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I'd like to share a few tips:

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Jeran
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Hello, all.

Lately, I've been experiencing major breakthroughs in my voice, and I'd like to share some things that have been extremely helpful. Most of them you already know, but I'd like to share them with you, because I feel they bare repeating. Now, these are just tips that have helped me tremendously, and I realize that they may not work for everyone. But I hope some can get something from them.

Bring headvoice/falsetto down: I've learned to take headvoice/falsetto down to well into my chest range. I can take it down to around the G below middle C. I learned to do this by starting in a pure head tone, around A4 (the A above middle C), and just slowly taking it as low as possible. Over about two weeks, I've smoothed out the breaks and have a very usable head voice way lower than I thought I'd be able to. This makes bridging WAY easier. The voice almost does it by itself. If you strengthen pure head voice way below your break, you can pretty much bridge whenever you want. It also gives you a bigger sound color palette to work with, because I can sing most notes in chest, head, or falsetto.

Practice OO and EE: Lately, I've been doing every exercise in OO and EE vowels. Trust me: you learn to go up and down your entire range with OO and EE, and you won't believe the freedom you'll find. You'll open up your voice majorly. At least I did. Learn to sing with these two vowels and all of the other vowels will fall into place by themselves, pretty much.

Start light, and build to full voice: Do a slow siren, and take note of any place within your range that cracks, breaks, is weak, or is otherwise not doing what you want it to. Find whatever note or notes that these weak spots are, and record a tape of the notes, or get a pitch pipe. Start that note in a light falsetto on an EE or OO, and gradually increase intensity to a full, ringing head voice, adding twang as you go. Work every single weak spot this way, and you should find that those weak spots disappear.

Again, these are just tips that helped me personally, and I hope someone else can get something out of them.

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Interesting.

Do you have any exercises or tips on how to achieve a pure head voice and getting rid of the airy falsetto tone?

I still have the airy falsetto tone around A4.

I have Four Pillars to work with so I understand twang etc.

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D. Starr - I find that when I have trouble producing a pure head tone, I work on strengthening the breathy tone. Start on the tone you're having trouble with in a very light, heady placement, as purely as you can manage. Sustain that tone very lightly, as purely as you can manage, very gradually increasing intensity. The moment you lose clarity or a pure tone, drop the intensity just enough to regain it. Gradually, you'll find that you can get louder and louder with the tone you want. You just have to develop it. The second you lose purity, drop the intensity/volume and go back to where you can sustain it. Remember that if you can't do it lightly, you can't do it full out. At least, the above works for me, anyway.

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jeran, this is exactly what frisell teaches. it's so important to understand why this is so. do you have his book?

d. starr, it would seem to me you might be (again, i'm just a singer) a candidate for some exercises to help you with maintaining fold connection...

onsets, and fold compression exercises will help build strength to hold the folds together so you can hang on to those notes without breaking apart.

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I find it really interesting when people contradict each other. Robert says never to use EE or OO. Frisell and Bob say those vowels are great. Sadolin says those vowels will drag you towards neutral (soft, light singing) so use them if you want to practice neutral.

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VIDEOHERE- I do have his book, but I haven't read it yet. I have the Kindle version, and I lent my Kindle to my mother, as she wanted to read a book I've got on it. But if he's teaching what I'm doing, then I'm very excited to read it! I want my Kindle back, Mom!

I found out about all this by emulating Freddie Mercury. If you listen to Queen's earlier work, you hear him using falsetto and head voice all over the place, and he has a very pure head voice pretty low in his range, and so I started exercising my own low head register, thinking that maybe that was the secre to his tone. I noted that earlier in his career, his high notes were much lighter, and I think it's because unknown to him, he was doing what we teach here. He was very shy, and I'll bet that early in his life, he sang more quietly and developed his voice that way. Only later in his career did he start belting more in chest, which resulted in the nodules he got, I think. Anyway, as soon as I started thickening up my low, very pure head tones, I experienced major vocal freedom.

Also, I find that strengthening a pure head tone, rather than the really twangy one, requires less vowel modification and lets you sing more naturally. Trust me, if you train pure head voice, you'll thicken the tone to sound chesty without having to force as much twang. I'll be shot for this, but I kinda feel that the oft emulated Geoff Tate tone creates a somewhat fake and overly nasal tone. Head voice is just an extension of one's natural voice, and with training, it'll sound huge on it's own without having to use major twang. Again, just my opinion, I'm not trying to say anyone else is doing it wrong. This just worked for me, but it might not work for everyone.

