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Singing with a free, open, unconstrained tone.

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izzle1989
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How do you personally achieve an open throat and a freely produced sound? I personally feel like this is the most important aspect of singing. I feel that any sound you produce should be as free and relaxed as possible without being lazy.

I personally have the feeling of freedom and enlightenment when I produce a free and pleasing tone. As if the clouds part and the stairway to heaven lifts me up to the sky.

I know this is only a use of imagery, but this is how I feel when my throat is truly open and the onset is neither breathy or pressed.

Just free, easy, and balanced.

Any thoughts?

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I have only expirienced that feeling one time. I was driving down the road and Aretha Franklin came on the radio. I tried something different. A deeper feel with a high resonance. Thinking to myself relax. What came out to me had an easy open feel. I had no trouble keeping up with her. I felt that I had found the answer.

The next song was an Eagles song. I had no trouble singing the highest harmonies.The next Beachboys. Same thing free and easy. Then my cell phone rang and I have not been able to find that coordination again.

And yes while I had it, it was the best feeling. I felt like I could sing anything.

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I have only expirienced that feeling one time. I was driving down the road and Aretha Franklin came on the radio. I tried something different. A deeper feel with a high resonance. Thinking to myself relax. What came out to me had an easy open feel. I had no trouble keeping up with her. I felt that I had found the answer.

The next song was an Eagles song. I had no trouble singing the highest harmonies.The next Beachboys. Same thing free and easy. Then my cell phone rang and I have not been able to find that coordination again.

And yes while I had it, it was the best feeling. I felt like I could sing anything.

That is great!

I really hope you can find this feeling again. I believe all of the best opera singers are very familiar with this feeling.

I will post a clip as soon as I can get some more people to chime in on this topic.

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for me it all depends on what you're singing....when i'm thoroughly warmed up, i find more of that place. but some songs are going to make it hard for you to stay that way.

there are times where you're sitting on some relentless lines or verses, with all of these breath interrupting hurdles where you just have to focus on minimizing tension and keeping it connected.

i was trying some fourtops "i'll be there" the other night, and you don'r realize till you go sing them the intensity that it requires.

you simply don't relax and sing like that. you minimize and resonate and support strong.

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How do you personally achieve an open throat and a freely produced sound? I personally feel like this is the most important aspect of singing. I feel that any sound you produce should be as free and relaxed as possible without being lazy.

I personally have the feeling of freedom and enlightenment when I produce a free and pleasing tone. As if the clouds part and the stairway to heaven lifts me up to the sky.

I know this is only a use of imagery, but this is how I feel when my throat is truly open and the onset is neither breathy or pressed.

Just free, easy, and balanced.

Any thoughts?

That is my focus every time I sing. So, let me repeat my mantra, as if no one has seen it before. Motion, when necessary, in the abs. Note in the head. Nothing in the throat, ever, and amen.

Which evidently makes me lazy and a head voice singer. But I am no longer drawing a distinction between head voice and chest voice. Just that pocket at the juncture of the soft and hard palate. That's where the note lives.

On the way back from the store, I was singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it was playing on the radio. A number of parts, especially in the beginning are in falsetto on the original. And I was singing in my full voice because it was more comfortable, to me. And still hit the high note of the lyric "Beelzebub has put a devil put aside for me, for me, for ME!" Although, when I sing that top note, I have a slight bit of rasp because I relax into it.

So, I accept my limitations. I am not going to get the full tone of say, Geoff Tate, in the low end of "Silent Lucidity," as much as I admire that song. But as long as I can make my limited range of C3 to C6 work for me, that will be good enough for a lazy guy like me.

But, Iz, that is exactly my aim. Free, easy, balanced. Which, according to some estimations, means I am not doing enough with my voice since I am steering away from strain, even if it means going full voice instead of falsetto. Even if it means letting my voice do what is was designed by genetics to do, rather than forcing it through herculean effort to do something else for simply and aesthetic desire.

I know I am odd duck but I still think that singing should get easier as time goes by, rather than harder. For that is the case in athletics. The whole point of training in a sport is so that playing in that sport is easier. At a golf course, you may start at the driving range to simply loosen up so that on the course, you are fluid and making the actual game something that is doable. For golf is not a game of strength. It is of endurance. As is running. Even sprinting requires some pacing. And the idea of training sprinting is so that when you do the 440 M dash, it is managable, rather than being something that nearly takes you down to the ground.

