice. You are not a high baritone, you are a lower one, so your bridging will need to begin lower than a higher baritone or a tenor.

Your lower voice, and your upper one, seem fairly well produced on their own, but if they are going to come together in a bridge, you need to make them more like each other.

Part of this is acoustic... in the realm of vowels and other resonance. Part of it is laryngeal musculature. Part of it is the interaction of exhalation force with the muscles. Part of it may be the reduction of interfering tension

All of these can be discovered with exercises that deal with these issues for the lower-voiced singer, and designed for your particular voice at this stage of development.

These sorts of exercises used to be called 'blending of the registers', which, while descriptive, has to be understood in the proper way. The 'blending' occurs at the muscular level, and at the vowel level, and the psychological level, simultaneously. Its an 'evening-out' process.

For the singer with a large lower voice, IMO the best place to start working on this is in the region of highest resonance in the upper middle voice. Its the area where you can (and do) sing with your greatest power, in effect, its the place where your larger voice can get away with oversinging because of the benefits of the resonance.

This leads the larger/lower voice into a trap. I have been there, and done this as well, so don't feel alone. The effect is seductive. When we boost breath pressure here, to get the really impressive sound, we are going in the opposite direction than what prepares things for the bridge.

The remedy? First, recognize this tendency, and decide not to do it. Second, reduce the volume of all the notes at or above the A below middle C, other than for OO and EE vowels. For OO and EE, the intensity should be reduced above the F# below that, as EE and OO bridges begin earlier.

As long as you are doing breath management well, the desire to sing clear, but soft tones in this area will cause the muscles to respond with an intermediate level of intensity... one which will set you up better for the bridge. Sing your exercises this way, and sing your songs this way, too.

While you have tried sirens before, here is a different way to do them that will help. Start on the A the octave below middle C, (A2) on an easy, clear, but soft (20-30% volume) OO vowel, and slide slowly up the octave to A3, doing a decrescendo to the softest clear sound you can make. The sensation of doing a siren with this approach is strange, but necessary to what its about.. Habit will be to allow this to get louder as you rise. Do not. Get softer instead on the way up, and you may get louder back to the original volume on the way down. The desire to sing the softer, clear sound will help you discover the changes to support that are needed. Repeat with EE.

As you do this exercise on OO, you will feel the resonance adjustment change as you pass E, F- G. Wherever that is for you, its the 'on-ramp', the entry point for your bridge on that vowel. Its the place where you need to be sure that your volume and support stay as you intend. For a week, do those sirens for about 5 minutes on OO, and 5 on EE, just that 1 octave, A to A.

After you have done this exercise on 3 successive days, please write and let us know how things are going, especially if you find that any of the notes in this siren have strain or undesirable tension.

More later,

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As far as air management, compression is actually quite unconnected to bridging, take a listen to this lesson here: http://cwehden.tumblr.com/post/1204557547/thevoiceblogpart4

evil, maybe you misunderstood me. i didn't say anything about compression, the way in which you manage exhalation.

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OK I'll give it a shot Steven.

Ah ok. I've worked a bit with that stuff too, though my point was that I should be able to connect on an airy sound as well as a controlled/compressed sound. It's about changing the resonances to blend the voices. In that song I might be a bit breathy, but that's an artistic decision to make it sound softer.

I'll give you guys a clip of my mix abilities thus far. I can do it, but it's pretty uncontrollable and it doesn't sound too musical.

http://www.sendspace.com/file/mrapke

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Here is a clip of me doing the exercise thus far: http://www.sendspace.com/file/59u041 :D

A3 is really comfortable, free, and easy for me to sing already. Though a I do remember way back when I first started singing when A3 was my highest note. :lol:

This feels good as a warm-up however, my voice does feel a bit freer after this exercise. I'll continue to do this for a week. Thanks. :)

Got any more exercises? :cool:

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Onsets and sirens. I would love to help you... I believe I can show you how to do it in a way that is lasting so you will remember in 1 hour internet lesson. Also, watch my "lift up / pull back" video from YouTube... it is there to teach people how to get the feel for the timing and placements of bridging the registers. Its a bit dated, but always popular with singers... work on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8zroG9QWNc

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Onsets and sirens. I would love to help you... I believe I can show you how to do it in a way that is lasting so you will remember in 1 hour internet lesson. Also, watch my "lift up / pull back" video from YouTube... it is there to teach people how to get the feel for the timing and placements of bridging the registers. Its a bit dated, but always popular with singers... work on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8zroG9QWNc

Unfortunately, my internet connection is a bit too slow to have a productive lesson over Skype. I feel though that this method of showing me exercises to do, me posting clips of myself doing the exercises, and then a critique of the clips should work well enough though. Better quality audio that way too.

