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My "glass ceiling" or "Damn you, head voice" ;)

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Hey, guys.

First off, I wanted to tell you that posting and reading other posts on the TMV forum is always a treat for me and feel that I have learnt a lot!

For example, the advices given here combined with the voice teachers I've been to strengthened my mid range immensely.

But...I feel like i HAVE to post another one of my questions that still drives my nuts, lol.

It's my head voice and half of my post are about my perceived inability to get up high.

Here's an audio that demonstrates the issue very well.

http://www.box.net/shared/5tmae5xfx3o6vcyn0neb

Here I'm doing the slide up to an E5, which has been my highest uncomfortable (LOL) note for a few years now. I can strain up to an F5 on the lip rolls, but no matter what I do I cannot go past an E5 on a vowel.

A few important notes:

1. I cannot get up there in a quiet legit head voice - I have to have volume to even touch the E5 - nobody's talking about sustaining it, lol

2. I've tried different vowel combinations and for now, the most comfortable one is when I convert ah to oo at the top.

3. When recording the audio I tried real hard to keep my throat open and support correctly.

4. The singing teachers I've had in the past could not resolve this issue of mine.

and finally...

5. I'm getting to think that it has more to do with a bad fold closure (see my other post about my visit to ENT) than anything.

I hope I'm not being negative here ;)

Looking forward to your replies..as usual..

Many thanks in advance,

Vlad

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I would suggest reading Anthony Frisell's book, "The Tenor Voice." No, it won't make you sound like an opera singer and I have it on good authority that, in person, he will teach anyone regardless of the genre in which they sing. But he addresses this very point.

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Vlad - you've got a great voice. Excellent siren up to the E5. Well connected, smooth control and zero breaks. When I was learning the soprano range I had a "speed bump" at about the same place. I posted the same type of problem and remember Steven or another instructor advocating letting the sound get smaller - going to a "smaller place." I had to thin the folds more without losing good adduction. Those images helped me break through. You'll be able to do this. It may be a bit of trial and error. The "ah" is supposed to go to "oo" up there so if that's what your getting you are already doing it right.

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Vlad - you've got a great voice. Excellent siren up to the E5. Well connected, smooth control and zero breaks. When I was learning the soprano range I had a "speed bump" at about the same place. I posted the same type of problem and remember Steven or another instructor advocating letting the sound get smaller - going to a "smaller place." I had to thin the folds more without losing good adduction. Those images helped me break through. You'll be able to do this. It may be a bit of trial and error. The "ah" is supposed to go to "oo" up there so if that's what your getting you are already doing it right.

Vlad, guitartrek:

I cannot claim to be the only person who may advocate 'going to a smaller place', but I think its a very apt image of what sirens feel like to me when I go up there. Setting aside sensation for a moment, on a physical level its just like guitartrek describes... letting the folds thin (as they are stretched) without losing good adduction. The latter part of that contains a hidden challenge, as the ThyroArytenoid muscle must stay engaged while it is stretched, or the tone will not remain firm.

For that to happen without strain, the vocal tract must be positioned in a resonant configuration. Professor Ingo Titze of the University of Iowa suggests (on the National Center for Voice and Speech website) a siren as a warmup exercise, using two vowels which help the singer discover these new adjustments. The vowels are /i/ and /u/ (ee and oo) in their dark, open-throat pronunciations, clear and soft.

When I do these exercises, as a Bass I find as I pass tenor high c (C5) on the way up that I reach a point where I cannot drive as much volume... things become unstable. What I have to do is to slow down the siren and think about it differently. Its like my mental gesture which provokes phonation has to shed some of its intensity, but not its clarity. I think this is my personal experience of what Geno describes as maintaining the adduction. FYI, my top now for this siren is C#or D6, but its not very loud... just clear and soft.

I hope this helps.

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I am not a vocal coach or teacher or vocal pro anything. And some were confused by my statement that a high note is a small note that is resonated properly. Small means wavelength size. So, necessarily, the tone generator must do its cycle more often in the same second as a lower note (freq = cycles/(1 second of time). F. ex., 440 Hz means 440 cycles in one second.

So, while the membranes may be thinned, this is to facilitate a smaller opening that can open and close more times in that one second, involving less of the folds. And using less of the folds would also imply a more consistent use of air. And there will be a maximum amount of volume possible at that stage but most of the volume and timbre of that note will come from the qualities of the resonance chambers.

To the very extreme might be a high whistle note. I saw an example of a guy who normally speaks in bass showing off his whistle note. But it was an extremely soft note that was not usable with anything else but an absolutely quiet studio and a mic.

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When I do these exercises, as a Bass I find as I pass tenor high c (C5) on the way up that I reach a point where I cannot drive as much volume... things become unstable. What I have to do is to slow down the siren and think about it differently. Its like my mental gesture which provokes phonation has to shed some of its intensity, but not its clarity. I think this is my personal experience of what Geno describes as maintaining the adduction. FYI, my top now for this siren is C#or D6, but its not very loud... just clear and soft.