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Eggplantbren - I marvel at the different opinions, too. No wonder singing is a lifelong pursuit. It's hard to train when people are pulling you in the wrong directions.

I think, and I realize I'm not educated or a teacher, so take my advice with a huge grain of salt, that not strengthening OO and EE is why people can't sing OO and EE.

Listen to Steve Perry of Journey - you'll very rarely hear him sing "Don't stop beh-LAAAYY-vaaaaayng." Or when did Freddie Mercury sing "WAAAAYY are the ChAAHmpions! And WAAAAY'll Kayp on FAAAAHHHtAYng..." Vowel modification may be a more technically proficient way to sing, but I hate the way it sounds. I love Myles Kennedy, but it took me ages to get used to his vowel modification.

I've trained myself to sing OO and EE throughout my entire range, and it's yet to give me a problem. Because I work on it, I don't shun it. It may be technically wrong, but I don't sing to impress teachers, I sing because it's my art.

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all this is great jeran, but you really should read the whole book, page by page. i read more it more than once and brother ron i think read it more.

further along in the book, you still will be faced with the painstaking task of incorporating the chest musculature into the tone to produce what he calls the "performing voice."

when he did this with me, i left the session vocally exhausted.

he wants you to strenghten head musculature first, because it's generally the weaker musculature.

i have been doing exactly and feeling exactly what you are feeling, but please keep in mind, it's only the beginning. the head voice grows and it's gets closer to the other side (figuratively speaking, chest is on the other side of head voice) but there is still the chest musculature component.

i am at the part where i am stressing into the middle voice (swelling/de-swelling) of the tone and inviting the chest musculature in and releasing it. now it becomes very much a balancing act, a finesse that's called for.

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I cannot wait to read this book. If I'm on the right path, I want to continue it. It may sound like I don't care much for technique, but it's more that I want to balance technique with the art of expression. Does Frissell go into vowel modification in depth? If he trains you on OO and EE, I'm hoping he's not as big on it as some people are. It seems like most other teachers avoid those two like the plague.

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I am a little way into the book at the moment, finding it very interesting.

@Jeran: Frisell stresses the importance of using the 5 pure Italian vowels and NOT to use vowel modifications as it ruins the clarity of the pure vowels. It does make a lot of sense.. why modify the vowel to get faster results, only to then spend time trying to get the original pure vowel sound back, when you can just work on the pure vowel in the first place.

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why modify the vowel to get faster results, only to then spend time trying to get the original pure vowel sound back, when you can just work on the pure vowel in the first place.

This is exactly, to the T, the way I feel! I've never understood vowel modification, it has always seemed like a way to encourage laziness, rather than training for the purity and clarity of tone and diction that I love in the singers I want to emulate! Now I'm even MORE excited to read this book. I'm visiting my mother on Sunday, I'll have her hurry up with my Kindle, so I can get it back.

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there is always going to be some subtle vowel modification (shading) per a particular note/vowel.

there has to be. when you go up higher in the voice you need to release tension and channel the air stream and get to the appropriate resonating cavities.

the beauty is when it's done right, it is indistinguishable. you're vowel modifying and you may not even realize it.

just run an "ah" up the scale. there's nothing wrong with doing it. when you do it too much the vowels become overly covered and become dull.

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I think it can be a good way to aid achieving the sensations you should be feeling and accessing the appropriate laryngeal configurations, as long as it's not detrimental to the enunciation of the lyrics or the tone. I think in order to achieve this you need a great deal of skill to just "shade" the vowel slightly in your favour.

I'm still undecided on the topic.. I've never had a revelatory experience with vowel modifications, however in some instances they have made things a little easier. It's not an area that I have fully explored and my current teacher hasn't covered them in depth, but as i mentioned, some of the dopey "uh" sounds have been useful.

There's not denying that they can be used to great effect and that using different vowels can also yield great results f.ex if you listen to any of Rob's songs where he modifies on big open vowels, the exact opposite of Frisell's teachings! but it's also important to remember that Frisell of the classical school. When compared to more contemporary vocal coaches, it's evident that they are going for very different sounds, so there is also the argument that it's a stylistic choice. The "laziness" of the modifications actually lends itself to a number of contemporary genres of music.

