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Not singing the bottom heavy

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jonpall
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Ken Tamplin said in a Robert Plant analysis video on youtube that he doesn't recommend singing your lower notes with too much volume and power, especially if you have to sing high notes afterwards.

Does anyone know why this is so? I have my own ideas but would like to hear yours.

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i had asked him a similar question. it has to with voice preservation and getting into a top set placement. he said once you have the voice positioned high, (like you would for plant vocals) it's much easier to sing while you remain up there and set in nice there than to have to come down and up again.

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In Frisell's method, especially during training, he points that there should be low volume and not much weight in one's bottom range, primarily because you then let the "chest" controls retain the dominance they have had in your speaking life.

But I think, hearing wise, lower notes are more expansive and don't need as much volume as many may have ascribed to them. So, by keeping your louder volume up high, you allow a mix to happen, so to speak. Please forgive my redneck description. But not letting as much weight in the bottom, you keep the coordination you need for the highs.

Frisell also points out that tenors, especially in the beginning of their training, may lose their very bottom notes. That's the time to fish or cut bait. Are you a tenor, or a baritone trying to be tenor? Or a tenor who thinks he needs to be a baritone aiming for tenor?

I was in the last description, expecting myself to sound lower as I grew older. Once I quit trying to be baritone trying to sing high and simply sing high, which is so much easier on my voice, I have cleared up a number of problems I had.

Singing is mental.

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I would imagine that if we can assume that it's not a great idea to sing a high pitched phrase with as much volume as you possibly can, you should set up that phrase with only about medium volume on your low notes. I have the feeling that this will make it easier to continue singing with medium volume when the high part comes - or at least not with 100% volume.

It might also sound disconnected if you gives as much volume as you can for your low notes and then only half of it for the high notes. Right?

Or, you could also just sing at 100% possible volume throughout your range, but I have the feeling that that is rarely a good idea.

What you think?

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I would imagine that if we can assume that it's not a great idea to sing a high pitched phrase with as much volume as you possibly can, you should set up that phrase with only about medium volume on your low notes. I have the feeling that this will make it easier to continue singing with medium volume when the high part comes - or at least not with 100% volume.

It might also sound disconnected if you gives as much volume as you can for your low notes and then only half of it for the high notes. Right?

Or, you could also just sing at 100% possible volume throughout your range, but I have the feeling that that is rarely a good idea.

What you think?

As I am being instructed, its a compromise... To have full projection on head you would have to use too much frontal placement and covering... Would sound like crap on most pop material... So decrease volume, open horizontaly, and keep some covering there both for protection and tonal consistency (not squeaking).

Horizontal openning + full projection... Doesnt last a song, or at least I dont. From my own mistakes, if I try it, on 3 or 4 phrases my voice gets tired and it becomes almost impossible to keep it covered, which makes the problem even worse.

And, btw, whats the purpose of that tongue sticking out and those veins popping in this video? Shouldnt it be about technique?

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If I understand you correctly, Felipe, you're saying that you think Ken Tamplin is pushing too much and singing too loud in this video? I often feel that same way - that if you sing at 100% full volume, you'll last shorter.

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i no longer think that whole vein sticking out thing is not a good reliable indicator of tension. some folks have big protuding vains especially in their arms where others have none.

let's face it, tension is inevitable when singing hard core like this. it becomes a question of how to best minimize it.

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Agree with videohere, you can't hear or see if a sound is strain.

The most frequent visits to ents is by classical singers voice teachers and regular teachers I've heard. Not tons of growl singers as you'd expekt

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It's very simple. If you have to much effort on the bottom when you get to the top notes you won't have any more to go. If you are in a phrase that goes low to high and you are leaning on your bottom notes to heavy engaging alot of the cord mass you kind of get stuck unless you are really good. So you start a little softer which engages head voice a little simpley by being softer and as you go up in pitch you have to try to stay keep the cords together naturally if you add volume and think down the ta(vocalise muscle) will be working more. If you engage to much in the low note by the time you get to the high note you either flip or squeeze. Remember singing is PITCH, VOWEL AND INTENSITY. Three very simple principles that your teachers or coaches should tell you.

Daniel

Www.danielformicavocalstudio.com

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Agree with videohere, you can't hear or see if a sound is strain.

The most frequent visits to ents is by classical singers voice teachers and regular teachers I've heard. Not tons of growl singers as you'd expekt

Im sorry, maybe this will sound arrogant, but yes I can. And seriously guys, is this such a hardcore result? Ive heard clips of you guys doing better... Do you stick your tongue out? or have all these veins popping???

