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Is there a TMV glossary of terms? Cuz that would be swell!

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mthms1111
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I'm positive that these questions have already been asked and answered countless of times before. But in my defense, I've only been on TMV for a few months - and there's far too many threads to sift through in order to find the direct answers that I need...even after I use the "search" function...

Are there official definitions for many of the terms I hear used throughout these forums? (And outside of them as well.) In particular the three terms of "twang", "edge", and "curbing"? I get the sense that these terms may have been coined by individual voice pedagogues, but not necessarily established in official speech science nomenclature. (i.e. - I can find definitions for "pharyngeal" or "fricative"...but no such entry for "vocal edge")

Could someone provide me with just some very basic, straight-forward definitions of each of these terms? I know that they are related to registration and pharyngeal muscle function, but I don't know how or why. What do they mean?

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That's a great idea, one that I always thought would be helpful. "Twang" is used by a lot of methods. Curbing, Edge, Twang and Neutral are the 4 different modes from Catherine's CVT. The CVT book is an excellent reference book for modern singing. A lot of people on this forum use the terms from this book in their posts.

These two videos give a good introduction to CVT and the basic terms:

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Thanks so much! - I went to the CVT website and found these terms. I can at least understand some of the vocal distinctions that are attempting to be made, though far too pedantic than seemingly necessary. But I can definitely understand the premise and goal of this language.

But I think their principle on breath support seems way too extreme, even painful! I try to take a more balanced approach with my students, but it all depends on the individual and the way in which they use their breath. I don't believe in over-thinking about my breathing anymore - I learned that our breath support should occur naturally with maybe a little bit of guidance or exercise to improve upon it.

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Hi mthms1111, if that kind of support is painful, you're probably doing it wrong... It should be effortful, obviously, but never painful. I think it was the missing ingredient in my "recipe", that and FVF retraction (open throat, inner smile).

It might sound pedantic at first, but I think Cathrine divided the voice in 4 modes for an easier way of describing things, and once you start working with them, you'll see how much sense they made, and it's much easier, at least for me, to think about modes than about voice registers. But to each their own :D

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great link to the CVT stuff, but I still am not sure....i need to replace? the SLS terms i'm used to with the CVT terms...iow, mix or passagio = what in CVT? , chest, head and whistle = ? in CVT? I'm confused!! I've had to somewhat divorce myself from the terminology and just work on the "sound" ? but I want to understand more completely....

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For some reason when I joined this forum the CVT terms were used all the time (I come from the traditional bel canto approach). I bought the CVT book and it is a very good reference book. Not just for normal singing that is taught in the Bel Canto methods but it gets into all modern techniques - distortion, creak, etc. and she shows you how to do this safely. Here are some of my Bel Canto to CVT translations:

Chest = Overdrive

Passagio = Curbing

Head = Neutral

Falsetto = Neutral with Air

The CVT approach is a little different than Bel Canto in that - for example - Bel Canto wants you to transition from Chest to Passagio and from Passagio to Head at different points in your range. CVT says you don't have to go from Chest to Passagio (overdrive to curbing) at a certain point - you can stay in Overdrive if you want. And a lot of modern singers do just this. Or you can sing in Neutral (head) throughout your whole range if you choose to.

I don't know much about SLS so I can't comment or translate their terms.

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Chest = Overdrive

Passagio = Curbing

Head = Neutral

Falsetto = Neutral with Air

.

Oh dear, I thought passagio was the break or flip point..I'm definitely having the same problem with definitions as the OP.

I finally had the bright idea to go to YouTube for examples, but ran into a mess of interviews and couldn't seem to drill down to any but the briefest demonstration of curbing etc.

Anyone have any links like this?

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Oh dear, I thought passagio was the break or flip point..I'm definitely having the same problem with definitions as the OP.

Carol M: Even in classical singing circles, passaggio used as a stand-alone term means a region, or 'zone' of transitional notes, not the 'flip point'. Some writers, to be clearer, used a full name 'zona di passaggio' (passage area) for it. The lower end of this region is the 'primo (first) passaggio', and the upper end is the 'secundo (second) passaggio'.When you come out the top, you have transitioned into the upper voice resonance character.

The equavalences of classical and CVT, SLS or Estill terms is inexact, as the classical ones are very much (but not completely) sensation-based, while Estil and CVT are mostly tone-quality based.

