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  1. Hello Fellow TMVW members! Humbling though it may be, I thought I would share a track I'm working on, (Beatles - In My Life) and the vocal "sculpting" process I go through in an effort to record my best performance. (I'd never share unfinished tracks except to friends and in this forum . . . plain vanity) I've had a lot of experience analyzing my vocals for recordings, I never quite knew how to articulate the process I was engaging in nearly as well as after having gone through The Four Pillars of Singing, learning the "talk track" I've heard Robert Lunte utilize across many hours of lecture videos! Once one is familiar enough with these "mechanisms" for mending, strengthening, or otherwise fine tuning a vocal line, the mystery about what to do goes away! Rob's techniques are structured in a simple, yet meticulous sequence that really does create the feeling of having a vocal sculpting tool box! I'm posting this both as a subject of interest to others who may be starting out with this type of challenge, and as a means of accountability for me to complete the process, which has been brutal for me due to inexperience with the recording software. It's good for me though, as I intend to record several old hit favorite song interpretations in the coming months. I'll post my final "sculpture" here for this track when I finally complete it. "Work to be done" on this vocal performance is: Pitchy lyrics / appaggio drop out, vowel mods for best resonance, better phrasing, embouchure brightening, slight lightening of mass throughout, . . . . I'm sure there's more, also, rhythm guitar mistakes, and guitar solo is not quite tight yet, not happy with the effects on my voice yet either. I'm contemplating leaving the last "in my life" line unresolved like it is now. I was trying to sing that last half of the last line and had to quit recording due to a leaf blower. I think i'll like it that way, maybe with a high harmony over the top. Lastly, I may end up using a different mic than I did for this take. One thing that clearly gets hammered home in this process is that performing live is a far more forgiving environment than being under the microscope of a recording. Peace, k
  2. A small vocal tip with huge benefits. My last video was about vowel anchoring and "up and over" to avoid vocal fatigue. This one is about finding "your voice" by choosing where that vowel anchor sits along the soft palate.
  3. OMG Biff Byford modified his "oo" on "you" at 1:15 ... ?! Oh nooo!
  4. The vocal geek mind took over when I started watching this video of Joni back in '79 singing, "Goodbye Porkpie Hat." I've always been a fan of Joni and thinks she's a beautiful woman! I couldn't help but notice those big beautiful front teeth and I thought, "it's almost like she would never have to be reminded to keep a "wide" embochure (as most of us so easily forget to maintain when singing). Her consistent teeth bearing embouchure seems like the perfect "E.Q. balance" to her warm (larynx lowered) alto-ish tamber. Then, as I watched her sing (the camera angle is such as to give just the right view of her face), I'm noticing that she's singing all these cool lines with lots of vowel modifications as she sings lines that flow quickly up and down between M1 & M2. I thought it was a good example of someone masterfully applying the technique.
  5. I had mentioned this singer "Chris Stapleton" in another thread. Thought I'd share this video/song he recently published. I was really struck by the numerous examples of solid vocal athleticism that arise in this performance. I try not to overanalyze every good vocal too often, cuz sometimes I loose the "soul" of the song in my ear from all of the deconstruction I use to understand the vocal. Couldn't resist on this one. Still "hearing the soul" to date. I've tagged all the key words that I believe I recognize "done well" in this composition. Personally, I'm most impressed with his mastery over what I would assume are the critical configurations which bring great resonance with comparatively low level respiration. I'm convinced that, with the best possible formant, combined with the strength support of skilled appoggio, the "illusion" of a belt is created. He is singing at a relatively low volume yet, the intensity of his voice is sustained. The same nuance is applied to his vocal distortion, which he employs mostly in the higher notes. Those are my impressions.
  6. I'm curious if I am doing this right... I'm not even sure how to explain it. Here is a guy teaching it .. it's in korean but he's basically saying try to "pull" the sound out from the chest instead of having the sound fly out through ur mouth. Can someone explain to me in what way is this taught normally? Is this just the feel of "open throat?" or "support"? AND if this is how it should feel then how do I get that "mask" placement without losing that DEEP breath support? This way helped me develop my mix but I'm curious if this method is correct and is just another way of teaching the same thing? example done by a professional performance. (The sound literally sounds like a really low soft mix voice in the intro and when belting it sounds like the vibrato is so free and resonating really low. Is this how proper singing should be done? I am just wondering on how I should properly train and do warmups/workouts..
