Jump to content

Low larynx w/twang...

Rate this topic


egoaudio
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

First post here. My name is Erik and I've been lurking for a little while on this site. A big thank you to all who are involved. I certainly appreciate everyone's presence.

Quick background:

Been singing for a few years. Nothing professional or anything just for myself. Mostly pop, pop ballads, R&B, oldies, country, Brian Mcknight, Rascal Flatts, Drifters, Roy Orbison..... so a little bit of everything except for hard rock.

I've had the singing success program for a while but I could never really get past the first portion where they try to get you to twang through the bridges and connect chest and head voice, for lack of a universally accepted vocab. Well, after plenty of trial and error I am on to something. I can twang easily from about G1 up to E5 now and have no 'strain' when doing so on exercises like the nasty 'Nay'. I highlight strain like I do because there is effort involved but it does not cause me pain or require what I term as unnecessary force.

My plan is to continue with twang to make it second nature but I also want the fuller sound that the low'ish' or neutral larynx gives. If I go for the lower larynx on the mums, it's somewhat difficult to keep the cord closure similar to the Nays, thus my question:

When attempting to add the fullness sound that a neutral larynx gives over a higher larynx, should I allow the sound to get less piercing (nay exercise is piercing to me) on the mum exercises even if they seem to get a tad bit breathy?

I ask this because a breathy sound is not what I want and I know that my ultimate goal is to use as little air possible to make a high-range full sound.

And my last question, how do you get a low larynx along with the twang? Re-worded, how do you get a full 'chest-like' sound along with the piercing quality that is twang? (my guess to this question below)

I heard somewhere that talking about vocal technique is similar to dancing about architecture. Sounds about right to me, difficult to explain with words. Please excuse me if I have misused a word or concept somewhere. I can post clips later if that would help. Thanks in advance!

Best regards,

Erik

P.S. I am doing low larynx exercises (mum) in my low range (E above mid C and below) lately in an attempt to maintain fold thickness in my lower range. I am hoping that my this will create a solid foundation for the thickness of my vocal folds so that when I train my mid and high ranges, they do not thin out too early..... do I make sense? in other words, if I don't have a strong full sound at the bottom of my range, how can I expect to have it at the top?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My plan is to continue with twang to make it second nature but I also want the fuller sound that the low'ish' or neutral larynx gives. If I go for the lower larynx on the mums, it's somewhat difficult to keep the cord closure similar to the Nays, thus my question:

When attempting to add the fullness sound that a neutral larynx gives over a higher larynx, should I allow the sound to get less piercing (nay exercise is piercing to me) on the mum exercises even if they seem to get a tad bit breathy?

I ask this because a breathy sound is not what I want and I know that my ultimate goal is to use as little air possible to make a high-range full sound.

And my last question, how do you get a low larynx along with the twang? Re-worded, how do you get a full 'chest-like' sound along with the piercing quality that is twang? (my guess to this question below)

Welcome, Erik!

Getting good vocal band closure on all vowels is a worthy goal, and is at the heart of the 'twang' sound. The classic exercise to help with this is the 'coordinated onset', which is simply singing some vowels in a medium range and volume... short notes with silence between them (or perhaps a little breath between them).

They can (should) be done on every vowel, and in all dynamic ranges.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Erik,

yes the nasty NAYS are indeed a twang sound. they are very good for adducting the vocal folds/cord closure so that you can cross passaggio/bridge with out going into the disconnected, weaker, breathy, falsetto sound. this also helps with with feeling the resonance mixing as well as a pharynx shaping. the only thing is that apart from having the distinctive piercing sound you mention (which is up to the individual of whether they want to use that sound colour/style) is that it has the tendency to use extra musculature to lift the larynx up (which is not needed). this is maybe why although your not straining, your feeling extra effort going on. these high larynx exercises like the low larynx ones (which feel "headier" and have a different projecting "ring" sound/quality than the high larynx ones) are to give the singer a sense of whats its like to experience the correct sensations and coordination and to build that into the muscle memory. when you start to get better at these high/low larynx exercises ( as in there not that hard to do) it means that you are building that muscle memory, then you can start to experiment with more balanced/neutral larynx level exercises and the high or low larynx doesnt need to be employed to help with the coordination anymore. i guess if at the moment when you attempt more balanced/neutral larynx level exercises it becomes quite breathy and weaker it means you need to stick with the higher/lower larynx exercises for the moment.

when using the balanced/neutral level larynx it doesnt have the same piercing, shrill sound of the high larynx. it does have a "ring" or resonant carrying power to it but its a different sound/quality.

in terms of your practicing low larynx MUMs. it isnt about keeping a thicker vocal fold as you go up that will give you a thicker, fuller mix and head voice (you actually really need them to thin out as you go up) its about keeping cord closure, correct resonance mixing and pharynx shaping; this is what the exercises do.

if your finding that its a bit disconnected and breathy when doing the MUMs try adding a more creaky, moany sounding Mmm at the beginning of the MUM. you can also try GUM instead of MUM really emphasizing and attacking the Guh of the GUM. both these things can help with the cord closure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you both for your responses.

