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I can't stop pulling chest

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Nathan
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I physically can't. In exercises I sort of can, but then it sounds terrible so I try to improve the sound and it pulls again. 50% of the time in exercises I can do it and not pull chest, but then it comes to songs and I'm immediately pulling on any note above middle C (even though chest voice isn't supposed to end until E4).

I try decreasing air pressure, but that doesn't help as I end up in falsetto or some terrible sounding head voice type configuration.

I can do a kind of soft thing (like in the 'Human Nature' clip I posted the other day) which doesn't sound very good, but means I can hit some higher notes but in a very fluffy way, lacking versatility. People say "Just add twang to add power" but I do that and it hurts again, so I'm guessing that is wrong.

Does anyone have any comments? It seems like all of the conventional advice doesn't work for me, which leaves me in a bit of a rubbish position.

I'm so tired of experiencing this stinging throat feeling I am guaranteed to get everyday, which I am feeling a bit now.

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I physically can't. In exercises I sort of can, but then it sounds terrible so I try to improve the sound and it pulls again. 50% of the time in exercises I can do it and not pull chest, but then it comes to songs and I'm immediately pulling on any note above middle C (even though chest voice isn't supposed to end until E4).

I try decreasing air pressure, but that doesn't help as I end up in falsetto or some terrible sounding head voice type configuration.

I can do a kind of soft thing (like in the 'Human Nature' clip I posted the other day) which doesn't sound very good, but means I can hit some higher notes but in a very fluffy way, lacking versatility. People say "Just add twang to add power" but I do that and it hurts again, so I'm guessing that is wrong.

Does anyone have any comments? It seems like all of the conventional advice doesn't work for me, which leaves me in a bit of a rubbish position.

I'm so tired of experiencing this stinging throat feeling I am guaranteed to get everyday, which I am feeling a bit now.

i physically can't what? send us a clip of what you can't. i'll bet you can.

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What terrible headvoice type configuration? I thought your point was to get a fully supported headvoice. And there can be a light headvoice that is not falsetto even though it's soft and clean. Headvoice should solve the problem of carrying chest too high.

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Example:

http://www.box.net/shared/k16s6937ka

This is really poor. It's not even in pitch. But I can tell neither of these are right. Both cause discomfort. But it's one or the other really. I cannot make any other sound up there.

They both sound unsupported, but I was supporting... Well, I was doing the press down stuff as described in RYV. But it doesn't sound like it is.

Hmmm, I'm beginning to think I simply don't have 'it'.

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<snip>

Hmmm, I'm beginning to think I simply don't have 'it'.

<snip>

Haha don't be silly Nathan. You can learn to sing for sure!

I am a student, like you, so I can't tell you the best way to develop your head voice, only what worked for me.

I found the Singing Success exercises to be very helpful (I know, I know many people here don't like singing success, I am just sharing how I figured it out, not saying what is the best.) However, I think this is something that is covered in some way in most singing programs. And CVT takes a differnt approach with is to keep students within a mode, so that they develop what will be the mode that they will be singing in all the way up without hitting the breaks. That still willl leave you to develop your transitions between modes if you choose to chage modes on your way up, CVT does talk about this too but it is not as key a focus as in some other programs. But bottom line, most of the programs that have been discussed on this forum lately can help you with it and I would guess you have several of them if you are like most of us.

Could you share which program you feel you like the best? Then perhaps those that have had experience with it can help you think through it in the terms you are most comfortable with.

Oh one other thing, Robert's program (the Four Pillars) really emphasises posititve mental attituted though most programs say it somewhere. Though for lots of things mental attitude can make a small or moderate difference, it makes a huge difference in voice. I am not sure why but it seems to be true.

Try to think in more positive terms, when you find yourself thinking negatively about your voice, consiously make your self stop those thoughts. And think more positively about your voice. Know that you can improve and be a good, maybe even a great singer.

Anyway, I hope some of this is helpful.

