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Found 673 results

  1. Hello people, hope everyone is having a wonderful day. Yesterday, I've been blown away by a 23yrs old kazakhs singer performing a song called "sos d'un terrien en dètresse" at a Chinese competition named Singer. I was wondering if any of you have more information about his background training or vocal modes. Two things are clear after a listened to him once, he has classical training and a really wide vocal range. Maybe someone with real deep knowledge could analyze his singing techniques and styles in order to understand this new talent who apparently is already very famous in Asia. Any opinion and comment is welcome. Thank you!
  2. Foods to sleep by for Vocal Health Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things a voice professional needs. When we get the proper amount of sleep, at least 7 hours, our body is refreshed, strong and full of energy. The strength, power, clarity and focus of our voice is very dependent on our body. If we feel weak and depleted then our voice will more than likely sound the same way. A good nights sleep is crucial for quality vocal health. While exercise and mental clarity are definitely important for a good nights sleep, diet is equally important. Vocal Health and Eating before sleeping The body needs to rest while sleeping. If we eat up to three hours before sleeping, then our digestive system is working very hard digesting our meal, taking energy that should be storing up as we sleep. This energy is also needed to restore and heal whatever our body and voice is going through even if it is just basic repair from the days normal activities. In addition to, and even more important is the effect of eating before sleeping on the voice. Eating before sleeping is one of the most common reasons voice professionals have GERD, also known as acid reflux. Many times because of eating before sleeping and lying down while digesting, food is not able to digest properly and excess acid from the stomach can move up into the throat and sit on the vocal cords causing a myriad of problems ranging from waking up with mucus on the cords to inflammation and even vocal cord deterioration. Eating the wrong foods before sleeping can also lead to a difficult nights sleep due to the effects on the brain. Sugars, white flour, processed foods, dyes, fried foods, glutens and carbohydrates all effect the brain negatively not allowing it to slow down and rest while sleeping. Tryptophan for Vocal Health It is important for voice professionals to know what to eat before they sleep to get a good nights sleep. One amino acid that is very useful in helping the body to slow down and rest peacefully is tryptophan. Tryptophan helps to combat depression, stabilize moods, and insomnia. It also helps to alleviate stress, is good for migraine headaches, and aids in weight control by reducing appetite. If you must eat within three hours of going to sleep, try eating smaller amounts of food and eating foods with high levels of tryptophan. Some excellent sources of foods containing tryptophan and have a low potential to create mucus include: Alaskan salmon Asparagus Baked potatoes with their skin Beans Brown rice Chicken breast Cod Eggs Halibut Hazelnuts Hummus Kelp Lentils Meats Nuts ( sprouted not roasted ) Quinoa Seaweed Sesame seeds Shrimp Snapper Soy protien Spinach Spirulina Tuna Turkey Winter Squash Certainly this list is not all inclusive and there may be some foods that do not digest well in one person and are okay for another. Each person needs to know what works for them and their vocal regimen. As a voice professional your vocal health must be one of the top priorities in your life. Get the right amount of sleep and eat properly to insure your voice delivers for you when you need it to. As always, I wish you the best on your quest for Superior Vocal Health David Aaron Katz
  3. Can someone please give opinion on how my song is;-
  4. Came across this info and thought many would appreciate this ENT Doctor's perspective on vocal damage and vocal health. ENT Dr. talks about the stigma of vocal injury when she heard about Adele's concert cancelations. http://www.ohniww.org/adele-voice-injury-canceled-concerts/
  5. The answer is: Dealing with something serious like that cannot be self-served. Nevertheless, one of the commercials on weight loss for men says: “If you could do it alone, you would’ve done it already.” - Harvey Brooker Indeed, but some people still think that if they knew the diagnosis and somewhat (in theory) how it could be treated, they would have attempted fixing their vocal issues by themselves… The fact is that any voice problem, by definition, is already an internal problem; and thus, has to be treated very seriously and by a qualified voice specialist. The work with a damaged voice is usually very detailed and very intense, which applies to both sides: The injured client and the voice repair specialist. Without the guidance of a highly qualified professional, it is virtually impossible for the sufferer to lift their voice and re-channel it into the different set of muscles altogether; and on top of that, put those muscles (facial and abdominals) to work in full conjunction and coordination with each other. The above formula would allow the person to release their vocal anatomy from the pressure of the sound; and thus, allow the bruised throat and the vocal cords to heal. Moreover, the person has to adapt a new way of speaking, as well as singing (where applicable). It could be very much so equivalent to the modification of a whole “blueprint” of the person in question. Let’s say that a “dancer” was dancing for quite a few years with the feet inwards instead of outwards. Nevertheless, the dancer had gotten used to it and even felt quite comfortable with it until such time that his/her ankles and knees started to give out. So now, we have to restructure the feet position in order to save the dancer’s joints; and, as a side effect, finally teach him/her how to dance complying with professional standards and how not to damage the structural components of their body. In this case, (and as well as in any other case), we will, first of all, be teaching the brain to think differently and translate that thinking into the physical body (first in the slow-motion and then on an “automatic pilot”, so to speak). This methodology has similarities with what’s called Neural linguistic Programing. The above discipline advocates that, via special skill application, it could change and “replace” the certain modality of the certain behavior in one’s brain. As you see, my reader, it sounds pretty complex. Therefore, it never ceases to amaze me when after just an introductory session, my potential client is revealing to me that he is ready to practice by himself and quite prepared to work really hard on his own…? I’m sorry to say, but I find that a little ridiculous (to put it mildly). It would be the same as if the person would meet with a brain surgeon, who (granted) would explain in reasonable details what exactly the surgical procedure would entail; and then the patient (who is in need of a brain surgery) would decide that he, somehow, would be able to perform it himself, on his own, and at home…? Sounds funny, doesn’t it? It does indeed. But I do hear it quite often and I hope that people are thinking that way only because of the financial strain and not out of complete ignorance. On top of it, some of them are going to regular vocal coaches to seek help with their injured voice. I consider the regular vocal coaches, at best, equivalent to a regular physician who knows something about (let’s say) brain surgery, but never got specialized in it. If in real sense, (God forbid) you would need brain surgery, would you want your family physician to perform it, or you would rather hire a highly qualified brain surgeon to perform it? The above is your quiz for today. Enjoy your food for thought!
  6. A lot of folks may not know this singer by name, but he had one of the most recognizable voices in the late 60's and was famous for this one great tune (below). He passed away on July 28th, 2016, cause of death not known. I remember trying to sing this in bands, and fighting the key change I absolutely needed...LOL. Bruno Mars covered it a full step down. A true classic from 1969. 2 videos, One original, and his known last performance. R.I.P. Pat!
