Jump to content

That darned (eh)

Rate this topic


Trip
 Share

Recommended Posts

Having real trouble with this vowel. On the others I can manage to drop below C4 in head voice. On (eh) I crack and wobble, and lose power. Shite. Do you guys have any suggestions about shading/tuning it? Bob, I know you're on the Very Low Headvoice bandwagon, so maybe you could give me a few tips?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey, everyone has a weak vowel so beat yourself up. It will come!! Eh is a close-mid front unrounded vowel which basically means the tongue is positioned mid way between the roof of your mouth and bottom of your mouth and it's as far forward as possible without causing constriction to the sound and the lips are unrounded. Just check you've got that all there to start with on a comfortable note.

Have you looked at vowel modification? all vowels will have to be modified at the extremities of our voices to get the best tonal quality out of them that we can. So your lower notes will become modified vowels instead of pure vowels.

Try raising your soft palate with an 'uh' sound (keeping the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth) then keeping the same feeling in mind, change it to the 'eh' sound you want. so try uh - eh - uh - eh. This should give you some more space in the vocal tract to hopefully create the sound you are looking for.

Hope this helps a bit :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

just to add to gina's comments..."eh" is tricky for me too. sometimes you just have to tweak the vowel with very subtle shades till you feel it start to fall into place. also you might need to back off the volume and feel your way to maximizing the resonance.

referring back to frisell's book, he explains that the "eh" is a midway vowel, which means it tends to incorporate a little of both head and chest voice musculature. perhaps you want to allow that to happen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bob, I do the chest incorporation anyway, since I'm both a thick baritone and I learned to rip it up in the higher head voice some year and a half ago. I think that's the problem; like you said, I have to back up the volume a little bit or my tongue gets locked.

I think I've managed to progress though, by just singing a head-voice B3 on "eee" (my most stable vowel it would seem, "ooo" being a close second), then gradually and simultaneously lowering the jaw and sliding the tongue forward (tip behind lower teeth) - both actions seem to be linked anyway - until I feel I've managed to change the vowel without loss of resonance. I should still work consistently on it so I can be... uh, consistent, but that kind of slow work has made me more aware of the way to shape a vowel for maximum resonance. For example, the major difference between "ah" and "eh", it would seem, is lowering the tongue. The difference between "ah" and "oh" is nothing more than rounding the lips.

These are simple transformations of the vocal tract that I can control and immediately see the results of, instead of trying to will or force stuff to happen in the dark depths of my throat, the way I frequently did until now.

Gina, thank you for the tips, they do seem to be in accord with what works for me :) Just a clarification: I'm trying to gain control over the middle of my voice, it's where I'm terribly self-conscious of how I sound. At the upper extremities it seems to happen on its own for me, both the proper adduction and the modification. Maybe because for about two years I used to train my head-voice singing/screaming mostly extra-high notes. (A4 and above)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the middle range is the tough part. as frisell explained it to me, it's the part where both musculatures overlap and fight for dominance over the other.

when a song sits in the high end of the mid range g4 and up, there's a need to counteract against muscle confusion. you need a level of strength and balance. if you "let go" and throw in too much head, the sound just drops off. if you let go too late, you are more apt to invite constriction and strain.

fun, fun, fun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Something related to my attempts to sing "eh" in the passaggio: is it true that in the passagio you shouldn't really be looking for that chest voice feeling, but for good resonance adjustment? I'm asking this because when I try to start that "eh" on B3 in a firm, decisive way, I either break or just end up doing it in chest voice. When I try to back off in terms of forceful intention, it comes out rather smooth, only I'm not sure how audible it is since the inner ear is a shameless liar as we all know :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Are you a client of The Vocalist Studio? Some of your talk track sounds like you have been possibly working with my training system?

A good tip to get the feel for the "Eh" vowel is to think of the word, "Eggs". If you are a TVS student, you will likely be putting a semi-occluded phonation or resonant tracking on the front end of your onset which would make it "Mmm-Eh". Therefore, think the none sense word, "Meggs". It really works nicely to get you into a true "Eh". Also, if you are not leveraging with your tongue, you will never get to a true "Eh". You can only get to a beautiful and best practice "Eh" by dampening the larynx.