Doug

PS Depression is very common, I am not saying anyone is depressed, but just in case you feel like you could be depressed. There are many authoritative websites about depression an here is one http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175.

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Hey Douglas,

I'm definitely not depressed. I generally keep a positive attitude about singing, it can just get very frustrating.

I have many of the programs (not CVT) but haven't found anything that really connects with me. I know all of the programs are great and loads of people have found success with them, but I've tried many of the more popular ones and found that they simply do not work for me.

I was thinking about this today; there isn't really a product that teaches you everything you need to get started. I'll elaborate:

It seems like many products will teach you support, which is one thing. But then they often say "Now try singing this scale using that support" which in a way is like saying "Right, I've shown you how to use the windscreen wipers; lets drive to the shops". I'm not saying support (or windscreen wipers, for that matter) aren't important, but there must be more too it, specifically what happens inside your throat.

I've been in this situation with a teacher when I first started out:

Teacher: Right, so you've gotten the support. Now sing this.

Me: Erm... how?

Teacher: Just however is natural.

If we were all able to sing naturally why would we take lessons? It seemed flawed. Incidentally I continued studying with her for nearly 2 years and made no progress so I 'fired' her.

This probably sounds crazy, like I'm thinking everything has to be perfect and stuff. But I'd like something to focus on so I know I'm getting it right. Maybe some way that the muscles in my throat should be or something. I have no idea.

I'm thinking of getting that CVT book, but don't know if it'll be of any use to me really. Apart from the different 'modes' does it contain anything related to what I've mentioned (as unclear as that probably was).

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Hi Nathan,

While I am a big fan of CVT I am not sure it will be the solution to your current challenge though it might be.

The approach that CVT takes is to have you stay in the center of different modes. Because it is a very different approach from other programs it may work. I love the CVT approach and it has a lot of very cool stuff, but it tends to be a bit short on exercises to help you work through things so it is possible that it wont solve your problem.

Perhaps a more experienced CVT user will share their thoughts too? I did not use CVT for this specific thing myself.

Doug

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Part of your problem is changing vowel sounds and how you use your mouth in mid-pitch or more, should I say, when changing pitch. That is partially changing your configuration in mid-stream. Secondly, smile in the upper pitches. This has the effect of changing your configuration or resonating space. And use the sound "eh" for your scales. And stick with one vowel sound in a scale. If you wish, try each vowel sound in it's own scale.

Basically, you will be opening your mouth and not using it to shape vowels and resonance. This should happen behind your mouth in the throat and behind the soft palate (think behind the nose.) And I know you will say, "oh no, nasal." Well, you need your sinus cavity to resonate and it won't sound nasal, especially as your throat learns to realign.

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Nathan,

I can empathize brother. I have struggled with the same issues. I promise you that once you learn how to free yourself up, you will be laughing at how LITTLE effort(relatively speaking) is needed in the larynx. I'm not saying it's easy by any means, and I have to constantly guard against tension/constriction when singing heavy, but you will be surprised how quickly your voice will come around when you start working from a healthy place.

I recommend searching for all posts by Steven Fraser. I copied a post from another topic that I think would be a great place to start:

Welcome, sep! From your description, you have very normal passaggio issues... too much vocal weight as you pass mid C, and a wandering soft-palate. This is familiar territory for very many of us. I had some of these same issues when I was a younger singer, and took a long time to find the teacher and exercises that would help me work my way out of the situation.

F1 domination of the tone going up to F#4 is not unusual, depending on the vowel. IMO, you should take some advantage of the fact that, on an upward scale, the passaggio starts at different places with different vowels. It starts lowest on /i/ (ee) and /u/ (oo). You can combine an exercise using those vowels with voiced semi-occluded consonants, such as V or Z. For example, start the C below middle C using a clear, medium volume 'V', sustain it during a smooth arpeggio up to middle C without pushing, and then open your jaw vertically to an easily-made /i/ vowel which you hold for several seconds. Repeat a few times for /i/, and then switch to /u/ On the oo, do not round your lips to make it, let your tongue do all the shaping.

