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Which of these is correct head voice?

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Nathan
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I noticed that I have three ways of hitting higher notes. I've no idea which is right. When I know I'll know which to practice on and which to drop.

So I recorded myself doing some downward 5 tone scales on different sounds.

First example (which I think is falsetto):

http://www.box.net/shared/2kzy7peqk6

Second Example (which sounds kind of operatic, at least I think):

http://www.box.net/shared/dl5abxa1ub

Third example (Which is kind of belty. It doesn't hurt but it is vocally tiring to do for a whole song):

http://www.box.net/shared/fi582q7syo

So what do you guys think is right? Which sounds best (it may not be the correct one, even)?

Or... You know... are any of these even right? Potentially I've yet to experience what head voice should feel like.

I'm very interested to read your guys thoughts.

Peace,

ND.

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There is never a correct sound, unless you want to really force yourself into a certain genres cliches. I "kinda" liked the last one the best, but the distortion from the mic makes my blood boil ;) Seeing as I have no clue of your singing knowledge to date, the best general advice I can give is to check out twang.

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yea. the 3rd is what you want... try this to make it better...

lay on the ground with your feet on ground as well. Humm that top note an octave lower until you feel your face, teeth, and head buzz. Once you can feel the buzz open the humm up to an "ah" and slide it up an octave.

by the way. the first 2 are falsetto. Youre just supporting the falsetto better on the 2nd one.

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Nathan,

Do you enjoy the sounds you're making? Do they feel comfortable?

Head voice is a vague term referring to compressed sounds in the head register. If you over-compress your vocal cords, the sound will become squeezed. If you don't compress enough, the sound will become airy.

Doing head voice "correctly" usually refers to finding the right balance of compression. Because there are many balanced sounds you can create in the head register, it comes down to personal preference, and other people will simply tell you which sound they prefer. The decision should be yours to make.

I personally wouldn't use clip 3 if it tires your voice after one song. But again, that's your decision. :)

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Nathan,

I listened to your three clips with some interest. I have a question: How old are you? The impression I got from the clips is that you are a very youthful singer with a naturally high, easy production, that can also crank it up when you want to.

Echoing what some of the others have said, there are lots of different sounds that you can make in the upper voice, so many that they have different names. Even the older term 'head voice' has two sets of meanings, and ranges from the very soft, connected 'float' to the peel-your-hair-back power of a mature operatic tenor.

All that said, there is no way for us to tell what your head voice might sound like without hearing how your middle and upper middle ranges sound. If there is a 'should' in any of this, the 'should' is that its advantageous for your voice to be of fairly consistent quality from bottom to top when you are singing your 'standard' way. Of course you can also do different tone qualities, add intensity, change vowel pronunciation to create moods, etc., but the core of your voice has to be there.

Responding to your three clips...

I hear #1 as a light head voice, or perhaps a firm falsetto. Can you crescendo it? If so, then its a head voice that you could use for some types of classical music, and especially as a choral tenor for softer music if you want.

I hear #2 as a firmer head voice, but I would not call it operatic. Can you transition from #1 to #2 without disruption, say in a messa di voce, smoothly? This tone quality would be enhanced with some twang or singer's formant resonance.

In #3 I hear a big jump in the laryngeal muscle activity... almost yelling, and less pitch accuracy. IMO, you've skipped over 3 or 4 intensity levels to get from #2 to #3. Also, the vowel you have chosen is not optimal for top voice ring. You got there on main strength, and not on a good resonance foundation.

If you want to begin to discover the connection between your middle voice and your upper voice, I suggest you dial back the volume on #3 a bit, reduce it 2 notches. Then, starting on the A the 10th below middle C, sing a 2-octave major arpeggio on the vowel OH, smoothly. Try to make the volume consistent, allowing for the top end to be just a bit louder than the bottom, but all without straining. Dwell on the top note a moment, and then sing the arpeggio notes back down to the original. Transpose upward.

Once you can connect to the top note without a click, pop or break occurring, record it and send it in. We'd love to hear what your voice sounds like in its entirety.

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Interesting. Some of you guys say 3 was the best, others are more questioning.

In response to the responses:

In which one do you feel a buzzing/vibration towards the front part of your face and around your head/forehead?

To be honest, none. I guess maybe #2. But it isn't greatly noticeable. The buzzing is only in the back of the mouth, no where else.

the distortion from the mic makes my blood boil ;)

Yeah, sorry about that. Cheap webcam mic, couldn't be bothered to dig out my EV mic and load the software.

check out twang

Never understood twang. I always ended sounding like a bad Axl Rose imitation, or would overdo and it'd go into #3. It was never very comfortable for me either, my throat seemed to tighten.

