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high metal singing for low voiced singers?

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srs7593
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I only really got serious about that kind of singing after hearing the speaking voices of Axl Rose, and Phil Anselmo, Hansi Kursch, and in particular Geoff Tate. These are not guys with naturally high voices. My own speaking voice rests around C2 and rarely passes above C3 in conversation.

Now after a couple years of singing I've developed a sizable range, comparable to these singers, but I lack the control and consistency. Hitting 5th octave notes is easy and even pretty comfortable now, but I think that this voice type makes the passaggio particularly difficult to navigate. This may be a result of not having much overlap between head and chest voice. I believe that the passaggio is around the same spot for most singers based on listening and testimony of other singers. What I've found with my own voice is that where I'm the least comfortable isn't necessarily on my highest notes, but on the notes surrounding my passaggio. I've gathered that this is about as typical as it gets but I'm wondering what I can do to fill in that area. I'm a low bass baritone and right now can sing down into the first octave, a clean G1 on a good day and up through the mid to high 5th octave. A4 is probably my very worst note. In mixed voice it is hard to balance and is often accompanied by fry rasp and cracking at loud volumes. I can belt it in chest voice but this is only practical under certain circumstances and will not be very sustainable. My worst vowel is probably 'a' as in 'way' and I get hung up on certain consonants in that upper 4th octave range as well. By B4 I can fill it in better in mixed voice and get my vocal cords closed to form a flow phonation.

Also when the vowel is held accross moving passages in that area where my placement and larnyx position need to shift (don't give me any of that appoggio stuff of "YOUR ADAM"S APPLE SHOULDN'T MOVE". That's for Opera and Opera singers do not have, or I should say do not utilize 4+ octave ranges.) My voice tends to get caught. I notice Geoff Tate and Michael Kiske sort of articulating every note of melisma passages either with their support or by scooping upward to the note, even on a downward passage. I can sometimes make this trick work and am currently practicing with it. I can also smoothly slide between notes in this area in practice but not consistently enough to apply it during actual singing. My support falters or blows through and cracks as I try to slide below Bb4.

Tl;dr I guess I'm asking for tips on getting consistent support across the passaggio. Some singer sound like they strain themselves in the throat to keep a solid sound as they cross. Namely Rob Halford who is one of my influences, but you can't pretend that his tone isn't constricted. For me that practice seems like a bad idea to begin with and doesn't work anyway, probably due to my voice type. Also, listen to Rob Halford 10 years ago, and Geoff Tate now at the same age, and tell me who sounds better. I want to sound like Tate when I'm old. Not Halford. Geoff Tate does it right. I should probably also add that I've only just finished high school and am not exactly seasoned. My teacher says she still hears my voice getting deeper.

Thanks!

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My simple solution. Quit singing in chest voice, period. Have a head voice configuration for everything. If that means you lose a gravel pit notes, so be it. Or, embrace the bass. Sometimes, you have to make a choice.

Or, you have to accept what your voice is, which can be harder than any exercise. Singing is mental.

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ronws, so you suggest singing in head voice even for low pitches?

srs, try doing sirens from high notes to low ones. With practise you should become better at linking your high notes to you low notes.

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my very latest thinking on this is to learn how to work from your lowest notes to your highest (full voice) notes through "willed" vowel modification (and memorization of those modifications so they become second nature) coupled with strong support and a open relaxed throat. the throat needs to be way open in the back (irregardless of how open your mouth is). your mouth may actuallly be somewhat closed, but the back of the throat still has to be open in the back.

then once you've got the vowel modifications per vowel deeply memorized, you start the process (per your particular voice) to shape the vowels to arrive at the most easily produced resonant tone.

in other words, you don't sing the vowel modifications you mentally will the changes and the mind directs the vocal mechanism to making the adjustments, because if you don't adjust the vowels as you ascend (and support well) you simply won't get up in the higher register comfortably. i also believe if you don't learn to stretch out in the back of the throat, you are going to have a hard time of it.

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All good advice, I feel like If I didn't already practice these things I wouldn't be at a point where I can even attempt to sing these songs.

What I've been working on the past few days is 'take hold of the flame' by 'ryche and by far the hardest passage in the song in my opinion is where he says 'take hold' during the initial build up. I usually take a breath between 'take' and 'hold' and I think Geoff takes a quick one too. If I'm trying to pronounce hold on the A it doesn't usually last long before something cracks. He pronounces it 'hahld' and I try to do the same thing. I seem to have the best results if I place it somewhere in my sinuses but I can't usually move the pitch around or put any vibrato on it without something cracking. I probably also get to comfortable in my chest during the intro. The second hardest passages for me is a tie between 'make it stay' holding the G# and the word 'flame'; the 'L' consonant messes up the 'a' vowel no matter how I try to pronounce it.