At least in my hick opinion.

Others milage may vary.

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The muscle to which the root of the tongue is anchored is the same muscle that moves the front of the larynx (adam's apple.) That being said, you can keep the back of your tongue high while lowering the larynx. It provides what in opera is called a "covered" sound.

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for me it all depends on what you're singing....when i'm thoroughly warmed up, i find more of that place. but some songs are going to make it hard for you to stay that way.

there are times where you're sitting on some relentless lines or verses, with all of these breath interrupting hurdles where you just have to focus on minimizing tension and keeping it connected.

i was trying some fourtops "i'll be there" the other night, and you don'r realize till you go sing them the intensity that it requires.

you simply don't relax and sing like that. you minimize and resonate and support strong.

I'm not saying that some parts are not going to be strenuous, but the overall aim should be to produced the tone freely with little "perceived" effort from the throat.

Just because the dynamic level is intense doesn't mean we have to settle for shouting.

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That is my focus every time I sing. So, let me repeat my mantra, as if no one has seen it before. Motion, when necessary, in the abs. Note in the head. Nothing in the throat, ever, and amen.

Which evidently makes me lazy and a head voice singer. But I am no longer drawing a distinction between head voice and chest voice. Just that pocket at the juncture of the soft and hard palate. That's where the note lives.

On the way back from the store, I was singing "Bohemian Rhapsody" as it was playing on the radio. A number of parts, especially in the beginning are in falsetto on the original. And I was singing in my full voice because it was more comfortable, to me. And still hit the high note of the lyric "Beelzebub has put a devil put aside for me, for me, for ME!" Although, when I sing that top note, I have a slight bit of rasp because I relax into it.

So, I accept my limitations. I am not going to get the full tone of say, Geoff Tate, in the low end of "Silent Lucidity," as much as I admire that song. But as long as I can make my limited range of C3 to C6 work for me, that will be good enough for a lazy guy like me.

But, Iz, that is exactly my aim. Free, easy, balanced. Which, according to some estimations, means I am not doing enough with my voice since I am steering away from strain, even if it means going full voice instead of falsetto. Even if it means letting my voice do what is was designed by genetics to do, rather than forcing it through herculean effort to do something else for simply and aesthetic desire.

I know I am odd duck but I still think that singing should get easier as time goes by, rather than harder. For that is the case in athletics. The whole point of training in a sport is so that playing in that sport is easier. At a golf course, you may start at the driving range to simply loosen up so that on the course, you are fluid and making the actual game something that is doable. For golf is not a game of strength. It is of endurance. As is running. Even sprinting requires some pacing. And the idea of training sprinting is so that when you do the 440 M dash, it is managable, rather than being something that nearly takes you down to the ground.

At least in my hick opinion.

Others milage may vary.

I really want you to know that I never truly disagreed with you as you can see. I just wanted to inform people that getting better at singing can be like getting better at any other athletic feat. Although it will be considered an athletic feat we all know that the elite make things seem easy and they will describe it to you as easy.

There should be no thought about tension and straining only producing a free and pleasing tone. The tone may sound strained when things are not working right, but as long as the correct model for the tone is ingrained within the mindset of the individual then the sound will grow.

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When practicing alone, try massaging your neck while singing.

For me, it relieves almost all the tension I have immediately and opens me up.

Places to try are the bottom of the neck (below the adam's apple) and a DEEP message(really get in there) on the back of your neck (on either the left or right side).

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A closed throat is (generally) caused by the false vocal folds constricting and not allowing the true vocal folds to vibrate freely. This especially seems to be a problem on the top notes when the true folds need to stretch out a lot to get those pitches.

I find that I get a lot of constriction when I'm nervous or stressed at work or otherwise. To alleviate this, I do either one of these or some combination of both.

1) Laugh silently

2) Stick my fingers in my ears and listen to my breathing. Then I adjust my vocal tract so that I'm still breathing but I can barely hear the breath or not at all.

One thing I've also found is that if you take a deep breath before starting a song, you may be sucking in air. Sucking causes the false folds to constrict. If you're going to take a deep breath before starting to sing, do not suck in air. If you hear your inhalation is very loud, odds are you're sucking, and thus you're constricting. Adjust your breathing so that you're still breathing with the abdomen, but so that you can barely hear yourself inhaling.

