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Raised soft palate vs resonating up in the nose

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sws1
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At this point, I've read / purchased ALOT of books and lessons on singing, and it appears that not everyone agrees on what to do with the soft palate.

On one hand, you have many so-called Bel Canto approaches that push for open throat and raised soft palate, which closes off the nasal resonance that is needed for a forward placement. (E.Herbert Caesari calls forward placement and singing using mask as "vulgar".) KTVA uses this. "Bel Canto Buzz" uses this. etc.

Many other approaches have you do exercises involving "humming", or singing on the NG, which keeps the back of tongue and soft palate closer together, driving a lot of the sound up into the head, and on some vowels/notes, creating distinct pressure in the sinuses.

I have now been practicing both, and while having a raised soft palate creates more sound out of the mouth, it sounds a bit 1-dimensional, and lacks the ring/buzz that comes with having a bit of sound resonate up in the nose.

The problem I now have is: Do I have to pick one approach? Is there a middle ground? If I'm not singing opera, and I want to sing more contemporary, shouldn't I utilize the approach which gives me more "ring?

(I'm not good with having options. Just tell me what to do.)

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doing certain exercises like ng or humming is not taught to teach you to sing like this, it has a purpose in training like lifting a weight to play basketball or doing squats for running. Exercises are exercises not "singing". I hope this helps.. Also the same with low Larynx,dopey sounds whiny sounds crying sounds. Don't base your technique of "singing" around these specific "exercises".

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Im gonna agree with daniel here, most of the best exercises the sounds you are making then whould not directly be applied to singing.

I always try to just focus on the singing when i sing, to get the sounds i want. Exercises as Daniel pointed out is a complete other beast that can boost your singing like crazy, but you need to put the singing in focus exercises is just means to strengthen what you already got.

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I also agree with both Daniel and Jens. The different positions and placements on exercises are to strengethen and help you hone in on different resonance strategies. Resonance occurs when accoustic space matches favorable frequencies. Lifting of the soft palate is not just opening and closing the nasal passage but also changing the "Space" inside the mouth.

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So, you're saying that, for example, singing…"MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh". The sensation I get when I open to the "ah" is not how I should resonate when singing? That certainly gives the note a lot of ring.

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I feel none of the above actually answered your question.

What I would suggest is simple: Go with the sound you like better and which you feel suits your style/personality best.

That being said I would practice both resonance methods just so you can be more versatile and have more tricks in your toolkit.

For example if I was to cover a Meat Loaf tune and wanted to try and go for his style it's better to use the palate resoance whereas if I was to do a Bon Jovi tune I would use much more mask.

Also Ken Tamplin mentioned that even if you favor mask it's still useful to be able to utilize the soft palate resonance in case of allergies, post nasal drip etc as sort of a back up plan and I strongly agree with that.

No harm in practicing both and choosing whatever you like best at any given moment.

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You can't place the voice anywhere when you try it sounds strained.. mask is another term used for someones sensation like (Headvoice, chest voice)etc 300years ago. If you are relaxed and not trying to place it anywhere and pinch it forward in the mask like some do..You will find good natural resonance. If the ng or mm helps you to feel a buzz explore it use it in exercises but don't try to place the voice in the "mask" when you sing you will just end up straining and pinching...I have helped enough people that have had this habit lately and helped them to understand what is meant by the "mask" not placing the in the" mask"

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hold your nose on the "ah" if you get air coming through you don't want it. It should be behind the nose not in the nose

One of my favorite books (Secrets of Singing, by Jeffrey Allen) mentions that on low notes, it should feel like 90% of the breath comes out of the mouth and 10% out of the nose, but on higher notes, it may feel like 90% is coming out of the nose, even though it actually isn't. Just feels that way.

The point is, in his mind, air is coming out of the nose always.

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So, you're saying that, for example, singing…"MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh". The sensation I get when I open to the "ah" is not how I should resonate when singing? That certainly gives the note a lot of ring.

Not really, your gonna get good things from exercises thats why you do them, for example that aahhh your talking about.

Each exercise has a specific goal you gotta understand the goal.

For instance when i first started out witches cackle exercises i belived i should sing like that in the upper range and it nearly killed me.

Lets take the witches cackle for example:

a snarly witchy sound that trains the pharyngealmusculature/twang if you wanna call it that. Will increase fold closure, it also protects your voice if you have these muscles strong.

You wont use the pure pharyngeal in singing. Thats just one example...

An exercise is usually streamlined to adress a certain problem or pin down a coordination, meaning exercises are either muscle building or simplifications of singing to adress certain issues.