  7. Hi Folks, I came across this video on youtube that advocates a support based singing technique(based on what I understood) that can eliminate vowel modification. Can folks please weigh in on how this works? Is it possible for a tenor to sing upto B4 using this technique and get a dark colored sound without vowel modification? Can someone tell me what is the physical sensation that best in your mind describes, "leaning into the sound". Thank you..
  8. Yo! All my fellow singing geeks! I came across the article I've linked here (below video). I thought it is was very well written (a quick read), and includes a couple comments by Justin Stoney (coach most of us probably know from Youtube). I have read & posted in our "techniques" forum regarding so called "Natural Singers," percentages of the population who are or are not, training, and etc. Hope this helps lend some clarity to the matter(s). article - Singing Tips: Have A Certain Skull Shape, And Other Science Behind Carrying A Tune http://www.medicaldaily.com/singing-tips-have-certain-skull-shape-and-other-science-behind-carrying-tune-308372
  9. Hello guys! I am just curious about this singer's voice and volume when he sings. I notice it is very airy and I know singing with excessive air is bad for your chords, but is there something about his technique or voice that allowed him to sing so long with a healthy voice? (10+ years) I also get very confused on how loud to sing when singing such songs. I guess it is a common problem in a sense when I sing very softly, I can reach those notes easily with my head voice with very little chord closure. OR I end up singing so loud where its basically belting with full chord closure. I can't for the life of me hit that middle area where there is JUST enough power while maintaining such a sweet tone without POWERING IT OUT. ( I am referring to the chorus) Any ideas? Thank you!
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    Steve Fraser is a noted expert on vowel modification, phonetics and formants for singing. Mr. Fraser is a recognized expert in the analysis of spectrograph analysis of singing. A spectrogram is a a time-varying spectral representation (forming an image) that shows how the spectral density of a signal varies with time. In the field of Time-Frequency Signal Processing, it is one of the most popular quadratic Time-Frequency Distribution that represents a signal in a joint time-frequency domain and that has the property of being positive. Mr. Fraser has a Bachelor’s in Vocal Music Education from Millikin University, and a Master’s in Choral Conducting from Washington University in St. Louis. Mr Fraser is also an active member at The Modern Vocalist World Forum. Steve Fraser www.SteveFraser.com

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  11. "White Rabbit" Tribute! I am proud to share a performance and production of Jefferson Airplane's classic, "White Rabbit". SaraEllen has been training with TVS for about two years. Excellent job SaraEllen! LOVE the curbing vowel resonance, steady embouchure, and "snappy" glottal attacks on the vowels, apart from the interpretation that captures the nuances we coached and discussed. Sounds great, looks great, a kick ass production and worthy achievement! Coach.
  12. I just have a basic question about performing live. Do vocalists/singers use any effects while they perform live, assuming it depends on genre if they actually do. I was debating this with a friend, I thought that most of them just used a somewhat studio-like effect while performing live and my friend told me most of the artists out there are purely singing with a clear voice without effects. So can anyone verify this? :-) Kind regards
  13. Hello guys, I am wondering why is it the the AE (bat) vowels and AH (father) vowels get a bad rap? In Lilli Lehmans book I recall she does not advocate using the AH vowel very much, also many teachers warn the AE vowel is "too wide" or splatty. I am not sure sure what this all means and would love to know why these vowels are portrayed negatively. Please share your thoughts below and your experience with these vowels if possible
  14. Since every single thread recently seems to derail into a talk about registers in some manner, and no one made a thread for it, this will be around for a while. So if you feel like talking about M1, chest, head, falsetto, heady, mixed, or anything else of similar content, this is the place. Posts on other threads that do not have an objective and specific point in regards to the thread subject and that start to go in the direction of "M2 is the new M1" usuall conversations most likely will be deleted. "To do that thing well, keep in your normal voice, like this: sample shown" - Fine "In 1952 when observing the M3 register using high energy plasma on professional opera rockstars, scientists figure that..." - Should be in here What do you need to know about registers: There are five different ways of seeing this particular subject that comes to my mind right away: - A mechanical register: M0,M1,M2,M3 - An area of pitch: "All above note T4 is head, bellow, chest." - A quality or intensity used: Heady -> Soft. Chesty -> Strong, Mix -> middle. - A specific position of the vocal tract. - A sensation. The way it was used on classical technique, was more about the later two, and even so on its begining it was really just the sensation, that's where the names "chest" and "head" came from to begin with. What is important to keep in mind is that since its a reference of sensation, it does have pedagogic value but it will not reflect exactly into any of the first. There are specific coordinations that are know to produce the sensations, but they were unknown when the terms were first used and the ideals of both sounds and execution started to appear. This initial post will be updated with relevant information as it appears along the way. I will do an effort to include samples for each of the ideas, probably with the help of Dan and Jens if they are up to it :).