Also in Queen of the Reich pretty much anytime I need to pronounce the word "away" I have issues.

Has anyone worked on these songs and have you had the same problems? Queensryche doesn't write the most singable songs compared to say guns n roses, but they're all sung so well at live shows.

These problems don't always happen, but when I do these things in a way that sounds correct I can never tell exactly what I've done differently. If I isolate the passage I'm having trouble with I can usually sing it just fine but in the context of the song it's much more difficult. Maybe I'm thinking too much.

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All good advice, I feel like If I didn't already practice these things I wouldn't be at a point where I can even attempt to sing these songs.

What I've been working on the past few days is 'take hold of the flame' by 'ryche and by far the hardest passage in the song in my opinion is where he says 'take hold' during the initial build up. I usually take a breath between 'take' and 'hold' and I think Geoff takes a quick one too. If I'm trying to pronounce hold on the A it doesn't usually last long before something cracks. He pronounces it 'hahld' and I try to do the same thing. I seem to have the best results if I place it somewhere in my sinuses but I can't usually move the pitch around or put any vibrato on it without something cracking. I probably also get to comfortable in my chest during the intro. The second hardest passages for me is a tie between 'make it stay' holding the G# and the word 'flame'; the 'L' consonant messes up the 'a' vowel no matter how I try to pronounce it.

Also in Queen of the Reich pretty much anytime I need to pronounce the word "away" I have issues.

Has anyone worked on these songs and have you had the same problems? Queensryche doesn't write the most singable songs compared to say guns n roses, but they're all sung so well at live shows.

These problems don't always happen, but when I do these things in a way that sounds correct I can never tell exactly what I've done differently. If I isolate the passage I'm having trouble with I can usually sing it just fine but in the context of the song it's much more difficult. Maybe I'm thinking too much.

Hi srs,

From what I can infer - and please note I'm only an amateur learner - you might need to improve in the 2 following areas :

a) strengthen your break area (hence the g# problem)

B) consonants/breath support. Touching on them lightly and focusing on the vowel afterwards, as well as mapping out a song in terms of breaths might help.

It could be many other things and there's plenty of good advice on how to improve by everybody else here so

posting a clip would most certainly help us understand what it is you're describing in words.

However, my question is - and I don't mean any disrespect - can you sing an easy song in tune, with no support problems and a stable voice ?

I don't mean to offend you, it's just that this has been my mistake for years.

PS. Both Rob and Geoff's voices sadden me nowadays.

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I've never really encountered pitch issues in the time I've been singing. I've always been able to 'sing' but like I only started SINGING a couple of years ago. For example, I'm really starting to like the way the 'take hold' intro sounds when I sing it.

Oh I think Geoff still sounds divine. Like he has a small amount wasted air or something creating overtones when he twangs and I can actually get it too. It sounds... chiefly XD like an old voice I love it!

Rob Halford isn't saddening if it's a good day for him. He sang on american Idol with James Durbin and I thought "okay so his voice isn't completely obliterated" He is about 60 years old. And most of his songs are best suited for a younger voice.

Falsetto and high head voice get harder to use with age, however young singers tend to have more passaggio issues. Maybe head voice descends with age. I'll ask an old person.

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I prefer Jaime Vendera's methods (which are in fact a bit different from Lunte's)

This guy isn't delineating the notes very clearly. I feel like he moves his voice awkwardly. I think he's trying to place everything as low as possible and maximize his vocal weight but it gets in the way of the musicality and fluidity. I may try singing it this way for practice but without a microphone and backing track it would probably sound ridiculous.

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The passagio is the trickiest part of the male voice. You've got chest which is TA dominant, and then you've got head voice where the larynx moves up and the CT takes over and tilting. At a certain point your TA needs to gradually reduce in strength, thinning the folds as you go up so that by B4 your CT is dominant, and can easily take it up from there. This transition area is like a super fine coordination between TA and CT. Most of us either dominate with TA (chest) or dominate with CT (head) - and the "in-between" is just not natural (except those lighter tenors who don't produce very thick folds to begin with)

I first leaned to bridge this area with a loud voice, belting it out, which worked well for me. I still had to thin out, but not as much. Recently I'm working on bridging this area with a much lighter registration. To me this is trickier as it requires even finer coordination of TA and CT. It is easy to carry up folds that are too thick and then crack when you get to the point of letting CT take over for head. To avoid cracking you have to thin the folds just right, and make sure you've got optimum steady breath pressure. What works for me is exercises from the KTVA program. I also use some exercises from CTV - particularly the ones geared toward the Neutral mode which is great for the lighter registration.

