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notes and breath placement

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bigmike092
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This must sound like a complete beginner's question, but if your singing a high note, does it resonate in a different part of the mouth than if you sing a low note.

cause for a while i was trying to figure out where exactly in the mouth i should aim the breath whether it was more towards the back or front. but then i tried singing with only focusing on the hard palate and i think i notice when i sing a low note it's more towards the back of the mouth and a higher note is more towards the front and i was wondering if that was correct.

or is it vertical in that higher notes ring higher in the head and lower notes lower?

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I personally aim more to the back the higher I go and more to the front the lower I go, but this stuff is so subjective...

Unless you are studying with a teacher who can guide you through it, don't even worry about placing notes anywhere. Let them go wherever, experiment, and then if it ever happens to sound and feel really good, take note of that sensation, repeat it over and over again, and memorize where the note feels placed.

But it can hard to actually make sense of the placement correctly on your own without a teacher's guidance, because what one singer might perceive as forward another might perceive as aiming the sound back more...it can get pretty ambiguous.

IMO a less ambiguous way to learn these sensations is by sound and feel, instead of trying to assign a visual direction to it. Listening to and watching your favorite singers and trying to sing in a similar manner helps a lot if you need to get there without lessons.

Things to look for: mouth shape, tongue position, posture, how much effort they look like they're putting in

Things to listen for: vowel shade, how they are changing the vowel from its pure form and at what pitches, intensity, amount of airiness vs. brassiness, darkness vs. brightness in the tone, etc.

Studying that stuff will probably leave you with much better placement than trying to just figure out placement on your own.

But lessons with a teacher is the best option, you will learn "placement" as fast as possible that way.

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hmm, maybe it is hitting the more towards the back for me to on high notes, it is confusing. though more likely im probably not doing the same thing consistently as im still getting down twang, drinking in the breath ect. so im probably all over the place.

anyways thanks for replying

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This must sound like a complete beginner's question, but if your singing a high note, does it resonate in a different part of the mouth than if you sing a low note.

cause for a while i was trying to figure out where exactly in the mouth i should aim the breath whether it was more towards the back or front. but then i tried singing with only focusing on the hard palate and i think i notice when i sing a low note it's more towards the back of the mouth and a higher note is more towards the front and i was wondering if that was correct.

or is it vertical in that higher notes ring higher in the head and lower notes lower?

To keep the answer short, it does not... And you do not aim the air, you block or open its passage (moving lips, tongue and velar port).

What we associate with these sensations are parts of the coordination that need to work with relative independancy. So its not enough to get a similar sensation, you need to execute the correct coordination and then see how it feels for you (and sometimes it takes a while to develop your awareness).

I strongly suggest the help of a teacher in order to accomplish this.

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aren't you supposed to aim it at the hard palate though since hard surfaces reflect sound, which i thought was the purpose of "drinking in the breath." or does things like correct support and technique automatically do that for you?

Maybe it should technically resonate more around the hard palate, I don't know, but the point is you really can't feel where you're aiming the sound at all, it's a big complex illusion.

What automatically does this stuff for you is a combination of the correct sound (what kind of tone and how the vowels modify as you go higher) and the correct physiological setup of all parts of the pharynx (how high or low the larynx is, how high or low the soft palate is, where is the tongue and in what shape. how low is the jaw, lip shape, etc.)

And there is no one specific right way to do it, but there are many many wrong ways to, in the sense of attempted placements that don't bring the desired result...that's why it's so helpful to have a teacher to guide you who knows at least one of the ways of placing sound that works and can get you doing it.

Like Felipe said though you really don't aim the breath anywhere, or even the resonance. You change the throat shape and thus it feels like you are helping to direct it to a certain spot in the throat, but as far as what's actually happening physically, it's not nearly that simple.

But I hope you get the point here...if you are shifting placement for new pitches, you're not moving the air around, you are changing the space of the resonance chamber...and therefore, placement doesn't have that much to do with support or how you're breathing, it's mostly a result of the throat shape which affects the vowel shades and your tone.

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"therefore placement doesn't have much to do with support"

well i notice when i'm using adequate support it feels like the breath is being held back and hits more inside my mouth compared to not supporting well or hardly at all. i suppose like you said its simply just my sensation of it and not whats going on physically?

i've heard many times, even from professional vocal teachers online saying 'you should drink in the breath' and you should 'direct the breath towards the hard palate'. and its like for quite a while ive been trying to figure out through experimentation where i should direct the breath, but on your guys advice i've been focusing on just getting support down and forgetting about where its going and i already notice my singing improved, even if its just a little bit.

so i should i completely discard the advice that singing feels like your drinking in the breath? i know the teacher that said it meant it in a way that its only the sensation of it, but i suppose too much i focus on actually drinking it in.

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I strongly suggest the help of a teacher in order to accomplish this.

There is a video on the thread immediately bellow this one, the one about Estill, where an instructor goes through several concepts with a group of people, you will notice how each describe what they feel differently and you will be able to link "drinking" to something that is explained, or several things that are explained.

This will not help with the issue, but at least will allow you to understand better what you are trying to do.

Really, instruction man...

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"therefore placement doesn't have much to do with support"

well i notice when i'm using adequate support it feels like the breath is being held back and hits more inside my mouth compared to not supporting well or hardly at all. i suppose like you said its simply just my sensation of it and not whats going on physically?

i've heard many times, even from professional vocal teachers online saying 'you should drink in the breath' and you should 'direct the breath towards the hard palate'. and its like for quite a while ive been trying to figure out through experimentation where i should direct the breath, but on your guys advice i've been focusing on just getting support down and forgetting about where its going and i already notice my singing improved, even if its just a little bit.

so i should i completely discard the advice that singing feels like your drinking in the breath? i know the teacher that said it meant it in a way that its only the sensation of it, but i suppose too much i focus on actually drinking it in.