Veins popping when you sing is strain, of course it is. There is absolutely no reason for neck muscles to be involved, and sticking tongue out... wth?

Well ill rest it at this, I cant even begin to understand how this can fit under everything else thats said around here. Kinda weird really.

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Jens - do you know the ratio of classical vs. rock singers' visits to the ENTs?

Daniel - thanks!

Felipe - notice that Ken is adding intentional rasp. Is it your opinion that he could have done that without his veins popping and without singing at 100% volume?

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dan, that's awesome man!!

all i'm saying is it's not always. haven't you guys ever seen these extra lean people where their veins protrude more than the average person? i think some people have veins closer to the skin.

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dan, that's awesome man!!

all i'm saying is it's not always. haven't you guys ever seen these extra lean people where their veins protrude more than the average person? i think some people have veins closer to the skin.

I agree. Some people just have veins closer to the skin. They always look like they are exerting heavily.

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After watching the video that Bob posted I get what Ken is saying. I think we're taking his comments out of context. Remember, this is Ken's series of how to sing certain songs. He is teaching how to be successful singing THAT song and THAT style. I beleive all he is saying is that if you set up your voice to sing in that high tessatura, it is easier to stay up there tension free if you keep that lighter configuration the whole way through. He doesn't say "don't do it" he just said try to avoid it because it is trickier. If you were singing that particular song, there would be no need to lower the larynx for a boomier bottom end on the low notes. Robert Plant doesn't do it either. Robert Plant keeps a lighter configuration in almost everything he sings.

Ken can sing low boomy notes and mix them with really high singing. He's got plenty of 2 octave exercises that work on this.

As for veins sticking out - I don't think that is a tell tale sign of tension. Some people have thinner skin. Heck, when I'm shredding on guitar or piano, I WANT to see veins in my hands to avoid tension. That's a sign of efficient blood flow - blood vessels have to bring in new oxygen and remove waste. They get bigger when blood flow increases. That is not a bad thing. Sure, you can kind of tell when singers are straining sometimes if you see muscles in the throat that look like severe constriction, but expanded blood vessels? I don't think so.

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i agree. in the rock genre, (think i read this in elizabeth's sabine's book) to sing totally tension free all the time is a bit unrealistic.

there's a big difference between "tension free" and "consriction free."

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Felipe i guess your not familiar with pop and rocktechniques, that tongue sticking out is for letting the larynx rise Abit more for highnotes.

Adam Lambert also does this motion for all his highnotes above high c and it's a choice they make, not strain. Adam and Ken had the same vocalcoach and this motion of the tongue makes for a more pharyngeal sound wich is totaly fine in rockmusic but a big nono in classical.

You can also do a countermoment to the forward tongue and that is pulling the tongue backwards and up, this is called tongueanchoring and also makes à certain soundideal up on the highs.

I used to have your understanding of certain things for example all the small ticks we can see singers do, i used to think you should look like à loose ragdoll whilst singing and that it should look so easy.

The problem is none of the "best" singers look like that while they sing.

Fists are strained backs curved, and so on... This applied to both classical singers and rock/metal. Juan jumps on his toes for all his highnotes, Jussi bjorling looks so stiff it's almost like they shoved à stick up his ass, jorn lande grins so much that you think his face gonna burst...

Nowdays i feel more scared for people who dont Seam to be giving their singing their all with their body.

All we can say about Ken is, his voice lasted his whole career Uptil now if he would strain his voice wouldnt last the Tours he's made.

There are singers who's techniques looked alot Better who shot their voice, Robert plant is à great example even though he had à "lighter approach" he has crashed his voice several times

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yes, ken is really skilled. i've spoken to him offline when i noticed he used the same technique lou gramm does of forcefully dropping the shoulders down. he said to me on some songs he's working so hard it's not really understood by a lot of people.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I disagree, actually all the best singers I know look quite comfortable when singing, they even have fun ^^

Never had to strain my neck like this, even to use drive or other more "dangerous" stuff. Sincerely, this is ugly as hell, even the sound is annoying. Tensions on the neck, jaw or tongue are waste of energy, which is not the same as movement with the purpose of achieving a sonority. To me, its a lot of effort for a result that is quite small, the legatto line is broken in most of those videos.

Effort should be on support.

Something that came to my mind:

Even raw sounds better, no veins popping, no loss of quality or changes of homogeneity (which happens lot in those sing like whatever videos).

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