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"Extreme" Vocal Techniques

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Overdrive
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http://soundcloud.com/tmusician/various

That's me attempting to do some various extreme vocal techniques, showing what the things I can do are. Nothing I did hurt. Now it's not that good, but I am kind of a beginner (especially to fry).

What I am really hoping to accomplish with this thread is:

1. Understanding what the different things I was doing actually were (for example what was 0:25?)

2. How to improve the various techniques and make them sound better

Even if you're not into these kinds of vocal techniques everyone here is interested in the voice so if you have any thoughts please post!

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In CVT terms, you're using Grunt. Outside of CVT, this is generally considered false cord screaming, as you are using the false vocal folds to create the distortion.

At 0:25, it sounded (again in CVT terms) like creaking, or fry screaming. This is done using your true cords, i.e. your vocal cords.

As for improving, from what i've discovered; look into CVT (Complete Vocal Technique), or 4 Pillars, which is Rob's stuff who owns the forum. For the fry stuff, I'd check out Jamie Vendera extreme scream series or Melissa Cross: zen of screaming

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Thanks MB20, I've checked out Melissa Cross's stuff but she seems to be very proper with it and even though her featured students do the screams powerfully she only teaches them the weak way, which is very easy. I'll check out Jamie Vendera too though, I haven't heard about him yet. Also how do I check out CVT/Four Pillars? I tried thevocalstudio.com but the domain is for sale :P

Also I realized that right at the beginning I sound a bit like Arnold Schwarzneggar XD

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This is awesome. It sounded like Cookie Monster was teaching the alphabet at the beginning and lost it at some point:

Eh! Eeh! Eye! YOhhhhhh....

The ashes, Miyagi's on drugs! (from Karate Kid)

The IQ. You anyways! Yai WOW! Then it ends on "I want YOU' from like an Uncle Sam Army recruitment ad. This made me feel particularly in demand.

How can you improve it? Maybe make it more healthy? Otherwise, I don't think you can. It's quite abstract and open to interpretation and I already got a lot of out it. Give us another performance sometime soon, but be sure you take care of your voice, if you're going hoarse or having problems at all, just beware and look into some lessons with someone who knows how to do these effects healthily if you can just to make sure things are ok.

Edit:

Oh, by the way, I was going to suggest that when you do find out for sure you can execute some of these voices healthily, even if your goal isn't traditional singing, I'd consider also looking into voice over work for like video games, movies, or cartoons, or whatever. People who can do 'strange' voices healthily (E.G. Gollum from Lord of the Rings), are in significant demand in these fields for 'character' acting. Give it some thought, alright? You just gotta be careful with this kind of voice usage, remember if anything hurts, just stop asap.

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http://soundcloud.com/shawn-sisson/zoom0240 This is me attempting some Lamb of God.

I always thought that false chord technique was the same thing as voice fry but I could be totally wrong.

Anyway, this sound is reasonably loud, the microphone was an omnidirectional zoom mic placed a few feet away from me, and it doesn't feel any worse than normal singing. With a unidirectional stage mic or a closely placed condenser mic it would probably sound way meaner. The closer the mic the more bass frequencies it seems to catch. It tends to be much more growly through a stage mic. That's why you see scene kids cupping the mic to make unintelligible cow noises. Everybody seems to be going after the deep sound.

The objective is usually to make it so that there is no perceivable fundamental frequency. This is actually easiest to achieve by placing resonance close to the sinuses to maximize overtones. Just because you are not singing a single pitch does not mean that resonance is not important. Resonance is the key to unlocking volume and producing sound effortlessly. It is also important to note that there is usually a modal fundamental frequency under all the grit. It only gets completely lost on higher sounds when it is mixed in among the rasp. You can also shift the resonance to create a non modal fundamental frequency. Lamb of God's vocalist does this in his newer stuff. Sounds awful. I love it.

The only other tips I can give is to not use so much air, create a narrow but NOT constricted 'phonation' (or whatever you wanna call this) and once you find a sweet spot, focus on resonance. Bounce it off the roof of your mouth like it's head voice. The bass frequencies are still there even if you place it really high. Don't worry about them too much.

