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an excerpt from a great book

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folks, all you have to do is read this...it's a dose of reality...it also let's you know after a hard day's exercise and training year after year what we're all shooting for (for the rest of of our lives)....if your goal is high level vocal proficiency. if that's what you're after read this...

it's an excerpt from a book called "the tenor voice" by anthony frisell.

The metamorphoses of the two vocal registers The reason that most vocal training methods fail to develop superior vocal instruments for hopeful students is because the muscles of the registers are generally accepted in their original, undeveloped state, wherein superior tones and advanced muscular maneuvers are asked of him. The student is assigned a series of difficult, rote, meaningless scales to perform, (usually employed the “dangerous open, chest register’s a (ah) vowel), in the blind hope of meeting the rigorous demands of superior singing. The vocal instrument must be structured with great care, since every chosen exercise brings with it consequences, good or bad. At the onset of training, the undeveloped voice is not complete nor perfectly assembled in the throat, waiting for the student to merely learn how to play it. On the contrary, the vocal range is fragmented and the student finds it nearly impossible to coordinate the applications of the breath force with quality of tone, vowel purity and vocal movement. All superior voices are “created” by muscular structuring, achieved by transforming the undeveloped muscles of the two vocal registers (from whatever starting condition in which they present themselves), to a “new” state of structural existence, one that must conform to, and in time, satisfy all the demands of a large repertory of difficult vocal literature. In the beginning, this transformation is accomplished by executing a series of selected exercises which favor the development of the upper register, so that it becomes the dominant muscular system. What becomes evident, during this slow building process, is that the muscles controlling the tones of the upper register begin to grow in strength, first, within their original boundaries, and then, they can be transported physically (not merely esthetically), downward in the vocal range, and made to overlap all the tones of the lower register. Exercises will be presented which facilitate this desired downward “stretching” of the upper register’s influences, until they the upper registers’ muscular controls envelop all the tones of the lower or chest register. Once this has been accomplished (this often takes years), the lower registers tones become restructured, and submit to the muscular controls of the upper register, which eventually dominate all the tones of the singer’ complete range. However, the upper register’s controls are not sufficient in and of themselves to accomplish all the vocal tasks of the singing instrument, nor can they alone grant beauty and control of tone. They require the full and unique participation of the lower register’s muscles to do so. This fact must be well noted, since many singers who embark upon a “falsetto” voice training program often feel they are free from all future involvement with the “thick” and “cumbersome” chest voice. Nothing could be further from the truth, and when the controls of the chest voice are denied, the result is always unattractive and unprofessional singing.

Anthony Frisell (2010). THE TENOR VOICE (Kindle Locations 477-506). Branden Books. Kindle Edition.

let me know your thoughts

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addendum...so relevant to our discussions....

During the transformation of the upper register’s muscles to a state of dominance, the process automatically imposes a corresponding transformation of all the tones of the lower register. In proportion to the ongoing development of all upper register tones, the corresponding tones of the chest voice automatically and undeniably begin shrinking, and reducing their “weight” and “thickness”. As a result of this metamorphosing process, the tones of the antagonistic chest voice are forced to subjugate themselves to the developing falsetto’s muscular control, and begin to willingly participate in a “team effort” to accomplish the task of singing. During this phase, the developing voice goes through many frustrating periods or “turbulence”, during which the singer may

believe he will never resolve the antagonism between the two registers. Patience, faith, and , persistence must reign! Gradually, the “power factor” of the lower register will be permitted to pass beyond the registers break’s, between En and Fn above middle C, to the tones above the registers’ break, but with none of its negative characteristics—such as weight and/or thickness. As a result, the vibrato action of vocal cords, traveling on a concentrated stream of breath, enter into the top register’s resonance chambers, and produce such amazing tonal qualities as: “ring”, “resonance” and “projecting power”, thereby adding all these, positive, formerly missing elements to the “thinner” (although not weaker) top tones of the developed upper register.

Anthony Frisell (2010). THE TENOR VOICE (Kindle Locations 512-520). Branden Books. Kindle Edition.

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Wow this looks really interesting, just google booked it and it looks like a good read.

My only qualm is that I feel I have a Baritone/Light Baritone essence to my voice so maybe Tenor is a leap for me. I can hit head notes easy, sometimes breathy is I don't warm up.

My problem area is simply the passaggio which I guess is everyones. This book looks like it'll give a better insight into it.


Just found the Baritone book on there, downloaded the .pdf file for it.