  15. Robert Lunte, "Timeless Chains". A song about my "x" Anna Christina. Enjoy. Silently your, beauty took my breath away... Now comes the rain, can I feel another day. So much time has past away from that fateful day. So much time has passed, since you turned away. Chorus Now timeless chains, there's no escape! You walked Away Just when I started to get my life back under me. Berlin skies of gray, so cold I cannot breath Cause I lost, mean Frau in the storm, that marked my destiny! But here I stand defiantly mending a heart ripped to shreds of tragedy But my face to the wind, Im washed from my sins, but you still keeps haunting me Chorus Timeless chains, there's no escape! You walked Away Just when I started to get my life back under me So much time has past away from that fateful day. So much time has passed since you turned away. Chorus Timeless chains, there's no escape! You walked Away Just when I started to get my life back under me!
  16. CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ BY FELIX, ON APRIL 21ST, 2015 So I finally decided to buy “The Four Pillars of Singing″ by Robert Lunte (TVS, The Vocalist Studio). Some of his tutorials and lectures on YouTube caught my attention and after a few days of consideration (+200$ is a lot of money) I decided to give it a try. When I started my singing studies I had decided to look at as many different approaches as possible and learn as much as I can and Robert Luntes perspective is certainly interesting and he definitely knows what he is talking about. I will compare his training system to CVT (Complete Vocal Institute) because it seems to be aimed at the same target audience. “The Four Pillars of Singing” is a comprehensive vocal training system that includes a book, over 350 videos, audio training content, detailed training routines, guide files and a robust learning management system that allows you to take a comprehensive course to study and master the TVS Method. It offers workouts starting in the key of C and G (to make it easier for women to use), training work flows and training routines for over 64 workouts, guide files that help you learn how to perform the workouts quickly and a very useful interface that organizes this massive amount of content. A user interface like this, is not available in any other program.. Robert advertises it as being the system with "the most content in the history of mankind". That is not only marketing but certainly a fact. But what does it mean? There is a lot of data in here, that’s for sure. The content of the book is similar to what CVT teaches. Especially the TVS method for organizing the vowels of singing into what they call, "Acoustic Modes". But unlike the CVT vocal modes, the TVS Acoustic Modes have stripped out a lot of additional levels of complexity, focusing only on where the singing vowels resonate in the voice and their respective sound colors. It is a very effective and intuitive way to learn about the acoustics of singing. In addition to ideas from TVS such as training work flows (teaching students to train with "step by step" instructions), specialized onsets and vowel modification formulas, "Pillars" also offers "physical modes" which are essentially very similar to the EVTS voice qualities or Estill modes. If your looking for CVI and Estill concepts as well as the unique TVS techniques, you can only find it in The Four Pillars of Singing. The focus is on all styles of singing. The 616 page book includes descriptions and illustrations of all the important components for singing; physiology, acoustics and mental imagery. The product is very comprehensive and a lot of work has clearly been put into it. With CVT, you only get a book and some sound samples and that leaves the less skilled voice student lacking for guidance and instruction on how to train and practice. One of the strongest aspects of The Four Pillars of Singing very well may be, that it seems to not miss the important point that students of singing technique programs have to have the content and guidance that no only teaches them the method and techniques, but also teaches them how to apply the techniques with training and practice routines. The sound samples with CVT are helpful, but the value is far below what you get with The Four Pillars of Singing. Then there is Robert. He sure is an interesting voice coach, he sounds very credible and his way of teaching is captivating. In a real-life coaching situation, that might be great and it certainly is important if you want to reach your full potential as a singer quickly. What is better, CVT or TVS? Should I buy Complete Vocal Technique or The Four Pillars of Singing?... or BOTH? It is important to point out that both systems are actually compatible together, but if you had to make a choice, given that "Pillars" already includes the main CVT premise, vocal modes oriented around singing vowels, then The Four Pillars of Singing is the way to go, given that they cover that topic with the "TVS Acoustic Modes". If you are a person who needs or learns faster with video tutorials and audio files to listen to in the care and practice with, then "Pillars" might be the better choice for you. Learn more about "The Four Pillars of Singing". Read reviews on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON.COM REVIEWS >>>
