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here is a podcast put together asking questions, and demoing

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rich2k4
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i'm new to recording audio like this for please excuse the pauses and staggered robotic talking, i'm not used to it.

i feel this is a better way to ask questions rather then typing it out. as it's hard to get the meaning of things through text sometimes. especially when it comes to vocal techniques.

http://www.box.net/shared/iv1r7a2ocg

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Good questions, Rich. If I get a chance, I will record a response. I think we go for the original key of a song because it inspired us and we are trying to match the initial conditions of that inspiration. I have raised the key of a song that was too low for me. "Peace, Love, and Understanding" was in the key of G and I raised it to the key of A.

And certainly, for some, it is a mark of achievement to sing a song in the original key or range. And, a number of times, what I have done, if a particular part was tricky or in the middle of a passaggio, I have re-arranged the vocal melody, often going higher, which was easier for me. In the words of Geoff Tate, I don't even go there. In that case, I certainly celebrate the individuality of voices.

Certainly, I have my opinion what twang is, as I learned it some time ago. It is the formation of the throat when you smile, simplistically, when your is open less than an O and more of a sideways thing. This physically shapes the throat and it also raises the soft palate, which opens up access to the bony cavities in the head where the higher notes can resonate. The lower the larynx, the more classical the formant or shape of the throat. And simply put, it's a mechanical process to resonate, though we can use mental images to guide our muscle memory. As a note ascends in pitch, it requires different resonating space to double back on itself (creating the doubling in volume.) There is a physical limit to what you can achieve in formation. That is a break. The way around it is either do not sing notes near there or achieve a light phonation, usually head voice early, to avoid this break. How you resonate the note, what vowel you use, how much breath support you have on it (which you mentioned as feeling like holding your breath while singing a high note).

I'm trying to remember how I sang "Rainbow in the Dark." I know I am singing it higher than more recent performances from Dio, such as the one at Wacken, Germany in 2004, the inspiration for my performance of that song. I was matching the key of the karaoke backing track. Where as the band, Dio, I think dropped 1/2 or 1 whole step from there, or maybe Dio had the actually originally tuning, I don't know. Anyway, when I did that song, I didn't feel strain, even though the thing sounds like a chesty belt from beginning to end.

More later, I've got to get on to work.

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I personally don't have a chance to record a response, at least not now.

Curbing:

That "cry" sound from SLS is the same as what CVT calls "hold". CVT stands for Complete Vocal Technique and is a Danish vocal program developed by Catherine Sadoline. You can put cry/hold onto notes in your entire range, but if you put just a very slight cry only near your break or passagio area and do it well, this cry sound is almost unnoticable and then you have what SLS calls a mixed voice.

The term "curbing" comes from CVT and stands for a particular sound. It's one of CVT's 4 "vocal modes", the others being neutral, overdrive and edge. Other vocal programs may have decided to categorize the human voice in more or less vocal modes or no modes at all. Robert Lunte's "4 Pillars" program has more than 4 modes, for example.

To make this sound, i.e. to sing in curbing, you have to have that cry/hold sound but also use only medium volume (even though the volume in curbing increases sliiiightly with higher notes) and the higher you go up in pitch you have to start to modify all vowels more towards one of the 3 curbing vowels - Uh as in hungry, O as in woman and I as in sit or bit. For example, the vowel ee as in me would be modified towards the vowel I and the vowel Ah as in father would be modified towards Uh and the vowel Oo as in you would be modified towards O.

Btw. don't overdo this cry/hold sound, which many people do. Singing - in any vocal mode, should never hurt your throat. Otherwise you're doing something wrong. All these components of curbing are designed so people can sing with medium (and slightly louder) volume on high notes that are very resonant and likable for most people. If you skip a component, it's likely that it will hurt your throat and not sound nearly as good as it could sound.

Therefore, many people think of curbing as pretty much the same things as SLS's mixed voice, but perhaps the slight difference is that if you do curbing a bit lower than in your passagio or break area, you sound a bit like you're complaining or in pain and f.ex. Seth Riggs has his students mostly do the cry sound near the passagio (to get a "connected" voice, which is cool, btw.).

Twang:

Twang is when you narrow the "epiglottis funnel" in your throat. Don't let that confuse you. It's just a particular place inside your throat, just above your vocal folds that you can narrow and then you have twang. It has nothing to do with smiling and the position of the soft palate. If you detect lots of high overtones in your voice (they could be present with or without low overtones as well), and a ringy sensation near your soft palate (at the top and back of your throat) then you are twanging. Not all people have these sensations when twanging, however, but I think that the majority of them will at least feel it slightly and have to concentrate at first to detect it.