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Interesting reading. It rather contrasts what I have been reading from the classical voice world wherein, in so many words, the "chest voice" is the path to ruination. Partially because most people speak in "chest" voice and they speak wrongly, to begin with. But even from doctors who specialize in voice, they see that it is better in coordination to bring the head voice down than to bring the chest voice up. For chest voice is a misnomer.

And I will say it again because I am so stubborn, I could teach mules "how to be stubborn." All resonance is in the head. To put it logically (and yes, you may call me a bastard for doing so,) how do you resonating chest as you are expirating to create the note? That is, your "chest" resonator is decreasing in size as you expirate to create the note. How do you resonate in something that is decreasing volume? Well, you don't (let the cursing begin.)

Again, most people speak in "chest" with bad habits and carrying chest voice higher just brings those bad habits higher.

"Mama's not to worry ... I've been a bad, bad boy. No use saying I'm sorry, it's something that I enjoy."


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Singing is not weightlifting, it is a calibration of coordination. Retraining nervous system reaction. You don't hit a high note because you have powerful neck muscles and the folds only adduct so much and no further effort can be affected or caused.

Oh shoot, someone stop me ...

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Bob, is the 2010 edition available only for Kindle ? The latest written version I can find is the 2007 one.

And what you quoted from it, I find very interesting.

excellent book....I guess so, yes.

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ron, this book was written for guys like me...you'd die if you read what he says...lol!!!

Most assuredly. Granted, I have been most influenced by classical sources and just about every one of them, to the last, including Lilli Lehman and Dr. Thomas Fillebrown, agree that the proper approach to voice is in the head. Even for low notes.

But, today, the concept of chest is popular, especially with the modern reversal of singing instruction from the classical origins. Nowadays, it's popular to start in chest because everyone speaks in "chest" allowing anyone and everyone to approach singing. Problem is, most people don't speak in "chest" properly. And the danger is in carrying the bad habits upwards.

The other danger of chest voice upwards is the idea that you can keep stretching the vocal folds thinner and thinner and they will become accustomed to it. But they will not. The folds are membranes, not muscles. And they are controlled by muscles in the larynx. There is no "training" to be done to the folds. They cannot be trained the way your biceps, for example, can be trained. They either adduct or they don't. And they do not produce volume. Volume is produced by a doubling of the amplitude of the signal they produce. And that doubling is produced by resonance. That is basic physics, specifically, acoustics. The danger of bottom up phonation is that it ignores basic physics.

Oops, I think I said that out loud.

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yes, but he's not talking about "bottom up" phonation ...he's saying to build up the head register "like a weightlifter" then come back a get chest involved. ron, i believe you can strengthen your muscles that control the folds to be able to resist and be more resilient to additional air pressures. this is a great book...not to argue but this author speaks to the strenghthening topic a lot. excellent read. the weightlifting verb is just a descriptive not literal term.

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I submit, per Dr. Fillebrown, that the muscles of the larynx, fine as they are, are not built up in true vocal training. The nervous system control of those muscles is re-calibrated and not so much by anything you do to those muscles. They are re-calibrated by learning to sing with resonance. The brain already knows how to meter breath and it already knows how to adduct, otherwise, you would never have uttered your first cry upon being born. In fact, babies are natural singers. Our culture robs them of the "voice" by requiring us to what? Tone it down, be quiet, speak softly. All this requires dropping breath pressure and dropping the voice into the throat, especially with how many cultures use the mouth to form consonants. With the excpetion of the italians. Their language and culture, properly expressed, involves resonance and projecting, i.e., consistent breath support, even when speaking.

The thing that vocal training does is allow the body to achieve finer control of the muscles, not increasing muscular strength, which, in muscles, means increasing muscle mass, which means increasing the size of the muscle cell. Here's another factoid for everyone. When you stress a muscle past it's current limit, the muscle tears down, leading to that aching feeling as lactic acid rushes in to repair. Then it it rebuilds the muscle again, only denser and larger. This is how a bodybuilder achieves larger looking muscles. And reaches a point where he is inflexible. Because the muscle has built up in size, rather than achieving finer control. I am begging anyone on bended knee to consult a medical source on that and prove me wrong.