  7. Smart VL2 software on PC/Windows extends features of TC-HELICON Voicelive 2 allowing wireless remote control from any microphone; Playing WAV and MIDI files related to presets and steps that can automate effects changes and/or control harmony while playing. Not to mention the full-screen visual control. The software now already available for Voicelive2 will also be released soon for others devices of Voicelive series. Website: http://www.smartvl.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/smartvl
  8. Step 1. · Identify the vocal problem itself in order to get your voice back. Perhaps, you have noticed that your voice (Speaking and/or singing) is not working in the same capacity as it once was. Obviously you are puzzled and concerned. At this point, you have to come to terms that something is not the same and begin to accept that fact. Step 2. · Identify the cause of such occurrence. Please try to analyze what could have caused your voice problem in the first place. Please try to “rewind” all the possible facts, which could have lead to such an ordeal. You might think of any medical/surgical procedures you might have undergone in the not very distant past. You might think of a ball game you might have attended with your kids, or a concert of your Idol singing. In this instance, you would possibly be able to recall how excited you were then, during the events, & how loud you were cheering for the performers in the field. Also, it probably would not hurt to look at your personal relationship with your spouse and your children. Have you been shouting a lot lately? Have you, perhaps, been under a lot of stress at work and/or at home? All of the above factors (and many others) could easily aid to a voice problem. When you are in the moment, you are not paying attention how loud you speak or scream. The consequences will haunt you later. Step 3. · Do not ‘sugarcoat’ your feelings; rather, embrace it with a grain of sault. That alone will help you immensely to get your voice back in a fast and efficient manner. When you start experiencing some changes in your voice, please DO NOT pretend that nothing happened and do not convince yourself that it is just temporary and you will feel better tomorrow. Unfortunately, you might not feel better tomorrow, as the damage has already been done and it will not go away on its own. It might require some further investigation and medical (or alternative) assistance. Step 4. · Outline your goal for the best possible recovery of your vocal problem and enjoy getting there. Once you are able to face the fact that you do have a vocal problem, please embrace this fact and outline the goal to get your voice back. It might, not necessarily, be an easy road, but please try to enjoy the process towards achieving your main goal – getting your voice back.
  9. I just read this article about Xfactor's vocal coach who also trains Jessie J, Sam Smith and others famous singers. I found it quite interesting towards the last part of the article that he talks about needing raw talent to get the most out of your voice. What do you think? Do you agree? https://medium.com/for-life-journal/the-x-factor-vocal-coach-who-saw-money-in-one-direction-7481d565a24d#.igbgyo7zp
  10. Sadly, we've lost a legend today. R.I.P to a genius, I can't believe he is gone... And he just released a new song too. I hope everyone can pay their respects to him here. Everyone be sure to play a David Bowie album in his honor.
  11. HERE IS AN EMAIL THAT WAS DISCOVERED WHERE ROBERT LUNTE, FOUNDER OF THE VOCALIST STUDIO, ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT KTVA VS TVS TECHNIQUES. HERE IS AN EMAIL THAT WAS DISCOVERED WHERE ROBERT LUNTE, FOUNDER OF THE VOCALIST STUDIO, ANSWERS QUESTIONS ABOUT KTVA VS TVS TECHNIQUES. Hey Rob, So I noticed that there is a difference in definitions between TVS and Ken Tamplin's program. Ken Tamplin refers to head voice as a mode; basically a strong reinforced falsetto. WELL, ... IN REGARDS TO THE TRUE DEFINITION OF VOCAL MODES, THAT IS NOT A DEFINITION THAT IS AS ACCURATE AS IT NEEDS TO BE. IF WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT MODES, IT IS BEST TO REFER TO THE ORIGINATORS OF PHYSICAL MODES, THE ESTILLIANS… WHICH IS MORE OR LESS WHAT THE TVS PHYSICAL MODES ARE INSPIRED BY. FALSETTO IS A PHYSICAL MODE, HEAD VOICE IS NOTHING MORE THEN A METAPHOR FOR THE UPPER REGISTER… HEAD VOICE ACTUALLY DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING, IF YOU WANT TO BE STRICT ABOUT IT. IT IS A “PICTURE WORD” TO REFER TO THE UPPER VOICE SENSATION WE ALL HAVE… TO CALL IT A VOCAL MODE, IS TO CLAIM THAT IT IS A PHYSICAL AND TANGIBLE THING, WHICH IT ISN’T. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘REINFORCED FALSETTO’. THERE IS ONLY A PHYSICAL MODE CALLED FALSETTO AND IT IS CHARACTERIZED BY A WINDY, OPEN GLOTTIS THAT ESCAPES RESPIRATION. IF THE PHONATION DOES NOT HAVE WIND, IT IS NOT FALSETTO. IF YOU “REINFORCE” A PHONATION ON A HIGH NOTE ABOVE THE BRIDGE, IT IS MORE ACCURATELY GOING TO BE VOCAL TWANG… WHICH IS ANOTHER PHYSICAL MODE. In TVS falsetto is a mode, but the head voice is just what you call notes that resonate from the head, in whatever mode you are singing. WELL DONE, THAT IS MORE OR LESS CORRECT. HOWEVER, NOTE THAT THIS DEFINITION OF MODES IS NOT JUST THE WAY TVS SEES IT. IT IS ALSO THE WAY ESTILLIANS AND CVI SEES IT. ESTILL ARE THE ORIGINATORS OF VOCAL MODES, SO PEOPLE THAT CARE TO BE ACCURATE ABOUT VOCAL MODES, TEND TO FOLLOW THEIR ORIGINAL FOUNDATION ON THE TOPIC, WHICH TVS PHYSICAL MODES DO. I prefer the TVS definition. However, I think that makes the whole bridging late vs bridging early debate between the two systems inconsistent. IS THERE A DEBATE? ... OH YA, KTVA WOULD LIKE CONSUMERS TO BELIEVE THERE IS… THERE IS NO DEBATE. TVS HAS BOTH BOTTOM UP AND TOP DOWN TECHNIQUES. THIS IS A TIRED, OLD IDEA THAT STARTED ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO THAT HAS BEEN PROPAGATED TO CREATE CONFUSION IN THE MARKET ABOUT WHAT TVS STANDS FOR... KTVA HAS GOT A LOT OF MILEAGE OUT OF PROPAGATING THIS MISINFORMATION. IT IS COMPLETELY STUPID AND I HAVE CREATED NO LESS THEN FOUR VIDEOS TO COMBAT THE CONFUSION. Ken's criticism of what he calls late bridging seems more apt to describing some classical voice teachers who teach bridging to a falsetto mode instead of a twang mode, or metal screamers who rely on a distorted reinforced falsetto. His criticism being that early bridging over time breaks down the "mid voice," of which he doesn't define. HE TALKS A GOOD GAME AND CERTAINLY SINGS A GOOD GAME… BUT WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, IN MY OPINION AND FROM FEEDBACK FROM HIS CUSTOMERS, HE DOESN’T ALWAYS DEFINE OR EXPLAIN A GOOD GAME. IN REGARDS TO EARLY BRIDGING AND VOCAL ATROPHY… ON THIS POINT, I AGREE WITH KEN. THE LACK OF BOTTOM UP TRAINING WILL RESULT IN WEAK TA MUSCLE STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE. BOTTOM TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL TO BELTING, BUT ALSO JUST TO BASIC VOCAL HEALTH. THIS IS WHY THE NEW 4PILLARS SYSTEM HAS AN EXTENSIVE BOTTOM-UP AND BELT TRAINING EXPLANATIONS AND ROUTINES. With the TVS definition, I'd say I mostly bridge early. But it's not such a big difference it seems. I can still bring a bigger boomier sound up higher, but from learning early bridging techniques, I'm not stuck to an overly heavy phonation with constriction. It's dynamic and free. PRECISELY!!!!!!!!!!! YOU NEED BOTH APPROACHES! DIFFERENT PEOPLE NEED DIFFERENT APPROACHES BASED ON THEIR NEEDS. YOU DESCRIBED THOSE NEEDS NICELY. I TOTALLY AGREE. KNOW THIS… THE REASON ANY COACH WOULD BE LIGHT ON TOP-DOWN TRAINING TECHNIQUES IS SIMPLY BECAUSE TOP-DOWN TRAINING TECHNIQUES ARE MORE COMPLICATED TO UNDERSTAND AND TEACH. IT IS A LOT EASIER TO TEACH BOTTOM-UP TECHNIQUES. TOP-DOWN TECHNIQUES REQUIRE MORE PRECISION AND MORE UNDERSTANDING OF THE MUSCULATURE AND OTHER DETAILS. "PUSH FROM THE BOTTOM UP ON AN AH VOWEL"... IS A FAR EASIER STORY TO TELL, THEN BUILDING FROM INSIDE THE HEAD VOICE. I think part of the confusion also stems from the SLS / singing success terms, where the mixed voice is their term for twang, and head voice is defined as a strong falsetto. WHICH IS AN AWFUL DEFINITION OF TWANG… AND PAINFULLY INCORRECT. AGAIN, IF ANY OF THESE PEOPLE, WOULD BOTHER TO STUDY VOCAL MODES AS I HAVE, THEY WOULD NOT BE TALKING INACCURACIES TO CONSUMERS. SLS AND SS SEEM LIKE THE LEAST INFORMED TEACHERS SOMETIMES. TO BE SURE, THEY ARE NOT TRAINED IN VOCAL MODES AND ARE WAY OF COURSE WHEN IT COMES TO BELTING. VERY FEW PEOPLE WILL EVER BUILD A STRONG TOP REGISTER BELT WITH "SING LIKE YOU SPEAK" TYPE METHODS. It's kind of silly considering the actually mixed resonance we feel is only from around c4 to E4. Mixed voice is just a bad term. YEP… THAT IS WHY I KILLED IT IN MY “MIXED VOICE IS DEAD!” VIDEO… IT IS A TERM THAT SOME TEACHERS USE TO KEEP THEIR STUDENTS CONFUSED. THE MORE YOU CAN KEEP YOUR STUDENTS CONFUSED, THE LESS YOU HAVE TO REALLY UNDERSTAND YOUR SUBJECT MATTER AND BE ABLE TO REALLY EXPLAIN THINGS AS A TEACHER. Am I understanding this right? TOM, I THINK YOU HAVE A LOT OF THIS PRETTY SQUARED AWAY. IT SEEMS THE TVS CONTENT IS HELPING YOU TO SORT THIS ALL OUT, WHICH IS GREAT. Tom