Once you can do this well with the C, so that you have no sensation of pushing on the top note, you may transpose upward by semitiones and repeat. When you get to the Eb, return to the use of /i/, but add another vowel after it... /E/ (eh). The syllable then is V for the arpeggio, open jaw downward to /i/, and then morph it into /E/. Here, do not do any extra work to make the /E/ impressive. The goal is for the production at the level of the larynx to feel as easily-made as the /i/ was.

When you can do that pitch level and the top 2 vowels without strain on the Eb, transpose up to Enatural, and change the vowel after you open to /o/ (oh). The goal is the same: make the vowel with the tongue (not the lips) and easy at the level of the larynx. When this one is balanced, transpose to the F and F#.

Through the course of this, do not push. If you want a smooth transition to your top voice, and easy range and power up high you simply have to stop. Its up to you. You can do it. Let us know how things are going!

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http://www.box.net/shared/k16s6937ka

i listened to this, and honestly the feeling i get is that your holding your voice back and not pushing...

And for that exercise your doing, it's intended to be superhard and not someting that will easily get you over your first "break" going from Ahh to EEE to II up in the highrange is just made for you to breakup specialy if you want to keep the same soundcolor and volume on all those vowels :P

I hear alot of potential also it's kindo late now but il post an audio example tomorrow of an exercise i want you to try and see if you notice any diffrence. :P

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I'll just add on for emphasis that I think you've got GREAT potential and I laughed my ass off at the end of your clip because there is a similar exercises I did for awhile going from AH-OH-OO in the upper range and...if I had recorded it every time I did it...it would need a "For Mature Audiences Only" warning label on it and a pair of "ear muffs" for the faint of heart.

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Thanks for responses guys. I agree with Ronws, I do have difficulty with the vowel thing. I'm not sure that is my only set back though, but it's one of them. You say to smile in upper pitches, but doesn't that cause additional throat tension? (at least, according to SLS; specifically SS). I'm supposed to sing through the nose? I was told that if the soft palate is raised no air (and no sound) can travel through the nasal cavity? Like full on through the nose so it feels like sound is shooting out of the nostrils, or slighty like it it happening at the back and only a little air is coming out? How would I discover the correct feeling?

So analog, how did you learn to free yourself up and such? I'm still looking for a method that fits me and if you (or anyone else) can reccomend any to me that you think will address my issues it'd be great. That quote from Steven is definitely helpful.

Jens: can you elaborate on the holding back comment? I feel that on the first example I may have been, but on the second example I was blasting it out. So I'm a little unsure what I need to do.

I look forward to trying this exercise you're going to post Jens :P

I'm glad you guys think I have potential. I hope I do. But I'm having difficulty finding the keys to unlock this potential.

Sorry for asking more questions are extending what I'm sure is an already tedious post, but I'm very lost and confused at this point.

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No, Nathan, smiliing will not create extra throat tension. What it does is realign your throat in a way that helps produce twang. It also helps put resonance behind the soft palate or behind the nose, as I like to say. You sing behind the nose, not through it. The feeling will be a buzz behind the soft palate or, in my case, it feels like I am ringing behind my eyeballs.

As for hold back, that is because it takes less air to create a high note than you think, but the air pressure must be more consistent than even when you are speaking. So, it feels like you are trying to provide air pressure, while simultaneously holding back.

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I get the feeling your scared when you enter the highrange, it sounds like this very big sound wants to come out of your mouth and you can get a hint of that in the end of that clip. But the moment that sound starts to come you stop or hold back :P I cant describe it better.

Try this not my best try but you get the idea :P http://www.speedyshare.com/files/24861765/ah2.wma

try keeping it open and release weight as you get higher let the voice crack if it wants to, but dont be afraid

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I get the feeling your scared when you enter the highrange, it sounds like this very big sound wants to come out of your mouth and you can get a hint of that in the end of that clip. But the moment that sound starts to come you stop or hold back :P I cant describe it better.