And actually, the muscles in the larynx already have that control. Otherwise, you couldn't squawk or squeak or croak or quack to begin with. The larynx is already capable of producing high notes. Again, and I know I will be ignored but I am more stubborn than a Texas mule (just try me), a high note is a small note. Small wavelength. Period, paragraph, new book, forever, amen. For example, 440 - A note. That A note is 440 cycles per second. You cannot prove me wrong, it is a fact of science. A higher note is more cycles in the same second. Which means a smaller wavelength, peak to peak. I apologize for getting technical but hey, crap happens. A smaller wavelength means that the note is shorter in duration of it's physical length. And volume does not come from how fast the folds are opening and closing. It does not come from the lungs full of air. Volume comes from amplitude, or height of the wave, not it's length from peak to peak, but it's heighth. How do you increase the amplitude without electronic amplifiers (which I could also explain and that would put you to sleep. I have studied electrical theory and electronics since 1974 and have been to college a couple of times studying it, getting grade averages of 102.3 (blowing the crap out of the curve, by the way))? By resonating.

With a proper resonating chamber, the wave doubles back on itself, creating a waveform that is now twice the amplitude of the original signal. Funny thing is, it creates a decibel increase. Which is logarithmic, not linear. That means, in so many words, a drastic increase in volume. From doubling the height of the wave. The volume of the note comes from resonance. A simple fact of science and I welcome even Steven Fraser to prove me wrong.

But the note has to have the right sized resonating chamber. If you do not resonate in the head, then, the brain will require the larynx to rise up, trying to create a smaller resonating chamber. And this is where you stretch the folds past the limits. One of two things happens. Either the folds blow apart into falsetto. Or, you push more air ("increasing breath support") and the violent force slams the folds into each other. Repeated hard contact creates a callus, the same as when repeated pressing of fingers on guitar strings creates calluses. This callus on the folds is a nodule or node.

If you raise the soft palate and allow the high note to rise up and find the chamber it needs, the larynx does not rise up and the brain will provide enough air to phonate, as it has since you were born. Raising the soft palate allows head resonance, which can be used for one's entire usable range. Notice I said usable.

Here's where I am going to tick some people off and I'm just not able to scare up the energy to give a crap. Brett Manning claims a 6 octave range. Mostly unusable, certainly not connected. Is it really important to hit bass notes for a song when most of it is in tenor? For what purpose? To show off? Let the low ranged guy in the band hit the low notes. In Kansas, Robby Steinhardt, the violinist, was also a singer, doing the lower stuff.

Your quotes from the book crap all over the head voice. I know some are going to say "Ron, you're just saying that because you mostly sing in head voice." And certainly, jonpall has accused me of going into head voice "too early." Then again, I am hitting every note I could hit in 1988. And I am an older guy, now. That's got to mean something. At least to me.

Funny thing is, science backs me up and ain't that a bitch? Chest is a misnomer. What you feel in your chest is a sympathetic vibration of the note from above. One doctor I read said that he stethoscoped Caruso and could hear the note in every part of the man's body, even if it was a G4. Does that mean that Caruso was resonating the G4 in his right lumbar region? Of course not, let's not be God-awful stupid. It means that the note was resonated properly and had a volume that could induce sympathetic vibrations elsewhere. So, really, there should be a distinction between "resonance" and "vibration." At a concert, a bass player hits a low note and your bladder is vibrating. Is the low note from the bass resonating in you bladder? Of course not.

Here's the trick about breath for high notes. The amount of breath is actually less than lower notes, but the pressure is more consistent. It's not additional air pressure, it is just more focused. And if people would speak with resonance, which you actually do, Bob, they would find they already have all the breath they need.

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We all agree that the presence of "chest resonance" makes a difference though, right? I mean it may be a misnomer, but it's not like you can train your pure head voice to sound exactly like a chesty G3 bark within a genre like motown. It may not be favorable in some peoples eyes, but can anyone really argue that the head voice is capable of EVERYTHING that the chest voice is capable of?

another excerpt may help answer this..

Since all the tones of the tenor's vocal range must be dominated by the head voice’s muscular controls, after they have been corrected been structured, the serious student, must seek out and eliminate those “raw chest tones” at the bottom of his range, which still remain outside the broad arc of the head voice’s complete dominance, and devote his full attention to cultivating the small "falsetto sounds", with all of them. As these “small” but appropriate, falsetto top tones seem, , at the beginning of developing them, unrelated to the "normal", "manly” qualities associated with the performing voice, most student-tenors will pay little attention to this sound advice. However, unless these seemingly “unimportant falsetto sounds" are cultivated to their fullest muscular potential, the singer is inviting a short-lived period of seemingly rapid vocal development followed by complete vocal failure.

Anthony Frisell (2010). THE TENOR VOICE (Kindle Locations 1192-1200). Branden Books. Kindle Edition.