If I find I'm still constricting, it's usually because I come up to a really closed vowel or a really tough consonant and do not appropriately modify. In that case I try to find the closest sound that I can get where I won't be constricting.

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I really want you to know that I never truly disagreed with you as you can see. I just wanted to inform people that getting better at singing can be like getting better at any other athletic feat. Although it will be considered an athletic feat we all know that the elite make things seem easy and they will describe it to you as easy.

There should be no thought about tension and straining only producing a free and pleasing tone. The tone may sound strained when things are not working right, but as long as the correct model for the tone is ingrained within the mindset of the individual then the sound will grow.

That's all I'm trying to say, and I do not mean to discount the effect that the physical part of the training will cause on a student, especially a really green beginner. But just like the other sports, with the exception of powerlifting and bodybuilding, learning the sport is more about conditioning the existing muscle for endurance and fine control and flexibility than it is to have enough muscle to lift a volkswagen. And even power lifters train to make that weight managable. And the way one trains for power lifting is maximum weight, just a few reps and then let it go. From what I have seen, they don't spend a whole hour lifting the 500 lbs over and over again. They ramp up at a few lower weights. Then go for that one twice or 3 times. And that's it for the day. It allows the muscle to re-build to handle that particular stress. And there's not a lot of finess. Powerlift really requires a center of mass kinesthetic that can do awesome things.

Basically, train how you will compete. Just like Tommy says to train how you will sing, akin to train how you will fight.

That being said, when you hear a favored or or favorite singer, you might think you hear what they are doing or how they sing and that might not be the case, at all. But it could be too late, then. You've already set in your mind how this is to be done and no one can change your mind.

Or you've been singing one way for a long time and then you learn another way. The real strain is in fighting the old habits that you are trying to break. And it's so easy to go back to the old habits and pronounce these other methods as deficient. In which case, stay with the old methods and be happy with what one has.

And sometimes, the singers who sound like they are straining are not. And then others who sound like they are straining, are. And some like that strained sound.

I don't want strain in my voice, which makes me a lazy coward. Now that would be a neat name for a band. Should I number the albums, like Led Zep? Or give each one a title from one of the songs, like Judas Priest did? Or give it some ponderous concept album name?

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I really want you to know that I never truly disagreed with you as you can see. I just wanted to inform people that getting better at singing can be like getting better at any other athletic feat. Although it will be considered an athletic feat we all know that the elite make things seem easy and they will describe it to you as easy.

And here the main problem with the process of learning appears.

If you are playing a sport, and you just began, nobody expects you to be an elite player. I will use again the example of tennis. When beginning, some will be a little better than others, of course. But nobody will be able to deal with the service of a pro level player, it will be a great deal simply touching the ball.

But this is considered normal. Neither you expect to be the next grand-slam winner, neither do others that may be playing with you to have a good time. So there is a huge learning curve, but everyone is very aware of it, its clear, its easy to measure, and it will improve with trainning. If its not clear, you set a match with someone that you believe that you are in the same level, fair game, you were right, beaten easily, your perception is wrong and needs to change.

But on singing, things are blurry. I think Ive said this a few times before, but everybody, including ourselves, expect to hear quality similar to what we hear on comercial material. And there is also a culture/belief that singing is an inborn skill, that some selected by a divine power can sing and the others cant.

And the immediate response we have when we do not achieve the quality is to seek range, drive, or anyother simple thing to which we can atribute awesomeness. Well, life is not this simple. This leads to 2 different paths:

One is trying to sound good by tampering with your voice. Read in the forum that to sing high you lift up and pull back! Great. Only problem is that this was supposed to be used with a voice that already have a lot of other things working properly, it needs chest voice. Lift up and pull back a crappy low voice, and you have a hollow, airy and horrible head voice attempt that, if you force it into adduction, will sound like an old door squeaking.

The other is trying to justify problems with the weather, the headphones, the mic, the computer, the mix, the recording engineer, the mp3 compression, the artistic choices, the freedom, the whatsoever. Which really does not matter to anyone other than the person. And creates a problem right on the perception, which is crucial on the learning process.

In every other instrument, people get their nirvana riffs and songs going first, then they move on, applying what they can do on songs.