I've never been able to do much with CVT grunt. Some earlier death metal vocalists used it but I think that was because the so called 'fry' technique hadn't really been done yet. The 'fry' is what I use. I avoid grunting because for me it hurts and isn't sustainable. In your clip you succeed in creating the type of rasp I use in a few places such as :25 and :36. It's a bit of a balancing act to maintain isn't it? You can hear me falter in a couple places in my clip. But it's definitely worth it to use this technique. It works best on an open "ah" vowel for you and probably most people. Just work on replicating the sensation on other vowels. Modify vowels if you need to. It also helps to think about creating a legato phrase so you don't lose your phonation. Don't worry about making a deep guttural sound. It will get thicker with practice and you will have access to darker sounds eventually. But just trying to growl like a lion is counterproductive and will hurt you.

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I've always thought that I was using false chords to produce this sound. However, as you can probably hear, I'm no expert. So I don't really know.

I should also probably mention that even though Randy Blythe's (lamb of god) technique sounds really good (to me), he still complains about fatigue/pain after performing. He's also not always spot on live and tends to cup the microphone as a crutch as well as leaving out phrases when he gets exhausted. He's a skateboarder. Not a voice instructor. He just happens to have a special knack for screaming.

There aren't very many people really studying it.

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This is awesome. It sounded like Cookie Monster was teaching the alphabet at the beginning and lost it at some point:

Eh! Eeh! Eye! YOhhhhhh....

The ashes, Miyagi's on drugs! (from Karate Kid)

The IQ. You anyways! Yai WOW! Then it ends on "I want YOU' from like an Uncle Sam Army recruitment ad. This made me feel particularly in demand.

How can you improve it? Maybe make it more healthy? Otherwise, I don't think you can. It's quite abstract and open to interpretation and I already got a lot of out it. Give us another performance sometime soon, but be sure you take care of your voice, if you're going hoarse or having problems at all, just beware and look into some lessons with someone who knows how to do these effects healthily if you can just to make sure things are ok.

Edit:

Oh, by the way, I was going to suggest that when you do find out for sure you can execute some of these voices healthily, even if your goal isn't traditional singing, I'd consider also looking into voice over work for like video games, movies, or cartoons, or whatever. People who can do 'strange' voices healthily (E.G. Gollum from Lord of the Rings), are in significant demand in these fields for 'character' acting. Give it some thought, alright? You just gotta be careful with this kind of voice usage, remember if anything hurts, just stop asap.

hahaha I love your lyrics! Here's what they actually were: "This is our guitar track, I go anyways, I will do the Wilson, and I don't know what I'm saying! Yooow! Yeeooow! Yow. Yeeeeaaaaaueiiiah. And I won't! You!"

Yours were way better though, except I like the "I WILL! do the Wilson!" like it's some kind of dance or something. :D

Anyway so even though none of it hurts I'm still not doing it healthily? I think that if I keep at it they will naturally get better, I'm pretty new to it. Also I'm not sure if you're serious about the voice acting. XD

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Thanks MB20, I've checked out Melissa Cross's stuff but she seems to be very proper with it and even though her featured students do the screams powerfully she only teaches them the weak way, which is very easy. I'll check out Jamie Vendera too though, I haven't heard about him yet. Also how do I check out CVT/Four Pillars? I tried thevocalstudio.com but the domain is for sale :P

Also I realized that right at the beginning I sound a bit like Arnold Schwarzneggar XD

www.TheVocalistStudio.com , overdrive.

Contact me and I can help you... check out the videos on the home page.

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www.TheVocalistStudio.com , overdrive.

Contact me and I can help you... check out the videos on the home page.

Thanks Robert, I checked out some of your stuff (on the site and on youtube)! You are an extremely talented vocalist! Have you dabbled in fry screaming as well? :D

http://soundcloud.com/shawn-sisson/zoom0240 This is me attempting some Lamb of God.

I always thought that false chord technique was the same thing as voice fry but I could be totally wrong.

Anyway, this sound is reasonably loud, the microphone was an omnidirectional zoom mic placed a few feet away from me, and it doesn't feel any worse than normal singing. With a unidirectional stage mic or a closely placed condenser mic it would probably sound way meaner. The closer the mic the more bass frequencies it seems to catch. It tends to be much more growly through a stage mic. That's why you see scene kids cupping the mic to make unintelligible cow noises. Everybody seems to be going after the deep sound.

