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Singing lighter vs singing breathy

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Khassera
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This makes me want to scream. For some reason (which may end up being painfully obvious) i find it extremely difficult to sing lightly. I've undertaken a quest to learn I See Fire, and although i feel I'm doing okay so far, my biggest problem persists.

I find light singing very, very difficult. Mainly because i don't understand how to practice it. Someplace I recall reading that trying to sing with a very low volume translates to better control, but i just end up with a very connected but hooty chiaoscuro type thingy. If i mimic sheeran I end up singing with a higher volume, the louder the higher I get and very breathy. Or at least that's what it feels and sounds like.

Can anyone give me any direction? Is a very clear, resonant low volume headvoice/mix somehow related to singing light? Any anatomical cues or terms I should look into?

In the end it all comes down to practice, yes, but I have no idea what to practice! Lighter singing somehow makes my breaking points more prominent.

I'll try to get a recording up tomorrow to demonstrate what i mean.

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like anything else you have to train to do it...but on the other hand you may also have a big voice, weight to your voice, beefier vocal folds which will distort your view of "light" vs. a more lyric voice type. you may very well be a more dramatic voice type.

like ken tamplin........vs.........okay, i'm asking for trouble here.....lol!!!!.....brett manning's voice type.

and i don't mean baritone, tenor .....i'm reffering to voice weight, voice size...vocal tract makeup...

the skill is to be able to sing pianissimo within your own particular voice.

listen to a guy like bobby hatfield sing "unchained melody" vs. tom jones....both have light passages in the song...

so i'm not saying you're "excused" from trying to sing softly, just get with a good teacher who can develop the softer side of your particular voice.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lor0BkFNRNo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOrYiTkb3Zw

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Given the choice between light vs. breathy, lighter is always the healthier option. Regarding artistic choice, that's a different story, use both however you like.

How to practice it is really hard to explain in text without a back-and-forth lesson with a teacher who can correct your individual issues.

But here's the best I could describe it from my experience:

For very light pure falsetto stuff, there needs to be a sense of complete extrinsic freedom, without letting go of the bare minimum intrinsic musculature necessary to produce and control the sound at that soft volume. Doing scales entirely in this configuration and descending by half step but never going back into chest voice at the bottom (keep it all head and stretch the low range of your pure falsetto) should help you develop it. Support is nearly irrelevant. You should be able to move your head, body, etc. anywhere without interrupting this coordination.

For light mix stuff, you base it off the above configuration but you add a small connection to the chest musculature. It starts in chest at the bottom and you gradually shed off that chestiness and thin out into a more falsetto-y characteristic but don't let it flip to get there. Work it ascending by going up in chest voice very light and forcing yourself not to break. If you broke, it's because you didn't gradually start shedding the weight of the chest voice at a low enough pitch. But you still want to bridge as high as possible within that overall lower-bridged concept. Confused yet? :lol: Very hard to explain. This DOES take support, posture, etc. but it's nowhere near as physically demanding as full voice singing, it just takes finesse of coordination.

Both of these...practice them pretty breathy at first then gradually add some more connection.

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like ken tamplin........vs.........okay, i'm asking for trouble here.....lol!!!!.....brett manning's voice type.

I understand the comparison, two different timbres/tones. I guess that's also an open invitation for ad hominem arguments. :)

listen to a guy like bobby hatfield sing "unchained melody" vs. tom jones....both have light passages in the song...

Thanks for the demonstration! I'm not looking to sound like Sheeran, but I'd love to have a bit more hues to my palette than "on" and "off!" :D

For light mix stuff, you base it off the above configuration but you add a small connection to the chest musculature.

So a kind of chiaoscuro-type single register configuration?

Confused yet? :lol: Very hard to explain. This DOES take support, posture, etc. but it's nowhere near as physically demanding as full voice singing, it just takes finesse of coordination.

Not at all! Thank you so much!

