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folks, i gotta tell ya this imagery i've been using, is so damn helpful to my singing high notes, i feel it needs to be stated again in my own "street jargon."

just try this, imagine your vocal folds are inverted and are where your soft palette is. the folds have left the larynx, nothing is in the throat...imagine..

now with everything else right, breath support, relaxed, you're fully warmed, etc., just maintain the basic yawn or yawn configuration with your mouth and jaw and make a point of placing everything there (the soft palette where you imagine your folds to be) and see if you don't get this tweaking feeling, like as if you can strum the folds for each note up from i'd say c4 and up.

i know it sounds crazy but it works. try a 6 note arpeggio on "ah" as in father....do you feel a sensation of freeness and that you can minutely, gently, strum or perhaps a better word is tweak the folds to give you pitch changes?

well, if not, and you think i'm nuts....whatever works for you..just trying to be helpful if you're working on bridging or whatever.

bob

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I can see why this would work, but whenever anyone says to focus or sing from the soft palate, the sound ends up being a little swallowed and too hooty...I think my brain just thinks differently lol. I found that I can fix this problem by imagining your visual model with my vocal cords even higher, above my soft palate, kind of at the top of whatever the cavity is above the soft palate.

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Now, I get it, Bob. Or, your statement was somehow clearer to me than last time. Essentially, you are visualising the activity elsewhere, primarily as a sense of "placement" but just as importantly, any sense of "overt" action should somewhere else besides the larynx. Well, the easiest way to let the vocal chords rise to behind the soft palate is to raise that there soft palate thing. "Smile, though your heart is breaking ..."

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I will try this for sure VH. One question on the open throat deal- when you guys sing everything like this, does it cause jaw tension or tension under your tonsils? Tension might be the wrong word- Fatigue might be better. I notice this as I'm trying to work on the open throat deal ala Tamplin stuff. Anybody else have this?

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While I do think you should cut back on any new medication you've been on lately I find this quite helpful. Only I have to refrain from yawning but only inhale on a very slight 'k' to open my throat.

Not to steal the thread or anything but when I do this with the mental picture above (see I am sneaking into the topic) I open my throat but the uvula/soft palate stays down. I can see it in the mirror. I get more resonance and it feels like the mental picture - that the folds are indeed up in the palate. But is it just my inexperienced muscle reflexes that opens the throat but is unable to lift the soft palate (without shutting the throat again)?

Thanks

Fred

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guys,

it's hard to really articulate on this, but the mouth (ala tamplin) is open a lot!

the jaw is totally open and relaxed and you feel like you've given the tweaking of the folds (we know it's not actually tweaking) the sole responsibility for the pitch change. nothing gets tightened or pushed unless you need a quick, slight belly push around a4 plus. but i find if you don't mantain a yawn-like configuration it falls apart.

in fact, your mouth, looking in the mirror is hardly moving at all during the "ah's" but it's open and your throat is open and unrestricted.

sidebar: fred, when you yawn doesn't your soft palette rise?

addendum: i should tell you that the higher notes can sound thin, but that is something you have to accept and get used to because higher notes are somewhat leaner.

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Now, I get it, Bob. Or, your statement was somehow clearer to me than last time. Essentially, you are visualising the activity elsewhere, primarily as a sense of "placement" but just as importantly, any sense of "overt" action should somewhere else besides the larynx. Well, the easiest way to let the vocal chords rise to behind the soft palate is to raise that there soft palate thing. "Smile, though your heart is breaking ..."

i visualize the throat as an empty cylinder, thus helping me to stop any constriction.

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even when I'm not singing, say, at the dentist, and I hold my mouth open, the jaw gets fatigued. I've always heard "don't open yer mouth so wide" when singing, but the open throat deal seems to fly in the face of that.

i do (just a few minutes) of neck and tongue exercises which may have helped. the yawn configuration has become ingrained into me.

