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Training muscle memory - Robert

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six20aus
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Hi Robert,

You make the comment in one of the clips/exercises you shared recently (I think its in "4 Melodic 5ths Sirens_Sample.mp3") that the muscle memory is ingrained better using smaller increments (or words to that effect).

Is this a theory or is there any research to document it ? There are so many scale based exercises in use I'm curious as to how we can identify which ones (if any) are of better value.

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I think the point of Robert's statement is a statement about muscle, in general. The more you do with your muscle, the more it does, especially in finer adjustments. The voice actually needs subtle and small increments of adjustment to go from one pitch to the next. And while one can siren from tonic to tonic (1 octave) and usually make it, it's not developing as much the ability to sing a tighter melody. As opposed to sirening from tonic to 5th to next tonic and back again. It's similar in process to how a surgeon trains his hands to perform precise, delicate movements because he has to do so. A surgeon cannot go into a patient with the same range of motion as a logger. And the more the surgeon practices finer and finer movements, the better he gets at them. Same with the voice. The nice thing about sirens are that they are like a song, more fluid that scales, though scales have their value, as well.

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But you could also argue the point that most songs cover much wider ground and Octave jumps are very common in many styles of music. So whilst these are 'fine' movements in the scale of the physical range of movement involved - they are large movements compared to what Robert is advocating.

Lilli Lehmann's 1902 text advocated the great scale - which is a chromatic scale through two octaves - you could argue that this is a better scale to use since it involves a lot more increments and will therefore train the muscles better if one follows this same logic.

Just want to know if this is science or theory.

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But you could also argue the point that most songs cover much wider ground and Octave jumps are very common in many styles of music. So whilst these are 'fine' movements in the scale of the physical range of movement involved - they are large movements compared to what Robert is advocating.

Lilli Lehmann's 1902 text advocated the great scale - which is a chromatic scale through two octaves - you could argue that this is a better scale to use since it involves a lot more increments and will therefore train the muscles better if one follows this same logic.

six20aus: Because you brought it up, I went out and listened to the exercise, and Robert's explanation of what it is designed to do. A siren of a smaller distance (perfect 5th) over the same period of time, causing the singer to make the change in frequency between the lower and higher note more slowly than an octave would be if covered in the same period of time.

In the development of singing technique, this kind of exercise is foundational in the development of the linkage between the mental image of the tone and the response of the body to follow it, while maintaining phonation characteristics. The slowness of the siren causes the musical ear to deliberately dwell all the tones 'between' the notes of the scale encompassed by the 5th. When performing the exercise, the breath and laryngeal musculature make smooth, progressive adjustment in response to this rising-pitch thought. If there are any issues with it, i.e., abrupt changes in tone quality due to rapid registration adjustments, such things are readily apparent, and can be addressed before proceeding.

By comparison, the diatonic Great Scale advocated by Lehmann in 'How to Sing' (notated in C major on p. 96 in the Dover edition,) is a more advanced exercise that includes a higher use/purpose, which is to develop, equalize and stabilize the intonation and placement of the voice over the complete range, on well-tuned scale notes. It can also be used to 'inventory' the status of a voice over the performing range. As she says, 'Nothing escapes it.'

Pedagogically, Lehmann's exercises take up the training of a singer in a manner similar to Robert, with the use of single sustained tones, of a basic phonation. She then advances to simple intervals, beginning with the semitone. In a sense, this increment, intoning the interval, skips over the step that Robert includes, which is the basic manipulation of phonated pitch without using a scale. But, they are similar in intent, which is the application and extension of the single-note technique to a continuum of pitches.

If one considers the notes sung on the first breath of the Great Scale to be a mini-exercise, the comparison between it and the melodic 5th siren can be made more directly. What is the difference? Choice of vowel and the intonation of sustained scale notes. Lehmann's exercise adds the more advanced phonation of sustained pitch.

Lehmann's and Robert's approach have other similarities in their attitude toward the prevention or cure of vocal faults, on p 74 of the Dover edition, Lehmann writes the following about addressing vocal issues:

'There is no other remedy than a slow, very careful study of the causes (italics hers) of the trouble, which in almost all cases consists in lack of control of the stream of breath through the vocal cords, and in disregard of the head tones, that is, the over-tones, as well as the forcing of pitch and power of the tone upon a wrong resonating point of the palate, and in constricting the throat muscles.'

While Robert's and Lehmann's exercises differ somewhat, their intents are related to one another, the building of basic phonation skills: good breath/laryngeal coordination in phonation, and movement of the pitch of the phonated tone.

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six20aus: Because you brought it up, I went out and listened to the exercise, and Robert's explanation of what it is designed to do. A siren of a smaller distance (perfect 5th) over the same period of time, causing the singer to make the change in frequency between the lower and higher note more slowly than an octave would be if covered in the same period of time.

