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Sing "EE" Without Modifying

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Hey all, is it possible to sing EE from C2-C5 and above without modifying? As a native English speaker I will even admit it's such a "constricted" vowel at times.

What is the proper way to free the "EE" lol! (eventually)

- JayMC

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You will most likely modify a little towards ih (fit). Even if you don't mean to. A correct modification will still have you sounding like you are singing ee. I try to modify towards an ahhh, simply because all my favorite singers do.

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Phil has taught me to modify EE to EH-AY-EE back at the top.

EE is a closed vowel and very bright so you have to darken it slightly as you go up or it just spreads and becomes nasty.

New York Vocal Coaching have an interesting video.

In my opinion modifying is a great technique.

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How you high and how powerfully you can sing a pure ee depends on your voice and how long you've trained it.

Not being able to do so is indeed one of the most annoying things ever, but to keep choking on pure ee's is not the better option and we need to consistently remind ourselves that. Learn to modify to it toward ih or ay or eh when it gets too high.

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sometimes you need to add the mind power to the vowel.

don't sing the modification, "think in" the mod you need...

the setup for a nice solid, rich "ee" for me is best when i sing it through the mouth shape of an "oh or an uh." this has the effect of narrowing and focusing then think in an "ih" as you go up or you might want to try an "ay."

it can also help to add a little cry.

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Keep the EE loose - it doesn't have to be a squeezed, tight ee. Also, as you are going up in pitch feel the muscle under your chin - if it is constricting it is not good. Keep this muscle relaxed as you go up on EE. Monitor this muscle with a finger.

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Keep the EE loose - it doesn't have to be a squeezed, tight ee. Also, as you are going up in pitch feel the muscle under your chin - if it is constricting it is not good. Keep this muscle relaxed as you go up on EE. Monitor this muscle with a finger.

Geno, how do you go about preventing that tension under the chin?

Monitoring it easy, but to actually get it to stop tensing, what adjustments did you find helpful?

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Owen - I picked that one up from the Bristow program. He said to stick your fingers up into that muscle - before singing. The muscle should be loose. Then vocalize with the EE and do not permit that muscle from coming down. The tendency is to contract the muscle and it comes down. Bristow says "don't permit it to come down by keeping your fingers sticking into the muscle". By trying different phonations you should be able to get it to not engage. Then change the phonation to an EE and make sure it doesn't engage.

It is a muscle independence exercise. He's got a lot of cool muscle independence things like that. We inadvertently engage muscles when we shouldn't.

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Owen - I picked that one up from the Bristow program. He said to stick your fingers up into that muscle - before singing. The muscle should be loose. Then vocalize with the EE and do not permit that muscle from coming down. The tendency is to contract the muscle and it comes down. Bristow says "don't permit it to come down by keeping your fingers sticking into the muscle". By trying different phonations you should be able to get it to not engage. Then change the phonation to an EE and make sure it doesn't engage.

It is a muscle independence exercise. He's got a lot of cool muscle independence things like that. We inadvertently engage muscles when we shouldn't.

Okay that doesn't answer my question, but most of that stuff encouraging the release of those muscles doesn't either. Never been a huge fan of that methodology.

I know I can get the muscle to chill out by singing very light (going to head voice earlier) or lowering the larynx a ton, but obviously neither of those are the best solution.

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This is a great example of modifying the "i" vowel

( As a side note... I prefer using spanish when talking about vowels as it is more absolute, no need to use ih, ee, eh, etc... just A E I O U and mixtures of them. I'd really like more people did that, haha. Italians do too because of their language :P )

http://youtu.be/cXC41ka3hQs?t=36m18s

Oh, god.. the embed is not working. Please just copy and paste the link. :/

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Monitoring it easy, but to actually get it to stop tensing, what adjustments did you find helpful?

Very often the tension under the chin is caused by pressing the tongue against the upper molars. It's very common on high front vowels like EE. :)

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Someone, before, had mentioned that being able to go up a scale or siren with one vowel sound unmodified was a good technique, so this is a fair question, I think. Of course, I have not sang a song that actually needs this particular tihng but at least in training, you can strech as you feel that you need to stretch.

Good luck, Jay. I would like to hear some of your singing, these days.

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That is probably the case, but my next question is, if that's the only movement causing it, is it really that bad?

Also, if the tongue is just barely touching the molars, without pressing, just to form the vowel right, would that still cause the tension under the chin?