  12. Hi, TMV-ers! I thought it would be useful today to write a bit about how I approach and talk about vocal technique, in the hope that by putting these ideas out there, you can pick and choose some of them that make sense to you, and that you will hopefully find useful. As a starting point for this, I am inspired to recall an idea I read in Cornelius Reid's book, 'Voice - Psyche and Soma'. I cannot remember the exact quote, but the gist of it is that the mind and the body are acting together to produce the singing voice. I think this means for vocal technique that singing is simultaneously psychological and physical. A survey of books written on singing over the last 200 years shows that every teacher has a different approach to working with singers, a different mix of the psychological and physical. Some favor emphasis of the physical aspects, and talk about doing things with body parts, muscle groups, tendons, nasal cavities, lower jaw, the tongue, etc. Others emphasize the sensations of the singer, i.e., 'sing so that you feel such and such a sensation in such and such location in your body'. Still others rely on metaphors and imagery, i.e., 'sing out the top of your head', or 'imagine that you are projecting the tone toward a target on the wall', or 'think of a happy memory'. I don't do any of these alone. Perhaps better stated, I do them all, cherry-picking ideas and approaches from these authors that have these characteristics: 1) are based on anatomical fact, acoustical principles, and physiologically healthy bodily action. 2) are easily expressed and understood using in common language 3) can be practiced beneficially by the student without the teacher's constant supervision 4) help the singer build their ability to sing what they desire to sing - whatever genre or style that is. When it comes to teaching, I am also an optimist. :-) I believe that most people, with very few exceptions, can learn to sing for their own & others' enjoyment if they approach it with patience. In my next posts, I will be writing about the basics of how the voice works - 'what happens where' in the mind and body to produce healthy vocal tone. Along the way, I will address some common misconceptions I've encountered, and clarify some terms that are often used by singers and teachers, but not well understood. I have no illusions that the way I approach this is the only way, or even the best way. I am very interested to hear other ways of doing it as well, as that is how I learn myself. If you have a particular area you'd like to discuss, send me an e-mail or comment to my blog, and I will pull that text forward in a response. Best Regards, Steve
  13. Grooming Your Voice For Success By Julie Lyonn Lieberman It's easy to build vocal habits when you sing a song over and over again. These habits can be useful to free us to focus on performance values; but all too often, we lock in tightness and inferior function, thereby creating a struggle during performance or even hoarseness, a sore throat, and the like. No matter how good you sound, how music business savvy you are, and how hard you've worked on your material and its presentation, if you don't cultivate a ritual around how you care for your voice, you stand to compromise your future and potentially your level of success. Pro-athletes work with their muscles intelligently. They understand that if they don't warm up, respect the properties of muscle and joint function, and warm down, they may be beleaguered with aches and pains or injuries that thwart the level of success they are able to achieve. Taking responsibility represents potential longevity as well as quality of experience. Most singers already know that warm-ups are important, but they may not understand why it's essential to vocalize regularly before singing their actual material. Let's use our postural muscles as a metaphor. Let's say you spend 10 hours a day hunched over. The muscles will gradually adapt and freeze you into that posture if you don't stretch and strengthen your body to counterbalance repetitive motion. Your sound is influenced by a combination of genetics; family and geographic influences on pronunciation/articulation; and the influence of your emotional/psychological gestalt on the use of your vocal anatomy. All of these factors culminate to create habitual muscular response. This, in turn, can embed and strengthen patterns that mobilize the tongue, lips, breath, and what I call the cathedral the interior musculature of the mouth and throat. Vocal exercises aerobicize, stretch and strengthen these muscle groups so that they remain balanced. Through this process, you can refine and detail mind-to-body response so that each sound you hear, each emotion you experience, and every thought you intend to communicate to your audience is received by this flexible work station and translated into a palette of color and texture. Here is the ironic twist: we are least conscious of how we sing each time we learn a new song because our attention is focused almost entirely on learning the melody and words. Yet, this is when we tend to sing the song the most in order to learn it. If it's an original piece, this is also when we are also the most emotional because the lyrics are intimately connected to and motivated by current life experiences. Some singers, when they are imbued with feeling, tighten the throat or body to express emotion as it wells up. Muscularly speaking, the brain can't differentiate between the activity, singing that specific song, and how we are carrying out the activity. The brain takes all of that information, and locks it together into a sensory engram (which I like to call a barcode.) From that moment forward, we tend to perform the song exactly as we rehearsed it. Here are some simple procedures you can institute to improve your practice habits: 1) Warm up before singing lyrics: Assess your voice each day and choose exercises that stimulate desired response from breath support, lip action, tongue behavior, and the tone you produce. This is detailed on my DVD, Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today Singer (see JulieLyonn.com > Vocalist's Corner for details). 2) When learning a new song, sing the melody on the vowel that's most comfortable for you first; then use the actual vowels of the words but without the consonants. 3) To prevent any habitual muscular associations, speak the lyrics to learn them, but use varying accents from around the world or country; become an actor or actress and delivery the lyrics using different personalities, pitch settings, and emotional contexts to avoid inadvertently embedding negative muscular habits. Examples: become a British school teacher become a sea nymph speak wistfully, then angrily, then lovingly use your low range and then your high range vary volume as you speak vary pitch as you speak 4) Join the lyrics and melody together, singing softly without emotion; then try singing the song in various keys as well as with variations in volume. You can apply the personalities you've rehearsed to the sung version as well. 5) Now sing emotionally. Notice what happens to you physically when you become more expressive. If you discover tension mounting in areas of your body, try varying how you express emotion by using imagery: I will pour my anger out the bottom of my feet like a pitcher with a leak. I will inhale and exhale on between each sentence as if I'm filling the sails of a sailboat with my breath and emulate that image when I sing each sentence of the song. I will sing the song with the opposite emotion the lyrics require (emotion is energy and when we pour anger into a love song, it doesn't necessarily read as anger it can read as heightened passion!) There is a popular quote, sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein, and other times to Benjamin Franklin or Rita Mae Brown, that goes something like, Insanity is doing the same thing the same way over and over again and expecting different results. The above practice procedures will give you an opportunity to step out of old practice habits and thereby gain new results. Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers with Julie Lyonn Lieberman 60-minute instructional DVD distributed by Hal Leonard World-renowned music educator, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, has created an instructional DVD for singers. Her practice system focuses on cognitive illumination and muscular facility. This system can help develop a vibrating palette that communicates spirit, emotion, and viewpoint all riding effortlessly on the breath. It is supported by science yet connected to individuality. By first guiding the exercises in silence, her intent is to prevent the tension and misuse that often occur when the main impetus for the creation of musical sound is fueled by a brew of yearning and fear mixed with a fixation on the end product. Topics covered include: Section I Introduction, Creating a Cathedral, Breath Anatomy Section II Aerobicizing the Tongue, Mobilizing the Lips Section III Balancing the non-dominant side of the mouth, Posture, The Power of Imagery, Warming Up and Warming Down, Vocal Health Ms. Lieberman trusts the innate intelligence of the client by making sure that they understand how and why each region of their vocal anatomy works the way it does. Through extensive experience teaching, she has developed ergonomically based exercises that are fulcrum triggers: they get the job done more efficiently and faster. Lieberman has discovered that when the lights are turned on and the equipment is illuminated, epiphanies abound and can continue to be generated by the singer, long after the teacher leaves the room. Her in-depth studies while creating her critically acclaimed book You Are Your Instrument, followed by her three spin-off DVDs (The Vocalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, The Instrumentalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, and The Violin in Motion) place a unique spin on this body of work. Most voice teachers use exercises that are effective in the long run or they would be put out of business, but the older model for mentorship entailed a do as I do and do as I say approach. It was a faith-based relationship; the student was expected to blindly follow the teacher’s directions without specifics, context, or adequate rapport with the musculature required to do the job smoothly and consciously. The belief behind that style of work was that if you repeated each exercise enough times (often while inadvertently thinking about something else), that it would help you sing better. This is the long, slow train to success. Julie believes that it's time to replace unconscious repetition with less activity, more awareness, and targeted control. She will help you convert the butcher's knife into a laser beam! About the author Julie Lyonn Lieberman has specialized in working with creative vocalists in her NYC music studio over the last 3 decades. Her students have included artists such as Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton, Grammy-nominated Putnam Murdock, Indie music award winner Kara Suzanne (best new folk-singer/songwriter album of the year), and critically acclaimed lyricist Julie Flanders, to name a few. Ms. Lieberman is an improvising violinist/singer, composer, recording artist, journalist, educator, and the author of nine books and six instructional DVDs. A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world. In addition to currently teaching improvisation at Juilliard, she has presented for organizations like Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Juilliard MAP Program, Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard's The Academy,National Young Audiences, and the Carnegie Hall LinkUp. Lieberman is a J. D'Addario Elite Clinician. Alfred Publishing publishes her scores. To Order: This DVD is distributed by Hal Leonard through your local music, book store, and amazon.com for $23.95 or SPECIAL PRICE FOR MEMBERS OF THE MODERN VOCALIST Purchase through Paypal at The Vocalist's Corner on julielyonn.com or Send a check to Julie Lyonn Music, P.O. Box 268, Worthington, MA 01098 $21.95 + $5.00 shipping in the U.S.Add $5 outside the U.S.
  14. 'Vocal Strength and Power' by Dena Murray Interview Steve: Hi, Dena! I understand that your new book on singing has just been published. Would you tell us a little bit about it? Dena: This is a book that has been 15 years in the making. From the time I started teaching (over 20 years ago,) I knew there was a problem with the prevailing concepts of diaphragmatic support. Singers were injuring themselves from too much pressure and misperceiving instructions. Steve: Do yo mean that the usual "singing teacher's lingo" was not helpful in leading the student in what they should do? Dena: Yes, exactly. They also were not getting what they'd hoped to get from taking lessons i.e., freedom when singing/performing. So after many years of study, I finally uncovered that the problem boiled down to correct intake of air (the inhale) and created exercises to correct it. Steve: You've published two other books on singing. How does this latest one fit in with them? Dena: Well, I never set out to do a three-part series but that was the end result of all my work. Vocal Technique: Finding Your Real Voice is a beginners book and focuses on the vocal mechanism. I did two things deliberately for the beginner: 1) I skipped the discussion of how to use the diaphragm for support, and instead created exercises to builid up the muscles and cartilages which control/support the vocal folds, and, 2) I separated the chest voice from the head voice because in my experience if there are problems in either register, those problems will show up when trying to bridge and combine them for that one-register sound.This book is the first step in how to gain support. Steve: Ok, I am with you so far. How was your approach received by your readers? Dena: Very well, I think. My European readers were especially open with their positive feed-back, and I still receive comments to day on that book's usefulness. Steve: Ok! What was your second book like? Dena: The second one, Advanced Vocal Technique: Middle Voice, Placement & Styles (co-authored by Tita Hutchison,) focuses on a step-by-step process of how to bridge the voice for the one register sound, vowel formation, and correct placement for any given style. Steve: So, that would make it the 'next steps' after clarifying the Chest and Head voices, and some discussion of the different vocal productions. Dena: Yes, that's right. There are 13 exercises in this book with every feeling and sensation one should (and shouldn't) have, literally spelled out for the singer. Again, we purposely stayed away from too much focus on the diaphragm. This book is the second step with regard to support. Steve: All right. How does this third book extend the approach of the other two? Dena: In this third and last book of the series, Vocal Strength and Power, the focus is solely on how to employ correct use of the diaphragmatic region for its support of the entire mechanism. Steve: How is your approach different from other's you've heard? Dena: Simply stated, I've uncovered a problem inherent with other approaches to 'support' instruction, and created exercises to correct the problem. Steve: Ok, I'll bite. What is the problem? Dena: The problem is the correct intake of air before singing. Steve: Who can benefit from your approach and exercises? Dena: Anyone should be able to add these exercises (if they should so choose) to already working methods of techniques when they notice they are struggling for not just the freedom, but also their inherent great sound. Steve: Dena, what else does the book contain? Dena: In addition to the CD of exercises, this book also includes a glossary of dictionary-definition.