In the development of singing technique, this kind of exercise is foundational in the development of the linkage between the mental image of the tone and the response of the body to follow it, while maintaining phonation characteristics. The slowness of the siren causes the musical ear to deliberately dwell all the tones 'between' the notes of the scale encompassed by the 5th. When performing the exercise, the breath and laryngeal musculature make smooth, progressive adjustment in response to this rising-pitch thought. If there are any issues with it, i.e., abrupt changes in tone quality due to rapid registration adjustments, such things are readily apparent, and can be addressed before proceeding.

By comparison, the diatonic Great Scale advocated by Lehmann in 'How to Sing' (notated in C major on p. 96 in the Dover edition,) is a more advanced exercise that includes a higher use/purpose, which is to develop, equalize and stabilize the intonation and placement of the voice over the complete range, on well-tuned scale notes. It can also be used to 'inventory' the status of a voice over the performing range. As she says, 'Nothing escapes it.'

Pedagogically, Lehmann's exercises take up the training of a singer in a manner similar to Robert, with the use of single sustained tones, of a basic phonation. She then advances to simple intervals, beginning with the semitone. In a sense, this increment, intoning the interval, skips over the step that Robert includes, which is the basic manipulation of phonated pitch without using a scale. But, they are similar in intent, which is the application and extension of the single-note technique to a continuum of pitches.

If one considers the notes sung on the first breath of the Great Scale to be a mini-exercise, the comparison between it and the melodic 5th siren can be made more directly. What is the difference? Choice of vowel and the intonation of sustained scale notes. Lehmann's exercise adds the more advanced phonation of sustained pitch.

Lehmann's and Robert's approach have other similarities in their attitude toward the prevention or cure of vocal faults, on p 74 of the Dover edition, Lehmann writes the following about addressing vocal issues:

'There is no other remedy than a slow, very careful study of the causes (italics hers) of the trouble, which in almost all cases consists in lack of control of the stream of breath through the vocal cords, and in disregard of the head tones, that is, the over-tones, as well as the forcing of pitch and power of the tone upon a wrong resonating point of the palate, and in constricting the throat muscles.'

While Robert's and Lehmann's exercises differ somewhat, their intents are related to one another, the building of basic phonation skills: good breath/laryngeal coordination in phonation, and movement of the pitch of the phonated tone.

steve, i just tried the melodic 5th's exercise last night. it definitely teaches metering of controlled breath.

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While Robert's and Lehmann's exercises differ somewhat, their intents are related to one another, the building of basic phonation skills: good breath/laryngeal coordination in phonation, and movement of the pitch of the phonated tone

So in a nutshell you're saying the benefit comes from slowing the scale used right down to ensure consistency of tone and resonance through the range covered?

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I actually like the 5th exercise more than the plain octave siren. I find that I have to work my "ear" a little more to find the exact pitch to land on vs just going to the octave. It is a nice change from the octave siren though.

These sirens are a major part of my warm up for my lessons with Robert. The key is to make it sound like a siren smooth, steady and SLOW while maintain the formant and vowel (EH, until you get A4 then you go wacky and more of a (EY) vowel) Very important though, you do not want to scale the siren.

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Hi.

"The Four Pillars of Singing" features over 33 vocal workouts... there are vocal workouts designed to teach you how to vibrato, build respiration strength, ear training, radical registrations, semi-occluded phonations, sing blues & pentatonic scales, grooves and train to lay a foundation for everything with onsets and sirens.

The Melodic 5th siren is designed to drill your fundamental foundation for TVS. It trains your onsets and your register bridging. After you have layed your foundation with your TVS Onset Package and Siren work, you then move onto some of the most advanced, ball busting vocal workouts in the world.

But you could also argue the point that most songs cover much wider ground and Octave jumps are very common in many styles of music. So whilst these are 'fine' movements in the scale of the physical range of movement involved - they are large movements compared to what Robert is advocating.

TVS offers radical octave registration workouts; "octave registrations and AES contractions", "bridging & connecting 1,2,&3", "Twang calibrations and resonant placements 1,2 &3", "Head resonance and Extreme Scream Pitch training", "The Tormentor", "The War Game You Cant Win", "The Anthem of Reverie", The Staley"... and on and on and on and on... My friend... offering a siren workout as a warm up to establish a foundation for extreme singing later, is not "advocating" anything but, build a foundation for what is to come. I suggest you purchase the 33 vocal workouts and ALL voice samples and then really see what TVS is about and what I am really "advocating"... I think you will have your work cut out for you...

Ron & Steve's explanations are on par... The Melodic 5th and Octave sirens are beautiful in their simplicity, but I have found, absolutely essential in building the muscle memory of register bridging (what better way to train passagio bridging then a slow, nagging siren?), and head voice connectivity (vocal mode work).

Let me know if you have any other questions... Im happy to assist.

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Yes "6"... yes... that is it. Think of it like learning a scale on electric guitar... do you just play the riff as fast as you can when your learning it? NO! You slow it down, get the muscle memory coordinated, then speed it up... the sirens are essentially doing that for what will be extreme singing to come.

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