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Passagio. Why we have it.

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MDEW
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Bare with me for a moment. I have only seen this alluded to once. I believe it was in one of these posts. Frisell talks of a hole in our voice. The poster said he wasn't sure what Frisell meant.(no I am not possitive it was Frisell)

Among the different ways that the voice works it also works like a wind instrument.

Have you ever played a flute? or recorder. They are made of a tube with holes in it. If you blow into one and leave all the holes uncovered you get a low note. If you cover all the holes except the hole closest to your mouth you get the same low note. If you cover the hole closet to your mouth but leave the next hole open you will get a higher note. if you cover the two holes closest to your mouth and blow you will get an even higher note.

Because the tube is getting longer. the resonant track is getting longer.

The voice also works in many other ways including streching and thickening to give different pitches.

The reason the passagio is there is because of a HOLE in our resonant tube. Our mouth and nose. We talk of chest voice and head voice. Yes we have one voice but can use it in different ways. Most beginners have a trouble in the area of passage. Why? We use the term Chest voice because we feel resonance in the Chest area for lower notes. As the pitch rises we can feel that resonance shift up through our neck, or the resonance tube. When the resonace area gets to the mouth area we must make some kind of shift, Either back off pressure, increase pressure, use more twang, whatever. The point is we have to change the area of resonance to some where other than the mouth because we are no longer resonating in a tube. Once the pitch has changed resonance to to "head area" we are back resonating in a tube again.

Think about it.

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The reason we have a passaggio is because we - and here I mean males - underuse certain portions of our voices (the high ones).

Up until A3-C4 (depending on how high the male's voice is) we speak calmly. From A3/C4 to about D4/F4 we're used to shouting. Higher than than we squeak like Tootsie or we scream like being hit in the nuts. Obviously we don't shout a lot and we squeak/scream even less.

MDEW, what you're describing isn't grounded in physiology, I believe.

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it wasn't frisell. the passaggio is an area of the voice where the head and chest voice musculatures are at a tug of war with each other.

each one antagonistically fights the other for the production of the tone. the goal is to develop the strength and coordination to integrate the two and quell the antagonism.

if you don't you will never achieve a connected voice. (parts from frisell's book.)

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It is just another piece of the puzzle.

You have to concider the physics of the flute to understand what I am getting at. The pitch resonance of passagio coinsides with the mouth opening. up to that point there is a solid tube for the sound to resonate. At the mouth opening you have soft tissue, for instance the tongue. resonance is weeker here because of this. When the pitch resonce goes above the mouth into the sinus area there is a solid chamber again.

I am just giving an Idea of why it is week in this area. "Chest voice" resonates more under the mouth. "Head voice" resonates over the mouth. Passagio resonates around the mouth. Passagio is week also because of lack of a solid resonating chamber.

I am not giving any indication that Chest and head are produced differently. Only why voice is week at passagio.

I am not saying This is the only reason for passagio. It is another reason. And you are right I have never heard or read any scientific study of this in relation to the voice. Like I said It was only alluded to.

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As soon as I find that post again I will submit it. I have been looking.

It may not have been Frisell who stated this. In the post the author was telling why "in their opinion the Tongue should be raised in the back and the soft Palet should be lowered to to close of the back of the mouth.

It is something to concider. Think about. I know it hasn't been presented before, at least not in detail.

And it may not make a difference at all in how to deal with it. It is just a another possible cause of why we have to deal with it.

When the concept of Zipping was first introduced it was concidered as preposterous and then it was imbraced. Now some people say it doesn't happen.

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it wasn't frisell. the passaggio is an area of the voice where the head and chest voice musculatures are at a tug of war with each other.

each one antagonistically fights the other for the production of the tone. the goal is to develop the strength and coordination to integrate the two and quell the antagonism.

if you don't you will never achieve a connected voice. (parts from frisell's book.)

Great post Bob, trip, and Owen you are all right.

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Mr. Fraser, everything you write is helpful :)

I'm curious then what you would say Frisell is describing, that "wall" that prevents breath energy from dissipating. He actually advises that it be used in singing, not in exercises. Here's a passage from a post on his blog:

You could paste a random sentence of this in Google to see the post in its entirety, but that's the initial description of it.