  15. Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers with Julie Lyonn Lieberman Running Time and Format: 60-minute instructional DVD Distributed by: Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53213, 800-637-2852, http://www.halleonard.com /) to bookstores, music stores and schools through the world) Release Date: September 30, 2008 Description: World-renowned music educator, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, has created an instructional DVD for singers. Her practice system focuses on cognitive illumination and muscular facility. This system can help develop a vibrating palette that communicates spirit, emotion, and viewpoint all riding effortlessly on the breath. It is supported by science yet connected to individuality. By first guiding the exercises in silence, her intent is to prevent the tension and misuse that often occur when the main impetus for the creation of musical sound is fueled by a brew of yearning and fear mixed with a fixation on the end product. Topics covered include: Section I Introduction, Creating a Cathedral, Breath Anatomy Section II Aerobicizing the Tongue, Mobilizing the Lips Section III Balancing the non-dominant side of the mouth, Posture, The Power of Imagery, Warming Up and Warming Down, Vocal Health Ms. Lieberman trusts the innate intelligence of the client by making sure that they understand how and why each region of their vocal anatomy works the way it does. Through extensive experience teaching, she has developed ergonomically based exercises that are fulcrum triggers: they get the job done more efficiently and faster. Lieberman has discovered that when the lights are turned on and the equipment is illuminated, epiphanies abound and can continue to be generated by the singer, long after the teacher leaves the room. In-depth studies while writing her critically acclaimed book. You Are Your Instrument, followed by her three spin-off DVDs (The Vocalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, The Instrumentalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, and The Violin in Motion) place a unique spin on this body of work. Most voice teachers use exercises that are effective in the long run or they would be put out of business, but the older model for mentorship entailed I do and do as I say approach. It was a faith-based relationship; the student was expected to blindly follow the teacher's directions without specifics, context, or adequate rapport with the musculature required to do the job smoothly and consciously. The belief behind that style of work was that if you repeated each exercise enough times (often while inadvertently thinking about something else), that it would help you sing better. This is the long, slow train to success. Julie believes that it's time to replace unconscious repetition with less activity, more awareness, and targeted control. She will help you convert the butcher's knife into a laser beam! To Order: see JulieLyonn.com and click on Vocalist's Corner About the author Julie Lyonn Lieberman (JulieLyonn.com) has specialized in working with creative vocalists in her NYC music studio over the last 3 decades. Her students have included artists such as Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton, Grammy-nominated Putnam Murdock, Indie music award winner Kara Suzanne (best new folk-singer/songwriter album of the year), and critically acclaimed lyricist Julie Flanders, to name a few. Ms. Lieberman is an improvising violinist/singer, composer, recording artist, journalist, educator, and the author of nine books and six instructional DVDs. A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world. In addition to currently teaching improvisation at Juilliard, she has presented for organizations like Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Juilliard MAP Program, Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard's The Academy, National Young Audiences, and the Carnegie Hall LinkUp. Lieberman is a J. D'Addario Elite Clinician. Alfred Publishing publishes her scores.
  16. Hi, Everybody.....It's nice to see this new forum even in its early stages having such response as well as the enthusiasm that's being generated. Already I am seeing posts on Breath Support. Listen up everybody. If you are not all over your kids(students) like I am about Breath Support, it's only going to lead to their downfalls and short-comings in many aspects. In the past 6 months, I have seen people lose gigs, blow auditions and turn out really sub-par recordings because of lack of breath support. Mainly, bad intonation that was caused by lack of Breath Support was largely the problem. Now I'm not going to sit here and write a long article on my philosophies because I know that ALL of you have your own way of teaching and monitoring your kids' breath support. I'll be sending numerous articles on this topic soon on this site and other forums that I contribute to. Ironically Breath Support can be abbreviated to BS. But this a not a BULL*#@T story!!! So let's cut the BS and make sure the word gets out on Breath Support. Breath Support is No BS!!! I can't even begin to tell you how many times a day that I have to yell "SUPPORT!!!!" over the loud music in my voice studio while my kids are singing over their tracks because people don't keep Breath Support consistent from the beginning of each phrase to the END of each phrase. The end of the phrase is when Breath Support is the most crucial for airstream as well as keeping the Voice relaxed. So now I'm going to tell my kids this "If you want to be a BS singer or BS performer then don't cut the Breath Support." That's total BS. But then again, look at the person who authored this Blog who more than likely has been called a B*#@SH---TER his entire life.(Even when he was a liitle sh-thead).
  17. Starting Off This will be a short post, with much more to come later. I am happy to be a part of this group. I will likely be posting quite a bit in the areas of vocal technique and concepts for the younger or beginning singer of whatever age. I like to help folks improve and enjoy their singing more. Feel free to post technique questions to me, and I will do my best to respond in a respectful, thorough and clear way. Steve
  18. I was just saying to a student yesterday (I'm a voice teacher)... I have this friend who is in awe of all these great writers, and is fond of saying things like, "I'll never write like Herman Hesse, or Sylvia Plath. They were so great." And I say, "Yes, they are in your eyes now. But when they were sitting down, writing, they weren't trying to be 'great', or trying to be a 'genius'. They were simply doing what they were driven to do. And I'll bet you they thought what they were doing was crap, and they struggled with doubts just as much as we do." History is full of a legion of writers and artists, etc., who were unappreciated in the time they lived, but were revered afterwards. In our own lifetime, we have amazing writers whose novels were turned down countless times before finally being published and then topping the bestsellers list. I'm a firm disbeliever in the old adage that you 'have to be born with it.' My challenge to anyone who says that is... how do you know if you are born with it, if you don't do the work to find out? And you do that work because it lights you up inside to do that thing. Your passion becomes your motivation to work, and to practice, and to become. Not so you can be seen by the external world to be 'great' or a 'genius', but because you can't imagine your life without that thing you do that makes you feel alive. And you want to get good at it, and through that process of growth & healing you become more than you ever thought possible for you. As you walk your path, struggling with your own doubts and trying to learn what you need to know... you become compassionate about the people who are around you, in front of you, behind you, on the same path... because you realize there is no difference between you and them. Yet each of us is special and unique, and has the potential to achieve almost anything we dream of doing. As we are mentored by our more experienced friends, we pass along our knowledge to those less experienced, and it becomes a chain of support & understanding from our extended family of creative souls. No one is an island. As long as we are born & remain relatively healthy, and have the capacity to listen and learn, then anything is possible. If we are willing to do the work. I see this in my own studio all the time. I work with singers who cannot sing. They are 'tonedeaf'. They cannot sing on key. Even if you offered them a million bucks, they couldn't do it. You'd say, very adamantly, they are not born with it at all, that they should give up and go do something else. Come back a year or two later. And you'd say... 'this can't be the same person.' You'd be amazed at the stunning voice coming from that supposedly tonedeaf person who couldn't sing on key to save their life. As long as you are born with the capacity to learn and perservere, have compassion for yourself & others, and grow your conscious awareness so you can balance strength with humility, you have "it".
  19. VocalScience

    Vocal Injury

    Vocal Injury: The pain could be inevitable, but the suffering should be optional. Like many of my other clients, Karen lived with her voice disorder for almost two decades. She had seen many medical professionals, alternative doctors, and nevertheless, speech therapists. To all of them, she had been complaining about the pain in her throat, her neck and her shoulder, evidently associated with that. Practically all of them told her that it is all in her head. Only one of the specialists was able to diagnose her with muscle tension dysphonia (MTD), but like everybody else, he was not able to administrate any kind of treatment which would help Karen to get rid of her nagging pain while speaking. Needless to say, she was devastated and practically was ready to give up on life. She is a very vibrant and boisterous person who loves to talk a lot. Some of the so-called medical professionals ordered her to keep silent for six months!! Needless to say, I had quite a few cases like Karen's in the past. In brings out the memory of my former client, George L., a real estate agent from Los Angeles, California, who went through the similar ordeal. Nobody could tell him also what was wrong with him and every treatment George took around the world would make his sufferings with his voice worse than before. And he needed to speak for a living! Twenty minutes into my first session, George had tears in his eyes and said to me, I'm honored to be in the same room with such a specialist like you.Four days later, George left very happy with his voice completely recovered. The fact is, that from the medical doctor and the alternative practitioners point of view, there is nothing wrong with such patients like my two clients described above. Why, you, my reader, may ask? Because the problem, one more time again, is mechanical. None of the doctors know how to fix the mechanics of voice, i.e. recover it from the neck and chest muscles; structure it and place it in the sinus (facial) cavities; and how to create the support of the sound from the lower and upper abdominal muscles; and how to integrate and synchronize those muscles to work simultaneously with each other. The description of the Vocal Science Method is such that it requires the synchronicity and synergy between mental, physical, emotional and vocal components. If that doesn't happen, the voice repair will never be accomplished. If that wholesome mechanism which allows the voice to work in its fullest capacity possible with no pain or strain on the vocal anatomy is not established, the voice, speaking or singing, will never have a healthy sound and always will be prone to some kind of injury. With that mechanism in place, the speaker or singer will also be able to comply with standards of professional speaking or singing, and nevertheless, preserve their recovered voices for their lifetime.