@Jeran: I think it's really great that you've had these revelations on your own. It shows you are heading down the right path and is a lot more satisfying when you can say you've done it off your own back :) When I first read your initial post, i actually thought the topic was going to be about Frisell, that's how spot on you are with your thinking. I'm very excited for you!

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i can empathize with your being on the fence about it, and that you feel like it's perhaps an easy way out.

but just from my own experience, the modifications will come about somewhat reflexively over time. whether your cognizant of it or not, i'd be curious to know.

i myself, would not have figured this out (vowel modifications) on my own, but once it was explained to me (by ken tamplin) it became ingrained in a few weeks.

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I've always felt that Ken over-modifies. Again, it may be technically correct, but it detracts from the art, in my opinion. I do think you naturally modify, and just like Videohere says, it's more reflexive than anything. That's natural and helps the voice. But those big ugly "me to may" type modifications annoy the heck out of me. Like I said, when do you hear Steven Tyler sing "sang with may, sang for the yay-er...draym ahn!" You don't. It would sound stupid. So why train yourself to sing that way?

But I totally get modifying to more open vowels if you're going for a bigger, more classial sound. There's really no other way to do it. But you don't have to go crazy with it.

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Do you consciously modify videohere? I Imagine that over time you would gravitate towards certain vowels as you start to find out which ones work for you and how you can use them effectively, i'd like to think that at least as for me, going through every vowel in a song you are going to sing kinda seems to drain the emotion and connection with the song, like you're not thinking about the words, just the vowels.

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i did very consciously initially...during the exercises.......

i had a chart posted on my computer that said "ah, aw, uh, oo."

i did ken tamplin's exercises and paid strict attention to how he modified.

then i started to feel and sense my own way and found that "aw" worked and was more suited to me than "ah." or that as a heavier tenor, "uh" was my friend...it's all experimenting and discovery laced with a lot of patience.

then i would do litterally do thousands of scales and arpeggios and over time (again that key word "time") the whole thing starts to become automatic and an involuntary reactionary memory starts to kick in.

at first it was sporatic success, then it became more consistent. things happen over time.

i work my ass off, but that's just the kind of person i am. i can't just do something without putting my all into it.

now as far as in songs, you will find that the memory factor will start to kick in as your singing somewhat instinctively over time.

no way will this rob you of the emotion of the song. in fact, it might even enhance the emotion, because the freedom and release these shadings give you leave you with more freedom.

you certainly don't want to be concerned with vowel shading while you're trying to tell a story.

and again, these modifications are so, so, subtle....

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Brother Bob speaketh the truth, verily I say unto thee, mine fellow travellers on this long way to the top.

Embrace the head voice, become with it, make it yours. Until it is so strong that you can let "chest" back in as you desire. This will take a while. And the longer one resists it, the longer it takes. And no, practicing Frisell's techniques will not make you sound operatic. Being an opera singer is a whole 'nother world as far as intent and sound ideal. But it will build one's vocal power and flexibility.

One of the things I find valuable about Frisell's work is that it teaches you how to manage your breath, by function of the exercises. Sort of a wax on, wax off thing. You are waxing and buffing and then, you are doing the movements you need. Same goes for getting into head voice. After a while, you find that you can do what you want with the breath, which takes the strain off the folds.

Everyone's structure is a little different and slightly different variations of a vowel work better for some than others. I notice that I sound a bit flat on uh sound, perhaps because it is dropping the tongue to much, for me.

There's nothing wrong with vowel mod. Even though we sing on the vowel, what defines the word is articulation and diction. Even if Tyler is modifying to an eh sound, the end effect is still "sing with me, sing for the year ...."

In essence, make the vowel sound that works for you and let the brief consonants create the rhythm and word. Articulate with the consonants, not the vowel.

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I find it really interesting when people contradict each other. Robert says never to use EE or OO. Frisell and Bob say those vowels are great. Sadolin says those vowels will drag you towards neutral (soft, light singing) so use them if you want to practice neutral.

The preferred vowels for CVT curbing are I as in sit, O as in woman and Uh as in hungry. This is the mode which Plant and Steve Perry use for most high notes so these vowels are in fact correct for that singing. It's the easiest vowels in curbing, you can often hear some singers who use this mode naturally modifying vowels towards I, O or Uh.