Another common problem is simply, your Embouchure is collapsing and imploding. if you don't drop your jaw and bite... and otherwise shape and maintain a proper embouchure for the "Eh" vowel, then your simply chasing your tail and going to get no where. Train your sirens in front of a mirror and make sure that jaw is down and the upper teeth are exposing the canines.

The reason your "Eh" vowel is not responding for you, is because other components in your phonation package are not calibrated correctly. The components in your phonation package work like cogs in a clock. Take one of those components and upset the balance, and it tweaks all the other components out of calibration.

Why don't you upload a link so we can do a proper diagnosis? Thanks.

Hope this helps...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Robert,

No, not working with the Pillars, nor any other system really. Don't have the purchase money due to where I live :)

Whatever I can get my hands on online is what I use: a couple of books by Richard Miller (got irrevocably deleted unfortunately), some articles, youtube advice (I try to pick the best sort, e.g. famous opera singers' interviews and such, because I know much of the other stuff isn't really that good), and definitely not least, this forum, which is just fantastic :)

Thank you very much about the "bite" advice. I've heard it from others, such as Dame Joan Sutherland and Kiri Te Kanawa, formulated as the "happy surprise", a sort of prioproceptive alignment of the vocal tract by activating the cheekbone muscles. I often forget about it though, and it really does make a difference.

Nor do I always remember to drop the jaw - sometimes I barely move it, mostly because I'm used to practicing while walking on the street (I don't usually have a space to practice more freely), so I don't want to give the impression of being a crazy person. Not that I don't give that impression sometimes, I guess :)))

Also about the tongue - yet another thing I have to remind myself to do. Not opening the jaw enough has led to stuffing my tongue back in the throat on some vowels ("eh" being the main culprit) and I'm learning to unlearn it, so to say :)

Anyway, thanks a huge lot, your advice, combined with my own ideas and advice from the others here has given me a quite clear picture of what needs to be done :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Ok, I'm glad its helping you.

No Embouchure (jaw, bit, tongue, lips) = No singing.

I see you are from Bulgaria? I suppose it is hard to find a good voice teacher in Bulgaria? Dude, believe me when I tell you... it is hard to find a good teacher in any where.

You seem to be very passionate about this and you seem to really want to get it. I hope one day soon you will be able to make an investment in your singing instead of trying to read free content off the internet. I am going to be presumptuous here and its not my place to tell you how to spend your money... but my personal opinion is, if your passion for singing continues like this, you need to get past the "I'm going to do it with free content on the internet" phase. The "FREE" videos on YouTube and such, including mine, are mostly there for marketing. To pique interest with a 'vocal tip'... you can't learn to sing by watching free youtube videos and reading this forum exclusively. Singer's have to invest in themselves and their singing and get real content, real scales to work on and really start training.

I hope to be your coach when you are ready.

Hope this helps...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, definitely hard to find a good vocal coach over here :) Most don't know about head voice, or if they do, they just don't care about it. Rather crusty, old-school coaching mostly, basically teaching you how to yell most efficiently.

Thing is, very few people over here, listeners I mean, are even able to appreciate male singing in a high tessitura and what it involves in terms of skill. It's how Bulgarian music has been for the last 50-some years. Male pop-stars have been predominantly skilled shouters.

And in the last few years it's been much more about likability and showmanship than actual singing chops. If you're able to carry a tune, smile often and in general have an endearing personality, you have a shot at being a star. Kinda figures that the three biggest male pop-stars in my country are low-voiced dudes, rarely showing skill even in the baritone tessitura. (Unlike legendary Western crooners like Presley, Sinatra, Tom Jones, Engelbert Humperdink and so on.)

On the other hand, I've watched the last few seasons of American Idol closely and especially last season and in the current one there's a staggering amount of dudes with very good to great control over all their registers. In the current season particularly there was a big black dude in the Hollywood rounds, a natural low baritone, singing low-baritone tunes, but with the most striking head-voice tone here and there. And of course, no need to mention that high, agile singing is all the rage nowadays in male pop and rock.

But in my country the state of all the arts is a long and painful topic anyway.

Have no doubt though that I'll make use of your services as soon as I can afford it :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...