  20. Ever wanted to add some sparkle to your mic cable? Item: Neutrik crystalCON, Decorative Mic Cable Connectors Price: $18 (US), £15 (UK) (per connector) Mic Rating: 4/5 At A Glance: Neutrik’s crystalCON range consist of XLR (mic) connectors that are decorated with Swarovski crystals to add some sparkle to your mic cable. They have a tough black metal housing and gold plated contacts to ensure you get a great quality connection to your microphone that will withstand years of use. The connectors also support Neutrik’s colored coding rings that allow you to add a further degree of customisation so that your mic lead doesn’t get mixed up with your band mates if you all have similar looking cables. High Notes: The are available in both male (NC3MXX-B-CRYSTAL) and female (NC3FXX-B-CRYSTAL) XLR connection formats – so you could just solder one to the end of your mic cable that is on display if you wanted to and not have to buy both connectors. The CRYSTALLIZEDTM, Swarovski Elements stand out nicely against the Black chromium chassis and the color ring can be changed without unsoldering insert. Off Pitch: Adding crystals to your mic cable won’t be to everyone’s tastes. Also, there are very few ready-made cables available that use the connectors – so you may need to solder your own. VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: Love them or hate them, Neutrik’s crystalCON connectors offer something a bit different from your usual mic cable connectors. They are built to an excellent quality and if your stage look involves a lot of sparkles, then these could be the perfect to addition to your setup. It is a shame that there are very few ready-made cables available that feature these connections, as I’m sure many singers are not that confident using a soldering iron (however, it’s not as difficult as you might think and can be a useful skill to learn). If you also play guitar or keyboards while you sing, Neutrik also produce a ¼ jack lead version of the connector if you want it to match your mic lead. Manufacturer’s Website: Neutrik Other Reviews: We could not find any other reviews at the time of publishing.
  21. David Hilderman reveals what matters most when you’re choosing PA speakers for a small or medium sized venue. There’s a lot of advertizing hype about speakers – especially in relation to “watts” – but what are the specs that really matter? David Hilderman, Chief Operating Officer at TC-Helicon, explains what may work best for singers & musicians in small and mid-sized venues. David Hilderman is the Chief Operating Officer of TC-Helicon Vocal Technologies in Victoria, BC Canada where he lives with his wife and two teenage children. He is engaged in hardware design, strategic planning and product development.Visit TC-Helicon
  22. Read more > (over on our sister site: MusicMakerApps.com)
  23. Recently a new platform for music professionals called Music Gateway was launched. Music Gateway is a business platform connecting music professionals from around the globe in one simple, easy to use website. It's not so much a LinkedIn of the music industry as a complete collaboration solution where you can post and receive projects and collaborate on them in a secure environment. If you are looking for ways to find paid session work or find new talent to collaborate with beyond your direct network, Music Gateway might be just the thing you need. You can reach out o n a global scale and provide your services to other professionals, equally you can hire & source other music pro's and develop your career with feedback following each project. Your profile acts as a portfolio for other users to review. Interview With Jon Skinner, Managing Director Music Gateway To find out more about Music Gateway and how it could benefit individual musicians, we met up with Jon Skinner, Managing Director of Music Gateway and initiator of the platform. Q: Tell our audience something about yourself and your personal relation to music and the music industry My name is Jon Skinner, I have been in the industry since 1987, so getting on f or 27 years. Very similar to most people's stories, music at an early age was a passion and I got a drum kit when I was 6 years old. I've always had a good ear for music and was so lucky that the DJ's around where I lived as a teenager introduced me to Motown, Northern Soul, Two Tone and a wide variety of musical styles. When hop hip and break dance broke in 1983, I was hooked and started buying underground records & US imports from the states, those were special times for me. As far as Industry goes, I set up my own independent record shop in 1991 and I never looking back. Q: What made you decide to start Music Gateway? My experiences in the industry became the backbone of the system, it was very clear to me that there was this big hole in the industry regarding the connection between all the creation roles, especially on a global scale. I've felt the pain & struggled through that journey, I know the pitfalls and barriers people face and still face to this day. For me, Music Gateway is about empowering people to A&R their own projects, as relying on others most of the time doesn't work. Q: What sets Music Gateway apart from social media platforms targeted at musicians? First and foremost we aren't a social media platform, this is a fundamental point. We are strictly a business to business website and you only make a connection to another user if there is a purpose, a goal and end result for your recording. You don't built up followers or connections, we are about generating work and connecting professionals to the right people and their music projects. Q: Can you explain how music gateway will be a unique service especially for singers? Producers need singers, singers need producers. The key issue is finding the right person who is first of all, like-minded musically, and can work either to your budget or wants to co-write and or collaborate with you. Music Gateway is a targeted way of connecting to the right person for your project. You can receive work opportunities free of any charge, we only charge a fee if you receive paid work or a meaningful connection to another pro. Furthermore, reaching out to other singers, songwriters and professionals is essential to learn and develop your experience and skills in the industry. Finally, it's important that people understand we are in the bu siness of music and therefore if you are new to the industry you need help, guidance & support, this is what we offer. Q: You have received support for Music Gateway from many big names in the music industry. What is it you think that won them over? How did they respond when you first contacted them? The main response has been, wow OK it's so simple why didn't I think of it? I think there will have been hundreds of people who have had the same idea, that's the easy bit, the hard bit is developing such a system, which handling transactions, files and pretty complex functionality in the backend, whilst keeping it ultra simple for the users. In a word 'Unique'. We are the only website which is focused on the creative process, hooking up like-minded musicians on a global scale. We are a very clear benefit to the industry as a whole and this is why I believe we have received so much support from the core industry organizations. Q: Tell us something about the technology behind the platform and how it sets you apart from other platforms? We are very functional, it's about project management and allowing anyone on the site to Post a Project defining their need. When you create a project, you can define what it is you want to get done or who you want to reach out to, for example as a singer, you may want to connect with a producer to record a song, or look to hire a remixer to remix an existing song. You may need a song from a songwriter or seek to co-write with a musician. The options are endless. Equally, when you set up your profile and define your skills, we notify you of relevant projects which you can review and decide to PITCH (apply) for the work, this whole process and project management is unique. When a project starts the users are granted access to a workspace area, which is where you can manage your project files, this makes it easy to manage any project with anyone in the world, with message systems for communication and timeline feedback on audio files. Q: What is it about the unique community of singers at The Modern Vocalist World that interests you? Having spoken at length with Robert the founder and reviewing the resources on the website, it's clear that there is a great community of singers engaging through the forum and seeking advice & support. We feel that Music Gateway compliments the site perfectly, as we are focused on session work and music creation, which is a natural progression for anyone new to the world of singing and the industry. Q: Last but not least: why do you feel individual musicians should sign up for Music Gateway? What are the direct benefits? It's free for starters, it's free to pitch for project work and free to receive work opportunities. If you want to further your career, receive targeted and relevant work based on your skills, there is no other website like Music Gateway. For protection, you can manage any client work via the site and receive secure payments through the system and your account wallet. Reaching out and developing your own projects is fundamental if you are going to get ahead in the industry, staying local all the time, doesn't cut it anymore, you have to look further afield and work on a global scale. We only make a charge if you benefit through project work, so it's 100% fair. Without question Music Gateway has just shifted the power to the independent and helps remove industry barriers, register for free and create a Music Gateway Account. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - And if you want to improve your vocal skills, we have the right product just for:
