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Nasality

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Mivke
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Hi Mivke,

Nasality basically sends part of the sound up past the soft palate and into the nasal cavity, into an area which isn't very conducive to resonance. The nasal cavity is full of soft tissue so doesn't reflect resonance as well in the mouth, which is full of hard, resonant objects like your hard palate, jaw and teeth.

On the other hand, you can use a touch of nasality to some vowels to add a lazy, accessible quality to the sound. Listen to John Newman - Love Me Again for a great example. Listen to "know I done wrong" and "is that what devils do" for that nice resonant quality it brings.

But overall, especially on tough moments for the voice like belting or register transitions, nasality is probably best to be avoided just for simplicity's sake, and so that you can hear the correct resonance from all the parts. Hope this helps!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfihYWRWRTQ

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Alright, it's basically as I thought then. But as you say Dante, the nasality IN ITSELF is not necessarily bad for your vocal health? It's often a biproduct of something not working, but done as a choice of effect or w/e one is generally safe?

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The nasality in itself is not harmful to the voice or the vocal folds - it's merely an alternative route out of the body from the point of resonance.

But the tonality itself might be something you want to avoid, unless for stylistic purposes. :)

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Lilli Lehmann pointed out in her book that in regards to nasality or nasalence in tone, there is sometimes too much. More often than not, there is too little and that is the real thing to fix.

And it is a matter of aesthetics, for me. I do not like through the nose nasality. However, a well resonated note that is beautiful and clear will have some nasality in it. And if we are talking what is popular, then anything goes. George Jones was always singing through the nose. And sold countless albums doing that. Not that it is a justification for it.

David Allan Coe was consistently flat, even in the studio. But he was popular and sold lots of albums. Which does not justify being off-pitch.

Others have said that overt nasality is a sign of bad technique and will lead to ruination of the voice but I don't put full stock in that. I have been reading a book on the new voice pedagogy and from an actual lab study, which included scoping the subjects before and after a test, one suffers damage more often from phonating to loudly, with repeated hard collisions of the folds than one ever did from nasality in the tone. And the subjects in the study were both trained and untrained. The untrained person stopped sooner from the fatigue. The traine singer pushed foward and still suffered fatigue, no doubt from the idea that one will "train through this." Both suffered swelling and damage that healed with rest.

So, if your style needs some nasality, go for it, as long as you are on pitch and can sing without undue fatigue.

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So, the buzzy feeling in the nose when singing is not being nasal?

I always assumed that it was a bad thing

If you pitch your nose and the sound changes you're nasal. If not, you're not nasal.

I believe it is possible for the nose to have a buzzy feeling even if there's no air coming through it (nasality)

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I just know for me personally, it feels as I tend to be very denasal. When I do aim for some nasality it's ALOT easier to balance the tone "back" again than it is if I start too far back and try to fix it by getting more nasal.

I guess it's very individual how your voice is balanced and of course I'm not aiming to sound very nasal, but thinking nasal for me helps alot with how comfortable notes feel, WHEN I get it "slightly" nasal in a natural way.

Thanks for the continuing answers people!

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