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i was reading through old threads on support and found a post from cunodante relevant to this thread

The tendency is to want to relax the body and get lazy as you go up in pitch, where you need to do the exact opposite with appoggio. The higher you go, the more you need to ground yourself within your body, hence why it is so physical. Also, the louder you want to sing, the more you have to ground into your body. The softer you want to sing (while still being connected and maintaining richness of sound), the more you have to connect into your body.

then in another post in the same thread(post #22) he goes on to say

Appoggio is NOT just about loud, powerful singing, although in the beginning stages, that is how the singing will be. It's actually very useful for lighter singing that you want to still sound connected. Actually, it's about the only way I know of to have a light, connected sound that you can still crescendo from into full voice. Appoggio is necessary to carry out the messa di voce exercise; without it, that exercise is impossible. The strength it takes to sing lightly with appoggio far greatly exceeds what is required for singing out with appoggio, which is why you work on the softer dynamics last.

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3865

so apparently you still need to maintain quite a bit of support to sing lightly? i suppose in a way that would make sense, need more pressure in the body to hold back the air even more, and then use a smaller amount of subglottal pressure (exhalation force) than when singing at louder levels im guessing?

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The thing is that "appoggio technique" stuff discussed in that thread has no relevance to singing light and breathy as it's normally done by 95% of singers.

In the case of the typical light mix used in contemporary music, the amount of effort/support it takes is right where you think it would be...in the spectrum of chest pullint to falsetto, the coordination is about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way toward falsetto. The only part that is harder than both pure chest and falsetto is keeping the laryngeal coordination stable in a light mix, but that comes mostly just from the muscle memory of practicing singing with that certain medium-light amount of weight a thousand times until the voice becomes comfortable going there and sitting there without the musculature wanting to leave that light mix spot that your mind is trying to keep it in.

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uncompressed will sound airy and will basically feel like falsetto but connecting your chest into it.

This is what I think I'm doing with the high notes...

compressed will feel like your typical full voiced tone but bridging into headvoice earlier (this is harder to do), this is your typical "light mix" as brett manning would call it.

This is what I feel I'm doing with the low-mid notes, trying to mix and not overuse chest, since I can sing for hours on end, but if I speak in my normal voice for 5 minutes I get hoarse. I guess I've got too much chest resonance in my normal speaking voice.

khassera. send me a PM and I'll show you over skype

Will do!

In the case of the typical light mix used in contemporary music, the amount of effort/support it takes is right where you think it would be...in the spectrum of chest pullint to falsetto, the coordination is about 1/2 to 2/3rds of the way toward falsetto.

Right in the grey area. It's almost more tiring to try to keep the finesse/focus of the coordination than to just let the support do all of the work. I tried going from a soft chest resonance (mix) up into headvoice with minimum effort, and I can stay connected pretty good. The problem is when I start singing I lose focus mostly due to the emotional emphasis of different parts of the song... And when I lose it, it turns loud and breathy. But I think I understand how to go about fixing it now. :)

The only part that is harder than both pure chest and falsetto is keeping the laryngeal coordination stable in a light mix, but that comes mostly just from the muscle memory of practicing singing with that certain medium-light amount of weight a thousand times until the voice becomes comfortable going there and sitting there without the musculature wanting to leave that light mix spot that your mind is trying to keep it in.

So to recap: I start with a light offset as low as I can without using pure chest resonance, and work my way up with as little support as possible, using as little musculature as possible, with as low a volume as possible. That about right? :)

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This is what I think I'm doing with the high notes...

This is what I feel I'm doing with the low-mid notes, trying to mix and not overuse chest, since I can sing for hours on end, but if I speak in my normal voice for 5 minutes I get hoarse. I guess I've got too much chest resonance in my normal speaking voice.

Will do!

Right in the grey area. It's almost more tiring to try to keep the finesse/focus of the coordination than to just let the support do all of the work. I tried going from a soft chest resonance (mix) up into headvoice with minimum effort, and I can stay connected pretty good. The problem is when I start singing I lose focus mostly due to the emotional emphasis of different parts of the song... And when I lose it, it turns loud and breathy. But I think I understand how to go about fixing it now. :)

So to recap: I start with a light offset as low as I can without using pure chest resonance, and work my way up with as little support as possible, using as little musculature as possible, with as low a volume as possible. That about right? :)

Not really. Instead of as little effort as possible it's still effort but effort into the coordination rather than the strength

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