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Newbie here: Couple of larynx related questions

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DDisNow
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Hey all,

I've been reading this forum a lot, and find it extremely informative with tons of great info, a tremendous resource indeed.

I have a couple of questions for which I was not able to find a concrete answer.

1 - Are the following pretty much all one in the same?

Singing with an "open throat", lifting the soft palate, Singing with a low larynx.

It seems to me these are all different terms for pretty much the same thing, am I correct?

2 - In most teaching variations of SLS they say you should keep your larynx stable, without moving up or down too much.

They say the reasons are if you move it down, then the swallowing muscles will come down and constrict your air/sound.

However, most non SLS teachings advise lowering the larynx as the air flow is better and the tone is much rounder.

I also find that to be the case and prefer the way my voice sounds with a slightly lowered larynx.

So does that mean these mean ol' swallowing muscles are coming down and constricting me?

I placed my thumbs under my jaw (while lowering the larynx) and couldn't really feel any muscles intruding or constrictions.

So I'm confused, why do they say it's dangerous when:

1 - It sounds better with a slightly lowered larynx?

2 - I can't feel any constriction whatsoever?

Thanks and appreciate your input!

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When you swallow, the larynx RISES, meets the bump known as the "false vocal folds" (though they are not folds at all but a mucus membrane that forms a little ridge) and the epiglottis covers all of that.

So, lowering the larynx is not analagous to swallowing.

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I'm not really sure that high soft pallet and low larynx equate to open throat. I think what they mean is not letting the constrictors pinch off the throat. As far as a low larynx in general, I don't try to do that, except for low notes where I need extra reasonance and when I'm modifying vowels to get into passagio. Otherwise I try to keep a neutral and free position with the larynx. Having said that I don't think there's anything wrong with a lower larynx position if you don't let tension creep in.

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I'm not really sure that high soft pallet and low larynx equate to open throat. I think what they mean is not letting the constrictors pinch off the throat. As far as a low larynx in general, I don't try to do that, except for low notes where I need extra reasonance and when I'm modifying vowels to get into passagio. Otherwise I try to keep a neutral and free position with the larynx. Having said that I don't think there's anything wrong with a lower larynx position if you don't let tension creep in.

Thanks for the reply.

going by the to the old "go for a yawn" test to find open throat, in which of course the larynx lowers and the soft pellet goes up.

It just seems all three are connected and everybody calls it by a different name.

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The thing is that you don't always need a high pallet position, nor a low larynx, but you could still have what they call an open throat. The "open throat" concept is more about not using the constrictors (superior, middle and inferior) in a bad way. The untrained singer often will try to sing higher notes but has a difficult time because the constrictors start pinching off the throat and preventing the folds from stretching properly or robbing the throat of the correct amount of reasonant space. The constrictors are very important in shaping the vowels, but can cause strain if not used correctly.

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it also depends on the genre you're singing. if it's classical, you will likely employ a lower larynx when singing which helps to add richness and roundness to the sound.

also there may be times you will exercise with an intentionally lowered larynx to strenghthen those muscles. ideally, you want to be strong enough to control the height of your larynx rather than let it control you.

there's also the possibility of lowering it too much and yes you will pinch off the tone and it will get woofy sounding and you'll lose resonance and ring.

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Hey all,

I've been reading this forum a lot, and find it extremely informative with tons of great info, a tremendous resource indeed.

I have a couple of questions for which I was not able to find a concrete answer.

1 - Are the following pretty much all one in the same?

Singing with an "open throat", lifting the soft palate, Singing with a low larynx.

It seems to me these are all different terms for pretty much the same thing, am I correct?

2 - In most teaching variations of SLS they say you should keep your larynx stable, without moving up or down too much.

They say the reasons are if you move it down, then the swallowing muscles will come down and constrict your air/sound.

However, most non SLS teachings advise lowering the larynx as the air flow is better and the tone is much rounder.

I also find that to be the case and prefer the way my voice sounds with a slightly lowered larynx.

So does that mean these mean ol' swallowing muscles are coming down and constricting me?

I placed my thumbs under my jaw (while lowering the larynx) and couldn't really feel any muscles intruding or constrictions.

So I'm confused, why do they say it's dangerous when:

1 - It sounds better with a slightly lowered larynx?

2 - I can't feel any constriction whatsoever?

Thanks and appreciate your input!

Truth is that when misused, ANY direction can result into problems.

There is no single larynx/soft pallet position that will solve any problems you are having man, unfortunately.

Low larynx has its uses, of course! Lets say that you have a student has a some sort of technical difficulty, like larynx rising up too much when ascending pitch. Its a serious problem and not only is limiting, it can result into damage!

So, you DO CORRECTIONS on beathing, support, relaxing emission, whatever is needed and keep track of the larynx position! Is it still rising too much? Is it not? You see, depending on what the issue was, you may give a completely different reference than the larynx itself. If just relaxing the jaw stabilizes the larynx, you dont have to overload the person with information.

On another case, light voiced male, spoken voice DARKENED because of a depressed larynx (a quite common attempt to sound manlier), when singing this shows up heavily, resulting in a strainned airy quality, and lots of tension on the neck/tongue root to keep it stable. What do you do?

Corrections to RAISE the larynx, of course. How? Depends on the person. Open vowels work, horizontal openning, etc.

On another case, larynx is not moving at all, hard centered at all times, muscles popping to keep it there. Is it good? Also no. It should be free and depending on the tone and vowel ajust slightly. How to correct will also depend on the source of the problem, a nice case to try some yawns.

Soft pallet and larynx heigh are interconnected, but not necessarily tied together. If you provoke the start of a yawn, a common EXERCISE to learn how to relax emission, you will descend the larynx a bit, raise the soft pallet also a bit and so on. Will it solve all problems? Of course not. Its one trainning tool, not the trainning itself, and most surely not how you should sing. Can you imagine going on stage thinking of yawning all the time? Not good.

You can cause soft pallet tension easily if you attempt to directly interfere with it without being sure of what you are doing. And guess what? It will also limit your range and cause strain...

Understand that there is a huge difference from using a slight ajustment depressing the larynx a little to attempt to solve problems blindly pressing it down.

"Singing with an open throat" for example, a term that you will hear a lot that SHOULD mean no constrictions, no tensions. But you were just associating the term with larynx and soft pallet position. Why did it happen? Because you are associating an exercise with a goal, turning the goal into the exercise. And if you force an yawn all the time, trying to keep the feeling all the time, you will have just the opposite of what you wanted!

The goal is ballance, and many exercises used are the exact opposite of others. Lets say that your larynx is too high, you say that you are workin depressing it a little bit and its working. Great. But how much must you depress it? How much is optimal? At which point it will become too depressed? And most importantly, what will happen if you just keep going and depress it more than you should?

Some simple things that we take as common judgment, but its not such a trivial task when we are developing our own perception of our voices. External feedback is vital in this process.

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