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Constantly singing in a light high-pitched, but chesty, tone/voice?


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I'd like to apologize in advance for the unclear title as well as the confusing text I've typed below; I don't really have any vocal knowledge, so I do my best to describe what I mean.

Of all the American songs I've heard, the singers mostly sing in a rather low/calm tone/voice, sometimes tackle a high note with a lot of distortion or "heaviness". In a lot of rock or metal songs, the singers just constantly shout out, and their tone, although high, is always accompanied by some heaviness. I've never heard a male singer sing a song, constantly hitting high notes using a high-pitched voice, but WITHOUT distortion or heaviness. Now, I don't mean constantly singing in a female-ish voice like Michael Jackson's when he does his high-pitched "Oh!" sounds. A high-pitched voice without heaviness, but chesty and male sounding. I've looked at "twang", but then again I felt that twang produces too heavy of a sound. I've never heard an American singer sing throughout an entire song in a 0% falsetto-y high-pitched voice without sounding like he's shouting the living hell out of him. I hope you understand what I mean. A song example could also be awesome if you know of any.

Anyway, I seem to have a poor knowledge of what twang is. "Singing in your head voice with a chesty tone"; if it sounds heavy, is it intentionally added distortion or what? How do you produce a light, clear high-pitched sound? You see, (btw, I'm a guy), I dislike falsetto-y voices (sounds fakely feminine), I dislike constant distortion and heaviness (sounds like barking at some point), but I want to be able to constantly sing in a rather high-pitched voice.

One last thing: I naturally have a rather deep voice. Whenver I try to sing high and not end up in falsetto, my voice basically just chokes. But the problem is, the higher the note I sing, the deeper my voice seems to become (if I try to make my voice sound higher, I end up sounding like a dying sheep). I find that pretty weird. So... how do I learn to sing in a light high chesty tone? If "most people can learn how to sing", would it be true to also say that "most people can learn to sing in any style/genre"? I don't see the point of trying to learn to sing if, even if I do become a good singer, I can't sing what I want to sing, in the way I want to sing. That's a problem I've been thinking about: you can learn how to sing, but you can't learn to sound the way you want. If I'm born with a very deep voice, I don't think I can sing in a high-pitched fashion. If I'm born with a very high voice, I don't think I can learn to sing opera with that full deep sound. Could anyone discuss about this problem of mine? Can you really learn to sing whatever and however you want?

Sorry again for the confusing text, but I hope you could get through it with an answer!

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if you mean your voice gets sort of "woofy" or hollow as you ascend, like the sound of blowing on a bottle neck, that would be your vocal cords drifting apart as you ascend. Sort of Rick Astley. Twanging is about keeping them together so that doesnt happen. So that you keep a clear tone in your voice rather than going woofy. Practicing twang means exaggerating it more than you would when applying it in singing and often involves quacking like a duck or creaking like a spooky door in a haunted house etc. When you do that, without strain, you're bringing the cords close together which is where they're supposed to be. I would think you can find a lot of examples of f.ex. Dio singing all the way up there without distortion. joe lynn turner never uses distortion. Opera singers are, of course, the best example since they never distort.

This is pretty clean most of the way, pretty damn high at 1:28


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Styx, with Dennis DeYoung, "Suite Madame Blue." This is a hard rock ballad that uses the same chord progression as "Babe, I'm gonna leave you" by Led Zeppelin.


Stryper, with Michael Sweet - "Always there for You." Stryper was a big deal for a while. One of the more underrated bands. Phenomenal musicians who maintained their christian beliefs. And Michael is proof positive that you can sing metal with a high and clean voice.

To a large extent, you are born with the voice that you have. Mostly in its timbre or tonal quality. Raspy singers have raspy voices to begin with and can last so long because they don't sing outside of what their voice can do. Others have clean voices but can hurt themselves trying to sing with lots of rasp. And so, wise singers stay within what they can do. Steven Tyler will probably never do a mezza voce of "Ave, Maria."

You say you speak with a low voice and I am will to bet that you don't speak correctly. Which is not an insult. Nearly everyone speaks incorrectly except for italians. They speak with resonance, for that is the proper way to speak italian is with resonance. The culture most of us grow in expect men to have low, gravelly voices. To produce a low gravelly voice requires low wind and loose adduction.