  17. CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ BY FELIX, ON APRIL 21ST, 2015 So I finally decided to buy “The Four Pillars of Singing″ by Robert Lunte (TVS, The Vocalist Studio). Some of his tutorials and lectures on YouTube caught my attention and after a few days of consideration (+200$ is a lot of money) I decided to give it a try. When I started my singing studies I had decided to look at as many different approaches as possible and learn as much as I can and Robert Luntes perspective is certainly interesting and he definitely knows what he is talking about. I will compare his training system to CVT (Complete Vocal Institute) because it seems to be aimed at the same target audience. “The Four Pillars of Singing” is a comprehensive vocal training system that includes a book, over 350 videos, audio training content, detailed training routines, guide files and a robust learning management system that allows you to take a comprehensive course to study and master the TVS Method. It offers workouts starting in the key of C and G (to make it easier for women to use), training work flows and training routines for over 64 workouts, guide files that help you learn how to perform the workouts quickly and a very useful interface that organizes this massive amount of content. A user interface like this, is not available in any other program.. Robert advertises it as being the system with "the most content in the history of mankind". That is not only marketing but certainly a fact. But what does it mean? There is a lot of data in here, that’s for sure. The content of the book is similar to what CVT teaches. Especially the TVS method for organizing the vowels of singing into what they call, "Acoustic Modes". But unlike the CVT vocal modes, the TVS Acoustic Modes have stripped out a lot of additional levels of complexity, focusing only on where the singing vowels resonate in the voice and their respective sound colors. It is a very effective and intuitive way to learn about the acoustics of singing. In addition to ideas from TVS such as training work flows (teaching students to train with "step by step" instructions), specialized onsets and vowel modification formulas, "Pillars" also offers "physical modes" which are essentially very similar to the EVTS voice qualities or Estill modes. If your looking for CVI and Estill concepts as well as the unique TVS techniques, you can only find it in The Four Pillars of Singing. The focus is on all styles of singing. The 616 page book includes descriptions and illustrations of all the important components for singing; physiology, acoustics and mental imagery. The product is very comprehensive and a lot of work has clearly been put into it. With CVT, you only get a book and some sound samples and that leaves the less skilled voice student lacking for guidance and instruction on how to train and practice. One of the strongest aspects of The Four Pillars of Singing very well may be, that it seems to not miss the important point that students of singing technique programs have to have the content and guidance that no only teaches them the method and techniques, but also teaches them how to apply the techniques with training and practice routines. The sound samples with CVT are helpful, but the value is far below what you get with The Four Pillars of Singing. Then there is Robert. He sure is an interesting voice coach, he sounds very credible and his way of teaching is captivating. In a real-life coaching situation, that might be great and it certainly is important if you want to reach your full potential as a singer quickly. What is better, CVT or TVS? Should I buy Complete Vocal Technique or The Four Pillars of Singing?... or BOTH? It is important to point out that both systems are actually compatible together, but if you had to make a choice, given that "Pillars" already includes the main CVT premise, vocal modes oriented around singing vowels, then The Four Pillars of Singing is the way to go, given that they cover that topic with the "TVS Acoustic Modes". If you are a person who needs or learns faster with video tutorials and audio files to listen to in the care and practice with, then "Pillars" might be the better choice for you. Learn more about "The Four Pillars of Singing". Read reviews on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON.COM REVIEWS >>> View full articles
  18. Hi all, If you looked at the "Vocal Health" sub forum, you might have a seen a few topics that I have opened regarding issues that I had and exercises that I do and help to fix my speaking voice. Basically I use singing vocal exercises that work on my lower "chest" voice range, more specifically Lip Rolls, "Ya"s, "Gi", "Keh" and Humming. My main issue resolved around the volume of my speaking, and this situation became worse when going out to loud places like Bars or Clubs. Hence, why I started doing these exercises and they surely helpd me mostly with cord closure.. But yesterday I discovered something new and wanted to ask you guys about it. I was on my way to a friend, 30 minutes drive, knowing that we were about to go to a loud bar. So I used these 30 minutes drive to warm up my voice for the apparent extensive use I was going to. And then after doing humming and lip rolls and Ya's and Gi's and more.. I kept feeling that my voice is still not "loud" enough, and still coming from the back of my throat mostly. Having recently heard about Twang exercises, the Mum exercises that are used by alot of voice teacher for vocal projection, and the use of the "EE" vowel to help with closure and brightness, I then remembered that I saw somewhere the "MEE MEE MEE" vocal exercise and decided to give it a try. So I started by Humming a song, and during the humming I opened my mouth for a "MEE" on some notes here and then so it looks like: mmmmmmMEEmmMEEmmMEEmmMEE.. I am not sure if when I did the MEE.. at first it was bright.. and then more twang like EE ... can't exactly remember it. Anyway after doing this for about 2 or 3 minutes, I tried to examine my speaking voice .. and all of the sudden I got a new sensation that I didn't have before: I felt that the voice was coming from the middle of my mouth - right above the tongue, and right below the hard palate. As if it was resonating from the mouth. It was strong, LOUD and powerful. It literally felt like I shifted the placement of where the voice was coming out of - instead of the back of the throat as used to be, to the middle of the mouth. I wanted to know.. is this MEE exercise realy the reason for it? is this what it's designed to do?