The easiest way to experiment with twang is speaking like a witch or doing a very nasal and childish "nay, nay, nay" as a kid teasing another kid. Except for the very high part of the voice and mostly in heavy metal or very intense music, you're unlikely to use that sound a lot because it's simply annoying to most people. But if you keep that sensation in your soft palate and don't lose those ringy, high overtones, and try to darken your sound a bit (f.ex. by lowering your larynx and raising your soft palate slightly), you'll get a very full sound with the entire spectrum of high and low overtones.

Note that twang is not the same as singing or talking like a witch or a duck or a child - that's twanging with an extremely light sound colour. Many people call it the pharyngeal voice. It can be helpful to find twang as a beginner but shortly after that you'd want to darken your sound colour a bit (or a lot, depending on your style of singing and genre). Lowering your larynx a bit and raising your soft palate, both of which can be done by introducing a slight "yawn" sensation, will darken your sound colour. Twang with anything else than extremely light sound colour does not sound like a duck and is something that all good technical singers in all genres in history have been doing to have a bright, exciting ring to their voices. It makes everything in singing easier.

Twang is great because it gives you a volume boost with very little extra effort and it produces overtones which cut through other instruments in your band (or orchestra if you're singing opera) very well. It also makes your sound less dull and more likable to most people, unless you're twanging with a very light sound colour, i.e. with no low overtones present as well. It's also a key ingredient in vocal distortion like you hear a lot in rock music. Usually, people have to experiment with twang and get help from someone like a vocal coach or some vocal instructional (or this forum) until they learn how to do it properly.

Be careful with this since you come from a SLS background. SLS says that your larynx shouldn't move up when you go up in pitch and this has simply been proven wrong. It's more healthy for the larynx to rise just a little bit as you go up in pitch. If you want a lighter sound colour (like in many heavy metal songs), your larynx should go faster up than if you want a darker sound colour (like in opera). If your larynx is very low, it can be harder to twang, especially for beginners (although opera singers train to twang with a low larynx, but I doubt you're going for that sound). Don't get me wrong. I really like lots of stuff in SLS, in particular their method of getting people to bridge from chest voice to head voice, where they may have the best system out there. If you only do SLS and follow their principles 100%, you get a kind of a modern R&B sound, but if you want anything else than that you have to do slight modifications (f.ex. allowing the larynx to rise slightly with increased pitch).

Volume swells and cry:

When you were doing those volume swells, you got extra volume because you put in cry (it's called "hold" in CVT and is a key component to curbing.). It was very well done. You also had some twang in there so your sound had life and wasn't dull. Again, very good.

High notes:

High notes in general are kind of like playing very fast on a guitar. It's a great weapon to have in your arsenal and people tend to put singers and guitar players with these skills on a higher pedestal than ones who can't do it. However, it's best to not overdo it because otherwise it tends to get on your nerves. If it's done sparingly, tastefully and in a way that makes sense within the song you're doing, it can be magical and inspiring.

That's my take on this.

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Jon, you have an incredible way of explaining vocal stuff... I don't know much about curbing but I agree with you on twang.

I'm only now discovering that strong twang along with a slightly lowered larynx can go a long way in achieving a powerful tenor voice

that "cuts through" both in rehearsals and recordings.

Great post,

Thanos

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I personally don't have a chance to record a response, at least not now.

Curbing:

That "cry" sound from SLS is the same as what CVT calls "hold". CVT stands for Complete Vocal Technique and is a Danish vocal program developed by Catherine Sadoline. You can put cry/hold onto notes in your entire range, but if you put just a very slight cry only near your break or passagio area and do it well, this cry sound is almost unnoticable and then you have what SLS calls a mixed voice.

The term "curbing" comes from CVT and stands for a particular sound. It's one of CVT's 4 "vocal modes", the others being neutral, overdrive and edge. Other vocal programs may have decided to categorize the human voice in more or less vocal modes or no modes at all. Robert Lunte's "4 Pillars" program has more than 4 modes, for example.

To make this sound, i.e. to sing in curbing, you have to have that cry/hold sound but also use only medium volume (even though the volume in curbing increases sliiiightly with higher notes) and the higher you go up in pitch you have to start to modify all vowels more towards one of the 3 curbing vowels - Uh as in hungry, O as in woman and I as in sit or bit. For example, the vowel ee as in me would be modified towards the vowel I and the vowel Ah as in father would be modified towards Uh and the vowel Oo as in you would be modified towards O.

