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High Larynx Ok?

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JohnScott
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I'm interested in other teachers experience a high larynx as part of an acceptable vocal technique. I know that Catherine Sadolin (CVT) states that that larynx must raise for high notes. I have seen many singers having problems that I attribute to a high larynx, but I'd be interested in other points of view.

-John Scott

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Larynx changes the tone and it's up the artist to decide where he feels he wants it.

I personally believe(and alot other people with that) that a hightened larynx is what you should have for really high notes. I've heard from respectable people here that it doesn't neccesarily have to be that way, and if someone shows me a G5 with a larynx that hasn't moved abit I will very much rethink my statement.

Is it not possible that people give the high larynx the blame for things that really are caused by constrictions in the jaw area?

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I'm just going to supply a single acoustic rule:

High notes resonates better in small places. :)

Low notes resonates better in larger places. :)

So high larynx for higher notes, and lower larynx for lower notes....simple! :)

John Scott,

Don't you think that you are confusing a "high larynx" with constrictions?

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High notes resonates better in small places.

Is that totally correct? I dont think a high note played on a small-bodied guitar will necessarily sound better than the same note .played on a big-bodied guitar? The note played on the small guitar would simply sound thinner, less body, than the big guitar.

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I'm just going to supply a single acoustic rule:

High notes resonates better in small places. :)

Low notes resonates better in larger places. :)

So high larynx for higher notes, and lower larynx for lower notes....simple! :)

John Scott,

Don't you think that you are confusing a "high larynx" with constrictions?

Amen, Martin. It's simple physics.

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as flesh resonates diffrently than wood! you can try this out buy yourself if you want, take a dead animal and carve a small hole in it, now sing a lownote into that hole. You wont hear any diffrence cause the density in the flesh has alot of trouble taking up lownotes in a small spaces, now try sing a highnote notice how the flesh abosorbs the ring of the tone enchanting the hz overtones above 1000-2500 hz. To fully understand this i recommend you also try and carve a bigger hole, preferably in a larger animal such as a cow or horse.

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JohnScott:

Acoustically, raising the larynx shortens the vocal tract, and shifts all the resonances upward. For singers who use a resonance strategy that tunes F1 or F2 to an harmonic to gain vocal power or stability of tone, raising the larynx allows those resonances to track the same harmonic as it rises with the fundamental.

The extent to which this might be done depends on voice type, what constitutes a 'high' note (that is, the real range we are discussing) and the technique of the singer. There is no 'must' when it comes to resonance strategies. The same thing can be accomplished by selecting vowels which have variable frequencies for F2, or for F3 tuned to the fundamental.

Many classically-trained sopranos, when singing above high C, have been found to allow the larynx to rise, tracking F1 slightly above the fundamental. If done without constricting tension, this is not harmful, but it does shift all the other resonances up, which can increase the shrillness of the voice. Other singers use other approaches to accomplish the sound they desire, including techniques that keep the larynx stable and low, again without constricting tension.

The specific technique used by the singer depends on the sound they prefer to make. Operatic tenors singing at high C and above generally use a resonance strategy that keeps the larynx stable and low, but choose vowels that resonate well with that configuration.

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as flesh resonates diffrently than wood! you can try this out buy yourself if you want, take a dead animal and carve a small hole in it, now sing a lownote into that hole. You wont hear any diffrence cause the density in the flesh has alot of trouble taking up lownotes in a small spaces, now try sing a highnote notice how the flesh abosorbs the ring of the tone enchanting the hz overtones above 1000-2500 hz. To fully understand this i recommend you also try and carve a bigger hole, preferably in a larger animal such as a cow or horse.

:|

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as flesh resonates diffrently than wood! you can try this out buy yourself if you want, take a dead animal and carve a small hole in it, now sing a lownote into that hole. You wont hear any diffrence cause the density in the flesh has alot of trouble taking up lownotes in a small spaces, now try sing a highnote notice how the flesh abosorbs the ring of the tone enchanting the hz overtones above 1000-2500 hz. To fully understand this i recommend you also try and carve a bigger hole, preferably in a larger animal such as a cow or horse.

Norrland delivers! Haha

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Martin,

I agree that constriction in the jaw area, as well as the tongue, is a major problem for most singers. Would you suggest then that as long as the jaw remains loose, there is no excess pressure on the vocal cords with a high larynx?

-John

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JohnScott,

Yes that is correct. :) Though in regards to the jaw, that's mostly when you protrude the jaw it can become a problem. Actually many singers (especially those who sings powerfully) use a "bite" (like biting an apple) which is actually a little tensening of the jaw but it's perfectly healthy. :) And about the tounge, a lot of classical singers use a compressed tounge also called "cucchiaio" and that is also a tensening. I guess my point is, that you are working with muscles and they do need to contract, and that is perfectly fine. Actually keeping everything "loose" is a kind of a myth and often creates even more problems than using some muscles. :)

Matt,

Actually just watch all instruments in regards to high and low pitches and their size. Contrabass v. violin - Tuba v. trumpet etc. High pitches have higher frequencies and so does small cavities - therefore you gain a lot more resonance if you match those two - as Steven also talked about - the cavity will enhance the vibrations from the source. Also if the frequency is above the resonance of the cavity then no harmonics will be enhanced. :)

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Yeah, I was considering the fact that a violin is smaller than a cello, so I found it all a little contradictory...I suppose a small resonance box will concentrate or focus more on higher frequencies or something, maybe they're small just to reduce the boom of lower harmonies?

Jens, I tried that on a cow last night but it didnt seem to work, maybe I should have been using a calf instead or even a piglet?