Here is an example, at 0:52 Bolton sings "watch them roll awiii again", simply because it's curbing and it's the appropriate vowel. I is also an edge vowel.

You are correct in that EE and OO are neutral vowels but the difference you hear between EE and I or OO and O is not that big. In CVT it's okay to stray slightly from the correct vowels but it takes a bit more skill.

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a lot of tenors have that "uh" thing going on. guys like richard page from mr. mister you will hear that a lot in "kyrie."

when he hits that first g4 "kyrie" at 1:33 to 2:15 there's just no room for error. if you were to speak pronounce "kyrie" the "ee" would just shut it all down.

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the "uh" is actually going on above the throat. he's likely purposely directing the air tension behind the soft palette and up into the resonating cavities. none of that sound can afford to get stuck in the mouth or throat.

a non-skilled singer would probably try to get this with a "key" instead of a "keuh" lol!!!!

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the "uh" is actually going on above the throat. he's likely purposely directing the air tension behind the soft palette and up into the resonating cavities. none of that sound can afford to get stuck in the mouth or throat.

a non-skilled singer would probably try to get this with a "key" instead of a "keuh" lol!!!!

Haha yes! That is what I meant, the yawn setup etc, my bad for being unclear :)

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all this is great jeran, but you really should read the whole book, page by page. i read more it more than once and brother ron i think read it more.

further along in the book, you still will be faced with the painstaking task of incorporating the chest musculature into the tone to produce what he calls the "performing voice."

when he did this with me, i left the session vocally exhausted.

he wants you to strenghten head musculature first, because it's generally the weaker musculature.

i have been doing exactly and feeling exactly what you are feeling, but please keep in mind, it's only the beginning. the head voice grows and it's gets closer to the other side (figuratively speaking, chest is on the other side of head voice) but there is still the chest musculature component.

i am at the part where i am stressing into the middle voice (swelling/de-swelling) of the tone and inviting the chest musculature in and releasing it. now it becomes very much a balancing act, a finesse that's called for.

I have been reading many of your posts recently and have a few questions and comments to share with you.

For a little bit of background, I have only been singing anything for about a year and have run into troubles the past few months. I have have went weeks where I could not even sing a note and things have very inconsistent and unreliable most of the time when I sing. When I first started singing, I never had a inconsistent voice. I have recently (In the last two weeks) started doing Frisell's drills and they have definitely put me in the right direction. I never have really known what it was like to actually activate my head voice until now. Pitch wise, I was able to sing from Josh Turner to Steve Perry but my tone was not bright and I was probably doing a lot of damage.

What do you mean by vocally exhausted? I played college football and other sports my entire life. I don't think I have a good feeling of how exhausted should feel vs actually damaging my voice. That is probably how I got in the position I am in right now. When I am actually singing (And not doing the drills) I eventually can get to a point where I have that full head resonance with what I think is probably the right amount of chest, or at least close to the right amount. Once I hit this spot, it becomes pretty natural and I do not think much about how much chest I am using. The problem is that I want to sing for an hour straight and try to sing the phonebook when I have this feeling, because I feel like I can actually do it. Tuesday of last week I sang the best I ever have in my life. Everything felt wonderful and I never ran into problems until the next day. The next day, I could sing a little bit but I felt I should not do to much. From Thursday to Sunday I was not able to speak at all. I literally could not even make a note in falsetto or head voice and could not do the begginer Frisell drills or even sing at all. I am not sure if this was the result of me singing far too long or just more of the case of seeing the damage and inconsistency reocurring that have been hurting me for months. I also do have chronic, severe, sinusitus and that might contribute to something. To you, how does "vocally exhausted" feel? What are the sensations right after singing and the following days when experiencing this exhaustion? Should I ever be at the point where I cannot even make a falsetto note at all? This was the first time singing since I started doing Frisell's drills. Was it possible that I just went too long doing something that was new to my body?

Also, how do you warm up when singing? Frisell seems like he does not suggest singing after doing his drills. I think I read that you should wait 24 hours so your body can adapt to the changes it is learning from the drills. That being said, I do not want to start doing a bunch of chesty warm-ups that focus on bottom-up phonations, but that is all I know. Outside of using "maw" what else do you do?

Sorry for the long post and thank you for your time.

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