No don't completely disregard that advice. It's actually great advice to help you find the right sensation. I am a huge fan of that drinking the sound concept and whatnot. The problem is, without a teacher to demonstrate what they mean by drinking the sound (which you could find on videos etc.) it's possible to think of it in the wrong way. So in other words, be careful how you interpret advice that involves non-scientific sensations like that. Those tips DO work, but not all of them work for everybody, and they are often misinterpreted if not done under the guidance of a teacher, so be sure to find examples of teachers in videos demonstrating these ideas and really try to connect with the qualities of their demonstration and how they explain it...try to find the exact sensation they are describing

I hope that made sense?

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i dont really have the option for vocal lessons right now, maybe sometime down the road. for now its just reading things like this forum and practicing on my own. all check out the video, thanks for replying.

I see, well man, then focus on singing and trying to improve without trying to apply technique. Aim for comfort.

These things can be more of a hinder than a help if you use incorrectly. Someone singing one, easy song, nicely is 10 times easier to work with than someone that is simply trying to place the voice here and there but is still not singing.

If you can do so, it will speed up the progress should you start vocal lessons later on.

Stick with things that are within your capabilities and life will be easier

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thanks for posting the video phil all practice that exercise you demonstrated. but you said aim the breath at the hard palate, i thought you shouldnt aim the breath at all? or is it you aim at the hard palate but not in a specific part of the hard palate?

anyways, i recorded myself singing a part of the song the boy who blocked his own shot by brand new. in the first part of the clip im only focusing on support. in the second i try to focus on support and drink in the breath. i also did a quack sound trying to sound like a duck, and i tried to incorporate twang in their too, not too sure how well it worked. but to do that i sang focusing on singing at the hard palate but a little bit to the sides.

https://soundcloud.com/stream

i think where i drink in and aim the breath sounds better than the first part where im not specifically trying to do that. or perhaps it only feels like im aiming the breath there, and focusing on doing that is making me do something else. anyways what did you guys think? and don't hold back.

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alright so, the first part i focus just on using support. in the second part i try focusing on support, drinking in the breath and twang. i dont think i have twang down and i know i still need work on support, but here it is

https://soundcloud.com/michael-witt-10/voice-001

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bigmike, the first thing you need to do is get rid of the weird shaky tremolo thing. If you are thinking that's vibrato, it isn't. Vibrato involves rapid and subtle fluctuations of pitch. What you are doing is very rapid and obvious fluctuations of volume, it's tremolo and generally we don't want that in singing.

From what I could hear from your tone (it's a bit hard to hear through the tremolo), I think both tones are okay...the first might be better if you need to blend in with other singers, the second better if you are singing lead and need to cut through the mix.

But I wouldn't even worry about that stuff yet. I think your first priority right now is to get rid of the faux vibrato habit. Once you remove that and learn to sing with a nice smooth straight tone or a more natural vibrato, only then will you be able to truly feel and hear the differences in support and resonance and whatnot, and you'll also sound a lot better overall.

Good luck.

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thanks for listening. i actually wasn't doing that on purpose. would more support fix that?

or maybe it's because when i first started singing i read about tongue, jaw, and soft palate raising and i got in the habit of keeping them in the same position. so i need to work on letting my mouth move naturally when i sing. perhaps that's it?

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yea ive been looking more into your videos, there really helpful. after some experimenting im fairly certain the tremolo problem is maintaining constant support.

and just curious, whats the point of singing the song on a single vowel?

You are right it's probably is support related, but there are also ways to sing unsupported that don't result in tremolo, so it's not the only thing.

If you suspect the tremolo might be caused by nervousness or tension, one thing you can try is, before you sing, just sit and breathe calmly, slowly, quietly for like 5 minutes or however long it takes for you to feel like your respiration system is relaxed.

If that doesn't fix the problem, try to think of approaching singing as sustained speech in order to find straight tone. As if you're talking to someone and you decide to drag out a word for a really long time. It's very easy to do, you basically just pause all movement except for the consistently continuing airflow. Think about it, would you naturally add a tremolo if you were told to elongate the length of your speech? I don't think so. I have a theory that the amateur tremolo thing comes as a result of trying to sound too singery but going about it in the wrong way. So relating it back to speech can help a bit in this case.

These are just ideas I'm throwing out there, I have no experience teaching any of this stuff...I just know a bit about the voice and how I personally find ease in singing with smooth straight tone...it helps to not be nervous, and to not try to sound super amazing through vocal tricks but through tone instead...

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could pushing cause the tremolo thing? cause especially after reading this,

In order to ”support” your singing you may get really tense and instead of using the air comfortably you hoard it or force it. Instead of keeping the pressure off your vocal cords you might mistakenly push with the air, all the while thinking you are ”supporting”.

http://wonderofvoice.com/2010/12/07/anchoring-breathing-vs-bodywork/

i notice now when i've been singing ive been pushing the breath out despite thinking i was drinking in the breath, and may even be singing too much from the throat. so i think the answer is while singing focus on drinking in the breath at the hard palate until it becomes more of a habit, otherwise it seems if i dont think about it all sing from the throat and push too much.

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so i've been looking a lot into support and i read that if the stomach isn't constantly moving then there's no support going on. and some specific articles say while keeping the ribs expanded you should pull in your stomach and that resistance created between the two is support. so my question is if that is something i should focus on doing because i notice with my current support method even though im not focusing on tensing my stomach it hardly moves. so should i do pull in the stomach while at the same time push out around the ribs/solar plexus, or with proper support does the stomach move in on its own?

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