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Hi there srs,

You appear to be pretty 'clued up' with your influences and vocal technique so far. My simple advice is to find a good teacher who can hear what you are currently doing and help you move towards what you would like to achieve.

It is nearly impossible to improve technique through collaborative forum exchanges :) i don't mean to sound harsh as i love this forum but it is difficult to type singing advice!

Regards

Tony

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I've had a few different teachers at a rock music school. I'm starting classical lessons soon.

A couple days ago I think I hit a kind of a milestone in my singing. It hit me that my voice up high works way better airy and heavy than light and piercing. It's wide open, sounds more consistent with my low register, is less taxing and easier to mix and control. The power is still maxed. The rasp also sounds the same as in high chest voice when I'm adding it only it's actually less grating :)

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I've had a few different teachers at a rock music school. I'm starting classical lessons soon.

A couple days ago I think I hit a kind of a milestone in my singing. It hit me that my voice up high works way better airy and heavy than light and piercing. It's wide open, sounds more consistent with my low register, is less taxing and easier to mix and control. The power is still maxed. The rasp also sounds the same as in high chest voice when I'm adding it only it's actually less grating :)

Each voice is different and I am exceedingly glad that you are realizing that. What works for you may not work for another and vice versa.

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my voice up high works way better airy and heavy than light and piercing.

srs7593.....are you sure? respectfully, airy and heavy sound mutually exclusive. can you send us a little sample? too airy is potentially damaging. just trying to help.

bob

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and Geoff Tate now at the same age, and tell me who sounds better. I want to sound like Tate when I'm old. Not Halford. Geoff Tate does it right. I should probably also add that I've only just finished high school and am not exactly seasoned.

Just out of high school, eh? Congratulations and may you have a life full of blessings and good fortune. I graduated from L. V. Berkner High School in Richardson, Texas May 25, 1982. We have a 30 year high school reunion next year. I want to go just to show off that I still have a full head of hair.

So, let me give you some words from Geoff Tate. He did not have "singing" lessons as a child, though he was in choir in high school but that didn't involve specific singing lessons as much as it involved trying to get everyone to sing on the same beat and generally in the same key. After high school, and pretty much broke, he scraped up enough money for six lessons with David Kyle, who had also taught Anne Wilson, and others down the road, including Layne Staley and even our own Robert Lunte. What Geoff remembers most about the lessons is breathing and resonance. "Where's my resonance?" That is a direct quote from him. Geoff is not a technical singer. He does not think in terms of octaves, such as, "I think I will do a D4 in overdrive." He sings the note by feel and emotion.

What is his voice placement? Depends on whom you ask. He might be a baritone with countertenor ability. Like a number of singers, he has descended in range over the years, maybe due to age, maybe due to changing stylistically over time or with the times. For example, today, the baritone rules heavy metal. Some singers purposefully try to change their tone. Or lower their range for it allows artistic changes.

As for passaggio, Geoff says "I don't even go there." What he means by that is that he will either go into head voice early or structure the melody line to avoid the passaggio. That may or may not help you. But, essentially, he is not going to wear himself out trying to bull his way through passaggio or spend a lot of time there.

By the way, apoggio is about going through the register change by means of breath support. But it still involves vowel modification and, in my opinion, shifting resonance.

Passagio is not a physical place in the vocal tract. It is a change in resonance. The only reason for changing resonance is that one started out in one and shifts to another. Most people speak in chest voice with a dropped palate. This is the wrong habit and many is the person carrying this bad habit upward until the break. Some solutions are to weaken the note to falsetto during the passagio but it does not allow strong tone and phrasing in that part of the range. So, in a sense, you are still avoiding passagio by sneaking through it, so to speak. Lift up and pull back and it's counterpart, hold, are about this softer attack through the problem area. This is compensated by using amplification systems as in mics, pa's etc and bringing the mic in closer during the softer phonation.

The next solution is to stay in one resonance. For many, that means starting out in chest and staying there, which is fine, to a certain point. Going higher in chest will raise the larynx, higher than the normal elevations in most any singing. But you get to a point where the folds are stretched thin and blow apart into falsetto or start slamming into each other, creating a nodule.