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Owen - If you are singing the EE and that muscle is stiff, it's simply a clue as to where you may be holding unnecessary tension. And a big part of learning voice is the discovery and elimination of unwanted or unnecessary tension. I don't think I've come across a single voice teacher / coach who isn't on board with that concept.

If you feel that muscle (without vocalizing) it is probably relaxed. Now, if you move your tongue to make an EE - without vocalizing - does that muscle tense up? If so, it doesn't have to. While feeling the muscle with your fingers it should be easy for you to isolate that muscle and relax it while keeping your tongue in the EE position. Of course you can probably produce EE just fine with that muscle tensing up. But knowing that it doesn't have to be tense, do you really want it to be? What other muscles are tensing unnecessarily when you sing?

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Okay I get it. Ill try to stop pressing against the molars as much, that should help. If only someone told me that was the cause years ago!

If I sound defensive of these tensions its just because when I was a beginner, trying to eliminate them forced me to produce sound in a very weak, limited way that stalled my progress as a singer. So when i realized later that I could sing fine and even better by allowing tension under the chin or wherever, I sort of developed a hatred for that classic thumb under the chin monitoring method that was one of the sole reasons I didn't progress in my singing for a long time.

But now that I have more experience i get it: you learn basic technique and grow your voice's ability, THEN you can start removing the unnecessary tensions. And by now I think Im ready start removing those tensions, but the point is Ive learned its so easy to confuse normal, necesarry contractions with unnecessary counterproductive ones and wanted further clarification about that.

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To answer your question Geno, under the chin is the main one and it often seems to help more than it hurts but I realize I'm probably mistaken about that. I also sometimes get jaw tension, I'm working to tame that too. Also tension in the back of the neck which may be a good thing sometimes but I think its also preventing me from a free laryngeal vibrato.

Little things, nothing severe. And I'm so glad I waited on trying to remove them...I'm a firm believer in a beginner's need for helper tensions in order to develop new coordinations. But now I have to accept the next step is to remove those "training wheels" so to speak

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just keep mind in this video you're hearing a lyric, lighter voiced singer. your voice may not be that light.

also, here's a guy to watch and learn from too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5B_nuROsqo

No that's the way you do it. This is actually the same exercise I've used for for ee for many years. Whether you are a bass or tenor this how it's done. Notice you just sing ee and slightly drop the jaw keeping a steady flow don't read into this an only go as high as you can comfortably it will get better

Cool now I don't have to make a video.

Hey bob I still think you need to put away they fach thing. Remember you are not an opera singer. And notice this guy is put he's not making it mushy and to dark that's the key to singing higher easier. Just saying forget about fach and do it like this.

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Okay I get it. Ill try to stop pressing against the molars as much, that should help. If only someone told me that was the cause years ago!

If I sound defensive of these tensions its just because when I was a beginner, trying to eliminate them forced me to produce sound in a very weak, limited way that stalled my progress as a singer. So when i realized later that I could sing fine and even better by allowing tension under the chin or wherever, I sort of developed a hatred for that classic thumb under the chin monitoring method that was one of the sole reasons I didn't progress in my singing for a long time.

But now that I have more experience i get it: you learn basic technique and grow your voice's ability, THEN you can start removing the unnecessary tensions. And by now I think Im ready start removing those tensions, but the point is Ive learned its so easy to confuse normal, necesarry contractions with unnecessary counterproductive ones and wanted further clarification about that.

You wouldn't listen years ago;) been trying to help you for years little brother

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You wouldn't listen years ago;) been trying to help you for years little brother

Dan you never told me any of this stuff??? What about this do you recall telling me?

Most of what Im describing here has less to do with teachers etc and more just me learning first hand from my own practice time what works and what doesnt

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If I sound defensive of these tensions its just because when I was a beginner, trying to eliminate them forced me to produce sound in a very weak, limited way that stalled my progress as a singer. So when i realized later that I could sing fine and even better by allowing tension under the chin or wherever, I sort of developed a hatred for that classic thumb under the chin monitoring method that was one of the sole reasons I didn't progress in my singing for a long time.

Great point Owen. I was talking with Gino Vannelli's Vocal Coach who is a fantastic operatic baritone, and he told me that one of his first teachers told him to sing "relaxed" and remove all tension. He tried for a long time to sing without any tension and it almost ruined his voice. You HAVE to produce tension to sing. But only where you need it. He then proceeded to explain to us the importance of muscle independence.

And I think Bob makes a good point that when you are trying new things you are going to be tensing wrong muscles at first. You can't be afraid of that either.

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