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'Coup de glotte'- healthy closure of the vocal cords

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miss pk
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Was just surfing the internet and came across an article on Maestro David Jones' website about "Coup de Glotte" - healthy closure of the vocal cords. I know his focus is mainly on classical singing, but he makes this concept sound very important and I was wondering if it has application for ALL types of singing? He gives some example exercises on "gentle closure" but also states :

"It is critical that this concept of García's be carefully supervised. Taken too far, it can be misused and can become dangerous to vocal health. Remember García says NOT to take the concept too far. The singer should NEVER control the flow of air at the glottis. This is bad vocalism and extremely dangerous. Remember that breath is ONLY controlled healthily by the lower body muscles."

Was wondering if anyone has any experience with practicing this - and if they think this is something you can "try at home"?

Here is a link to the article:

http://voiceteacher.com/coupdeglotte.html

Thanks!

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Miss pk: Coup de glotte (cut, or stroke of the glottis... it what it looks like in the laryngeoscope) is an approach to onset that is very useful if done gently. Its key elements are complete glottal closure coordinated with the beginning of the breath energy. So, the breath does not get there too early (causing a breathy onset), nor too late (causing a glottal 'popopen').

For the student who has a breathy onset, its quite acceptable to do the occasional gentle popopen onset (starting with the glottis fully closed) so that the student can experience the sensations of adduction which results in full closure. However, David's caution is very wise... to use popopen onsets, or their cousin, the 'grind onset' (think Kenny Rogers), over time will be very bad for vocal health.

The goal of the Coup de Glotte is a firm, precise beginning to a clear tone. If you practice onsets with that tonal concept as a goal, you will be fine.

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Coup de glotte

This is a term that somehow gets everyone nuts.All it really means is a clean attack. J Faure devotes pages and pages to exercises that have to do with correct initiation of sound. I can't think of a single situation in which this is not relevant. It protects the vocal cords from injury and sets up breath flow (practically zero) and control over the musical phrase.

Francis is just back from London, but I will look into the issue and see if we can post a short section of text from The Voice and Singing.in the bel canto group.

You master the clean, precise, gentle attack and you will have half the game of singing under control. From that flows support, phrasing, pronunciation, and so many things that will never come up as problems.

Don't be fooled by the French words. It is simply not arcana. It's basic stuff.

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I use the coupe de glotte in vocalises when I hear a much too breathy voice. It means the cords are not coming together enough and you are losing too much air all at once because of it. This is a technique used to get the cords to adduct (come together) with a slight stroke of the glottis. But like everything in voice, it's a balancing act. Often singers have to go back and forth between methods before finding the optimum balance -- because there is one.

Staying on the coupe de glotte is risky becuse of this slight closure of the glottis. Practicing it is one thing, but making it a habit for edge is another. If habitual, it can lead to the cord rubbing, causing damage somehwere down the road.

When singing songs, there are certain styles of singing where singers may choose to add this method as a way to convey emotion, but one must be skilled at it, make sure it's an alternative rather than the only option.

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In my jingle singing world, we called this choosing whether or not to use a "glottal start". Glad to know it's French name, but whatever it's called, I do think it's important to teach a singer the sensation of doing it. That way, they can choose to stop doing too much of it, or if in a group, to do what everyone else is doing so the phrase can be sung with surgical precision. I most often have to help someone realize they are doing it so they can STOP. Too much is bad for the voice AND the listener.

Am I correct in assuming this is also what a singer must AVOID doing when weight training?

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Power, Path & Performance vocal training http://judyrodman.com

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In my jingle singing world, we called this choosing whether or not to use a "glottal start". Glad to know it's French name, but whatever it's called, I do think it's important to teach a singer the sensation of doing it. That way, they can choose to stop doing too much of it, or if in a group, to do what everyone else is doing so the phrase can be sung with surgical precision. I most often have to help someone realize they are doing it so they can STOP. Too much is bad for the voice AND the listener.

Am I correct in assuming this is also what a singer must AVOID doing when weight training?

Judy: I am responding to your question at the end of the post. In weight training, there is a technique sometimes used to stabilize the torso, called the 'Valsalva Maneuver' which is accomplished by shutting the glottis and causing fairly significant air pressure to be created in the lungs.

Its not a great technique for a singer (or the casual weightlifter) as it requires significant muscle action at the level of the larynx, and this can (over time) induce habitual over-adduction of the vocal bands, which may carry over into singing.

A better lifting technique for those who sing would be to smoothly exhale for the part of the lifting cycle which is doing the most work, and inhale during the other part of the cycle. In other words--- do not let the glottis close at all during the exercise... keep breathing. :-)

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Robert, it's a fancy French name for something we can all switch on or off quite easily :-) It has to do with the onset of a note - we can start a note with a breathy onset, or with a perfect balance of breath flow and adduction, or with a 'harsh' attack, where the folds are basically slamming together at the start of a note. Not good! Steven's description of a 'firm, precise beginning to a clear tone' is the coupe de glotte. A harsh attack, slamming the folds together, is going too far, and a breathy onset is not going far enough.

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