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"The single, sustained falsetto tone" Anthony Frisell

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Nicogratouille
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Hi everyone, I'm Nick :cool:

Just signed in to this forum today, but I have been sneaking around for a little while ;) . I've been especially interested in the posts about Anthony Frisell's vocal method. I have a very nasty habit of pulling up chest, and think the idea of building a strong head voice, to balance the registers sounds great!

So I've started doing Frisell's exercise: "The single, sustained falsetto tone". It's the first exercise in the book "The Tenor Voice". It consists in picking a major scale (A major), hold the top A on a "oo" vowel, then the next note, G#, F#, and so on... and try not to blend into chest. Then you do the same on a "ee" vowel.

The sound I get on "oo" is very weak, and airy, no vibrato. Totally unlike my normal singing voice in this area.

It feels like I'm not keeping my chords together. Is it a problem?

I have no problem getting past my passagio with this sound, without breaking.

I've read all the pages in the book prior to the exercise, but I want to make sure I'm doing it correctly.

Could somebody record a sample of themselves doing the exercise? so I (and maybe others?) can have an idea of how it sounds, when it's done right?

Cheers!

Nick

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just singing it won't help as much as seeing it too. "oo" isn't one of the most popular vowels to train.

keep in mind, it will be light and airy when you first begin, but in time (several weeks) it will begin to grow and thicken.

just concentrate on staying up and out of the throat as you descend the scale, and do them every day.

where are you located? usa? what state?

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I think I'm completely out of my throat when I do it, and it becomes harder, the lower I get (pitch wise). I feel it as a totally new vocal coordination.

I live in Denmark, why are you asking?

Btw, thanks for your reply! :)

i was saying you could call me on skype.

yes, you are out of the throat during the whole exercise but as you descend to the lower notes you'll feel like the chest voice wants to kick in and you need to resist that by staying in that heady placement and singing softer. you'll probably need to support a little more as you go lower too.

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Yes, this is exactly how it feels!

I'll set up a Skype account and let you know. :)

Just have a couple more questions:

- Should I gradually transpose the exercise down, so I get to the very bottom of my range? Also, should I start higher, if I'm comfortable there, say on a high C for instance?

Right now I'm doing the Bb scale, A, Ab, G and F#.

- Are there any good exercises I can combine with this?

Before I was doing sls exercises from my teacher. Now my workout only consists of a lip roll on a major arpeggio (octave, 5th, 3rd, root), starting in head and transposing down, and the "sustained falsetto note" exercise.

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with frisell, go in the order he describes. start with only the vowels "ee" and "oo." yes, start as high you can "comfortably" go, and descend as low as as is comfortable. remember it needs to be legato, and keep it placed in the head all the way down. you will need to lower the volume as you go into the lower notes. you'll sense this.

if you feel it's feminine soprano-ish sounding, don't worry. that's fine to do!

it's really not that difficult if you relax the throat, the jaw, all of it....

the beauty comes after several weeks (or sooner depending on your level) the heady, light weight sound, grows increasingly thicker and more resonant, and i have found you get aquainted with a vowel the "oo" that can really resonate like crazy when you adjust for it just right.

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the beauty comes after several weeks (or sooner depending on your level) the heady, light weight sound, grows increasingly thicker and more resonant, and i have found you get aquainted with a vowel the "oo" that can really resonate like crazy when you adjust for it just right.

Sounds awesome! :)

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cool, but be patient and consistent. no pushing, no straining. what he explained to me is you're teaching your voice to phonate from a higher placement without "digging up" with the chest (ta musculature).

however, as you know from reading the book, eventually you will have to incorporate the chest musculature to mix the chest component into the voice..

so understand this is great, but preliminary.

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Nicogratouille -

I would say transposing isnt really required at the moment.. Do this exercise from the G above middle C (or A if you like) down to Bb below middle C, over and over for a few weeks / months till you see its impact on your voice. Make sure the technique is absolutely right, and keep the sound light.. Like Bob said, don't worry about sounding like a woman, in fact, Go FOR IT! :)

The slides are great - once you're comfy with them, move on to messa di voce and other exercises..

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Hej Bigfoot,

I'm not afraid of sounding like a woman (in fact, I used to imitate female opera singers a lot :))... but because I cut down on the volume (very light: p or pp) and try to make a straight tone (no vibrato), as described in the book. I sound more like a 8 year old choir boy! :roll eyes: But it's all right with me as long as it serves a purpose.

If i cut down on the range, like you suggest. Should I then practice the same two scales (Ab and G) several times, during my practice session? Also, how long can I practice this for? 15min? 30min?

I'm keeping a heady placement all the time, but the lower I get, the harder it is to control the tone: it starts shaking a little bit. I guess the "chest" muscles are so used to being in control down there they don't understand why they're being put out of the game. Or is it something else?

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frisell recommends starting on tenor c if you can and going as low as comfortable. when you get into the low notes the chest ta musculature wants to kick in....don't let it. read the section on that exercise. use very little air as you get lower and add a little more support.

it's also okay to messa di voce with this heady placement a little too.

