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Screaming!

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Jason Dupree
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Hello! In my late night internet adventure (which I have often), I've delved a bit into screaming, and thought id share...

Ok, where to even begin with this…

I'm not TOO big on screamo or death metal growls or scream singing… I actually don’t like them at all. But there is one kind of scream that has always kind of mesmerized me. The big, primal screams, that sound like you’d make them while falling to your knees screaming or something. They just seem to have a lot of intense emotions to me. The ones im talking about sound like some of Chester Benningtons long screams (I have no clue how he screams). This music video shows both what im not talking about and what im talking about. Pretty much the whole song is what Im NOT talking about, but the very last scream is what I AM talking about. (scream at 5:23)

So the guy who did that video has this little series on how to scream, and some of it seems to make sense and kinda sounds somewhat related to the TVS methods of distortion, though the sound itself is different, more primal. Some of it seems off though, for instance he refers to the false chords as bottom chords, when im pretty sure those are above your vocal chords, and the vocal chords themselves are the lowest chord. I could be wrong about that. He places emphasis on the way that none of the screaming techniques are affecting the vocal chords themselves, that they are put on top of a clean tone. Just like TVS distortion.

The videos, with summaries if you are lazy :D

Video 1:

He talks about false/bottom chords and throat singing. Some of the stuff he does sounds just like Mongolian throat singing, the low kind not the crazy whistle stuff. Hes got a good batman impression going on and some really neat low raspy singing. Whenever I do the batman thing I feel it vibrating just above where the vocal folds are (I think). Does this guy just think the false chords are below his vocal chords yet still manages to use them the right way? This technique give the screams a 'bottom end'

Video 2:

Here is the rasp, at the back of the throat, not on the chords, he says. It gives the scream the high end, and overtones. He also talks a little about making the diameter of the throat smaller. Isnt that kind of what twang does? (I don’t know too much about twang yet…)

Video 3:

Theres some pretty cool raspy singing at the beginning (whenever he says hes not good at something, it actually sounds waaay better than his normal 'screaming' save the big one). Here he just basically puts the two together. The very last scream of the video is pretty much the kind of scream im interested in.

My specific questions are:

1.is any of this actually damaging if done right?

2.How similar Is this to the TVS distortion?

3.Can TVS distortion sound like this? (I have only heard a few examples of the TVS distortion)

What are your thoughts on this? Does anyone have experience with this or any other kind of screaming?

BTW I found it interesting that he totally puts down Melissa Crosses method as a bunch of crap :P

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1. If done right, evidence points to it NOT being damaging. However, when on tour, in the heat of the moment, there's always a chance that you'll do it incorrectly a few times and then you should try to recover into a healthier setup immedially. Many screamers eventually lose their voice but many do not. Also, you can definitely hurt your throat by never screaming at all. All of this is related to how hard you clench your throat and how much exessive air you use.

2. Very similar. TVS overlay distortion focuses on false fold distortion and so does what these guys are doing. The overlay distortion is often easier on high notes than low notes, mind you, even though it can also be used on low notes.

3. Yes, TVS distortion can sound exactly like this. The thing is, when you do this type of technique it's possible to control the ratio of noise vs. clear sound. You can go from totally non-raspy -> to having a very slight rasp going on -> to having medium rasp, i.e. an equal amount of "sound" and "noise" -> to being VERY raspy like Brian Johnson in AC/DC or Axl Rose -> to having ONLY distortion and no underlying note at all (typically used in death metal).

Many of us here have experience is screaming, distortion, rasp AND clean singing. You've come to a good place and you might want to use the search button. Also note that there are many ways to scream and some of them don't even use the false folds. The most important things for all screams and raspy singing is a) that those sounds (just like anything in singing, really) should come from the singer's heart and emotions, i.e. sound like he really means it and B) be done with as RELAXED THROAT as possible. The latter is the real key to longevity.

Actually the relaxed throat also applies to normal singing, so I guess you could say that these two things are THE most important things for singers to keep in mind (in my opinion) - sing from the heart and relax your throat.

Melissa Cross has a decent program for death metal screamers - when there is no underlying melody in the voice, only distorted noise. If you want to sing ACTUAL melodies with both rasp and sound going on at the same time, I'd look elsewhere.

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Once you get your voice very well trainned, to the point that support, forward placement, covering and legatto is working well through your tessitura, it is possible to minimize damage, to the point that it can effectivelly be ignored IF you dont overdo it.

But, every professional related to vocal health will recomend not to do it, and they are right, because the chances are against you, a mistake when doing it will not be easy on your voice. A classical coach I know uses to say that using drive/scream and hopping to have a perfect vocal health is like being a boxer and being concerned about maintaining a pretty nose. Sure, if you are a perfect boxer, you will never get hit, but being perfect is not an easy task, is it?

The coach I work with uses it often when recording, and live he uses very, very occasionally. I try to follow the idea, although Im not nearly as competent at it as he is. And may I say, I find that tranposing the dynamics of the song into a clean light/darker constrast works just as well (and I like the results better :P).

He often tells me that when he uses it, although he does not get sore, he feels that something got overused. Do a search for Chris Miyai on youtube/google, I think he uploaded a few covers of Pantera on his site.

Still I notice from your other thread that you have trouble on support, which by itself is not an easy task at all. I wouldnt even bother with this at this stage, take your time, work hard on the core principles and by all means, if your objective is to sing in this level of quality and power, find a good coach if you still dont have one. A very strong support and keeping the voice high and forward is mandatory to this, if by any chance you let it fall, it will produce damage to the point of pain, therefore it must be trainned to the point that everything happens automatically.

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thats some really neat info jonpall!

Still I notice from your other thread that you have trouble on support, which by itself is not an easy task at all. I wouldnt even bother with this at this stage, take your time, work hard on the core principles and by all means, if your objective is to sing in this level of quality and power, find a good coach if you still dont have one.

For sure! I kind of see it as something to look forward to once i get my singing technique more grounded. ive only tried the "im batman" stuff for kicks :)

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