The objective is usually to make it so that there is no perceivable fundamental frequency. This is actually easiest to achieve by placing resonance close to the sinuses to maximize overtones. Just because you are not singing a single pitch does not mean that resonance is not important. Resonance is the key to unlocking volume and producing sound effortlessly. It is also important to note that there is usually a modal fundamental frequency under all the grit. It only gets completely lost on higher sounds when it is mixed in among the rasp. You can also shift the resonance to create a non modal fundamental frequency. Lamb of God's vocalist does this in his newer stuff. Sounds awful. I love it.

The only other tips I can give is to not use so much air, create a narrow but NOT constricted 'phonation' (or whatever you wanna call this) and once you find a sweet spot, focus on resonance. Bounce it off the roof of your mouth like it's head voice. The bass frequencies are still there even if you place it really high. Don't worry about them too much.

I've never been able to do much with CVT grunt. Some earlier death metal vocalists used it but I think that was because the so called 'fry' technique hadn't really been done yet. The 'fry' is what I use. I avoid grunting because for me it hurts and isn't sustainable. In your clip you succeed in creating the type of rasp I use in a few places such as :25 and :36. It's a bit of a balancing act to maintain isn't it? You can hear me falter in a couple places in my clip. But it's definitely worth it to use this technique. It works best on an open "ah" vowel for you and probably most people. Just work on replicating the sensation on other vowels. Modify vowels if you need to. It also helps to think about creating a legato phrase so you don't lose your phonation. Don't worry about making a deep guttural sound. It will get thicker with practice and you will have access to darker sounds eventually. But just trying to growl like a lion is counterproductive and will hurt you.

Wow thanks a lot srs7593, also thanks for pointing out the points in my clip where I actually do it. I find it very interesting that they relate. At 0:25 I do what is perhaps the is most natural extreme vocal technique I have ever known, but I never thought of it as a real thing. I don't know why I know how to do that but if I ever feel like being loud that is what happens, and I've done it for years (not practicing with it though). Anyway so with that sound though, it feels quite different than when I do all my other stuff. It's like I'm in my falsetto and then I add power. Should I work with that? It doesn't really seem like it goes very low. Then the other one you mentioned is when I try to turn a strong breath into fry by "tightening my grip" I didn't even notice at first 0:36 but you are right, it actually sounds good for like a second. How do I keep that?

Also my goal is to be able to scream like this (I'm confident it is fry, skip to 1:25 for a specific one and there are many others spread across the video):

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Thanks Robert, I checked out some of your stuff (on the site and on youtube)! You are an extremely talented vocalist! Have you dabbled in fry screaming as well? :D

Wow thanks a lot srs7593, also thanks for pointing out the points in my clip where I actually do it. I find it very interesting that they relate. At 0:25 I do what is perhaps the is most natural extreme vocal technique I have ever known, but I never thought of it as a real thing. I don't know why I know how to do that but if I ever feel like being loud that is what happens, and I've done it for years (not practicing with it though). Anyway so with that sound though, it feels quite different than when I do all my other stuff. It's like I'm in my falsetto and then I add power. Should I work with that? It doesn't really seem like it goes very low. Then the other one you mentioned is when I try to turn a strong breath into fry by "tightening my grip" I didn't even notice at first 0:36 but you are right, it actually sounds good for like a second. How do I keep that?

Also my goal is to be able to scream like this (I'm confident it is fry, skip to 1:25 for a specific one and there are many others spread across the video):

Hi bud, that is a fair question and the answer is Yes. In "The Four Pillars of Singing" 2.0 we cover three kinds of vocal distortion, they are all "vocal fry" or techniques that create noise by activation of the ventricular (false) folds. You can see a demonstration of that as well on my youtube channel from a Master Class I did in Munich in November or her on this blog from my web site:

http://thevocaliststudio.com/vocal-distortion-demonstration-tvs-master-class-munich-germany/

Distortion at TVS is developing as well... at this very moment, me and two of my teachers in Europe, TVS MCI Stephanie DUMOUCH from France and TVS CI Gabriele Gozzi (singer for the band RHYME, check them out, great distortion) from Italy are working out about 6-7 different kinds of vocal distortion categories and we will all be scoped by ENTs to get a smart understanding of the physiology around these exotic phonations.