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I too will agree on what have been said but would like to add that it's not just a matter of "lifting weights", it's a matter of balance. The balance I mean is for the singing, the exercises as said are sometimes done quite exaggerated to help your voice in the direction of that sweet balance that is the sound that you want in the most efficient way possible :-)

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It comes down to personal preference I think.

Over time I've realized I've come to prefer the tone of a combination of high larynx and high soft palate. Neither one to an extreme, but just more so in that direction that the other way.

The higher larynx gives you that buzz but the raised palate lets the vowels darken and ring and sing a bit.

Still working on it of course. I'm actually practicing right now, just taking a quick break.

The other thing is, as someone mentioned, if you're used to relying on mask/nasality, and you get a cold, your whole vocal technique kind of collapses, and you can no longer produce the notes the same way. It's happened to me. Being able to raise the palate and produce a sound without shooting so much of it into a clogged nose...I'd imagine that would be a life saver.

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Pick your easiest vowel at a comfortable pitch. Start RELEASING it through your nose, very nasal. Slowly walk towards a yawn. As soon as the nasal quality stop, stop moving to the yawn. Map it down with everything you can feel. Try to replicate it.

This will set the focal point on the optimal "height". Go through the 5 basic vowels with this placement. When its all easy and consistant, with legatto, move up a semitone and do the whole process again.

And remember that both the nasal and yawned coordinations must be free from tensions. If you lock anything, you will impair your ability to adjust the vocal tract and sooner or later you will compensate with jaw or tongue.

Too high as suggested is not a good idea, it will be too light and will lack clarity. It does need to go higher as the pitch increases. But keep in mind this is more a matter of dynamics than a "super solution".

Its more important to remember that you must pass going a bit higher or lower, being on head or chest, so that you make it move, than it is to figure an exact and perfect placement for every vowel, with perfect legatto. At least on a first moment and on pop singing.

This is not optional btw.

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wrong. that overly bright tone is what gets the pharyngeal/nasal/twang whatever you wanna call it resonance.

you're doing it wrong.

aim the sound in the soft palate but brighten the tone to get the facial/nasal resonance. smile into the sound. you need to learn how to place the vowels properly, I'm afraid to just type this up on a forum and trust you'll interpret it properly.

Awesome reply, Phil. For those who like unadorned truth and presentation, there be some, r-ah-t, theh-ruh.

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Yes, raising the soft palate is not really optional, but you still have options, just do what you like better. This:

aim the sound in the soft palate but brighten the tone to get the facial/nasal resonance. smile into the sound. you need to learn how to place the vowels properly, I'm afraid to just type this up on a forum and trust you'll interpret it properly.

will give you the brighter, higeher larynx, high palate sound, and this:

Pick your easiest vowel at a comfortable pitch. Start RELEASING it through your nose, very nasal. Slowly walk towards a yawn. As soon as the nasal quality stop, stop moving to the yawn. Map it down with everything you can feel. Try to replicate it.

will give you a darker lowered larynx/high palate sound

The difference is mainly a matter of style and sound color, pick what you like better. In the first case (Phil) you start "dopey/dampened" with the palate up (by aiming at it) and then brighten the sound to get the ring back (which also raises the larynx).

In the second approach (Felipe) you start "twangy/ringy/nasal" and then lower the larynx (yawn), which for most people basically automatically raises the soft palate, too. (yawning is basically a combination of lowering the larynx and lifting the palate).

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Yes, raising the soft palate is not really optional, but you still have options, just do what you like better. This:

aim the sound in the soft palate but brighten the tone to get the facial/nasal resonance. smile into the sound. you need to learn how to place the vowels properly, I'm afraid to just type this up on a forum and trust you'll interpret it properly.

will give you the brighter, higeher larynx, high palate sound, and this:

Pick your easiest vowel at a comfortable pitch. Start RELEASING it through your nose, very nasal. Slowly walk towards a yawn. As soon as the nasal quality stop, stop moving to the yawn. Map it down with everything you can feel. Try to replicate it.

will give you a darker lowered larynx/high palate sound

The difference is mainly a matter of style and sound color, pick what you like better. In the first case (Phil) you start "dopey/dampened" with the palate up (by aiming at it) and then brighten the sound to get the ring back (which also raises the larynx).

In the second approach (Felipe) you start "twangy/ringy/nasal" and then lower the larynx (yawn), which for most people basically automatically raises the soft palate, too. (yawning is basically a combination of lowering the larynx and lifting the palate).

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benny, not really about dark/low larynx. If it becomes dark you passed the point. As I said, the idea is just moving it down from the nose.

If the yawn creates more laryngeal movement than what is necessary, you will feel a hold in the throat. In this case some othe reference to control the velar port is necessary.

This ballance reduces effort considerably, if done correctly of course.

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