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I can see why this would work, but whenever anyone says to focus or sing from the soft palate, the sound ends up being a little swallowed and too hooty...I think my brain just thinks differently lol. I found that I can fix this problem by imagining your visual model with my vocal cords even higher, above my soft palate, kind of at the top of whatever the cavity is above the soft palate.

Wildcat: I think Bob's idea is to visuaize that as the source, not the destination. :-)

And, because you mentioned it, the cavity above the soft palate is called the nasopharynx, the part of the pharynx right behind the rear entrance to the nasal cavities.

There are actually pedagogies that image the source of the sound as being farther forward and higher than that, in the sinuses. As imagery to reduce the amount of up-push on the voice, these are very workable ways to provoke the body into a better vocalism.

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yes, and now when i sing it's never a feeling (like i used to do before vocal training) like i've pushed the air up from the belly or drove up the notes from the bottom up with all my might... no more of a south to north feeling with regards to airflow. i feel like i "place" the notes, or "place" the sensation or "position" for formant or twang, i've got more control. the requisite air is just there. all of my notes appear to be getting easier (but here's the cool part) but at the same time stronger, or more meatier as if the whole body is resonating.

i'm thrilled.

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Bob: now you know somewhat of what the 'inhale the voice' popularizers have been talking about. The sense of freedom, flexibility, power and control you now feel is exhilarating, and the sense of having to 'work' at it is lessening. Less work... more power... I love it. If we were talking about waterskiing, I'd say you've gotten out of the hole, and are up on plane....

Time to head out to the slalom, which is for the large-voiced tenor (like you)... is agility. I'll be happy to provide some exercises when you are ready.

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Bob: now you know somewhat of what the 'inhale the voice' popularizers have been talking about. The sense of freedom, flexibility, power and control you now feel is exhilarating, and the sense of having to 'work' at it is lessening. Less work... more power... I love it. If we were talking about waterskiing, I'd say you've gotten out of the hole, and are up on plane....

Time to head out to the slalom, which is for the large-voiced tenor (like you)... is agility. I'll be happy to provide some exercises when you are ready.

sure steve, bring them on, i'm always willing to learn! i'm sure my buddies here are too...!

i appreciate it.

addendum: you know what else steve, i feel like when i sing, high especially, i'm now searching for these i call "pockets of ease" because i know they're there, but they are fleeting at times...sometimes you hit them spot on and the tone just soars out like an arrow, other times i miss it and it gets pressurized when i know (now) it doesn't always have to be.

what skillset is missing to increase the likelihood of hitting these "pockets of ease?"

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Ah I think I got it! The key phrase I focused on is "the folds have left the larynx" and I relieved some throat tension and floated up to an easy A4 then B4 with a lot of presence. Doing this also makes my head ring a lot.

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truth?

i kept reading about it, book after book, the yawn, the yawn, but basically kept passing over it in terms of importance, till i read this book "the new voice" by alan greene. then it finally sunk in.

basically, his belief is you need to strengthen certain muscles beforehand to help develop and maintain what he calls the "basic shape." once that basic shape (which is a yawn configuration) is developed and ingrained and a certain muscle development has been achieved, you are in position to isolate the vocal folds making them exclusively responsible for pitch. i highly recommend the book, but it is a bit controversial because of his emphasis on muscle training prior to actual singing.

just about every time i sing, i configure to a yawn (when possible). it raises the palette, and opens the vocal tract. that in conjuction with a relaxed forward tongue, relaxed throat, opens you up and all this resonance is there because the unrestricted airway.

now, he also mentions, & i agree, this new sound takes some getting used to as it's likely to be perceived as thin or nasally, but it's not, because if you pinch your nose, the sound remains the same but it's resonant and sometimes can actually sound layered i think because throat resonance kicks in too.

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Ah I think I got it! The key phrase I focused on is "the folds have left the larynx" and I relieved some throat tension and floated up to an easy A4 then B4 with a lot of presence. Doing this also makes my head ring a lot.

It supposed to ring your head. That means you are resonating in the proper area, namely the bony cavities of the head.