Steven:

I do plan on going through all of the vowels once I figure out this balance between high and low larynx.

Centre:

Should the mums have the same amount of compression as the nays or a bit less?

When I do the mums with compression in this clip, I keep compression throughout but my larynx is not as low as when I let my larynx drop in a relaxed manner when inhaling. Make sense? Brett Manning seems to describe such a relaxed state of the larynx on the mum exercise in his CD program, it makes me wonder if I should be more relaxed or if I'm doing it properly now.

Basically my larynx is slightly lower on the mums than on the nays, but not as low as when I inhale calmly.

Mums: http://www.box.net/shared/jo4xjdj307

Nays: http://www.box.net/shared/s845emc8r2

Nay to mum switch at top: http://www.box.net/shared/sf75is47j0

Best regards,

Erik

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Egoaudio:

For right now, I would not sweat the high/low larynx position, as the larynx needs to be free to move up/down without constricting tension. Learning to sing throughout the range without extraneous throat/jaw/tongue tension is a very worthwhile starting point.

In my own singing, I fought this tension for many years until someone mentioned a very simple exercise for another purpose which, when I did it, exposed tension in the tongue root.

Here it is: The core concept is that the tongue should be the principal shaper of the vowel. The exercise: Looking at yourself in a mirror which will show your head, with a very wide, grin-like smile (to get the lips out of the picture for now,) and the jaw dropped about 1 thumbs-width (maybe 1 inch), sing the vowel pattern /i/ (ee), /e/ (ay), /a/ (ah), /o/ (oh), /u/ (oo) moving smoothly from 1 to the next, in the midrange at medium volume. Yes, you will look funny grinning into a mirror. Get over it.

Do what you can to make each of the vowels well-pronounced, even with the grin. What you may discover is that one or two of them (for me it was /u/) will seem to fight a proper pronunciation... you may become aware of a tension-place in your throat, or under your jaw.

If there are no such places, bravo for you! You can repeat the exercise with a high larnyx, and with a low one. I would think the high-larynx one will be no big deal, but the low-larynx one I think you will find some resistance. The vowels /i/ and /u/ have a high tongue arch, and that can be challenging to do with a low larynx.

BTW, I do this exercise myself every day, as a part of my morning stretch/warmup.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Erik,

overall it sounds good (much better than the impression i got from your first post :) ) how long have you been doing the the system by the way?

right firstly, you are doing the NAYs the way they are meant to be done, no problem there. in fact i would say you might need to start doing them not as often if you do it all the time because you dont want to work the high larynx completely into the muscle memory.

now the MUMs. they do not have the same squeezed, compressed feeling in the throat. i would say that you are still using too much of the squeezed, compressed NAY type feeling in the MUMs especially in the higher range and you want to use a slightly deeper UH in the MUM. first off i would try doing the MUMs again with the really dopey, dumb, goofy sound. it might sound weaker but its worth doing as it will deactivate the elevating muscles of the larynx and make it low. once you have done that a few times try the MUMs without the dumb, dopey, goofy sound but make sure that you pronounce the UH vowel in M-Uh-M correctly make sure its a deep UH (almost like its got a tiny, tiny bit of OH/AH in there- i think this could be helpful for some U.S. accents :)) and not going to A (as in bat, mat, cat). this is crucial because the UH vowel is a deeper and narrower vowel than the A (which for various reasons can make the larynx come back up) the proper UH vowel is actually a balanced/neutral larynx level vowel. you seem to do this better on the NAY to MUM recording than on the MUM one itself, in the NAY to MUM scale it sounds more balanced/neutral level and less squeezed. as you said i can hear a little breathyness in the 1st passaggio/mix area on the MUM recording though it seems fine/good cord closure once you are actually in head voice. on that area where its a little more breathy try adding a little bit of a creak, moan sound and possibly a little dumber sound too (try one then the other and then a combo of the creak and the dumb sound if your still having problems). this can help keep the cord closure ( this i feel is the trickiest area. you actually have to be very subtle with it-im still trying to master it myself) now once your up in your higher head voice you might want to try experimenting modifying the UH vowel to a OH, so in the higher ranges the MUM takes on a bit of the sound of MOM. as Steven suggested gently put a finger or thumb under the jaw. if you feel that muscle really tense up then you are activating unwanted musculature. another cool trick when doing the neutral level MUMs is to do it through OO as in the word GOO shaped lips. you can also try gently pressing you cheeks in with your fingers. both these help keep a narrow shape with can be a very helpful tool at times for training. of course like all the tricks/exercises these things can be discarded once correct muscle memory and coordinations have set in. this whole process is about taking tiny footsteps in the right direction (by training the correct way) there will be a point where its natural and your able to have more control and power.