I hope this helps.

Steven - That's really high for a bass...which further substantiates the notion that we all have the ability to go really high, no matter what voice type we have.

My top note is a C#6, but I can't (won't) do it every day. From prior strains I've stopped pushing myself to reach my highest note on a daily basis. I just go up to my highest, relaxed note. I can sing a B5 every day, sometimes C6 or C#6. These notes are unusable in any songs I choose to sing. They just provide "headroom" for the highest useable note (for me) which would be an A5.

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What others have Said you have to let it get smaller and dont splat it out so much. Im gonna post some examples later this week of à coordination you can use to get higher. Cause if i mimic your coordination you have there i cant get any higher Than e5 either and im usualy able to get up around soprano c -d higher if whistle.

Cuno ive got the same experience as you when driving My voice. http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?v=S7WsrtWsahc here,s à cover i did some time ago but it has both à Powered c#and à somewhat straind d.

But if i go soft and apply alot of flageolet i Can continue up very much higher http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?v=Fa3uKAiEqu8

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I was testing my usable range, today. Don't know if it was an off day or just average. With my guitar nominally tuned to standard tuning (1st string at the 5th fret is 440 A) my usable range, no tricks or adjustments, full volume and no breaks and no tricks, volume enough to hurt your ears (balls to the wall, full blast, and probably doing it wrong) was E below middle C to G5 or two G's above middle C. A little over 2 octaves, right? Technically, a tenor, I think.

I could be wrong. I am thinking of middle C as the 2nd string, at the first fret. My lowest note of full volume (below that it gets softer) is E (3rd string, 2nd fret). Up to 1st string 15th fret. This is about as high as I think of "chest", or even head with a chesty ring and volume.

And a correction, I just tried it again and I reach two A's above what I think is middle C. I think that is an A5. Unless my idea of what the octaves on a guitar are happens to be wrong. I welcome anyone to correct me, no hurt feelings.

When I tune my guitar, I have a metronome that supposedly puts out a 440 A (but the battery is old) and I pluck the 1st string at the 5th fret and tune that. Then tune the guitar in reverse from that string. When I had a pitch pipe, I used that. So, my guitar tuning could be off. So, what is the A that high? A 880? What does that equal in octave nomenclature, such as we use here?

Seriously, I can always admit when I am wrong or don't understand something. I was reading the archives of the TMV journals and one author suggested that you can type your fach from the lowest usable note and, for example, tenor has the lowest usable note of E below middle C, which describes my lowest full sounding note.

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I just googled. Middle C on a guitar is the 2nd string on the first fret. So, granting that an electronic tone generator producing a 440 A to tune my guitar on the first string at the 5th fret, I can sing fully usable loud notes from E3 to A5. Which is probably where most songs are located.

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Yeah, Jens didn't post the links correctly, but here they are. His links, although not leading anywhere, include the video ID in the end, so I used that to find them.

This is the first one:

This is the second one:

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Ronws, Guitartrek, Steven, Dante and others!

Thank you so much in participating in this thread - it means a lot to me.

I kinda had a breakthrough today reaching an F5 on a vowel. As modest as it may sound - I've never been able to do that! Never!

There were things I did differently this time around:

1. Since I could touch an F5 with the lip rolls I decided to do just that AND release on a vowel at the same time.

2. After reading a lot on support (thanks Dante) I used an "uh" vowel, or at least I think I did.

3. I noticed that I was locking in my stomach too much, so I did a few sit ups until I got a burning sensation and THAN tried hitting the note. Surprisingly, I was more relaxed than before. Apparently, I could not push a much 'coz I was tired ;)

So, here it goes.

First starting with a lip rol and releasing on a vowel and then trying to sing the vowel only.

It worked!

http://www.box.net/shared/r26jcpkbgflzhzxe4dfc

Thanks again,

Vlad

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Ronws, Guitartrek, Steven, Dante and others!

Thank you so much in participating in this thread - it means a lot to me.

I kinda had a breakthrough today reaching an F5 on a vowel. As modest as it may sound - I've never been able to do that! Never!

There were things I did differently this time around:

1. Since I could touch an F5 with the lip rolls I decided to do just that AND release on a vowel at the same time.

2. After reading a lot on support (thanks Dante) I used an "uh" vowel, or at least I think I did.

3. I noticed that I was locking in my stomach too much, so I did a few sit ups until I got a burning sensation and THAN tried hitting the note. Surprisingly, I was more relaxed than before. Apparently, I could not push a much 'coz I was tired ;)

So, here it goes.

First starting with a lip rol and releasing on a vowel and then trying to sing the vowel only.

It worked!

http://www.box.net/shared/r26jcpkbgflzhzxe4dfc

Thanks again,

Vlad

nice job vlad! you can also jump off an "ng" as well.

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