  24. This article is 2nd in a series on the Male Voice Passaggio. Introduction In the first article in this series, I explained the acoustic basis of the male voice passaggio experience. In short, the passaggio is a place in the range where the resonance characteristics of the voice are 'between' those of the so-called 'chest voice', and 'head voice'. Of particular interest is the relationship of the first hamonic of the sung tone with the lower vowel resonance. In this article, we will examine some of the resonance strategies available to the male singer in this range, and how those strategies help consistency of vocal tone, power and ease-of-singing. 'Chest voice' power... to a point As mentioned in the prior article, a great deal of the power of the voice, and the sensation that the voice is 'in the chest' comes from the strength of the lower harmonics. This situation continues during the upward scale until the the 2nd harmonic passes F1, the location of which varies by voice type and vowel. Singing upward from there, the 2nd harmonic rapidly loses power halfstep-by-halfstep, and since the fundamental is an octave below it, there is now no strong resonance in either of them from the lower vowel resonance. The 'bottom' (powerful low resonance) has fallen out of the tone quality, and the sensations of that resonance in the chest and other tissues, becomes rapidly much less. The sensation for many is that the voice has 'left the chest'. Also, since the middle harmonics are farther apart in frequency now, F2 has not yet been of an advantage to make up for the missing power of the lower harmonics. In another way of putting it, the singer is no longer in the chest voice, but not yet in the 'head' voice. Passaggio effects This change in resonance character and power does two things to the singer, one at the laryrngeal level, and the other in tone quality: 1) it removes the cushioning provided the vocal bands by the inertive vocal tract, and 2) it causes a tone quality change which favors the brightness (singers formant component) of the tone. Item 1 makes the voice less stable (sensitive to disruption, for example, cracking, blips, etc), and item 2 makes it brighter by comparision to the notes immediately below it, without having any satisfying vowel resonance. Arriving in head voice Continuing the scale, the male singer reaches a point where F2 finally aligns with the 4th or 3rd harmonic (depending on vowel) and F2 greatly strengthens this harmonic, to the point that it is the most prominent in the entire voice. Very often, this circumstance is accompanied by pronounced sensations in the bones of the front of the front of the face, and very often elsewhere. For the singer, the voice is now fully 'in the head'. In effect, the passaggio is the section of the voice between these two distinct areas of resonance characteristics, above the area where F1 helps the 2nd harmonic, and below the area where F2 helps the 4th and 3rd. When the word 'passaggio' is used to mean an active technique, it means whatever is done to keep the vocal quality consistent in this area, and also keeping it from becoming unstable. In other words, to connect the secure, powerful lower and upper voices in a manner that makes the voice as consistent as is possible. Passaggio resonance strategies A) Principal among these is the use of epilaryngeal resonance, in either the form of twang orsingers formant, which we might describe as twang with classical vowels. This has several desirable effects. 1) The use of this resonance boosts vocal power by ~20dB (that is, greater than 8 times as loud to a listener,) particularly by increasing the volume of harmonics in the 2500 to 3500 Hz region, the most sensitive range of human hearing. With this resonance, the singer gets much more sound, and much more audible sound, from the same amount of effort, and can thereby be heard effectively without having to push vocally. More sound, more apparent volume, less work. Sounds like a winner to me. 2) Epilaryngeal resonance, which occurs in the small space immediately above the larynx, before it continues on to the upper parts of the pharyx, provides a cushioning acoustic feed-back to the vocal bands, so they do not take so much stress as they go through their motions. For the techies out there, it can be thought of an impedance-matching layer between the vocal bands and the pharynx. In common parlance, 'riding the vocal ring' across the weak area. For the classical singer, its often the region where vowel darkening (via modification, discussed later) is done to counteract the brightness of the rising-voice tone quality, a technique which to some extent increases the intertive character of the vocal tract, providing some helpful cushioning. An epilaryngeal resonance strategy is not only helpful in the passaggio, it has these effects in the lower and upper voices as well. However, in the passaggio, it provides much-needed tone quality consistency while the vowel resonances are 'between gears' so to speak. Vowel Modification can be used to advantage. There are two approaches here to be mentioned. 1) Because the passaggio starts and ends at different notes for different vowels, the singer can benefit from shading a vowel which has become unresonant toward a related vowel that is not. For example, the first vowel resonance for /i/ (ee) is lower than it is for /I/ (ih). The passaggio for /i/ starts lower than it does for /I/ in a given voice. If done gradually, the singer can shade the /i/ progressively toward /I/, which the listener will not notice because it sounds so well. Acoustically, the effect of this maneuver is to raise the first vowel resonance, and lower the 2nd vowel resonance, bringing them closer together. This technique can be used by singers who use low, medium or high-larynx approaches. The vocal tract retains most of its inertive quality because vowel resonance is being maintained with these alternate vowels. 2) Vowels can also be modified by changing them to more 'closed' or 'darker' forms on the ascending scale, so that both the vowel resonances are lowered. In some circles,this technique is called 'covering', and if done well, is not noticable to the listener. If it is noticed, it was overdone :-) In this approach, vowels such as /a/ (ah) are modified to aw, and /o/ (oh) toward /u/ (oo) through the passaggio. Other vowels have their own series of similar modifications. The technique is generally usable with classical vowels, and with lower-larynx technique, without objection by a listener. If done by a mid-or high-larynx singer, the tone quality variation would likely be more obvious if not done very subtly. The effect of this type of vowel modification is twofold: ---to create a lower position for the first vowel resonance, and to bring the second vowel resonance downward so that it will align with harmonics 4 or 3 sooner than it would otherwise, and ---to increase the inertia the air in the vocal tract, making it more cushioning for the vocal bands Either, or both of these vowel modification techniques can be used by the singer to create the tone quality effects that suits their artistic expression. Passaggio Width and location As a practical matter, the passaggio region for any vowel is about a perfect fourth wide. The starting point will vary by voice type and vowel. /i/ (ee) and /u/ have the lowest passaggio entry points. /e/ (ay), /I/ (ih), /o/ (oh) and /E/ (eh) have the next lowest, and /a/ (ah) has the highest. Other vowels are spaced between these. Passaggio locations are a general indicator of voice type. Bass has the lowest passaggio point, baritone somewhat higher, and tenor highest. Conclusion, or the Benefits of Passaggio technique Why bother with all of this? It makes singing more consistent, powerful, enjoyable to do and pleasant to hear. It reduces vocal strain, and increases tone quality stability in a region of notes that can be fraught with problems for the male voice. There are several approaches from which to choose, and the singer can combine them in whatever way makes sense for their vocal endeavors.