Try this not my best try but you get the idea :P http://www.speedyshare.com/files/24861765/ah2.wma

try keeping it open and release weight as you get higher let the voice crack if it wants to, but dont be afraid

jens and the others have you going but also i want to add what has helped me immensely.

after a through warmup, sing medium volume "la" as in "ah" appegios with a really open mouth, (more open than you think) think open but relaxed, the throat relaxed, and shoulders, add support as you ascend.

as you head up on the "la's" and start to feel tension near f and g start to transition ever so very slightly to a "oh" sound at the top. as you descend, return back to "la"....as you go up the scale try to think downward instead of upward. higher up, near a and b, you're looking to transition to more of a "uh" sound as in "look."

again, these transitions are subtle and slight.

if you do this correctly you will hit this "pocket" at the top of the palate (you'll know it when you feel it) that will let the sound flow out of you with vibrato and ring.

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Nathan, you are not alone to have a problem with pulling chest. I have struggled with this for over 2 years now. My biggest inspiration is Bruce Dickinson and i´ve tried to sound like him for along time now with the result of pulling chest mostly, i know that we all have different characteristics in our voices and that it´s very difficult to have the exact sound of someone else, but hey, i like this sound and if i can get somewhat close to it i would be a very happy man :lol: My life would be easier if my biggest inspiration instead were Brian Johnsson or Rob Halford, because i can come pretty close to these sounds when i overtwang or use reinforced falsetto. Don´t get me wrong here, i´m nowhere near these fantastic singers ability of course. By the way, i have no intention to steal your post here, Nathan, i am just giving my perspective of how frustrating it could be this f*****ng pulling-chest thing. I think that if i had spent money on a vocal coach my situation would be different today because i would have spared alot of time and frustration if i did. This forum is great and have alot of nice people willing to shear and help you. Here, you will most certainly get the tools and the guidance to get you on the right track and i have followed many advice here that i am sure are the most excellent ones but the difficult thing is you often don´t see the result right away and you could get insecure before you are there. Thoughts like "how long will it take before i see any significant results?" "Am i really doing this right?" "What if i try this way instead and maybe i will see a more quick result?" are creeping in . What i am trying to say is: if you are a neurotic guy like me:lol you will benefit from having a vocal coach that can give you the feedback and support you need, this will spare time and frustration most certainly.

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Nathan, you are not alone to have a problem with pulling chest. I have struggled with this for over 2 years now. My biggest inspiration is Bruce Dickinson and i´ve tried to sound like him for along time now with the result of pulling chest mostly, i know that we all have different characteristics in our voices and that it´s very difficult to have the exact sound of someone else, but hey, i like this sound and if i can get somewhat close to it i would be a very happy man :lol: My life would be easier if my biggest inspiration instead were Brian Johnsson or Rob Halford, because i can come pretty close to these sounds when i overtwang or use reinforced falsetto. Don´t get me wrong here, i´m nowhere near these fantastic singers ability of course. By the way, i have no intention to steal your post here, Nathan, i am just giving my perspective of how frustrating it could be this f*****ng pulling-chest thing. I think that if i had spent money on a vocal coach my situation would be different today because i would have spared alot of time and frustration if i did. This forum is great and have alot of nice people willing to shear and help you. Here, you will most certainly get the tools and the guidance to get you on the right track and i have followed many advice here that i am sure are the most excellent ones but the difficult thing is you often don´t see the result right away and you could get insecure before you are there. Thoughts like "how long will it take before i see any significant results?" "Am i really doing this right?" "What if i try this way instead and maybe i will see a more quick result?" are creeping in . What i am trying to say is: if you are a neurotic guy like me:lol you will benefit from having a vocal coach that can give you the feedback and support you need, this will spare time and frustration most certainly.

if i can add an addendum...i actually like to pull chest..i.e., bring chest sound into the higher notes. it perceived as a negative, but it can be a real awesome sound when done correctly. it takes a lot of support and control because ironically you're holding back to create it...now that this 57-year old totally confused you guys...lol!!!

this song explains what i mean: (not a really good live one for this)he's rockin at 3:30!

i love this vocal reminds me of the gold chain disco days...lol!!!

