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Distoring high pitch notes without getting too loud

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jonpall
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Hi,

I'm wondering if you have to sing fairly loud when you distort (add grit to) a high pitch note?

Is it possible, or even a good idea, to scream (or sing with a gritty tone) with a regular volume on those high notes? If so, how do you do it? I don't want to blow out my voice by singing too loud.

I find it easy to distort middle-pitched notes without getting loud, but I find that I HAVE to get pretty loud to distort higher notes.

What do you think I could be doing wrong?

If I sing a fairly high note (say an A4 or a C5 or an E5) first cleanly and with a relaxed throat, and then try to gradually "intensify" the sound until I hear a gritty tone, nothing happens, unless I get very, very loud. With middle pitch notes, I can add grit to notes WITHOUT increasing the volume, but I can't seem to do it with high notes.

Cheers!

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  • 2 months later...

Well you can try out the vocal fry/creak distortion. They are normally not as loud as the other approach.

Try to sing a high note on the vowel EE (see) at a low/medium volume and then maintain that feeling(config.) while you slowly change the vowel towards I (sit, bit). :)

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Depends on what kind of distortion your talking about. The voice can create distorted results through vastly different configurations, but Im assuming your talking about a classic rock kind of distortion and not a death metal extreme scream distortion (ESD). There is a lot to be understood here, but one simply thing I would add is make sure you are well placed in the resonators. Insure your phonation is "top down" and therefore, healthy first... then overlay your distortion on top of that. Also, extreme twang contractions create a very nice, heady, top down distortion. For the most part, you have to learn to distort, lik any layrngeal contraction, with isolation. Dont pull stuff up from the throat!!

If it hurts, its not right and stop.

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OHMIGOD! What cool terminology! "classic rock kind of distortion and not a death metal extreme scream distortion (ESD)" and "pulling stuff up from your throat!" As a newcomer to all this, I'd love to see a Glossary or a Dictionary of what each of you means, and what the other one reads into it.

Jonpall, here's another way to look at it: a truly "pure" tone -- with no distortion -- is a so-called sine wave: a smoothly undulating high and low pressure fluctuation in air pressure. It is charcterized entirely by its frequency -- how often it goes through its cycle. A beautiful "OO" sound comes close.

Adding distortion introduces other, more frequent fluctuations, warping the pure sine wave into a contorted shape. The sound "EE" is a great example, but as Robert points out, there are many more.

Human hearing peaks at a frequency above a soprano's high range, and drops to nearly zero at 20 cycles per second, so each of these added frequencies of distortion is closer and closer to the "sweet spot" of hearing, and so they sound louder.

But creating these higher frequencies calls on your vocal folds to slap together more and more abruptly, too. You don't want to turn them into hamburger meat, so as Robert so rightly cautions "If it hurts, it's not right and stop." I could only add that "If it hurts, it has done damage already and stop!"

Pete

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Yes I guess you can say that what Robert is probably talking about is distortion made from an extra vibrating source mainly the false folds. These come together and vibrate along with the vocal folds.

The other which Pete is probably talking about is the use of subharmonics or commonly refered to as vocal fry or creaky voice. This kind of distortion is done at vocal fold level.

So basically you can distort by using another vibrating source along with the vocal folds(which is the same princible as lip bubbles) or you can create it at the vocal folds only by enhancing the supharmonics. Also you can actually combine the two. :)

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I as in "sit" or "bit"? Yeah, I just did, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to do. And note that I want a classic rock distortion, like David Coverdale or Steven Tyler, not a death metal distortion or cookie monster grit.

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