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We all agree that the presence of "chest resonance" makes a difference though, right? I mean it may be a misnomer, but it's not like you can train your pure head voice to sound exactly like a chesty G3 bark within a genre like motown. It may not be favorable in some peoples eyes, but can anyone really argue that the head voice is capable of EVERYTHING that the chest voice is capable of?

First, what is chest voice capable of? And more accurately, in untrained people, what is chest voice capable of? Even Steven Fraser spoke of resonant speaking in another thread in another section, using his spectograph to see what range his voice naturally projects at, (hint: it involves head resonance.)

By the way, I think most people are connectiing head resonance with only high notes and that is not at all what I am saying. You can sing some relatively low notes in the head voice config. But you and others are only associating head voice with Halford highs from Sad Wings of Destiny and are freaking out about what I am saying.

And I will go ahead and point out the gorilla in the room. I am going to go ahead and say the emperor is naked. What do you need the lowest of the lows, or even highest of the highs for? To show off? And for what? To get some applause here? Most audiences don't care if you can hit a C6, if they even know what that is. They want to hear "Run to the Hills" in approximately the same range with as much conviction as you can muster. They are not there expecting you to fail. They want to see, and expect, that you will hit Bruce's highs, even if it's your own voice. It's only here that people obssess, to no go, in my opinion, on the exact infintesimal amount of distortion or hold or curb or whatever term you put on this or that note. Never mind that you hit the note. That doesn't seem to count. You didn't do it the way their "system"prescribes.

As for opera audiences, you already lost them at "Rolling in town alone, by the light of the moon, I'm looking for the Sookie Georgia Crazy Horse Saloon..."


I know it's not opera, but I like it.

Do what your voice can do. The quote in my sig is not just a pithy statement or just to read the words of Bruce. It is a thought you should embrace, though I may be hoping in vain, tilting at windmills, ala the Man of La Mancha.

In the voice of the unforgettable Peter O'Toole;

I can't seem to stop myself, though I grow weary, now and then. Then, again, go ahead get yourself a node. I can't stop you.

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ron, (others)...good discussion going...check this out ...pretty interesting huh?..not debating, just fascinated by what he writes!!

the topic is "breath pressure" another excerpt, check this out....heading out to sing, so i'll catch you folks on monday!!!

While singing, the exhalation cycle of breath flow must be controlled and prolonged to maintain musical timing. This is done indirectly with the aid of the diaphragm. Once the vibrato action has started it becomes a reflex action and is beyond further voluntary control. The indirectness of control must be emphasized. During various training phases, the correct amount of breath pressure for tone production varies with the relative state of the muscles of the register being developed, and the area of the range being exercised. Each of these individual factors requires different amounts of breath pressure to produce the same note. Incidentally, a "light, lyric voice" may produce a certain pitch with minimal effort, while a "heavy, dramatic" voice may require twice the amount of breath pressure energy to produce the same note.

Anthony Frisell (2010). THE TENOR VOICE (Kindle Locations 1292-1300). Branden Books. Kindle Edition.

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Chest voice is a sound effect. The resonance that gives volume is in the head. I'm not making that up, it's a fact, inconvenient as that is to some belief systems. Though it's not the first time I have seen faith "overpower" science.

"I want my high notes sounding chesty" Well, technically, that ain't going to happen. The size of resonating space needed for a high note is too small for the overtones of a "chest" note. I can't make it any plainer than that. Please, someone try and prove me wrong and I will buy you lunch (I can keep my money in my pocket, no worries.) It's called physics. The space needed to double the wave of a small wavelength is not physically large enough to double a larger wave, which is a lower note, presumably "chest" note. It simply won't happen. You cannot cram 9 pounds of crap into a 3 pound bag. Ever.

What sounds "chesty" is volume. How do you get volume? Once again, resonance. And what do you need to resonate a high note, which is a physically small wavelength (f = lambda/300,000)? A small resonating space, which can only be found in the regions of the head, specifically the sinuses and the area behind the sinuses, such as behind the eyes. I don't say feel the note behind or above the eyes just because it sounds poetic. It's because those are the spaces small enough to resonate high notes. Will they sound the same as the grumbling lows of Caiaphas in "Jesus Christ, Superstar"? No. Never have, never will and to think so is just ... well, I'll end up saying something that will hurt someone's feelings.

"Yeah, but such and such singer did this or that?" Really, did they? And how do you know? Details, specifics. Give me the physics of it.

