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vowel modification: the magic ingredient

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hi folks,

i befriended a certain singer on the forum (who has asked to remain anonymous) and we were talking the other day. he sent me a dvd on the subject of vowel modification.

well folks after watching this dvd, (a bunch of times) as far as i'm concerned, this is it!!!!

this is one of the true magic gates to extending your range unquestionably and generally with much less effort.

this simply has to be learned by any singer who desires a seemless transition to and from chest and head voice, with clarity, vibrato, and a ring and ping that simply has to be experienced to be believed.

i would like to encourage all of my fellow singers on the forum to make every effort to learn this skill.

you really don't see it getting a lot of attention in most books and cd's/dvd's, but it is without a doubt an indespensible skill.

you may be already doing it, or doing it instinctively unbeknowst to you, but it was instinstive to me only to a certain note or vowel.

now it has become a part of my singing. i hope it becomes a part of your's too.

bob

if anyone has any good dvd's that cover this specific topic in detail, please let me know.

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I think you, Steven, have also explained it quite adequately in layman's terms. To where I think (please forgive me if I don't get the terms right) I can explain it.

For, to me, it's a matter of physics, specifically, acoustics. Certain vowel sounds resonate better in certain resonating spaces than others. Therefore, the way to sing in a higher range or most specifically, in a passagio, is to use a vowel sound that resonates well in that space. And it need only be a subtle variation, so as not to totally botch the pronunciation of a word in a lyric. However, I think it is okay to also change a lyric to include easily modified vowel sounds in a problematic area.

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guitartrek: Ken does have good stuff on this, doesn't he!

Yes he does - but I've got to give a lot of credit to you, Steven. Ken teaches people how to do it, where you teach us why it works. You take the mystery out of it!

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guitartrek: Ken does have good stuff on this, doesn't he!

steve, please forgive me for not mentioning you.

you're the one that got me started on learning this in the first place.

some of it came naturally unbeknowst to me, but a4 sharp up help make things come together and improve the tone up there. i appreciate it.

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steve, please forgive me for not mentioning you.

you're the one that got me started on learning this in the first place.

some of it came naturally unbeknowst to me, but a4 sharp up help make things come together and improve the tone up there. i appreciate it.

Bob, no problem. I did not invent this stuff... I just passed it on. You did the work ;-)

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Actually I believe that CVT has the most simple and effective way to describe the "vowel modification" issue:

This is related to the higher notes:

Neutral: All vowels

Curbing: I (bit), UH (hungry), O (woman)

Overdrive: EH (hey), OH (so)

Edge: EH (hey), I (bit), OE (herb) or (stir)

That's it :)

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Actually I believe that CVT has the most simple and effective way to describe the "vowel modification" issue:

This is related to the higher notes:

Neutral: All vowels

Curbing: I (bit), UH (hungry), O (woman)

Overdrive: EH (hey), OH (so)

Edge: EH (hey), I (bit), OE (herb) or (stir)

That's it :)

martin, i was wondering when you gonna show up (lol!!!)

yes!!!

the "stir" and "woman" is close to my "look" and when you modify like this the note just shoots up. then when you're singing you have this ability to direct and place the note to that pocket!!!! awesome!!

that's my new word..b.t.w. "placing" the air against the folds, "placing" the notes into the palette...lol!!!

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Italian - and to a lesser degree, French - has a pure vowel sound throughout and Italians work very hard with their lips and tongue to achieve consistent "perfect" vowel enunciation in their everyday speaking.

Us guttural, in the throat speakers don't attach much importance to this (nor to rhythm in speech) and we are the poorer for it when it comes to singing.

Opera singers do this instinctively and are helped by so often singing in Italian. Verdi or Wagner anyone? (And before anyone starts on me, Mozart wrote to an Italian book which sort of supports my point).

As for it not being taught, my teachers have always emphasised it together with mouth shape, tongue and soft palate control. (Not that I can actually do any of these things. Sadly, if I were Italian I wouldn't even need teaching it).

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Actually I believe that CVT has the most simple and effective way to describe the "vowel modification" issue:

This is related to the higher notes:

Neutral: All vowels

Curbing: I (bit), UH (hungry), O (woman)

Overdrive: EH (hey), OH (so)

Edge: EH (hey), I (bit), OE (herb) or (stir)

That's it :)

Hi everyone,

I love the way that CVT teaches vowel modification, it has really helped me a lot and Martin is a true master regarding vowels (and has helped me a lot too!) One thing though, the "I" in bit that they use seems to me not to be exactly the one that most Americans use.