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@ guitartrek - I thought your bel canto to CVT translations were very helpful. This is why I really believe a glossary of terms could be so useful - to perhaps put into perspective and show the similarity in these kinds of terms...

But I guess all the terminology is exactly what concerns me as a possible issue: why does there have to be so many different terms which may possibly be describing the same characteristics in the voice? Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the fact that different techniques have been developed that can assist every kind of singer and their individual learning attributes. But I have to ponder if sometimes the language used to teach and guide becomes so overly technical and rigid that it communicates more complexity than is necessary.

@ blackstar - "if that kind of support is painful, you're probably doing it wrong..." - I would agree that any support that would cause pain is obviously being executed incorrectly, but I guess that assertion also assumes that the misunderstanding lies with person reading the CVT concept. My point is that the CVT directives on breathing could just as well be miscommunicating the concept in such a overly-technical manner that it could potentially cause misunderstanding about breath support. This also goes back to my first point about how the language affects the learning of these concepts.

But that is only my first impression. I haven't delved enough into the CVT method to really make a fully informed judgment of it. And I definitely don't mean to be contentious in my observations, so I hope no one will take it that way. I just see so much overlap with many of these techniques, I never assume any one technique has it all right. But I can still appreciate the options.

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Steven - I must have been writing while you were posting, and I think you may have clarified something that I was already writing about....

"The equavalences of classical and CVT, SLS or Estill terms is inexact, as the classical ones are very much (but not completely) sensation-based, while Estil and CVT are mostly tone-quality based."

I can appreciate this assessment so much, because it helps to differentiate the premise of the terms. It also brings into the the discussion the concept of language that aids the mind-body integration of vocal instruction, of which both are equally needed it seems.

I vote for you to write the glossary of terms! ;) You've got time to do that, right? lol!

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@ guitartrek - I thought your bel canto to CVT translations were very helpful. This is why I really believe a glossary of terms could be so useful - to perhaps put into perspective and show the similarity in these kinds of terms...

But I guess all the terminology is exactly what concerns me as a possible issue: why does there have to be so many different terms which may possibly be describing the same characteristics in the voice? Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the fact that different techniques have been developed that can assist every kind of singer and their individual learning attributes. But I have to ponder if sometimes the language used to teach and guide becomes so overly technical and rigid that it communicates more complexity than is necessary.

I totally agree with you and from the beginning of my time on the forum (which has been about a year and half now) I have been wanting to develop a matrix of terms. I've since given up because the only ones that are relevant to me are CVT and Bel Canto, and I've got the understanding down. There was a Video of an opera singer that started with the CVT program and it was really beneficial for me because he explained how the CVT terms applied to Bel Canto. He also really liked CVT because it taught him how to sing pop and broadway styles. I wish I could find that video again! The link is somewhere on this forum.

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Chest = Overdrive

Passagio = Curbing

Head = Neutral

Falsetto = Neutral with Air

Sorry to say but it's incorrect to put a "=" sign between those words. If I understand Steven Fraser correctly, that's kind of his point. F.ex., although you can use curbing in your passagio and it's one of the best vocal modes for the passagio, you can use curbing throughout your range from top to bottom. This list is very close, but it could cause confusion if people thought these things were the same. The CVT modes are sound colour and not particular places in people's vocal range (although the most common places to use these modes is this very list from guitartrek. But guitartrek also implied like these rules were not absolute if I understood him correctly :)

blackstar gave the most accurate description of the CVT terms - he gave a link to the exact description on the CVT website.

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Since we're in the topic of terms, here's a copy of what I wrote in another thread ("podcast something") about curbing and twang, slightly improved:

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 in 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.

If you do curbing below the passagio, you get a slightly restrained sound. Mariah Carey was infamous for singing in this mode, like she was in pain, but she also overdid it at times, IMO. Millions of singers from all genres, cool and uncool used/use curbing both on high and low notes, all the time. Here are 3 to mention that are really great at curbing on both low and high notes: Steven Tyler, Lou Gramm and Bruno Mars. Btw. curbing has nothing to do with distortion, although distortion can be put on top of curbing, just as any other vocal mode.

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 a duck 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.

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Terminology is and will always be words TRYING to explain how something sounds and works. Terminology will always be quite hard to grasp as the human voice is capable of sooo many diffrent types of sounds.