I know this sounds snotty. I'm just offering my honest opinion, which may not be welcome by all. As Rick Nelson sang in "Garden Party," "You can't please everyone so you;ve got to please yourself."

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Perhaps I phrased incorrectly. Or I misunderstand what you are saying. Are you saying thet chest is a tone color? For that truly is a matter of resonance, regardless of the maximum volume present at the moment and location of phonation. It is also a matter of genetics, as each person will sound subtly different. Is this a case of "one man's chest is another man's head" or vice versa? And there will be genetic differences in the maximum thickness of a person's folds, differences in the exact shape of their resonators.

And, in fact, Dante, I think you proved my point about a chesty sounding note. For did you not just speak expressly about the volume generated by how fully the folds are vibrating up and down, to create the original amplitude, which will, in fact, later be doubled by the correctly sized resonator for that note to an astounding volume, such as that created by the wonderful example of John Raitt that you shared with us?

Also, it should be noted that the part of the range used will have an effect. Most of this song sounds to me to be upper baritone to maybe low tenor, except for the ending notes, which are of course, higher than that. But not much. Let it be said that this is a testament to Raitt's skill. For he is trying to make legatto a staccato, conversational libretto. Whoever wrote the lyrics doesn't do much for the singer (a complaint Bruce Dickinson has expressed, where others in the band or staff will write lyrics that sound great if you are reading them at a dungeons and dragons game but not so easy when singing them in the 5th octave.)

I took a sneak peek at your website where you explain the conditions that define a bass vocalists. Excellent points you make about the length and thickness of the folds. Which ties in with what I know about what someone might call a natural "opera" singer. For the naturally gifted opera singer has certain dimensions not found in everyone. Specifically a large vocal tract and folds for the lower fachs. Likewise, other dimensions for the other fachs. And I have known of a specific case where a young man was misdiagnosed as a dramatic baritone because that's what his first teacher thought he should be, probably thinking that all males should be such. But his volume was weak and his tone was shaky. So, his newer teacher had him try some light exercises higher up and it turned out that he was easily a lyric tenor.

Does this mean, then, that the chesty sound is a matter of fach? Or is it, as I have stated, a matter of volume, regardless of range? Though he did not have the finest singing voice, Bon Scott was naturally high pitched. If you listen to the recitative of "Jailbreak," That is Bon trying to sound low and gravelly.


Notice his use of nasal resonance, which is in the head, to get some of his tone and that his speaking and singing voice are the same, a result of head resonance. But does his tone sound chesty?

Here's Rolf Bjorling, singing just like his father but I chose this because you can physically see. This is singing in head resonance. But does it not sound like chest?

In which case, chest is an effect of timbre which has to do with how one's resonators are shape but only if the note is loud. Therefore, chest sound is a matter of volume, which is, outside of the original tone generated, a matter of resonance. For the folds themselves, make a feeble sound, given the structure of any one person's set of "equipment."

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Dr. Fillebrown:

"The muscles of the larynx are small and delicate, and the adjustments they make in singing are exceedingly fine. When, however, the voice user stiffens his throat, these delicate muscles in their spontaneous effort to make the proper adjustments are compelled to contract with more than their normal strength. Every increase in throat stiffness demands an increase in muscle effort, an overexertion that persisted must result in injury to the organ itself."

Dr. Fillebrown was a doctor who specialized in voice, as a doctor, a singer, and a surgeon who repaired cleft palates and other maladies of the vocal tract. That's why I thought his words were important and germaine to this discussion.

Where I am drawing exception to the excerpts as quoted by Bob is this insistence that it involves muscle training, which is not really accurate and building muscle in the throat leads to a more rigid throat. What really should be happening in singing training is building of the right habits of coordination. The other problem I have is that much of this muscle building sounds like it's in the throat. Which creates strain or stiffness. Nothing should be in the throat, ever. There is breath management, from below and micro-muscular adjustments in the head, but nothing in the throat. To "muscle" the throat leads to loss of fine control and sometimes, partial laryngitis like symptoms. Been there, done that, twice (because I had to go and be an idiot.)

Anything that leads to pain, stiffness, or "fatigue" in the throat is absolutely, unequivocally wrong. No proper singing program should require you to "train through" voice loss while you build up muscle. Ever. Because you don't build muscle, you develope better habits. Mainly by getting out of your own way. Allow the note to find the right resonator by getting out of it's way. This requires changing one's mind, the hardest thing of all to do. It is harder than scale, regardless of intervals. It is harder than any breathing exercise. A habit is not a result of muscle building, it is a result of coordination that is repeated until it is reflexive.