Do you enjoy the sounds you're making? Do they feel comfortable?

They feel comfortable. I enjoy making them sounds. But I never like listening back to my voice.

How old are you? The impression I got from the clips is that you are a very youthful singer with a naturally high, easy production, that can also crank it up when you want to.

I'm 20 in just over a month. Which, now that I have said that, makes me feel very old, haha. I dunno about the naturally high or easy production bit.

If you want to begin to discover the connection between your middle voice and your upper voice, I suggest you dial back the volume on #3 a bit, reduce it 2 notches. Then, starting on the A the 12th below middle C, sing a 2-octave major arpeggio on the vowel OH, smoothly. Try to make the volume consistent, allowing for the top end to be just a bit louder than the bottom, but all without straining. Dwell on the top note a moment, and then sing the arpeggio notes back down to the original. Transpose upward.

Gonna be away for 4 days. Will try this away if I can and record when I get back. I hope you've more tricks up your sleeve if this doesn't work, haha =]

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#1 may or may not have been falsetto. It sounded more like a light head voice, a little more adducted than falsetto. #2 sounded like the same breath support as #1 but with a different resonance that reinforced the notes better.

#3 could use some twang and then you will find it easier and less tiring, though, at first, you will end up retoning some muscles in your throat as you learn to twang and hold that twang. Your tone was good and the twang will brighten it a bit, at which time, you can darken the tone by modifying a vowel sound, such as switching to the "eh" sound.

You said you are coming up on 20. So, give yourself some time. Some guys here have been singing for months, years, and some for decades.

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I'm 20 in just over a month. Which, now that I have said that, makes me feel very old, haha. I dunno about the naturally high or easy production bit.

Nathan: Yes, for a male singer, that's young, 4-6 years after voice change. Say, did your voice change happen gradually, or did you go 'clunk' one summer?

Gonna be away for 4 days. Will try this away if I can and record when I get back. I hope you've more tricks up your sleeve if this doesn't work, haha =]

Nathan: You bet. Learning twang (or its classical cousin, singer's formant) hugely increases vocal efficiency & Power, creates a brightness without strain for all vowels. Very much worth learning. There are a number of ways to learn it. We will share ;-)

Have a great time away.

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Interesting Steven does this give any helpful tips regarding the voice?

I'm 18 and I pretty much "clunked" a summer when I was 12 or 13.

Snorth: Yes, it give some insight into previous voice use and potentially into voice type. Sometimes, the higher tessitura (post-change top-dominated) male voice types sort of 'glide' downward over several or more months, whereas for lower ones (post-change, bottom dominated) to have a 'clunk' event. I had a clunk event. Tenors I know sorta drifted downward, with no jarring change.

I was just curious to hear what his experience was.

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Wow that's cool Steven. I never had a clunk moment myself, although my son, who turned 13 in June, definitely clunked. He went from sounding like a boy one week, to ME the next. Mind blowing bizarre(still tickles the heck out of me.) Interestingly, his voice hasn't ever really cracked(and come to think of it, mine didn't either.) That seems to be the one generalization that always kind of puzzled me.

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Wow that's cool Steven. I never had a clunk moment myself, although my son, who turned 13 in June, definitely clunked. He went from sounding like a boy one week, to ME the next. Mind blowing bizarre(still tickles the heck out of me.) Interestingly, his voice hasn't ever really cracked(and come to think of it, mine didn't either.) That seems to be the one generalization that always kind of puzzled me.

analog: 13 is early, but not unexpected for a clunk event. Depends mostly on the overall growth spurt associated with ut puberty. I was a late-bloomer at 14 when it happened to me. As a reference, a tenor voice change might delay until 15 or even 16, and be very gradual.

For the voices that clunk: this is exactly the time you should be introducing him to some top-down phonation, and in the habits of non-pushing, correct support and vowel formation. You can even teach him twang if you want, but start easily. With a year's focus on the post-change fundamentals (like learning over how to make layups with larger feet and 6" of extra height), he can go into high school with a very servicable voice... one that will give him a lifetime of enjoyment.

On the 'never crack' comment... that comes with the way the voice is used. Some familial voice habits, around the pronunciation of particular vowels and habitual tone qualities (like father, like son) can result in vocalism that does not crack much. consider yourself (and he) to be lucky in that regard. 1 more habit not to have to un-learn. :-)

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Well, I actually went through puberty very early(I was 6 ft at 13.) Unfortunately, that was it (I'm still 6 ft :) )Obviously he has a different mix of genetics, I was just surprised because he's still small and smooth(read: he's NOT Teen Wolf, like I was at his age.) So his voice changing caught me completely off guard.