This is the post I was talking about. It is in the Anthony Frisell thread.

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wow, it's from his blog...it's very hard to interpret what he's saying here. can you post the link to the entire portion?

the only guess i could make is after doing thousands of descending head voice slides you lose the falsetto airyness in the tone. you get to a point where there is no more airyness.

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The reason I made the analogy of a flute was to clarify what he was saying not to confuse more.

I posted in a new thread so that this observation would not take away from other threads.

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Cool this should stir things up and discuss:

Watch the whole thing

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=2oZ2AcaPb7o

Thats pretty cool. Here's the desktop link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=en&client=mv-google&v=2oZ2AcaPb7o&nomobile=1

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Thats pretty cool. Here's the desktop link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&hl=en&client=mv-google&v=2oZ2AcaPb7o&nomobile=1

That was perfect! Wow Jaw Dropped!

This consolidates everything that I believe in....Thanks for this link

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but even as he opened up again at the top he didn't lighten. and let's say you aren't taking things up past b4, you can stay thick and rich (sounding)......you might not think you're thick and rich in terms of the feel in your voice, but the audience will.

bob

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Even Blake said in this video You darken to avoid what would be natural. In this area there is something different. You have to do something to maintain the balance. Whether it be darken Timber or modify vowels or add twang. After you can get this coordination Yes it can be seemless. Yes it will be one range. Yes your resonance will be balanced. And yes it is possible to grow up singing all through the range without ever detecting a difference.

But the loss of pressure is there. For beginners we feel it. And you are right it takes training. After we learn how to deal with it it can disappear. If it wasn't there we wouldn't have to darken anything.

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Mdew when I sent this same video on another thread, someone said something similar as you are saying. He adds something somewhere.

So please tell us, on the sample where he is not using dark timbre, where does it begins?

You see, Its all there the whole time, full voice from the bottom to the top. The approach is quite straight forward, instead of trying to find partial coordinations, ballance everything and thus control everything.

So instead of trying to find how to pass through the passagio, the more solid approach is finding out what your voice is lacking or has too much, ballance it and then it will be possible.

The flute sample is not wrong, btw, but is just a piece of the whole.

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That was the only point I was trying to make. That it is a part. Another part that trips up us beginners.

I never was disagreeing with anyone about weather there has to be seperate registers.

Just one more reason that we get in trouble in navigating this region. Is it better not to think of it at all? Probably.

This region is a lot easier for me now. Within the last two weeks all the concepts and the training are sinking in.

Today I sang AC/DC's" You shook me all night long" in full voice and didn't have to make it sound like a munchkin.

There were and still are other posts about Passagio and One voice or No head voice and Chest voice.

Yes these are just terms to help us beginners describe what our problems are. But for people to continually say that there is nothing special to do in this area is just not true. There is special things to do even the greats when they do something wrong in this area they crack or break or flip or splat.

This was a point that I did not see brought up. And I still think that many do not understand this point.

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I have to agree with MDEW, there most definitely is something special in that middle range *for beginners*. And as for classical singers, the beginner stage can extend for up to 5 years. The events of registration become a non-issue at some point but at the beginning they are not.

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Is it better not to think of it at all?

I don't know - it's the way I learned and it worked for me. But there are many ways to teach. I'm not a voice teacher so I don't know which method works the best.

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There is a passaggio so that we can all know and use at least one italian word.

:)

Passaggio is a shift in resonance, as far as I can tell. As we get better changing resonance seemlessly or just as well, shift early on notes and timbres where tonal shift is not noticable, such as with 4 Pillars, the more the passaggio goes away. And really, it's not that it goes away but that we have learned to circumnavigate it.

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And I don't think it's exactly working through it either, because you still have to make changes to keep the chest voice from getting heavier and breaking into falsetto, modify vowels, keep the head voice connected and dark once you get there, etc. So in that way, to get rid of the break we do have to evade it a bit. But it's not a whole different path, so to speak, it's just a little shift to get out of the way of the danger zone.