So the short answer is yes, however it is still developing to expand our understanding of more kinds of distortion. Overall, I would not say I am a "Melissa Cross" kind of teacher however. I don't just specialize in vocal effects, I teach people how to sing... in "Pillars" is clearly stated that you have no business messing around with vocal distortion until you first establish a foundation of good bridging and connecting strength and coordination... but a lot of people don't listen... they just want to short cut and learn distortion only... thats not the way to approach it if you are serious.

Hope this helps...

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Then the other one you mentioned is when I try to turn a strong breath into fry by "tightening my grip" I didn't even notice at first 0:36 but you are right, it actually sounds good for like a second. How do I keep that?

I wouldn't really try to tighten anything. Think about narrowing instead. Tightening usually implies strain which in this case will take away volume, be more tiring, and has the potential to hurt you. I noticed that at :36 you move to a pure "ee" vowel. Also in the low vowel clip you posted the "u" vowel sounds really good. Those narrow vowels may be causing the system to become narrow while staying pretty relaxed. I believe the act of narrowing the system creates turbulence which produces more sounds. But you don't want to create a lot of pressure. Just turbulence. Maybe it will help to think falsetto? I usually think of singing in twanged head voice when I scream. It's a similar balancing act.

Also, and this is similar to learning head voice, start quiet and build up volume. It takes a while but it will be worth it. I started screaming at a whisper level along to Children of Bodom in middle school and by my junior year of high school could scream as loud as I could sing (although I generally don't do that because like I said, it creates pressure). Although I think the change my voice underwent during that time may have also helped. I believe the most powerful fry screamers are basses. Bass voices produce more overtones.

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Robert - quick question for you please -

In the distortion videos, you advise doing a siren up to a note in the head voice, and then adding the layer of distortion.. Is there any advice for creating distortion right at the onset of a note, without the siren? Could you explain or post a clip when you get time please?

Thanks

Karan

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Hi bigfoot, remember that the work flow demonstrated in the "Pillars" video tutorials suggests using a siren so you can first achieve good resonant placement. You want to be sure that before you begin to produce your distortion, that the resonant placement is deep into a heady position and your chances for constriction or tissue grinding are reduced.

Note, I'm not suggesting that every time you do vocal distortion in your singing, you would need to siren up to it first, that is just a work flow or technique for training it.

To answer your question, training with straight onsets would not be much different. Examine the work flow components of your onset and notice at the end of the Master Workflow chart of your copy of "Pillars" you will see, immediately after intrinsic anchoring, apply your vocal effect.

Again, what I am saying and is a big part of the TVS methodology is, in order produce the phonation you want to produce, focus on onsets and break down those onsets into physiological, acoustic and psychological components, then repeat the onset "package" oner and over again into a sequential work flow.

How would you do a straight distortion, you would first direct the work flow of the onset... drill the details, then speed it up. That is the code... its one of the top ideas that came out of "Pillars" 2.0. Figure out the work flow and then drill it over and over again.

I hope this helps.

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Thanks Rob, Will keep that in mind.

I do inherently try to break up every little sound into the various components like you mentioned, so its easier to form a logical sequence and then practice that over and over again.. Will try this for distortion and see what happens!!

Cheers, helpful as always \m/

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Hello there,

Mr Lunte : I found your lecture about the different kind of distorsions really interesting (especially the 'husky' effect), but to me there seems to be different kind of distorsions that singers may want to be able to do.

I think about the grunting thing, which a more extreme kind of distorsion compared to FvF overlay or husk distorsion. The whole larynx is vibrating freely, producing a "roaring" sound.

To MB20 : In a previous post about grunt, you mentionned that you have troubles not engaging your true folds while you grunt.

Are you searching for a full, toneless distorsion?

I posted here a grunting attempt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46BNSPNTIXw&feature=youtu.be

If this is what you are searching for, I suggest that you grunt on a lower pitch than what you did, a low chest voice tone. Then, while being sure that your underlying pitch doesn't change, you play on the sound color by using the jaw.

Just my 20cents, I am myself a beginner, and I ended up grunting because I didn't find the right spot for overlay distorsion.

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Hello there,

Mr Lunte : I found your lecture about the different kind of distorsions really interesting (especially the 'husky' effect), but to me there seems to be different kind of distorsions that singers may want to be able to do.