Billy asked about how the jaw gets tired at the dentist. That is an entirely different scenario than singing. At the dentist, he may have your mouth propped open with a block of rubber. Even then your jaw will get tired. For one thing, the jaw is held open longer than when you are singing. And there is the tension of having someone take a drill to a bone in your head.

When singing and the jaw is dropped, you should not "force" it to open wide. But let it hang somewhat loose. It will still move as you articulate lyrics and during vocal breaks in the song, there is no reason to hold your mouth open like the "apparition" in the movie "Scary Movie" (and all of it's endless sequels.) Onoly drop the jaw for the note that requires it and only for the duration of that note.

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Ah I think I got it! The key phrase I focused on is "the folds have left the larynx" and I relieved some throat tension and floated up to an easy A4 then B4 with a lot of presence. Doing this also makes my head ring a lot.

yes, and like ron said too. i don't mean this hugely opened yawn....it's hard to explain because the yawn is more of a configuration set up for singing rather than yawn = height. mouth opening height is a whole other subject in itself. you can open your mouth small, yet still configure a yawn....

does that help?

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I have the trouble I seem to be able to open the back of my throat with the uvula down easily (I watch it happen in the mirror) but as soon as I near a yawn to raise the soft palate my jaw and tongue locks down and my throat (sides and back) gets smaller.

Wildcat I have an idea that helped me with mumbled speech -> Look at yourself in a mirror and over-articulate a piece of text. What feels like too much often doesn't look at all weird from the outside. I did it every morning and night a couple of days and then tried it in a normal conversation. I noticed right away people heard what I said much better. Also helped me talk slower. Previous recordings of myself I was often speaking blazing fast, but in my head it was normal speed.

Cheers

Fred

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I have the trouble I seem to be able to open the back of my throat with the uvula down easily (I watch it happen in the mirror) but as soon as I near a yawn to raise the soft palate my jaw and tongue locks down and my throat (sides and back) gets smaller.

Fred: This is a very good description of the limitations of the 'yawn' approach to establishing an open throat. The actual yawn is a reflex with a complex set of strong muscle actions, IMO most of which are not necessarily desirable for the singer. Its my opinion that in your particular case, the yawn is also associated with jaw and tongue tension as well. If you want to open the throat, and raise the palate, some other way may prove a more rapid path forward.

As an alternative I suggest as a perhaps more useful posture, less rigid and more open, can be achieved by the 'moment of surprise' gesture, as if you just received exciting news and inhaled spontaneously. The soft palate goes up, the throat mildly dilates, and none of the constrictor or tongue muscles are activated. The larynx even goes down a little.

The soft palate goes upward to close the velopharyngeal port for very many consonants, and for many reflexes. I think these are all useful, but which one is right depends on the individual singer's situation. Similarly, there are many ways to provoke a lowered larynx, if that is desired. Some of these also lack the combative flexing of the suspensors, so that the vertical positioning of the larynx is accomplished without creating extra tension.

IMO, the best of all of these for an individual singer is the one that allows the throat to be open without 'making' it open.

I hope this helps.

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sure steve, bring them on, i'm always willing to learn! i'm sure my buddies here are too...!

i appreciate it.

addendum: you know what else steve, i feel like when i sing, high especially, i'm now searching for these i call "pockets of ease" because i know they're there, but they are fleeting at times...sometimes you hit them spot on and the tone just soars out like an arrow, other times i miss it and it gets pressurized when i know (now) it doesn't always have to be.

what skillset is missing to increase the likelihood of hitting these "pockets of ease?"

Bob: two topics here. I will start with the 2nd one.

The sense of being in a 'Pocket of ease' seems to me about singing just the right vowel for the note. When you have twang going already, the other resonance tuning you can do is to be sure that your vowel is well-formed to align with the harmonics of the note. For a note that is not as easy, sing it down an octave to determine where the resonances are, and play around with it until you have got a vowel that matches the best you can. Then, transpose it back up into the original range.