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hey guys I read the Frisell book yrs ago. I still have it. I actually spoke to him on the phone. I think I mentioned that in a thread before. Ok my only caution when doing this (which is very similar to Reids book) You can practice these scales in your falsetto once you achieve this don't over do it. Your voice will get used to this and when you go to sing it will be fighting the vocalise muscle..Basically separate the registers make sure you practice as much chest as you do falsetto. Or you will be un balanced. I use falsetto exercises when a student has a hard time letting go something as simple as a yodel and then i have them hold the notes like Frisell talks about. Once they achieve this you dont need to do it and over do it. I believe that keeping my falsetto keeps my career going but i dont over do it anymore i just make sure its there. I'm telling you this from experience not from reading a book. Remember" practice like you sing". If you sing rock, r&b jazz whatever you have to practice in your fullvoice. A baseball player doesnt swing a wiffle ball bat a practice he usually uses a heavier bat and then when he's in the game he can swing a lighter bat like nothing .. Make sense.

Please contact me im here to help

Daniel@www.danielformicavocalstudio.com :D

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hey guys I read the Frisell book yrs ago. I still have it. I actually spoke to him on the phone. I think I mentioned that in a thread before. Ok my only caution when doing this (which is very similar to Reids book) You can practice these scales in your falsetto once you achieve this don't over do it. Your voice will get used to this and when you go to sing it will be fighting the vocalise muscle..Basically separate the registers make sure you practice as much chest as you do falsetto. Or you will be un balanced. I use falsetto exercises when a student has a hard time letting go something as simple as a yodel and then i have them hold the notes like Frisell talks about. Once they achieve this you dont need to do it and over do it. I believe that keeping my falsetto keeps my career going but i dont over do it anymore i just make sure its there. I'm telling you this from experience not from reading a book. Remember" practice like you sing". If you sing rock, r&b jazz whatever you have to practice in your fullvoice. A baseball player doesnt swing a wiffle ball bat a practice he usually uses a heavier bat and then when he's in the game he can swing a lighter bat like nothing .. Make sense.

Please contact me im here to help

Daniel@www.danielformicavocalstudio.com :D

dan, you're so right. these are preliminary exercises. you still have to join up the chest with the head and mix and blend.

anyone who does not own the book, and are just doing the head voice slides has gotten an incomplete understanding.

frisell told me the slides are just a preliminary step to get the head voice built up without involving the chest voice musculature.

but make no mistake about it. eventually the chest has to get involved in the production.

frisell is very clear about the amount of work and time that goes into his method.

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Bob - what's the next exercise you do after the slides? I'm currently doing the oo and ee slides, then holding the note out for about 10 - 12 seconds, and finally a messa voce on EE.. total workout takes me about 20 min in the morning and 20 min in the evening (while driving to and from work!)

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well, i guess it depends on if you intend to run with frisell exercises and follow his method step by step exclusively. then i would say just re-read the section that comes next. i believe you move on to the other vowels in the order he said in the book.

i know for myself, i try to thicken the slides and add more resonance to have the tone come close to the sound of the chest register.

since i had the polyp experience, i approach things a lot slower. i don't try to rush anything anymore.

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cool - i was re-reading his stuff, and am now doing the oo - oh transition on the same note, much tougher than it sounds!! Still keeping it absolutely light. Am not going to try thickening the sound till the 'ramp' is ready.. lets see how it turns out!

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Hey guys, interesting thread. Just a quick question - when you do these descending head exercises, what is a "standard" range that most average(baritone) males should be able to sing down to? E.g. I know robert lunte likes to say that it goes down to about a d#4. But is there any harm in training it even lower? Say to about a c4 or maybe even b3

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Where does Lunte say not to go below a D#4 for baritones??? I'm confused!

You can use these exercises ideally down to around Bb below middle C (as per Frisell's blog / book). These are exercises to build the head voice, so doing them in the chest range isn't really the point of focus..

Essentially, stick to a range that includes your passagio, and is comfortable for you.. As you get better, you can start higher up and come down to Bb below middle C.

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ah i see. well im not sure he actually says *not* to do it, just that he says that's where the head voice region is for most guys.

i think i got it from somewhere else that going too low can be a bad thing. but personally i find i need to use more effort in chest voice around d4/c4, and so would prefer to be able to do it casually in a head voice (somewhere down the track, when/if it's actually possible for me to do so)

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he mentions that the break or the passagio for most men starts around D#4, which holds true by and large..

So essentially if you want to be singing around that range and higher, the configuration inside the throat will have to change to hit the notes without harming the voice.. pushing the voice up will only cause pain and a sore throat, not to mention choking of the note.

hope this helps

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi again,

Just got my sound card working, so I thought I'll try and record a couple of head voice slides on "oo" from High C and down to my chest register and post them here. Maybe you can tell me if I'm doing it correctly or not, and give me a few tips?

Well, here they are: http://www.box.com/s/f22bba7afca45ec8e9a5

The first one I tried to be really light. Hard to keep it all in head voice, couple of breaks. Am I doing it right here?

The second one I tried to imitate a woman. Basically I think it sounds the same as the first one but with more volume. This one was a lot easier to do. But maybe too much volume for the exercise?

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on the first one, it's hard to hear what vowel you chose..was it "ee" or "oo?"

it should be a very distinct "oo" or an open "ee". be clear that the "ee" has to be open like the mouth might be when you sing an "ah" not a "speaking" "ee."

the second is incorrect. you are scooping up to the starting note a bad habit you want to break. if you are just starting out, sing these just light enough to connect folds, with no air seeping through.

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