Btw. don't overdo this cry/hold sound, which many people do. Singing - in any vocal mode, should never hurt your throat. Otherwise you're doing something wrong. All these components of curbing are designed so people can sing with medium (and slightly louder) volume on high notes that are very resonant and likable for most people. If you skip a component, it's likely that it will hurt your throat and not sound nearly as good as it could sound.

Therefore, many people think of curbing as pretty much the same things as SLS's mixed voice, but perhaps the slight difference is that if you do curbing a bit lower than in your passagio or break area, you sound a bit like you're complaining or in pain and f.ex. Seth Riggs has his students mostly do the cry sound near the passagio (to get a "connected" voice, which is cool, btw.).

Twang:

Twang is when you narrow the "epiglottis funnel" in your throat. Don't let that confuse you. It's just a particular place inside your throat, just above your vocal folds that you can narrow and then you have twang. It has nothing to do with smiling and the position of the soft palate. If you detect lots of high overtones in your voice (they could be present with or without low overtones as well), and a ringy sensation near your soft palate (at the top and back of your throat) then you are twanging. Not all people have these sensations when twanging, however, but I think that the majority of them will at least feel it slightly and have to concentrate at first to detect it.

The easiest way to experiment with twang is speaking like a witch or doing a very nasal and childish "nay, nay, nay" as a kid teasing another kid. Except for the very high part of the voice and mostly in heavy metal or very intense music, you're unlikely to use that sound a lot because it's simply annoying to most people. But if you keep that sensation in your soft palate and don't lose those ringy, high overtones, and try to darken your sound a bit (f.ex. by lowering your larynx and raising your soft palate slightly), you'll get a very full sound with the entire spectrum of high and low overtones.

Note that twang is not the same as singing or talking like a witch or a duck or a child - that's twanging with an extremely light sound colour. Many people call it the pharyngeal voice. It can be helpful to find twang as a beginner but shortly after that you'd want to darken your sound colour a bit (or a lot, depending on your style of singing and genre). Lowering your larynx a bit and raising your soft palate, both of which can be done by introducing a slight "yawn" sensation, will darken your sound colour. Twang with anything else than extremely light sound colour does not sound like a duck and is something that all good technical singers in all genres in history have been doing to have a bright, exciting ring to their voices. It makes everything in singing easier.

Twang is great because it gives you a volume boost with very little extra effort and it produces overtones which cut through other instruments in your band (or orchestra if you're singing opera) very well. It also makes your sound less dull and more likable to most people, unless you're twanging with a very light sound colour, i.e. with no low overtones present as well. It's also a key ingredient in vocal distortion like you hear a lot in rock music. Usually, people have to experiment with twang and get help from someone like a vocal coach or some vocal instructional (or this forum) until they learn how to do it properly.

Be careful with this since you come from a SLS background. SLS says that your larynx shouldn't move up when you go up in pitch and this has simply been proven wrong. It's more healthy for the larynx to rise just a little bit as you go up in pitch. If you want a lighter sound colour (like in many heavy metal songs), your larynx should go faster up than if you want a darker sound colour (like in opera). If your larynx is very low, it can be harder to twang, especially for beginners (although opera singers train to twang with a low larynx, but I doubt you're going for that sound). Don't get me wrong. I really like lots of stuff in SLS, in particular their method of getting people to bridge from chest voice to head voice, where they may have the best system out there. If you only do SLS and follow their principles 100%, you get a kind of a modern R&B sound, but if you want anything else than that you have to do slight modifications (f.ex. allowing the larynx to rise slightly with increased pitch).

Volume swells and cry:

When you were doing those volume swells, you got extra volume because you put in cry (it's called "hold" in CVT and is a key component to curbing.). It was very well done. You also had some twang in there so your sound had life and wasn't dull. Again, very good.

High notes:

High notes in general are kind of like playing very fast on a guitar. It's a great weapon to have in your arsenal and people tend to put singers and guitar players with these skills on a higher pedestal than ones who can't do it. However, it's best to not overdo it because otherwise it tends to get on your nerves. If it's done sparingly, tastefully and in a way that makes sense within the song you're doing, it can be magical and inspiring.

That's my take on this.

jonpall, you did a lot of great work on this...you write and articulate really well man....i think you should bill him for this lesson...!!!! lol!!!!!