Owen Korzec: yes! Or, put another way... singing in a manner that keeps things in the balance that produces the kind of singing you prefer :-)

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What I have proposed takes nothing away from resonant tracking. It takes nothing away from modifying vowels. It takes nothing away from one voice register. It takes nothing away from strengthening coordination between mechanisms.

It is harder to keep cord closure and resonance and coordination between the mechanisms in passagio because we loose back pressure on the cords where the pitch resonance coinsides with the mouth opening.

That is why lip bubbles help train us in cord closure. The mouth opening is smaller. there is less loss of back pressure on the folds. It helps keep us connected for the same reason.

Closed Vowels help us bridge because the mouth opening is closed off more. We loose less breath pressure.

Why does the ng sound help us train cord closure and bridging the passagio? The tongue and soft palet close the hole of the mouth completing the resonance tube.

The cause of passagio is back pressure lost through the opening of the mouth. The hole in the resonance tube.

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It is harder to keep cord closure and resonance and coordination between the mechanisms in passagio because we loose back pressure on the cords where the pitch resonance coincides with the mouth opening.

That is why lip bubbles help train us in cord closure. The mouth opening is smaller. there is less loss of back pressure on the folds. It helps keep us connected for the same reason.

Closed Vowels help us bridge because the mouth opening is closed off more. We lose less breath pressure.

Why does the ng sound help us train cord closure and bridging the passagio? The tongue and soft palate close the hole of the mouth completing the resonance tube.

The cause of passagio is back pressure lost through the opening of the mouth. The hole in the resonance tube.

MDEW: I have a number of responses on various aspects of this and prior posts, so I would like to take one statement at a time.

Among the different ways that the voice works it also works like a wind instrument.

Have you ever played a flute? or recorder. They are made of a tube with holes in it. If you blow into one and leave all the holes uncovered you get a low note. If you cover all the holes except the hole closest to your mouth you get the same low note. If you cover the hole closet to your mouth but leave the next hole open you will get a higher note. if you cover the two holes closest to your mouth and blow you will get an even higher note.

Because the tube is getting longer. the resonant track is getting longer.

MDEW, Yes, I have played both the modern flute some, and the recorder quite a bit. The way you describe them is largely incorrect as to the correlation of notes and hole covering, though its true that when longer sections of the air within the flute are in vibration, the note is lower.

The reason the passagio is there is because of a HOLE in our resonant tube. Our mouth and nose. We talk of chest voice and head voice. Yes we have one voice but can use it in different ways. Most beginners have a trouble in the area of passage. Why? We use the term Chest voice because we feel resonance in the Chest area for lower notes. As the pitch rises we can feel that resonance shift up through our neck, or the resonance tube. When the resonance area gets to the mouth area we must make some kind of shift, Either back off pressure, increase pressure, use more twang, whatever. The point is we have to change the area of resonance to some where other than the mouth because we are no longer resonating in a tube. Once the pitch has changed resonance to to "head area" we are back resonating in a tube again.

MDEW, without the mouth and nose openings, the vocal tract would not function as a resonator at all. The most powerful singing occurs when the velopharyngeal port is closed, so the 'upper end' of the vocal tract is at the mouth. This is the place where some of the energy of the the sound pressure waves _reflects_ back into the vocal tract. Some energy escapes (that is why we can hear it) and some is reflected back.

Because of this reflection, during the closed phase of phonation the vocal tract behaves like a tube resonator of varying dimensions. In such a resonator, there are multiple resonances that are calculable from the dimensions overall, and of the various sections. The opening of the mouth has a measurable effect on the frequencies of some of these resonances. In addition to somewhat controlling how much of the vocal tract sound is emitted (the end effect), a small mouth opening lowers some of the resonances, and a large mouth opening raises them.

This actual resonance is not the same thing as the sympathetic resonance which accompanies 'chest' voice and 'head' voice. Those are tissue vibrations stimulated by the actual resonances of the vocal tract interacting with the harmonics of the sung tone, along with some vibrations proceeding directly from tissue connections to the larynx.

It is harder to keep cord closure and resonance and coordination between the mechanisms in passaggio because we lose back pressure on the cords where the pitch resonance coincides with the mouth opening.

