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Mix to head

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DoverOs
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Soi soi. So going between mix and head seems pretty hard. Mix is working to add more chest, while the head tones change the position to a lighter sound. Then when the phrases jump between the mix and head, I get a cracky mix. Seems like It's gonna take a lot of practice to bridge those.

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I would also say it depends on which note is cracking. Classically, tenor is, on average, C3 to C5. Around D5, there is a tonal shift, even for legit tenors. It's a physics thingy, a science of acoustics thingy. After about D5 for most singers, the space required to resonate those notes is just big enough for the fundamental, but not for the overtones that define an actual vowel sound. That's why all the vowels begin to sound the same after that. The shape of the word is then left to articulation, usually with lip or tongue stops.

So, some systems advocate top down. Essentially, start from a head voice configuration and let in the mechanics of the lower sounds, carefully, judiciously. Other systems, notably 4 Pillars, advocate bridging early, as in before the 1st passaggio. The rest of the sound above that first bridge is from resonance and other means of timbre control.

Other systems, such as KTVA, advocate bridging later.

And I would say, just as important as the amount of times of practice is the correct practice. For that, you may need an in-person coach to hear you without the effects of mic effect, digital compressor, and any assorted artifacts we create when recording. How many people have spent a long time trying to iron this thing out when one good lesson might have pinpointed it earlier. It's possible to learn this on your own. But it may take longer. Accept that it will.

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this might help you get a feel for what's actually happening with mixed voice...

if you do a dumbell (or barbell) curl and told you to go to the top of your repetition then let the weight down slowly stopping and holding the weight at the 3/4 point, then the 1/2 point, then the 1/4 point you'd have varying degrees of resistance. the mid point being the most difficult. this is very similar to the antagonism between the chest and head voice musculatures...both are fighting each other for control.

that's why singing strong chesty sounding notes like e4's through g4 are challenging. they are midpoint notes.

the more you want to go for a thick, chesty sound, the more work is needed.

anyone who works out will tell you, if you lift (and lower) the resistance slowly, it's going be a lot harder than just muscling through it.

if you add more weight you increase the difficulty. if you want to sing thick and powerful it will take more of you (your whole body) to do so.

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First of all, I'd worry less about whether you're in "Mix" or "Head" and more about whether or not what you're doing sounds good and feel good (ie not strenuous). "Chest", "Mix", and "Head" really only refer to sensations one feels in the body. We used to think that sound actually resonates in the chest and the head, but we know that's not true anymore. As Gillyanne Kayes puts it you have one voice and it resonates in the vocal tract, regardless of where you feel the vibrations.

The aim is to get this one voice to go from the bottom of your range to the top of your range without any of the "cracks" you're describing, most of which will occur in the bridging area (E4-B4 for me, but it varies from person to person).

Two things I've found immensely helpful are practicing the siren exercise "ng" as in "sing" and trying to use as little air as possible. On the higher notes you need to use your support muscles to help hold back the air.

The other thing that I've found very important is to avoid letting the larynx rise too high. Rob does a good segment on "covering" where he explains connecting that on high notes it's helpful to replace lighter vowels with darker ones. Darker vowels involve a lower larynx and keeping the larynx from rising too high helps keep a robust tone in the bridging area and prevents the undesirable cracking into a weaker tone.

Now I'm not saying you need to keep your larynx in the same position regardless of pitch, like a classical teacher would say. They'll tell you that it should never go any higher than wherever it is during your normal speaking pattern. I think the larynx should comfortably move around depending on how you want to sing. And there are times when you may want a rather high larynx.

But if you find yourself cracking in the bridging area, I recommend working on lowering the larynx. Once you've smoothed it out, you'll be able to play around with its position more to get the desired sound.

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I would also say it depends on which note is cracking. Classically, tenor is, on average, C3 to C5. Around D5, there is a tonal shift, even for legit tenors. It's a physics thingy, a science of acoustics thingy. After about D5 for most singers, the space required to resonate those notes is just big enough for the fundamental, but not for the overtones that define an actual vowel sound. That's why all the vowels begin to sound the same after that. The shape of the word is then left to articulation, usually with lip or tongue stops.

Ronws, I agree with you that this tonal shift happens, but I don't agree that there's a fundamental change necessarily around D5. I think it's more of a thing that really starts as soon as we hit the bridging area (i.e. no longer in our normal speaking range) and just becomes gradually more noticeable as we go higher and higher.

I think the typical C5 classical tenor maximum has more to do with the difficulty achieving the tonal weight that is demanded of operatic tenors, particularly since they have no amplification. Also remember that in Opera, they're not going for the edgy crying sounds that we use on those really high notes in contemporary styles. There are Operatic tenor parts that are written higher (E-F5), but it's just very difficult to get the classical type of sound on those pitches.

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... You sound all 'mixed' up.... hmmm? Migrate away from viewing the voice in terms of registers and places when you want to seriously understand what is going on... its about shaping formants in a fluid way inside of pitch and time... which changes harmonics in the resonant space...

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I've found Rob's idea of no mix, only a head and chest voice, to be useful in many ways. As I ascend I think of letting go into the head even though I'm trying for the sound of "mix". If you're halfway into your "mix" and you only just start to think of transitioning, you've come too far in my experience.

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hey Dover I find what really helps is just sing even through the vocalise your doing and try not to think chest mix head try to just stay blended throughout.

I agree with Dan. There should be no thought of head or chest only connected.

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vocal weight is a factor in all of this. a lighter weight vocalist is going to have an easier time of it than a vocalist wiith a heavier weight.

i also (recently) realize the heavier weight vocalist may need to send greater air pressure than a lighter weight vocalist.

analogy: powering a woofer speaker vs. a midrange or tweeter.

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