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i'm new to recording audio like this for please excuse the pauses and staggered robotic talking, i'm not used to it.

i feel this is a better way to ask questions rather then typing it out. as it's hard to get the meaning of things through text sometimes. especially when it comes to vocal techniques.

http://www.box.net/shared/iv1r7a2ocg

rich,

you are asking some great questions, and it was cool how you beared your soul so to speak and are asking and reaching out for help..... and we are all here to help.

but i need to take the risk of being the "bad guy" and totally tell you flat out that i believe you might be going about this quest somewhat haphazardly.....possibly putting the cart before the horse. as an analogy, you're trying to drive a stick shift, without knowing how to change gears yet.

i'd like to ask you a few questions, would you supply me with short answers?

1. are you looking to do this professionally?

2. if so, do you have the time and desire and drive to put the time and effort it takes to acheive your goals?

3. may i ask how old you are?

4. have you read any books or watched any dvds or whatever on breathing and breath support?

i'm just a singer, not an instructor but what i hear first and formost is a little bit of a breathing issue.

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1. nope, i just sing for fun, but i want it to sound as good as it can.

2. sure, i'm not in a rush though

3. i am 22

4. yep, i've taken vocal lessons with 4 different teachers in the past we talked about that. These teachers were more classical based rather then modern. i just never really pay attention to the breathing, i just let it happen naturally. maybe this is another thing i've taken from singing success, and maybe it's a bad thing.

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i thought about the breathing recommendation. I realized that when i sing, i don't take deep enough breaths. Basically when i try to sing those high notes, i almost have no breath in me, like i am holding my breath. I don't think this is correct. I experimented with taking deeper breaths and it made things a little bit easier, i could establish a better hold on the notes.

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i thought about the breathing recommendation. I realized that when i sing, i don't take deep enough breaths. Basically when i try to sing those high notes, i almost have no breath in me, like i am holding my breath. I don't think this is correct. I experimented with taking deeper breaths and it made things a little bit easier, i could establish a better hold on the notes.

rich, even if you just want to sound good, let me tell you you need to start on the basics....posture, breath capacity/control/support

(b.t.w., it's not always about deeper breaths, but "efficient" breaths.)

why?

just learning to breath more "efficiently" will enable you to do so much more with your voice buddy..it's a core competency that cannot be sidestepped...i.m.o..

i realize you have had lessons, but i place a premium on this....and that competency can be learned rather quickly. if i were a vocal teacher, i'd begin at posture and breathing. it has helped me so, so, much.

hope i've helped.

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Breath support doesn't mean take a big breath. It means a fair balance of air pressure below and above the vocal folds, with a slight differential below, in order to be making the sound. But it should also be remembered that the higher notes are "tighter", as it were and will have more pressure above the folds and so should have a little more pressure below the folds, which is usually accomplished by simply having consistent pressure, rather than the fluttering pressure we use when we speak.

That being said, it doesn't mean that high notes always have to be blasted out hard enough to peel paint. Many a soft note can have a soft pressure, and don't totally disregard falsetto, for effect. I have noticed that many of Bono's highest notes are actually a breathy falsetto, and the emotion he conveys totally fits.

And perhaps this is about you. If you need to lower the key of a song to convey what you want, then do so. James Hetfield does so, and no one is the wiser, bringing them one of the biggest hits, a song they didn't even write themselves. "Whiskey in the Jar" was originally recorded by Luke Kelly and the Dubliners and I recommend you youtube that. Then compare with Hetfield's baritone and growl. Hetfield's version rocks as hard as anything and he would not be able to do Kelly's version. Do what it is that you can do. And, by the way, many bands and singers drop 1/2 to 1 whole tone in live performance from what they did on the album. The acoustics of various live settings cannot be controlled the way one can do things in a studio.

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do you have any videos or exercises that work with breathing more efficiently? I was always told that when you breath, your ribs have to expand, etc You should always let all the air out after you finish a phrase, and only take in enough air that's needed for the phrase.

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yes, that's generally true, but you want to establish the correct way to breathe for singing.

jaime vendera wrote a little book specifically about breathing for singing that i highly recommend you read. amazon.com has it. you can knock it out in 2 hours.

trust me, once you get the breathing down, a lot of benefit and newfound capability will come with it.

also search you tube and look for well-known vocal coaches and their videos....

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Kevin Richards (rockthestageNYC) has some really good bits on youtube that are easy to understand.

You know what the big name singers practice before a show? Breathing and resonance. Some of the death metal singers had some distortion exercises but even that starts out with breathing. Some singers, when they were young, before trying to expand range, spent time just practicing the breathing until it became the way they breathe naturally, and don't have to think about much, after that. This, of course, builds good muscle tone in the abdomen without being muscle-bound.

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