  19. Okay Folks, Here's something that I came up with while driving home last night. If we really want to understand high notes from all angles and a high note could speak, what would it be asking of the body? What would the voice say to you, if for example, it wanted to produce a big, powerful high note? What is really mentally and physiologically going on when you produce a high note? Do we really know? Should we really know? Let's go into this really deeply. To make this really interesting if you care to reply, do it as if you were the high note, not just provide explanations. Take on the personna of the high note. You are a high note in your body. What are you going to ask of your entire body? Try and be really specific.... I'll begin.....(going in a first-things-first order of requisites): It's a running conversation between you, (Singer) and the High Note. (High Note) "Before we even get started, are you well hydrated, and did you get a good night's rest because if you didn't you're gonna make this much harder than it needs to be." (Singer) "Yes, I'm good. What's next? (High Note)
  20. Robert always says that the hardest notes to sing are in the first bridge (e4 g4). While I do think they are hard to sing I have always had more trouble with my second bridge (a4 c5) sometimes I feel like I have it down but it always reverts back to an uncontrolled yell. I can bridge effectively below my second bridge and can do the extreme high stuff pretty well. But when I sing note between a4 to c5 especially c5 I lose the heady feeling and start to choke. Once I reach c#5 the headiness comes back in and I can then sing the g5s and a5s. with ease. Have any of you had the same experience with the 2nd bridge or is it just me? Also when I do sing a note in the second bridge that's not yelled it has to much twang and that wind and relese onset with downward pressure just makes me clench my throat. btw. It dosent sound terribly bad live or on recordings.... but I can sure feel it.
  21. 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. View full articles
  22. 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.
  23. Robert Lunte, founder of The Vocalist Studio explains what the formant and the significance of acoustics in singing. For the first time, a voice coach on YouTube can properly explain vocal formants. To learn more about The Vocalist Studio training program for singers, "The Four Pillars of Singing", CLICK HERE:   Formant is also used to mean an acoustic resonance. In acoustics, it refers to a peak in the sound envelope and/or to a resonance in sound sources, notably in singing. In singing pedagogy and phonetics, it refers to the resonance of the human vocal tract. Formant is often measured as an amplitude peak in the frequency spectrum of the sound, using a spectrogram (a special instrument or software that maps vocal frequencies) or a spectrum analyzer.  Peaks in the harmonic spectrum define the tone quality of sound color in a voice, distinguish the vowels and provide vocal ‘ring’, ‘presence’ or ‘quality’.    In the simplest terms  â€œthe formant is not the resonant space itself, but the measurement of resonant energy in the resonant space (for our purposes the vocal tract)”.  Most formants are produced by “tube” and “chamber resonance”.  For example, when singing, the upper vocal tract, the resonators, the pharyngeal space, soft palette, the throat, and the mouth combine to create this chamber resonance.   By no means am I pretending that this is a complete explanation of formants in singing, it is a very complex topic. However, this is an attempt to just sort out the main ideas for students of singing, so they can grasp some basic understanding of the topic, which is all that is really needed to get some benefit for your singing.   Singing Vowels & Formants - BEST EXPLANATION ON YOUTUBE!    I partnered with Dr. Donald Miller to offer a digital download of his Voce Vista Software as well.. which allows you to better understand vocal formants. It is an application that works on PCs ONLY... and it is for purchase. I thought I would place that here as well, given the topic. Hope this is helpful.   Voce Vista Formant Software For Singers
  24. I notice that when doing sirens, EEs are really easy. Ah's and other kind of 'open' vowels don't really work for me. Any idea why that is?