As to agility, these are very easy to describe. The principle is to get your mind, your musical ear, to think pitch change accurately and rapidly. Here is a simple one, to start with:

Starting on the C below middle C, using a major scale, sing the following on Eh:

C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D-C

In scale numbers, its

1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Start slowly, easily, and with a steady tempo. Repeat the exercise up 1 half step, same tempo, until you get the starting note to the G below middle C. Then, go back to the beginning an increase the speed just slightly, and repeat.

Repeat the exercise every day, for about 10 minutes. Every few days, increase the starting speed just slightly.

The idea of this exercise is to begin to train your mind to think the pitch patterns more rapidly an accurately, in a systematic way.

I hope this helps.

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Bob: two topics here. I will start with the 2nd one.

The sense of being in a 'Pocket of ease' seems to me about singing just the right vowel for the note. When you have twang going already, the other resonance tuning you can do is to be sure that your vowel is well-formed to align with the harmonics of the note. For a note that is not as easy, sing it down an octave to determine where the resonances are, and play around with it until you have got a vowel that matches the best you can. Then, transpose it back up into the original range.

As to agility, these are very easy to describe. The principle is to get your mind, your musical ear, to think pitch change accurately and rapidly. Here is a simple one, to start with:

Starting on the C below middle C, using a major scale, sing the following on Eh:

C-D-E-F-G-F-E-D-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-C-B-A-G-F-E-D-C

In scale numbers, its

1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

Start slowly, easily, and with a steady tempo. Repeat the exercise up 1 half step, same tempo, until you get the starting note to the G below middle C. Then, go back to the beginning an increase the speed just slightly, and repeat.

Repeat the exercise every day, for about 10 minutes. Every few days, increase the starting speed just slightly.

The idea of this exercise is to begin to train your mind to think the pitch patterns more rapidly an accurately, in a systematic way.

I hope this helps.

steve, always appreciated...i'll give it a go.

thank you.

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truth?

i kept reading about it, book after book, the yawn, the yawn, but basically kept passing over it in terms of importance, till i read this book "the new voice" by alan greene. then it finally sunk in.

basically, his belief is you need to strengthen certain muscles beforehand to help develop and maintain what he calls the "basic shape." once that basic shape (which is a yawn configuration) is developed and ingrained and a certain muscle development has been achieved, you are in position to isolate the vocal folds making them exclusively responsible for pitch. i highly recommend the book, but it is a bit controversial because of his emphasis on muscle training prior to actual singing.

just about every time i sing, i configure to a yawn (when possible). it raises the palette, and opens the vocal tract. that in conjuction with a relaxed forward tongue, relaxed throat, opens you up and all this resonance is there because the unrestricted airway.

now, he also mentions, & i agree, this new sound takes some getting used to as it's likely to be perceived as thin or nasally, but it's not, because if you pinch your nose, the sound remains the same but it's resonant and sometimes can actually sound layered i think because throat resonance kicks in too.

I just got that Alan Greene book and there are some things in there that I haven't noticed about the yawn configuration before. I'm still going through it, but so far, his focus on the "semi-circle" (mylohyoid) and the tongue exercises have really opened up and relaxed my voice. Normally I do an extensive warmup, but today, I just did 15 minutes of lip bubbles, the muscle exercises in "The New Voice," and I was able to breeze through the Journey songs that I would play in an acoustic set (Don't Stop Believing, Separate Ways, Faithfully)

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I just got that Alan Greene book and there are some things in there that I haven't noticed about the yawn configuration before. I'm still going through it, but so far, his focus on the "semi-circle" (mylohyoid) and the tongue exercises have really opened up and relaxed my voice. Normally I do an extensive warmup, but today, I just did 15 minutes of lip bubbles, the muscle exercises in "The New Voice," and I was able to breeze through the Journey songs that I would play in an acoustic set (Don't Stop Believing, Separate Ways, Faithfully)

cool book huh? did you get to the part about the "basic shape" yet?

i'd be curious on how you interpret what he says. this is definitely not your "typical" singing book.

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