MDEW, The loss of particular resonance sensations in the passaggio are not directly related to the mouth opening, but rather to the overall change in vocal intensity of the alignment of the lower vowel resonance with the 2nd harmonic of the sung tone. When approached from below, the passaggio region begins when the 2nd harmonc (at 2x the fundamental frequency) rises above the lower vowel resonance. Once this has happened, the 2nd harmonic decreases in strength rapidly as the scale is ascended, and the inertive reactance of the vocal tract, which previously cushioned the vocal bands when the alignment was good, is lost. The net effect to the singer is that resonance feels lost, and the sense of ease prevously enjoyed by the singer is diminished.

As you mention, there are things the singer can do in the passaggio. One of them is to ensure twang is still present. This provides not only high frequency resonances for vocal clarity, but has a cushioning effect on its own.

As the scale continues upward, the 'head' voice appears in strength when the second vowel resonance aligns with an harmonic, Usually the 3rd or 4th depending on vowel.

That is why lip bubbles help train us in cord closure. The mouth opening is smaller. there is less loss of back pressure on the folds. It helps keep us connected for the same reason.

MDEW, Lip bubbles have four effects: 1) the velopharyngeal port, which the opening from the upper back of the pharynx to the nasal cavities, is closed reflexively by the raising of the soft palate, 2) the frequency of the lower vowel resonance is reduced by the small mouth opening, so that the passaggio frequencies are very low, allowing the singer to experience phonation in, and above the passaggio, 3) the slight backpressure changes the ratio of subglottal and supraglottal pressures, making them more the same (and thereby reducing the effort at the level of the vocal bands), and 4) the airflow needed to make the bubbles occur encourages the singer to produce a bit more air flow, i.e., a less pressed phonation.

The result of all of these is that the singer can experience the sensations of phonation in and above the passaggio, without having to ascend to the pitch level where it normally occurs while singing vowels.

BTW, any consonant or other vocal sound which raises the supraglottal (back) pressure will have some of these effects, more or less, depending on the amount of resistance provided at the front or the mouth or nose. Such consonants and sounds, produced with this sensation of back-pressure, are the 'semi-occluded, voiced consonants'.

Closed Vowels help us bridge because the mouth opening is closed off more. We lose less breath pressure.

A closed vowel is modified, sometimes by motion of the lips, but more generally by any articulation of the vocal tract that lowers the first vowel resonance, including a vowel modification accomplished by larynx lowering and/or tongue positioning. This puts the entire vocal tract into a more inertive configuration, which helps (along with twang) to keep the vocal bands cushioned until strong vowel resonance can be regained.

Why does the ng sound help us train cord closure and bridging the passaggio? The tongue and soft palate close the hole of the mouth completing the resonance tube.

Yes, the resonance tube is completed, however it has now been completely redirected through the nose. Additionally, as has been mentioned, the tongue back has been raised, helping to open the lower pharynx, and the resistance to airflow provided by the semi-occlusion has some of the same effects as achieved by the lip bubbles.

In my experience, the great strength of the ng exercise is the transition from it to a genuine vowel, while maintaining the sense of easy phonation gained during the ng.

The cause of passagio is back pressure lost through the opening of the mouth. The hole in the resonance tube.

MDEW, as mentioned earlier, the cause of passaggio is the change in the relationship between vocal harmonics, particularly H2, and the lower vowel resonance.

ALL: I know there are many who think the passaggio is largely about the trade-off between CT and TA activity. Yes, that trade-off happens, but I have to point out that this trade-off is continnuous, throughout the entire range, as the muscles interact to produce the various pitches. The TA must allow itself to be stretched, but I know of no evidence that shows that there is a change in 'dominance' between the two muscle groups in this region.

There is substantial evidence though, especially when studying the resonance strategy of singers, that the use of unresonant vowels exposes imbalances of the action of CT/TA and the breath. At the top of the chest voice, it is _very_ easy to oversing (push) the tone while the alignment of H2 with the first harmonic is beneficial. Just a few notes higher, this alignment is lost, and the oversinging vocalist will suddenly experience strain and perhaps crack.

Its for these reasons that the history of vocal pedagogy is full of exercises for establishing coordination of breath, resonance and phonation.

I hope this is helpful.

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