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Yeah, you are kidding here, right, Videohere? I can´t say i hear any chest-pulling in your link, that is, a shouty. metallic characteristic, the so-called overdrive mode in CVT. At least that´s what i mean by pulling chest.

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Olem: You're not stealing my post. I assumed I wouldn't be the only person struggling with this and if the comments provided so far can help you then good. We are all in this together, right? Wish I could sing like Brian Johnson or Halford. I have had vocal coaches. I feel like I've already wasted loads of money. But hopefully this lack of a good instructor will soon be resolved. I agree, many times I have a load of different ways I can approach an exercise, none of which appear to be right. So it's definitely confusing. It almost feels like I've never properly sung a single note before.

Jens: Have been trying the exercise whilst including a bit of the vowel changing mentioned by videohere. I can still get up to tenor high C, but it feels (and sounds) strained. In the past I've been told I'm just belting the high C, which is wrong. So maybe I just need to discover head voice. Anyway, I will persist with the exercise, I actually enjoy that one :)

Videohere: Tell me more about this 'pocket', is this literal; i.e. is there a place to focus the voice where it will just sit and ring out? Or was it more of a metaphor I'm taking too literally? Also, I don't really notice him pulling chest in a typical way. I can't really think of any particular singer who I'd say is pulling chest. But I do understand what you mean about adding power to top notes in order to make them more bassy. One of my favourite singers, Caleb Followill (from Kings of Leon) does this a lot. Example on their new single http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IAxoqoqJ44&ob=av2n is probably the second chorus. "and when they CLASH" sounds really belty and kinda pulled to me, but I may well be wrong.

Ronws: This is further evidence to the inaccuracy of SLS and SS then. Thanks for clarifyin pointg that for me. I've never felt the buzz you described. How do you find it?

Thanks for all the brilliant comments so far guys. I don't want to keep this post going forever, but I'm very inquisitive regarding this point.

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Yeah, you are kidding here, right, Videohere? I can´t say i hear any chest-pulling in your link, that is, a shouty. metallic characteristic, the so-called overdrive mode in CVT. At least that´s what i mean by pulling chest.

no, i'm not kidding...however, i have very little knowledge of cvt.

i just naturally gravitate to chesty-sounding powerful vocals. i like one powerful connected tone. it's so hard to explain with words.

let's try this example:

here are 2 really good vocalists (i.m.h.o.) singing the same exact song in the same key.

listen to secada sing at :35 "so give, me the morning" and then hear federov sing the same line. i prefer the sound that secada gets over federov's.

secada has more chesty lean and ring, where federov is more sweet and heady

it's just a preference.

if i sing that, i'm much closer to secada naturally, than federov.

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Videohere: Tell me more about this 'pocket', is this literal; i.e. is there a place to focus the voice where it will just sit and ring out? Or was it more of a metaphor I'm taking too literally?

ah, the "pocket".....well, i'm not an instructor but i can articulate..lol!!!!

open your mouth as if to take a big chunk out of a large apple or as if to yawn. you want a stable un-raised larynx. now vocalize medium volume on "ah" as you head up the scale and the "ah" starts to feels pinched and tight start to convert the "ah" (slightly) to an "oh" sound you will feel (hopefully) as if your soft palette has become more narrow at the top and this "openess" this space has developed making the sound production feel free and very inrestricted. it's a true milestone for me because the voice can get some ping and ring to it and it's enabling me access to the b4 and up with reduced difficulty....

b.t.w., this is really the vowel modification skill i'm alluding to. i personally believe that this skill is essential to accessing the higher register. hope i've helped. trust me, when you feel it, you'll know what i mean.

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