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How to sing softly?

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bobcat
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I purchased pillars about 6 months ago and its been great - has really helped me with my hard rock singing in terms of range, pitch, and tone.

I'm playing some more acoustic stuff though and can't sing softly at all - how do I do it? I can't hit "soft" notes from about c3 and above - they are these breathy "things" that sound crappy, not a nice solid yet silky smooth soothing tone.

I guess some good examples of soft singing would be

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44A9iDQNrss

I've tried adding MORE support than my hard rock volume, I've tried tweaking placement to even deeper and shallower when I get to C4 and above, but can't get the hang of anything. I've tried messi-di-voce exercises but I cannot smooth the break b/w falsetto and light phonation from c4-a4. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to fix these things? Suggested techniques and exercises to use?

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it's probably because you are compressing your voice too early and too strongly. If you want to keep your voice on pitch as you go higher, the voice compensates with more compression. That works for singing loudly, but bad for singing softly.

Work up the scale slowly, with very quiet "me", with just enough force to make it resonant and modal, but light enough that your are almost humming in falsetto, and keep a nice even volume. Once you get to a high enough note where your voice starts to crack, starting adding in the compression, and just enough to hit the notes.

with enough practice you will know how to put the proper compression in to get it fully sustained, but not overpower the note

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Replace compression with loudness. the higher you sing the louder you get, you are putting TOO much loudness into the notes

Singing higher notes softly is one of my top ambitions. When I started singing, I used to just belt everything that was too high for me to do any other way. Now I've learned a bit more how to access my head resonance, but I still don't have much control over the volume. If I don't want to be loud as heck, I basically have to go into a disconnected falsetto or hooty voice.

Do you think you could take minute to listen to a recording of me and see what I can do to have more control over the volume? If you want, you can also check out the other recordings and hear what happens when I try not to get too loud, i.e. flip into falsetto.

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I'll try my best. It seems like when I sing the higher soft notes, it feels like the back of my tongue is grabbing onto the resonance, where when i don't engage the back of the tongue, the falsetto takes over.

So it's this resonating of the back tongue that works for me, which would lead me to highly recommend working your vibrato, since that works that specific spot. And learning to sing soft notes works well when you sing soft songs. For me I look for singers like frank sinatra, dean martin, inkspots; for the quality of pretty high notes, but a very light and soft tone. Hope that helps

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gandle, i rarely critique someone's singing....but i need to be perfectly honest with you. get some vocal instruction with a teacher.

from what i hear, especially the first ones.......

here's a list of things you don't want to do when you do a siren exercise.

siren too fast

siren too loud at the top (unless you're doing a loud siren in which case you start loud and end equally loud.)

siren without warming up

shouting into the siren

sirening without a plan....what vowel did you start out on?

siren without t/a and c/t musculature transition. (some degree, depending on what you intent is).

siren with support

how about trying a simple 5-notes scale on "aw" as in hawk?

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gandle, i rarely critique someone's singing....but i need to be perfectly honest with you. get some vocal instruction with a teacher.

from what i hear, especially the first ones.......

Man, I kind of feel special that I'm doing something so catastrophically wrong to illicit a rare response from you. Is there anything I can salvage from what I'm doing, or do I need to start over from scratch?

here's a list of things you don't want to do when you do a siren exercise.

siren too fast

siren too loud at the top (unless you're doing a loud siren in which case you start loud and end equally loud.)

siren without warming up

shouting into the siren

sirening without a plan....what vowel did you start out on?

siren without t/a and c/t musculature transition. (some degree, depending on what you intent is).

siren with support

how about trying a simple 5-notes scale on "aw" as in hawk?

Just to clarify, apart from the ambiguous vowel (and maybe going too fast), everything I'm doing, I do because I don't know any other way without my voice breaking apart. Can you post some examples of properly done sirens? And maybe link me to what t/a and c/t muscular transition is?

I don't want to hijack this thread, so if you want to continue, you can post in mine.

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i'm sorry......i didn't mean to beat you up about this, nor did a mean to hurt any feelings... (that's why i don't like to comment.) i just know that i sincerely wanted you to get off on the right track (or back on the right track).

if you want to skype with me, i'll be happy to do it that way.

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  • 2 years later...

You should also practice your flexibility when learning how to sing effectively. Solfege (do re mi) should be done slowly and then quickly and then slowly again, so that your voice becomes flexible as you learn that control with every note. You can also control your volume as you begin softly and then crescendo to a higher volume and then back down again. The key to effective singing is controlling every note and every sound you make, not just in pushing the sound from your throat. If you try these simple exercises and remember these tips, your singing will be the best it can be.

Here's a video to help you sing better: Vocal Exercises for Singers

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