  25. Introduction In the male voice lower and mid ranges, (what has been traditionally called the "chest voice"), the harmonic structure of the sung tone contains many partials - harmonics, which fit nicely into the pattern of resonances for any particular vowel chosen. Throughout this range, the strong, lower harmonics are reinforced by the first vowel resonance corresponding with Formant 1, (F1), midrange harmonics are reinforced by the second vowel resonance from Formant 2 (F2), and higher harmonics are emphasized by the higher "twang" or "singer's" formant resonances. The combination of multiple, powerful low, midrange, and high harmonics present in all vowels is a distinctive characteristic of this section of the male voice. In contrast with this, in the male high range, (what has been traditionally called the 'head voice'), the harmonics produced by the voice are higher in frequency and more widely spaced. Here, few of the harmonics fit into the vowel resonance pattern. For one particular span of notes in the head voice, there is no significant resonance available to amplify the lowest two harmonics produced. To achieve vocal power and consistency of tone in the high voice, the male singer uses what he has available, "twang" (singer's formant) and the resonance from F2 strengthening harmonic 3 or 4, depending on vowel. Between these two resonance strategies is a region of transition, too high for the 'chest voice' strategy, and too low for the F2 alignments of the 'head voice' strategy. This transition region is the passaggio. Acoustics of the rising fundamental Throughout the voice, as the fundamental frequency moves, the alignment of harmonics and resonances for a vowel changes. On an upward-moving scale or leap, the fundamental and all the overtones rise in frequency. Since the harmonics are spaced at multiples of the fundamental, the harmonics also get farther apart, too. For most of the chest voice range, this is not an issue, as the resonance from F1 covers a wide frequency range, and midrange harmonics are close enough together for at least 2 or 3 of them to get some benefit from F2. These conditions apply to all the vowels. However, in an upward pitch pattern, as the voice passes middle C (C-F, depending on voice type) eventually the scale reaches a region in the voice where the alignment of harmonics to formants is no longer advantageous. Overall vocal power and tone quality will be lost if an adjustment is not made. The particular point in the male voice where this occurs is as the 2nd harmonic passes F1. Visualizing harmonics and the /e/ vowel in a spectragraph As illustration of this, what follows is a series of spectragraphs made with different fundamentals sung to the vowel /e/ (ay), made using my own, baritone, voice. As representative of a lower chest voice tone, the first is of the A natural just a bit more than an octave below middle C , also known as A2. Each vertical blue line represents the intensity of a particular harmonic, where 'up' = louder. Low frequency harmonics start on the left side. The leftmost peak is from the fundamental, and if you look at each peak to the right of that (increasing frequency of harmonic), you can see that the 4th harmonic is the very tallest, and then the peaks become successively shorter. This peak volume for the 4th harmonic, and the emphasis of those surrounding it, is the result of Formant 1, F1 in its position for /e/ in my voice. Harmonics to the 'left' of the formant center get progressively louder as they get nearer to it, and those to the 'right' of the formant center get softer. Proceeding to the right is a section of quite harmonics, not so tall in the display, and then there is another build up to the 13th harmonic. This is the area amplified as a result of the location of Formant 2, F2. The spacing of F1 and F2 is what makes this vowel sound like 'ay' to the listener. After another gap, there are two more areas of emphasis, which are the result of F3 and F4, clustered together. These formants move very little vowel-to-vowel, and form the high frequency 'brightness' resonances of the singer's formant. The reason we start with this: for any given vowel pronunciation, (like /e/) the formants stay at the same locations even while the fundamental (and the associated harmonics) are moved during the production of different notes. Especially important in the understanding of the male passaggio is the relationship of F1, F2 and how the harmonics align with them. A2 on /e/ vowel. Harmonic spacing As mentioned earlier, for any given sung note, harmonics are always the same frequency distance apart. That frequency spacing is the same frequency as the fundamental... the note being sung. So, if a fundamental is 110 cycles per second (like that A2,) all the harmonics will be 110 cycles apart from their neighboring harmonics. You can see this equal spacing in the picture above. Because of the closeness of the harmonic spacing, you are able to see pretty well the 'shape' of the formant regions. Up an Octave The next picture is of the same /e/ vowel, but singing the A up one octave, the A just below middle C, A3, which is 220 cycles per second. Notice that the peaks are farther from each other than in the prior picture... now they are 220 cycles per second apart. Looking at the peaks for a moment, you can see that the amplification effects of F1 and F2 are still in the same place (left to right), but now different numbered harmonics are boosted, and fewer harmonics are affected by each individual formant. In the case of F1, the 3rd harmonic is now the most emphasized, with the 2nd harmonic also getting some help, while F2 is emphasizing the 7th harmonic tremendously, but not much else. This excellent alignment of F2 with a harmonic makes it really ring distinctively, and is an example of 2nd-formant tuning, which will get discussed later. Finding the exact location of F1 for /e/ Are you curious about the exact location of F1? Look at the bottom of this next picture, right beween harmonics 2 and 3. See the blips? All voices have some soft, non-harmonic noise. When that noise falls under a formant, it gets amplified enough to measure. These low blips on the spectragraph are the giveaway to the location of the formant. A3 on /e/ vowel Continuing the scale upward As I continue up the scale from A3, three things happen due to the musical intervals represented by the harmonics: 1) My 2nd harmonic gets closer and closer to F1, strengthing that harmonic. This makes the warmth of the voice 'bloom' in this region, and the resonance makes it possible to oversing some and still get away with it. 2) My 3rd harmonic gets higher above F1, and so it gets progressively softer. In combination with #1, this changes the tone quality somewhat. 3) F2 tunes to successively lower harmonics. These three trends are very important in understanding the male passaggio. More on 'What happens when a harmonic rises above a formant'? As a particular harmonic rises above a formant center, it rapidly decreases in intensity. In this next picture, now singing Bb3 (up just one half step from the A), you can see the effect on the 3rd harmonic. It is quite softer now when compared to the 2nd harmonic. For this note, the principal power of the vowel is being carried by the 2nd harmonic. You may also note that the F2 tuning is emphasizing harmonics 6 and 7 more or less equally. That is because F2 is between them. Harmonic 7 is no longer in the 'ringing' position, and harmonic 6 is not yet high enough to be there. Bb3 /e/ vowel The male upper chest voice My voice is now in the 'fattest' part of the upper chest voice, where most of the vowel power is coming from the 2nd harmonic. This range is just about a perfect 5th wide, because that is the spacing of the 2nd and 3rd harmonics. The region begins as the 3rd harmonic passes F1, and ends as the 2nd harmonic passes F1, in other words, for my /e/ vowel, from the Ab below middle C, to the Eb above middle C. This is what makes my voice a 'low baritone' quality. (Note, you can still see the noise blip.. its getting closer to the 2nd harmonic the higher I sing) Now, the Db in the following picture. Notice that there are little noise blips on each side of the 2nd harmonic. This indicates optimum alignment of the harmonic with F1, the place where the 2nd harmonic is exactly aligned with F1. Db4 /e/ vowel The effects of strong resonance on ease-of-singing Through the entire compass of my voice, up to this point, lower harmonics have been boosted by F1, which has provided for some cushioning effect for the vocal bands. That situation is about to change significantly as the fundamental rises past this point. A very important challenge to the singer as this happens is to resist the temptation to maintain vocal power via pushing. And now to the Eb. The 2nd harmonic has just past F1. Its still very strong, but will lose ground very rapidly as I proceed upward. This is the beginning of the tricky section of the passaggio, where the resonance provided to the 2nd harmonic decreases rapidly, and I must, to retain vocal power and tone quality, find another way to shape the vowel. Eb4 /e/ vowel My next post, 'Male voice passaggio 102' will discuss the various strategies that can be used to retain resonance through the passaggio.