And...he's a drummer. No interest in anything vocal(could be because I've scarred him with all the crazy vocal exercises I've done over the last few years :P )

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Snorth: Yes, it give some insight into previous voice use and potentially into voice type. Sometimes, the higher tessitura (post-change top-dominated) male voice types sort of 'glide' downward over several or more months, whereas for lower ones (post-change, bottom dominated) to have a 'clunk' event. I had a clunk event. Tenors I know sorta drifted downward, with no jarring change.

I was just curious to hear what his experience was.

Interesting, my speaking voice is not really way low but I've been a quite loud overdrive singer naturally before I started with CVT. My curbing was awful aswell before I started working out how to have that held back sensation. I've often theorised that what people call tenors really are just people that naturally can do curbing.

However I know a big guy (taller than 2 meters) that has a pretty low voice who had NO CLUNK whatsoever in puberty, just a smooth transistion like the tenors you describe. So there clearly are some exceptions.

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Thanks for elucidating that, Steven. Once again, "you are the man." My voice never cracked or clunked and I assumed it was genetics, plus I still have my tonsils and adnoids. I've had 3 step-fathers. My step-grandfather was a constant in my life and he was a bass, in both speaking and singing (he sang bass in church choir.) But I was raised mainly by my mother, who's voice was actually alto. She was not high pitched. When I was a teenager and my voice was changing gradually, there was a time when a few callers on the telephone, not knowing me, thought I was a woman. I wasn't offended. I just corrected them that I was a boy or young man. But my voice never cracked or clunked. Until 1988, my singing was mostly upper baritone to low tenor. Then, I actually spent some time learning how to sing and found that I was a tenor, mostly, though I can still sing some baritone.

On the other hand, my younger brother's voice kind of clunked. One day he kind of sounded like a woman. And then, by the following year, (seemingly overnight), he spoke in low baritone. He also sings, now, but I have a higher range.

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When I was a teenager and my voice was changing gradually, there was a time when a few callers on the telephone, not knowing me, thought I was a woman.

By 18/19 I had enough of it and decided to lower my speaking voice a lot (it now sits in the lowest part of my sustainable voice). And that was after I had to drop it twice because it was increasingly harder to maintain my former pitch during my teenage years, at 14 and 16 if I recall correctly. And now my brother is 15 and started speaking at least as low as me in like a month. *shrug*

I never thought about it, but I find it a bit funny now. And I can't say in which vocal category I might be, and don't really care all that much.

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Okay, so I finally got around to trying and recording this. I tried a bunch of times and came up with 2 different versions. It's good that I've narrowed it down, I guess.

2 Octave Slide 1:

http://www.box.net/shared/pr3by31dzm

2 Octave Slide 2:

http://www.box.net/shared/kcexnmfe5a

Now, these two seem different and definitely feel different. The second one feels smaller somehow.

Also there has been a lot of talk about twang. Earlier, I expressed my difficulty with twang. I thought I'd record this exercise with some added twang.

Twang 2 Octave Slide:

http://www.box.net/shared/sctyo3mhnr

I think I'm probably doing twang wrong tbh. People say "Just imitate a duck", but again I can do that with a number of different feelings in my voice. Each one not pleasant.

With regards to my voice change; I think it was gradual. I only ever had that embarrassing teenage crack thing happen once (maybe twice, but only one time that I can remember). But it wasn't like it cracked and stayed deeper, so I think my change was gradual.

My voice was reasonably low when I was about 13-14. I remember one time my mum was talking on the telephone to her friend, I walk in and say something which made my mums friend ask if she had a guy over for 'company' or something disgusting that my mother would absolutely never ever ever do!!!!! :P Anyway, she was extremely surprised when told that it was me, a 13-14 year old she hadn't seen for a number of years.

Little glimpse of my 'This is your life' there. But that was the first moment that I'd realised my voice had probably changed a bit. I don't think it is so low now, maybe subconsciously I 'put on' a bit of a lower voice back then, though I wasn't really aware of it or why I would have done. Interesting stuff though.

P.S. I finally found a safe WMA to MP3 file converter. So you guys can stream those audios from the site and not download now. Happy days!

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To me, your first slide sounded like it had twang.

Second one had less or no twang.

Third one sounded like you had fry going on.

Of the three, the first was the strongest, with just the right amount of distortion, at least to my ears.

Others' mileage may vary.

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