It would be better for you to learn to speak with resonance for a while and then re-assess what it is your voice can do. To speak with resonance, the tone should be place at the soft palate, not your "chest." That doesn't mean that you need to sound nasal. But that is where the tone lives. You will also find your breathing and breath pressure changing. Let it go, don't fight it.

So, to answer your other question, can any voice learn to singing anything at any range in any style? Most decidedly, no. And I know that will hurt some feelings and probably garner me some wrath or at least a few disagreements. But the open question is, "What can your voice do?" and I don't think you have found the final answers for that, as of yet.

For one thing, song choice. Two songs in the same key can fit your voice differently because of the melody line and lyrics. One song, you will knock out of the park, to borrow a baseball metaphor. The other song, in the same key, and you will hit grounders. Your only mistake is in pursuing a song that didn't fit your voice. The corrollary is to change the problem song to suit your voice. Rob Halford did. Halford is not known for having a ballad-type of voice. So, he re-arranged "Diamonds and Rust", a hippie folk ballad, to suit his voice, with plenty of high "metal" notes. He couldn't sing that song softly to save his life and didn't even try.

So, the first step is to speak with resonance. Then see what it is your voice can do. And then, structure the songs you sing for what you can do. And there will be some songs you can't do.

Yes, there are some genetically specific people with a voice that will do anything. Jonpall is one of them. He is the exception that proves the rule.

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Flam - the problem you are having is very common with us males. First of all, you can learn to sing very high if you want. As high as you can sing in falsetto now, you can surely learn to sing in full voice. You can also go much higher than that, as I and many others have done - and this is regardless of how deep your voice is.

It is tricky and takes some fine coordination. Some people like me do specific exercises to extend range. It is like a vocal workout. Others don't take such a regimented approach, and they get there by other means, focusing on songs or song fragments. There are a couple main things that enable you to go higher.

1) Thin the folds and allow the cricothryroid (CT) muscle to tilt stretching the folds for higher pitches

2) Modify the vowels to help reasonance as you go up in pitch.

3) Breath management - the right amount of breath support is really important as you extend your range. As you are learning the fine coordination to thin the folds, constant breath pressure will help

When you hear guys shouting as they go higher they are not thinning the vocal folds. They are keeping the folds thick as in chest voice. There is a physical limit to how high you can sing with thick folds. There is a muscle TA that causes the folds to be thick. When us guys are speaking or singing in chest voice the TA is dominant. If we flip into falsetto, we let go of the TA muscle and let the CT (cricothyroid) muscle take over. What we need to learn is how to sing with varying amounts of the TA muscle along with tilting the CT, gradually lessening the TA as we go up - and hand off the dominance to the CT muscle with a minimum amount of TA. This is difficult for a lot of us - but we all have the same equipment and we can all learn how to do this. Some people just do it naturally.

The vowel modification is also necessary. If you don't do this, the reasonance of the vowels fights against you as you go higher and increases tension. Try singing an "ng" and do a siren up and down. See how high you can go (without pushing or straining) with the "ng". The "ng" is nice because it doesn't fight with you as you go up.

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you said "I've never heard an American singer sing throughout an entire song in a 0% falsetto-y high-pitched voice without sounding like he's shouting the living hell out of him. I hope you understand what I mean. A song example could also be awesome if you know of any."

steve perry of journey? the song is "open arms" among many great songs.

i agree with geno (guitartrek) above.....

if you are willing to put in the time and dilligent hours and hours of practise it takes, you can take your voice just about anywhere you can will it to. i personally can tell you i only wish i knew about this sooner....but you have to work at it...there really is no easy way i know of...but do know this....you cannot give up...it takes time and a lot of dedication.

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First of all Flam, you are not stuck with the voice you were born with. We can easily make adjustments here. What is essentially important is your breath utilisation. You will need to learn how to produce the very same tone with much less air. Pushing air to reach notes is a non-starter!

To some extent, our physiological makeup may determine our overall vocal tonality but it shouldn't be limiting.

Kind regards


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