Or, you can stay in head resonance, which avoids the pitfalls of common chest resonance. The price for that is to lose some of your lowest notes, which will also be your weakest notes. And this involves changing your mind. You have determined that opera singers don't use a 4 octave range and by implication, you must have full access to 4 octaves. Why is that? To show off? That's fine, in and of itself, I suppose.

I don't know what that will do for a song. But let's say that you want to do a lot of Queensryche songs. Then you would want to sing like Geoff Tate. Which means avoiding the passagio. And he does that by either getting into headvoice (for him) early or structuring the melody line to avoid it.

Another thing about opera singers. Perhaps they don't use 4 + octaves. But they have a strong 2.5 to 3 octaves that last for decades, if used properly. Classical singing technique is not just so that you will end up sounding like Caruso (which is not bad thing,) it's so that you can sing for a really long time.

And you know what Geoff listens to in his off time? Classical music.

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my very latest thinking on this is to learn how to work from your lowest notes to your highest (full voice) notes through "willed" vowel modification (and memorization of those modifications so they become second nature) coupled with strong support and a open relaxed throat. the throat needs to be way open in the back (irregardless of how open your mouth is). your mouth may actuallly be somewhat closed, but the back of the throat still has to be open in the back.

then once you've got the vowel modifications per vowel deeply memorized, you start the process (per your particular voice) to shape the vowels to arrive at the most easily produced resonant tone.

in other words, you don't sing the vowel modifications you mentally will the changes and the mind directs the vocal mechanism to making the adjustments, because if you don't adjust the vowels as you ascend (and support well) you simply won't get up in the higher register comfortably. i also believe if you don't learn to stretch out in the back of the throat, you are going to have a hard time of it.

Bob, your understanding of vowel modification has grown. your studies are paying off... I would not agree that you HAVE to modify the vowel as you ascend however, maybe for a beginner, but as you get better at it, you can hold the vowel as well... in which point, vowel modification becomes something you for a desired effect or overtone... and of course to make articulation of lyrics in singing, particularly high notes, work...

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I've never really encountered pitch issues in the time I've been singing. I've always been able to 'sing' but like I only started SINGING a couple of years ago. For example, I'm really starting to like the way the 'take hold' intro sounds when I sing it.

Oh I think Geoff still sounds divine. Like he has a small amount wasted air or something creating overtones when he twangs and I can actually get it too. It sounds... chiefly XD like an old voice I love it!

Rob Halford isn't saddening if it's a good day for him. He sang on american Idol with James Durbin and I thought "okay so his voice isn't completely obliterated" He is about 60 years old. And most of his songs are best suited for a younger voice.

Falsetto and high head voice get harder to use with age, however young singers tend to have more passaggio issues. Maybe head voice descends with age. I'll ask an old person.

Both Halford & Tate have had "off" nights ... is that so surprising, they are human beings and singers just like the people on this forum... but I will say, Queensryche does a lot of shows in Seattle and Geoff Tate is having some very good nights... last few times I saw him or heard reports, it was all dead on.

The techniques I train are very much in the camp of Geoff Tate and Rob Halford.... If big, "boomy" head tones is what your into, its what Im teaching people to do all day long at The Vocalist Studio and would be happy to help you. Geoff Tate and I had the same voice teacher, much of the same workouts... we trained with Maestro David Kyle in Seattle... as did Chris Cornell, Layne Staley, Ann Wilson, Ronnie Monroe and others.. but name dropping is that that big of a deal to me... its the results that really matter.

Anyways, make sure you start your training with drilling your onsets... you need to build a high performance onset package.. then begin drilling for weeks on slow and controlled sirens... during this phase, you will continue to improve on your formant package (an onset package that is on the move... becomes a "formant package"... btw Bob's comment about vowel modification is important... vowel modification is 1 of the components in the TVS Formant Package that needs to be understood and trained...)... with that, you will drill the timing of bridging and kinda the last step is the getting the strength and coordination for intrinsic anchoring under your belt so you can not only produce.. .but HOLD the "boomy" formants in the head voice... essentially, that is what Geoff Tate is doing in those classic QR songs... as well as my student in this video, Randy Loran... who btw, does some of the vocal workout demonstrations in my training system, "The Four Pillars of Singing".

Ive been working on it too and will film it, just hasnt been a priority... working on getting P2.0 out the door and new web sites and stuff...

Hope this helps... glad to have you here.

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I would not agree that you HAVE to modify the vowel as you ascend however, maybe for a beginner, but as you get better at it, you can hold the vowel as well

rob, can you explain what you mean by "hold the vowel?" i'm pretty sold on vowel mods. being pretty mandatory in the e4 and up range. it makes things a lot more resonant.

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