But on singing, no, the cool posture is to dive into material of difficulty that, most of the time, is not even properly understood besides the few spots where the guy knows that there is an A5 super high brilliant ear bleading note, or that huge scream. Tell me, what could be the possible outcome of this??

Back from the tangent, what I mean with all this is that you will only deliver decently those things that you can execute with ease, like the safe service of the pro tennins player. And maybe you will be able to get away with something that you are still not completely comfortable, maybe 90% of it. Anything other than that, recording or playing live, will be sub-quality. Its not a secret mantra of classical singing, its not an optional feature for your voice, its a requirement.

Cant be done comfortably, cant be done with quality. The hard part must be the trainning to get there. Get the middle of your voice defined and under control, and life becomes much easier, both for yourself and for those listenning to you. Do it the other way around, and you better make sure that the super high notes comes on the first phrases of the song, because most listenners will click stop on the first vowel that sounds ugly due to placement problems (sounds ugly, uglier than pitch problems). I do.

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If you are playing a sport, and you just began, nobody expects you to be an elite player. I will use again the example of tennis. When beginning, some will be a little better than others, of course. But nobody will be able to deal with the service of a pro level player, it will be a great deal simply touching the ball.

But this is considered normal. Neither you expect to be the next grand-slam winner, neither do others that may be playing with you to have a good time. So there is a huge learning curve, but everyone is very aware of it, its clear, its easy to measure, and it will improve with trainning. If its not clear, you set a match with someone that you believe that you are in the same level, fair game, you were right, beaten easily, your perception is wrong and needs to change....<snip>

I didn't quote the whole post to save space but the whole thing was excellent and right on the money.

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Great Post Felipe.

I love the part about working the middle voice out. People tend to THINK that high notes are the hardest thing to learn which is absolutely not the case. Anybody can scream a very high note, but that does not mean they can sing that pitch and any pitches in between that pitch and there lowest pitch.

Honestly I feel that people go into a disconnected head voice because it releases pressure that the vocal folds are not strong enough to handle, or the breathing apparatus is supplying too much pressure. Whatever the case is both aspects should be trained to work efficiently.

There are two problems that usually occur in the passagio when there is lack of coordination. The person will either push and push and push then finally "break" into a light disconnected head voice or the will "bridge early" which is only a cop out for not having the coordination. The latter of the two techniques is the most accepted method, but it is still incorrect. It is incorrect because when we actively choose to bridge early it will help us to sing every pitch with better quality, but it will never teach us how to sing in full voice.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice our ego before we can make some true progress. What I mean by this is everyone is on the hunt for more range, more range, and MORE RANGE. I was also one of these people at one point. I can vocalize up to about an E6 on good day, but if I slide from this E6 to the bottom of my range as slowly as possible I will break, crack, or clunk into my chest voice and/or this vocal fry like sound. I don't feel that bragging about and E6 in a light disconnected head voice is nearly as impressive as keeping full voice active up to an E5.

Right now I am struggling to get the coordination down to sing a full voice E5, but on some good days I can do it with ease. I can honestly say that I am happy to be able to sing up to and E5 in full voice instead of bridging and singing an A5 in a disconnected head voice. This disconnected head voice does have it's place in singing because it teaches us how to tilt the larynx with the CT without much resistance from the TA or the IA muscles. However this will be very limited to mezzo-forte dynamic levels and will never truly connect to the chest voice.

Like I said I will be the first to put my ego aside and admit that I can only vocalize up to and E5 with connection and even at the E5 it is a little wonky and slightly strained. I can sing a C5 while performing with no problem and I am happy with that. I would much rather make the quality of the C5 grow instead of singing all of these disconnected A5's and C6's. This goes to show that we need to be patient and completely secure each pitch before we move on to the next.

This method will take a long, long, LONG time to build upon, but I would rather have a secure and vibrant C5 than have a random disconnected C6.

Just my opinion.

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Owen Korzec Wrote:

"I've also noticed that because of this idea of singing being an inborn talent, if you compare the singing community to the community of guitarists, drummers, bassists, etc.; in terms of the amount of instructional dvd's sold and clinics given and lesson taken and forums visited around the world by anyone doing it professionally; and the general presence of this stuff in a local sense; we are WAY BEHIND!!!! Okay, not us but most singers. We owe a huge thanks to people like Rob Lunte, Ken Tamplin, Kevin Richards, Brett Manning, etc. for at least making an effort to create a new movement to popularize vocal training outside of mediocre local classical vocal teachers. We've gotten into phase 1, the internet, but we're still behind on the local word-of-mouth stuff. Singers from bands that know each other should be able to go "yo nice to meet you, you sound great, what method to you use?" and have one say "I train TVS" the other say "I train KTVA" and then stir up a conversation. But that would rarely happen now adays outside of the internet. The bulk of singers don't know what they're doing."