all the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Basically my larynx is slightly lower on the mums than on the nays, but not as low as when I inhale calmly.

Erik

unless you want a darker more classical type sound you ultimately dont want the larynx quite as low as when you make a yawning or deep breathing type gesture. and you dont want it quite as high as on the NAYS. you want it in the same balanced /neutral/floating position as when you speak comfortably. it might bob about ever so slightly but not to the extremes. this is what brett is getting at.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Erik: I am going to go back to one of your original questions...

And my last question, how do you get a low larynx along with the twang? Re-worded, how do you get a full 'chest-like' sound along with the piercing quality that is twang? (my guess to this question below)

I heard somewhere that talking about vocal technique is similar to dancing about architecture...

A full-voice, (dark + twang) sort of sound is not too far from the classical 'chiarroscurro' concept, which is a combination of the low frequency resonances of the vowel, combined with the high frequency resonances of the singer's formant. Be advised: the lower you take the larynx (provided there is no constricting tension) the more the tone will tend to sound more 'classical' and less 'rock'... but the effect does not have to be objectionable or sound stilted, or affected.

How a voice 'should' sound is an aesthetic and stylistic decision...more a matching of the tone quality with the standards of the genre. Some people really do prefer the mic-intimacy of a pillow-talk whisper tone. Others have other preferences. Some cover pieces of music can be carried off well by an artist in a style different from the originator.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven:

I just started playing around with your suggested exercise. It is new to me. I'm sure there is some tension in the root of my tongue but I know it's much less than I used to have. I've done an exercise where I stick out my tongue and kind of hold it there with my teeth/lips. It really feels like my tongue is not even there when I go back to my normal singing after the exercise.

I will definitely add your suggested exercise to my list. Thank you.

Centre:

Thanks for listening to my clips. I've been on the program for about a year but only recently have I been doing the nays the proper way. I've spent almost the entire year in tension. Now I'm really getting somewhere. Thanks for all your little tips on the mum exercise. I've started to do them with less squeeze and a lower larynx, not forced however just using the dopey sound as you've suggested.

One question, when one starts the dopey mum exercises, after a few full exercises, is it normal for the muscles that bring the larynx down (not the root of the tongue) to feel like they have been exercised? Not forced but slightly tired?

Best regards,

Erik

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven:

One question, when one starts the dopey mum exercises, after a few full exercises, is it normal for the muscles that bring the larynx down (not the root of the tongue) to feel like they have been exercised? Not forced but slightly tired?

Best regards,

Erik

yeah that can happen. it is because the muscles that you are using to keep the larynx down are having to actually work to counteract the larynx coming up. after a while of doing it though the lifting muscles will deactivate and you dont have to use such a low position. when the larynx is able to keep a relatively stable/floating/neutral position it is free from the extra musculature that lifts or lowers the larynx. then you only have to use vowels not muscles to affect whats going on (for example different sound colours).

i am experimenting with some more "twangy" sounds at the moment. i think its a cool training tool (as long as your not tensing those muscles under the jaw and there isnt too much of a squeeze in the throat and the larynx isnt too high-being really muscled up high) i think the "twang" sound you a talking about is referred to as "edge" in SLS and SS. it happens as Steven says.

i think possibly another part of this development is training with the creaky M sounds as well as possibly the NG sounds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i should clarify. the term "edge" used in SLS is actually for the "creaky" sound you use in some of the exercises which helps with cord closure but i guess the creaky sound could also be interpreted as a kind of twangy type sound. the creaky "edge" sound is only a training tool and once you start to work in the coordination of good cord closure from it you do not use it particularly.

im not sure if SLS and SS use a specific word for the ringing, resonant, slightly cutting type sound you are referring to, none the less it is present and is as Steven described. it is different from what i personally consider "twang" as i feel this involves a added process of a tilted epiglottis creating more narrowing in the pharynx.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...