I think about the grunting thing, which a more extreme kind of distorsion compared to FvF overlay or husk distorsion. The whole larynx is vibrating freely, producing a "roaring" sound.

To MB20 : In a previous post about grunt, you mentionned that you have troubles not engaging your true folds while you grunt.

Are you searching for a full, toneless distorsion?

I posted here a grunting attempt

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46BNSPNTIXw&feature=youtu.be

If this is what you are searching for, I suggest that you grunt on a lower pitch than what you did, a low chest voice tone. Then, while being sure that your underlying pitch doesn't change, you play on the sound color by using the jaw.

Just my 20cents, I am myself a beginner, and I ended up grunting because I didn't find the right spot for overlay distorsion.

Cool Forest, I get it... yes, this sounds like a "grunt"... good "devil" stuff... this is fairly easy to get going I think... I can kind of do it right off the bat here, but it takes practice, like all the distortions do. thanks for sharing.

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Cool Forest, I get it... yes, this sounds like a "grunt"... good "devil" stuff... this is fairly easy to get going I think... I can kind of do it right off the bat here, but it takes practice, like all the distortions do. thanks for sharing.

Yep I guess its not as hard to nail as overlay distorsion for instance. There are extreme metal singers that are full time grunting, I don't think it is a really big deal, most of the work may directed towards reducing the vocal hazards involved. But it can also be used a an ornementation technique to sond more "devil" like manowar's singer does on that song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ID6-lHwzwuU

At 0:35 When he sings "when they SEE US"

Or at 0:40 "TO THE END the will pay for their lies"

And so on. He uses slight touches of grunt which really contributes to darken his tone.

Glad I could share sometiong:-)

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Overdrive, I listened to your fry screaming clip and to me it doesn't sound healthy. It sounds like you are forcing the air through your vocal folds, hence a whispering tone below the vocal fry.

Considering fry screaming in general, I don't think it is a healthy technique. You posted a clip of Bullet for my valentine, I have been told that the singer, Matt Tuck uses this kind of scream. But he is not an exemple since he had vocal chords surgery, due to chronic laryngitis that were partly the result of a repeated unhealthy technique.

As a matter of taste (but it only engages me), I think grunting is a much more reliable way to do harsh vocals at a decent volume.

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Overdrive, I listened to your fry screaming clip and to me it doesn't sound healthy. It sounds like you are forcing the air through your vocal folds, hence a whispering tone below the vocal fry.

Considering fry screaming in general, I don't think it is a healthy technique. You posted a clip of Bullet for my valentine, I have been told that the singer, Matt Tuck uses this kind of scream. But he is not an exemple since he had vocal chords surgery, due to chronic laryngitis that were partly the result of a repeated unhealthy technique.

As a matter of taste (but it only engages me), I think grunting is a much more reliable way to do harsh vocals at a decent volume.

I have always heard that the fry scream is a mix of the basic fry noise and: Adding force/mixing your own voice in/adding more air

So this is what I came up with. Honestly I don't think any screaming is "safe", because if you overdo it you'll mess stuff up, and it is 'screaming'. I think Matt Tuck overdid it, I read it was during a lot of tours. Regardless I really love the sound of a GOOD fry scream and this stuff is the closest I've gotten. It's quiet, and has annoying undertones, but I've just started figuring it out and maybe I'll figure out ways to lessen those issues over time.

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Fry screaming, from what I have read/experienced, is a much healthier way of producing distortion as it is not loud and forced but very gentle and relies on using overtones and shaping the mouth and lips accordingly in order to produce the distorted sounds. Having said that, I do find grunting easier, but fry screaming does take a lot of finese in order to get the balance of pressure correct. At the end of the day, both techniques can be used in a healthy manner and both can cause damage (if done incorrectly), but this is true in many technical areas of singing. With the Matt Tuck example, have you considered that it may have been his singing technique that caused the damage?

I have posted this video before, but i think it's a great exmple of the fry scream. @Overdive, you say the sound is quiet with undertones, but i think placing that sound into the context of a recording demonstrates that even though it may not sound good on it's own, that doesn't mean it wont sound good in a song. This is true for a lot of instruments. Plus, it's not like you'll ever just be screaming on your own on stage!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi9aRpPeJ_4

vocals start at 0:46

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