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JohnScott:

Acoustically, raising the larynx shortens the vocal tract, and shifts all the resonances upward. For singers who use a resonance strategy that tunes F1 or F2 to an harmonic to gain vocal power or stability of tone, raising the larynx allows those resonances to track the same harmonic as it rises with the fundamental.

The extent to which this might be done depends on voice type, what constitutes a 'high' note (that is, the real range we are discussing) and the technique of the singer. There is no 'must' when it comes to resonance strategies. The same thing can be accomplished by selecting vowels which have variable frequencies for F2, or for F3 tuned to the fundamental.

Many classically-trained sopranos, when singing above high C, have been found to allow the larynx to rise, tracking F1 slightly above the fundamental. If done without constricting tension, this is not harmful, but it does shift all the other resonances up, which can increase the shrillness of the voice. Other singers use other approaches to accomplish the sound they desire, including techniques that keep the larynx stable and low, again without constricting tension.

The specific technique used by the singer depends on the sound they prefer to make. Operatic tenors singing at high C and above generally use a resonance strategy that keeps the larynx stable and low, but choose vowels that resonate well with that configuration.

Hello all,

My first post here and all I can say is: "THIS!"

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Lame John... Folks,,,, I wont steal John's thunder or timing... but when he is ready to stretch out here... look out folks... because John Henny is a BIG GUN and knows his stuff! I predict a rapid collection of "rep. points" with John. John is an old friend of mine...

John, dont be shy.. jump in and start swingin... this community will love you and your experience and perspectives.

Bro.

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Steven,

I think your understanding of frequency amplification is very interesting. Would you agree that some subtle control of the larynx would be required for amplifying the voice in this way, and that beginning or intermediate singers would need to do some work in order to move from an involuntary movement of the larynx to a controlled movement?

-John

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Yeah, I was considering the fact that a violin is smaller than a cello, so I found it all a little contradictory...I suppose a small resonance box will concentrate or focus more on higher frequencies or something, maybe they're small just to reduce the boom of lower harmonies?

Matt: The resonance of a violin comes from multiple characteristics, but principally from the top plate, and the bottom plate, and through interaction with them, the interior air. These elements vibrate in their entireties, and also in their sections. The design and materials of the bridge and sound post (inside) make a difference, too.

When building a violin, the Luthier works to make the resonance strong, via making things lightweight, and making the resonance consistent, by quality of materials, grain structure of the woods, flexibility of the purfling joints, symmetry of the bridge, etc.

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Steven,

I think your understanding of frequency amplification is very interesting. Would you agree that some subtle control of the larynx would be required for amplifying the voice in this way, and that beginning or intermediate singers would need to do some work in order to move from an involuntary movement of the larynx to a controlled movement?

JohnScott: IMO, the use of the rising larynx in a resonance strategy is an advanced technique, because to do it the larynx would need to be at the right, optimal, height, and free to be positioned there at the discretion of the singer. Learning just where that is, for which vowels on which notes, is a progressive thing, the right amount learned by trial and error. Laryngeal elevator tension, or an uncontrolled battle between the laryngeal elevators and the depressors, would interfere with this positioning.

Fortunately, there is another method that can be used to keep resonance strong through a great deal of the range of the voice. Formants 1 and 2 rise as the jaw is dropped, and the vocal tract shortens when the lips are withdrawn sideways. Vowel modifications toward 'ah' also work for sopranos rising above the treble staff. This sort of strategy for maintaining resonance reaches a physical limit at the top of a female voice, somewhere between C6 and G6, depending on the voice type.

For classical female voices, the most popular resonance strategy in the mid and upper voices is to tune the lower vowel formant (F1) to be slightly above the fundamental being sung, so that the fundamental is the strongest harmonic.

The same sort of motions can be done by male voices, with more or less the same effect. However, since the aligment of harmonics and formants with male voices is different than those of females, different vowel modifications are done to gain optimal resonance.

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I have seen many singers having problems that I attribute to a high larynx, but I'd be interested in other points of view.

-John Scott

I believe it depends on why the larynx is raising. If there is a high larynx due to pulling chest voice too high, then yes there will be problems for the singer. Since this is such a common issue for singers the belief has sprung up that the high larynx itself must be the problem, which is not true. A high larynx is only a symptom of this incorrect resonance, not the immediate cause.

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I'm just going to supply a single acoustic rule:

High notes resonates better in small places. :)

Low notes resonates better in larger places. :)

So high larynx for higher notes, and lower larynx for lower notes....simple! :)

John Scott,

Don't you think that you are confusing a "high larynx" with constrictions?

This would be true, if the voice was a simple acoustic instrument that used a single chamber to resonate a single harmonic. The fact is the larynx should optimally change the harmonic it is amplifying and even give up being the primary resonator depending on pitch or vowel. Therefore it's not as simple as the position of the larynx following the fundamental.

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matt, guess i should avoid posting when it's that late at night and my humour is at it's lowest point ;)

Jens: Aw, come on. I thought it was funny :-) Think of the comparisons we use every day for tone quality in terms of animals....

Frog in my throat

A Ho(a)rse voice

The scale from Do(e) to Do(e)

and of course, my favorite,

the monkey on crack :-)

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To address Matt's question about other instruments. Even a guitar has a "sweet spot" where a certain range of tones resonate better than others. My brother used to play clarinet. High notes required more vibration of the reed, which required an adjustment of his embouchre, and the changing of the valves in the instrument changed the shape and/or length of the resonating space. And, to echo Martin, living flesh is, I think, a different resonating space to deal with than hard wood in an instrument.

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