Martin, perhaps you would be willing to share a clip of the way to do it correctly?

Thanks so much.

Doug

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Hi all,

Yes the different vowels are pronounced differently depending on where you come from. This is why it's VERY important to use the EXACT vowel-sounds demonstrated in the "CVT sound library"! Those are the correct vowels when singing in the "center" of the different modes. In regards to "I" here is how it has to be pronounced in Curbing in the higher part of the voice:

( "I" and "UH/O")

http://www.box.net/shared/u8or7ndhyp

http://www.box.net/shared/zkz40xg7kv

PS. In my previous post I forgot to mention that you can also use the vowel "A" as in "cat" or "hat" in the mode Edge. :)

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  • Administrator

Yes, it is Steve that influenced the vowel modification work at TVS and it has been very important. In the upcoming release of "Pillars" 2.0 videos and book, we will be covering the vowels. In the meantime, from my notes, here are some of the preferred vowels in French, German and Russian. Martin's point about language is valid. In my work with students from around the globe and my teachers, we discover that not everyone can make the preferred training vowel sound of "Eh"... as English and Italian speakers can... so we look for variants that are more intuitive in their native language.. these are notes for Pillars 2.0, but you can see where this is headed in my publication...

4. The Preferred Onset Training Vowel:

i. "Eh" as in "Egg" - English, Italian & ?

The preferred training vowel may have variants depending on language.

è - French

Ö - German

Э - Russian

I will say this however, while vowel modification is critically important, but it is not the end all to all things... if you dont have bridging skills, vocal mode skills and other critical components, your not going to get the phonation you seek... there are other components that must be mastered as well... all of these "components" are spelled out in the "TVS Onset Package" (vowel modification) is just 1 of several ... described in my training and new "Pillars 2.0" release.

Bob: We worked on the vowels when we trained together, but I dont think you were fully grasping it at the time... now you seem to be coming along with your continued interest in all this stuff.

Lastly, here is a video some of you have seen I believe, it touches on the issue of Vowel Modification... perhaps you recall?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNfpeHE6Wls

Great talk-track, yes agreed, important stuff.

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Actually I believe that CVT has the most simple and effective way to describe the "vowel modification" issue:

This is related to the higher notes:

Neutral: All vowels

Curbing: I (bit), UH (hungry), O (woman)

Overdrive: EH (hey), OH (so)

Edge: EH (hey), I (bit), OE (herb) or (stir)

That's it :)

martin, this is great to know, but you explain the modifiers per cvt mode.

can you, or anyone explain which modifiers to use non-cvt?

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Well Bob,

No need to, because this is HOW it works.....CVT or not :)

Also these vowels work the other way around as well (most of the time).....so for instance if you sing an "I" at medium volume in the higher part of your voice....it will naturally turn towards Curbing! Or an "OH" at loud volume will turn towards Overdrive. :) Try it out! yourself. :)

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Well Bob,

No need to, because this is HOW it works.....CVT or not :)

Also these vowels work the other way around as well (most of the time).....so for instance if you sing an "I" at medium volume in the higher part of your voice....it will naturally turn towards Curbing! Or an "OH" at loud volume will turn towards Overdrive. :) Try it out! yourself. :)

yes, when i hit a b4 plus it (to me) sounds like "oo" as in "look." i just have to learn to like what i hear, because it's easier and pingy when i modify to that color.

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  • 3 months later...

So stating the obvious here: If I want to curb on "me", I sing "muh" instead?

I think this thread has helped me realize why I've had so much trouble with "sombody to love" this week. Lots of "i"'s around Ab4 and flying up to Eb5 on some occasions. Not just being a difficult area of my voice the "me"'s and "find"'s are really nasally and brittle, other parts of the song I can sing reasonably well for a beginner :)

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So stating the obvious here: If I want to curb on "me", I sing "muh" instead?

No, sing "mi", not "muh". Use the vowel "i" as in "sit". Use medium volume where it feels the most comfortable. Also, try to sense how much air you're letting out of your mouth and try to minimize it as much as possible. It will be similar to the sensation of talking while holding your breath (slightly). Then, while sustaining a long "mi", ask yourself which muscles in your throat you can relax while still keeping the same sound. Chances are that you're using lots of muscles that don't need to participate in the process of making that sound.

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The CVT book sounds interesting for sure. Highly recommended?

I would for sure. I actually had taken lessons regarding the basics for half a year before I got the book though. (I just wanted a teacher close to me with a reasonable price and accidently the guy was a CVT student, worked out great)

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