Also Rob, I've never actually heard you sing above E4 other than doing a metal scream. I'd like to hear that. Something that shows dynamic control and freedom. It would mean a lot to me, considering we are both baritones.

:)

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Here is a clip of me doing the exercise thus far: http://www.sendspace.com/file/59u041 :D

A3 is really comfortable, free, and easy for me to sing already. Though a I do remember way back when I first started singing when A3 was my highest note. :lol:

This feels good as a warm-up however, my voice does feel a bit freer after this exercise. I'll continue to do this for a week. Thanks. :)

Got any more exercises? :cool:

EvilSoup: yes I do have very many more. Let me comment on the recording of the exercise, first.

The phonation you are using is pretty efficient and clear, and the siren is smooth, but the vowels are not quite what I had in mind. My fault for not being more explicit.

The OO vowel should be as in the words 'moon', 'soon', 'June', 'spoon', 'through', etc., and be consistently pronounced over the entire siren. In your rendition, you are starting on OH, as in 'show', 'toe', 'blow', and then broadening it toward 'UH', as in 'up', 'cup', 'cut', 'luck', etc. Keep it the same dark OO all the way through. There should be no jaw, tongue or lip motion during the course of the exercise.

The EE starts ok, but you are modifying it almost immediately toward IH. See if you can keep it the same vowel for the duration.

You liked how it felt before, these will be even better :-).

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Whoops, nah it's my fault. I know what an OO vowel sounds like, I just forgot about that when doing the exercise. :lol:

Here's another clip with the proper vowel sounds: http://www.sendspace.com/file/c3a6zm

EvilSoup: that's it. Well done!

In a few more days, you can start transposing this exercise up by 1/2 and 1 whole step. So, you'll do it starting at A2, Bb2 and B2. No louder, same vowels. As you transpose and repeat, extend your awareness to those physical areas where you experience strain sometimes. What I'd suggest you be sensitive for is the very beginning of the strain.. where it happens first.

I promised you some new exercises. Here is another one, again, using soft OO and EE as you have been, but designed for a different purpose. The purpose? To even out the resonance of OO and EE, by encouraging some of the lower resonance of the OO to carry over to the EE.

As background, EE and OO are the two vowels with the lowest first vowel resonance, largely the responsibility of the pharyngeal space and the tongue position. The biggest difference between EE and OO is where the tongue is. For EE, the back of the tongue rises quite high, and forward, so that its highest part is nearly at the roof of the mouth. When I do it, it feels like there a very thin space there. For OO, that high part of the tongue is just as high, but it is moved backward, so the phayrngeal space is just a bit smaller, but the mouth space is just a bit bigger.

So, what is the exercise? Singing vowel glides (slow transitions from one vowel to another) between OO and EE. For your voice, the OO has a nice low resonance, but the EE does not have as much as it could. So, the exercise is very simple and direct:

1) Drop your jaw about the width of your pinky finger, so that there is a space between your front teeth about that size.

2) With lips completely relaxed, that is, without rounding them or spreading the corners, sing an OO on A2.

3) After a second of OO, transition the vowel very slowly and smoothly to EE, over the span of 6 or 8 seconds, without changing jaw or lip position. This desire will cause the tongue to glide from its high/back position (for the OO) to a high/forward position for the EE. Repeat at that pitch level a few times, and then transpose up by whole steps until you get to A3. Total time is about 5 mins.

Note:The attempt to do this OO without lip rounding, and the transition to EE with just tongue motion, will require the tongue to do all the shaping of the vowel. You may feel subtle resistance by the tongue for this, or that you sense the larynx being pulled up for the EE. If you do, don't force the action, do it very gently and sensitively, to find that place where the resistance is occuring, and release it.

Though the exercise is very simple, it raises to the singer's awareness the more subtle tensions that may be hidden in the tongue and laryngeal suspension muscles, in a manner that will allow them to be lessened and eventually eliminated.

I hope this helps.

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Here is how I'm doing it so far: http://www.sendspace.com/file/kbh779

I suppose I overemphasized the EE sound in the last clip. I don't actually sing my EE vowels like that in songs. ;)

That being said, I might of underemphasized the EE sound a bit here, probably because I was thinking about not overemphasizing it too much. :lol:

The hard part about these exercises for me seems to be keeping the breath support going. I don't have the strongest support so holding out notes that long is a bit tough.

I'll keep at it! :)

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Warm-ups and exercises are great but they are supported by the most basic thing. Breath. Per Roger Love, most problems in pitch, intonation, whatever, usually resolve back to breath support. You are, no doubt, feeling tension in your throat in these problems. Check your breath support. It should not be in your chest and your diaphragm doesn't control diddly squat. your lower abdominals, that's they key. It drives from the bottom, period, paragraph, and new book. So, where you are cracking in the shift from "chest" to"head" is that you are still driving as if from chest when moving up. A note starts with a breath, every single, stinking, solitary time.

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