When I first came to this forum I was a severly frustrated man. All my life asking local singers and family who could sing how to do it. Most just said, " just open your mouth and do it ". On you tube,if you are learning some other instrument, You can find videos of either basics of playing or the exact way another player plays the exact parts that you wish to learn.

With the voice, all the parts that come into play are hidden. If you have a very good ear, and have played around with your voice enough you might be able to get a small idea of what someone is doing by listening very carefully.

Even for me having made funny sounds with my voice since as early as I can remember could not figure out what singers were and are doing. When I came here I was not looking for how to sing like (fill in the the blank), or how to sing ultra high for hours on end. I just wanted to get an idea of how to get over that dreaded hump (passagio).

It does seem like there is some kind of secret that singers seem to be hiding and keeping to themselves. Most singers might not even have a clue to how they sing songs the way they do. And it seems that if they do know exactly how they sing they explain it in some kind of code that only the initiated have the cifer to.

Getting back to the thread OPEN,FREE, an UNRESTRAINED, I think until you get the balance, the coordination , strength and muscle memory it is an elusion of sound. Knowing what to train and how to train can get you there, but there are so many variables until you stuble upon it or have someone guide you to it. It will remain elusive.

If you have found it I salute you. I am still looking. I found it once and it was way easier then I thought. But like so many others I can't explain it or describe it. And once I lost it I can't even tell myself how I did it.

For all of you who are trying to lead us uninitiated. Thank you,Thank you, Thank you.

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Sometimes we have to sacrifice our ego before we can make some true progress. What I mean by this is everyone is on the hunt for more range, more range, and MORE RANGE.

This goes across the board and now that I think about it I don't know why I haven't thought about this in my own vocal training. It is something I teach fighters when they are beginners. Most times (all the time) they want the big shots, fancy techniques, high kicks, speed, combo's etc. These are all great but it's kind of like starting from the top. I usually get them to break down the technique into its basic elements. Find out what makes it tick. Detail. Then strengthen all the small parts. The whole is usually a bunch of smaller mechanics working together in coordination.

But the basics, the detail (the small parts) have to be strong and smooth. The rest just happens.

good stuff :)

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MDEW unfortunately finding the balance is the tough part about singing. Just continue to play around with your voice making as many different sounds as possible and you will stumble upon some great things.

The sad part is it will take a long time to actually get the coordination down. I myself can help, but I am still stuggling myself. I will post a video today to show you exactly what I mean by this.

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Thanks Tommy I appreciate it.

I loved the analogy and I'm glad you are finding ways to relate your vocal training with something else that you are good at doing. I find that doing this makes it easier to see what steps have to be taken to get to the final outcome. That's why I like using sprinting in many of my posts.

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izzle, it has a lot to do with strength. it takes strength, in the whole body sometimes.

it's more than just coordination. it's strength coupled with balance.

Trust me Bob I know this. You and I have always been on the same page since I got here, but the free and unrestrained tone I am talking about is not suppose to turn into a debate over who's wrong or right. This balance should be the aim of our training, but obviously this can't happen if we are not strong enough yet.

I can't wait to discuss the during the skype conference to clear up some confusion and equalize both camps of this debate. There is not one answer, but only a median. Both you and Ron are right, but I am here to bridge the gap.

:)

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izzle, it has a lot to do with strength. it takes strength, in the whole body sometimes.

it's more than just coordination. it's strength coupled with balance.

Kind of like doing a benchpress? Getting the bar up their some strain, once your up and balanced less strain

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Kind of like doing a benchpress? Getting the bar up their some strain, once your up and balanced less strain

Close, but not quite right.

It would be like a newbie who just started lifting weights and can only bench press 135lbs. After two years of lifting this person can now bench press 315 pounds. Now the 135lbs he started with is less than a warm-up. He could probably do 30 reps with 135lbs now which will result in a free-unrestricted lift.

This is true strength/balance!

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