Aaron i disagree newer terminology has helped me alot in understanding the many types of sound the voice can produce.

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Just like jonpall said, and Steve as well, the CVT terms are not interchangeable with terms like mix, pasaggio, chest, etc. People who are not familiar with CVT might think so. So actually Aaron, I think CVT named the modes like that in an attempt to simplify things, and at least for me, it has worked much better. Like jonpall says, you can use Curbing all throughout the voice, keeping pretty much the same characteristics all the way up, except for the vowels, but there is no old school term to define Curbing. Same thing with Overdrive, though to a lesser extent, because it does have an upper limit. Neutral also goes all throughout the entire range, not only the upper part, so it's not really head voice. And no other term, as far as I know, encompasses what Neutral is.

And jonpall, I'm a girl :D

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i admit i have not studied cvt, and perhaps i'm wrong......

but the more i read about it (controversial comment coming from bob...lol!!!) it just seems like a clever marketing and promotional strategy to sell cvt technique which is fine!, but it is not the be all, end all (i.m.h.o.) vocal technique. i will go so far as to say, based on some posts i read...it's absolutely one of the most confusing techniques i read about...

light curbing, neutral with air, overdrive....jeees, way to much information i.m.o...

fact is....there are so many ways to view the same thing..i.e., chest voice, head voice, mixed voice, middle voice...etc., it's really kinda sad. and i really resent when some books and dvd sets promise results in short time frames because it's just not true.

anyone who is seriously commited to training and developing their voice knows it's gonna (likely) take a long time and a lot of effort. i trained with weights for many years when i was younger and if you weren't on steroids, or performance enhancing drugs man those gains came so slowly but they did come. maybe that's why i can stick with my routines, because i know from bodybuilding the gains will come.

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I know what you mean, Bob. I've had a sort of a love/hate relationship with CVT for the past year. I've come to accept some of its complexities, but my opinion is still that it's one of the most comprehensive vocal programs out there. It's on my top 3 list for sure. A part of me thinks that people who haven't read the CVT book will always be slightly confused about the voice. But this is not a vocal program review so I'll leave it at that. All programs have their pros and cons. Btw. Bob, clever marketing is not something I'd associate with CVT. Most other programs have these ads about how people developed this amazing voice using it but the CVT ads talk more about simple facts. It's likely that certain former forum members that have been doing too much of a CVT cruisade for many people's liking and it can definitely work as a turn off. I suggest people give all vocal programs a fair chance and actually CHECK THEM OUT or READ THE BOOKS before saying what they think of it. Bob, I suggest you get the CVT book AND perhaps Robert Lunte's stuff and Vendera's, Seth Riggs, Mark Baxter's, Lugo's ... and then tell us what you think. But you guys have to REALLY study these programs and not just glance through them or not even buy them at all before talking too much about them. But again, I really get where you're coming from, Bob, and can understand why you'd think that CVT is just clever marketing - but IMO, nothing could be further from the truth. Catherine is, f.ex., a very nice lady.

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I know what you mean, Bob. I've had a sort of a love/hate relationship with CVT for the past year. I've come to accept some of its complexities, but my opinion is still that it's one of the most comprehensive vocal programs out there. It's on my top 3 list for sure. A part of me thinks that people who haven't read the CVT book will always be slightly confused about the voice. But this is not a vocal program review so I'll leave it at that. All programs have their pros and cons. Btw. Bob, clever marketing is not something I'd associate with CVT. Most other programs have these ads about how people developed this amazing voice using it but the CVT ads talk more about simple facts. It's likely that certain former forum members that have been doing too much of a CVT cruisade for many people's liking and it can definitely work as a turn off. I suggest people give all vocal programs a fair chance and actually CHECK THEM OUT or READ THE BOOKS before saying what they think of it. Bob, I suggest you get the CVT book AND perhaps Robert Lunte's stuff and Vendera's, Seth Riggs, Mark Baxter's, Lugo's ... and then tell us what you think. But you guys have to REALLY study these programs and not just glance through them or not even buy them at all before talking too much about them. But again, I really get where you're coming from, Bob, and can understand why you'd think that CVT is just clever marketing - but IMO, nothing could be further from the truth. Catherine is, f.ex., a very nice lady.

i hear ya buddy, and i agree with you very often..

...if you go on amazon.com i probably have purchased every book they show....in fact, some books i was incapable of grasping on the first read, i'll re-read page-by-page till it becomes clear. i pick up and use pieces of all of them. some are handbooks, some are virtual bibles..some set me set me back a few bucks....

i do lugo's exercises lately because the intensity of them kind of corresponds to my own personal intensity. they're kind of analygous to supersets in weight training. but believe me buddy, i'm really applying myself to this stuff. i read everything i can my hands on i just can't swing formal lessons...so i'm doing the best with what i have...i must be doing most things right, because i'm rarely sore or hurt from anything and once i'm warmed up i can sing for a while...

hey, i keep trying....lol!!!

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... and blackstar. Your femininity has been noted and I hope you accept my apologies. :) . Your last post was also very good and worthy of a reputation point. Have a nice one!

and speaking of "reputation points" i never noticed what or who makes that score go up? does it ever go down? i just really don't know how the hell that works. please advise.

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There was a Video of an opera singer that started with the CVT program and it was really beneficial for me because he explained how the CVT terms applied to Bel Canto. He also really liked CVT because it taught him how to sing pop and broadway styles. I wish I could find that video again! The link is somewhere on this forum.

Was this the one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrJT5vf7w50

Also here's something I wrote in another thread that might be helpful to some:

Regarding the use of different language, different modes, etc, I have a mathematics analogy that may be of use to some readers. Some people describe parts of the voice by saying chest voice, mix, head voice, etc. Others like Robert use the Estill vocal modes, and then there's the CVT modes. So what gives? Well, modes are just the boxes people draw in the space of possible vocal sounds. They are just like different coordinate systems in mathematics. For example, someone might describe the point (1,1) in Cartesian coordinates by saying "it's one unit to the right and one unit up". Yet a polar-coordinate user would say "it's sqrt(2) units away and with an angle of 45 degrees". Same point, different descriptions.

This doesn't necessarily mean all coordinate systems are equivalent, because sometimes they don't span the whole space of possibilities (e.g. some singers do things that just can't be described in SLS-language). It also means you can't necessarily make direct translations. For example, a lot of people on the boards are fond of saying that overdrive=chest voice and curbing=mix. Well that's not true. Most of the time when I'm in chest voice according to SLS, I'm in "curbing in the low part of the voice", not overdrive. Attempting to make direct translations would be like trying to say "high r (polar coordinates) = high x (Cartesian coordinates)". It's sometimes true but often not!

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Sorry to say but it's incorrect to put a "=" sign between those words. If I understand Steven Fraser correctly, that's kind of his point. F.ex., although you can use curbing in your passagio and it's one of the best vocal modes for the passagio, you can use curbing throughout your range from top to bottom. This list is very close, but it could cause confusion if people thought these things were the same. The CVT modes are sound colour and not particular places in people's vocal range (although the most common places to use these modes is this very list from guitartrek. But guitartrek also implied like these rules were not absolute if I understood him correctly :)

blackstar gave the most accurate description of the CVT terms - he gave a link to the exact description on the CVT website.

jonpall - you didn't include my statement right before my definitions. I was offering my definitions for lack of any translation of terms. This is how the opera singer who studied CVT defined them, and it helped me understand CVT so much better than trying to understand what everyone on the forum was saying. I wish I could find that video again - but he defined CVT in Bel Canto terms which was immensly helpful to me - and I'm sure others who come from that type of training. Of course you can sing curbing throughout your whole range. You can also sing neutral throughout your entire range. But in Bel Canto - they DO teach a way to sing in different parts of the range.

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Was this the one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrJT5vf7w50

Also here's something I wrote in another thread that might be helpful to some:

eggplanbren - Thank you for finding that Video!!! I'm going to bookmark that thing. It is the perfect thing for people that come from classical training that want to understand CVT.

And I agree with your mathematics analogy. That's how I see it too. Estill draws boxes around things, and the lines overlap into the CVT boxes. And then a portion of each of the CVT boxes may be included in a narrow rectangular box from another method. I've often thought how best to represent all of this. A matrix, or a diagram - unfortunately I am not familiar with enough methods to even begin. I'm only familiar with two - 1) the standard Bel Canto and 2) CVT. That is plenty for me. I don't know the other methods but I'm sure they are all good. They each describe the world a little differently, but in the end it is the same world.

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