Changing one's mind also includes learning how to hear yourself, all over again. For you will hit some notes and tones you think sound "weak" when they are not. The key word is "think." And for many people, it seems they would rather strain the throat than change their mind.

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To get technical, again, the note in the folds is created by how fast the folds open and close, allowing "puffs" of air to escape. A low note has a long time of opening and closing to create the longer wavelength of sound. Thicker, longer folds will create a fuller fundamental, as it were. Hence, some people really are born a natural basso profundo (refined by training, of course.) And that is totally genetic. Others have smaller and thinner folds are naturally higher pitched as singers. Could a bass sing a D4? Yes. And it will sound tonally different than a "natural" tenor singing the same note.

Are there maximums and minimums in the folds' ability to open and close and create the frequency? Yes. They are already there. And there are shapes of resonators that are defined by genetics, as well. And changes in the vocal tract can affect changes in tone, as well. Mike (Snax) noticed differences after his partial tonsilectomy. A little more space of the lower overtones of any given low note. And that had nothing to do with training and everything to do with structure, specifically, a change in structure. Just as repairing a cleft palate creates a change in the tonal quality of the patient's voice.

I submit that most of the function of the vocal folds is to help maintain breath pressure for phonating but the actual creation of sound is a smaller area, though I understand the idea of secondary waves in the folds creating a vibrato effect. But that can only come with folds that do not have undo tension on them, such as being stretched to tight.

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Actually, Dante, I think we're saying the same things, in circles, and that we are agreeing more than disagreeing, which is good, even if it's just a difference in semantics. Which is cool. I am always learning. I can do some things that others here cannot do but I still think I have something to learn and so I stay, and probably always will. That doesn't make me the best singer but perhaps, one of the more humble singers, believe it or not. In fact, my vocal maladies came from not trusting my instincts and staying within my own voice.

Quite a lot to reply to but I appreciate so much that we can have these frank discussions and that Bob even takes my criticisms in the heart of which they are meant, which is ruthless discovery of the craft we all love. That is, I don't disagree with Bob or the quoted author just to disagree or be "king of the forum" or to defend my style of singing. But to discover, to seek the truth. Sometimes, one breaks eggs to make omelets, so to speak. Having spoke with Bob on one occasion, I know he knows what I mean, even if it appears different in print than it might sound in my own voice.

I often think of Bob as my twin brother from another mother. We are not that far apart in age (only ten years.) Both of us have a "layman's" approach, not being vocal professionals, both exercising our passion around our working lives. I've read of at least one vocal coach that says that you are not a singer unless you are willing to forsake all for the singing, willing to sell pencils on the street. Well, I have greater responsibilities than myself. If I were 20 and homeless, which I was, at one time, fine. But I am 47, own a house, have a wife, a dog, and a cat, and working crews that depend on my doing my job. So, if that precludes me from being a "Singer," then I invite anyone making that pronouncement to go and perform on themselves something that I understand is anatomically possible for some human males.

Again, from Dr. Fillebrown (I know I am quoting him a lot), even the loudest sound you can make from the larynx is feeble in comparison to the finished volume. The nearest example I can think of is striking a guitar string that is not on a guitar. It wil make a sound and you might subtley increase the sound by striking it hard. But the actual volume, including the hard strike, comes from resonating in the body of the guitar and coming out of the sound hole.

In training, the only fatigue one should feel is in the lateral obliques of the stomach, as you learn to control expiration and perhaps, in the elevator muscles in the cheeks of your face as you learn to lift the soft palate. Later, as training becomes habit, you could lift the soft palate without so much of a smile. But there should be absolutely no strain in the throat. If there is, you sang too much, at first. I understand anyone can have a fatigued voice if talking for too long, just as walking for hours will fatigued even finely trained leg muscles. In which case, that is a symptom of overworking, rather than wrong technique. Which means, that for the athletic endurance of a singing session, lasting no more than 1 to 2 hours, there shouldn't be so much fatigued.

How long does it take some one to train endurance for singing? I think that varies from person to person. But the muscles in the larynx that control what the folds do already have all the "conditioning" they need and have, since you were born and first screamed in the ear of the nurse in the delivery room.

How does a baby scream for so long without losing voice and never having had a "voice lesson"? Of course, I only expect people that have had children or have been around them to understand that. I was born singing, without warm-up. Most babies whimper when they are hungry or soiled in their sleep. According to my mother, I had no preliminary whimper. I went from peaceful silence to ear-splitting howl in a heartbeat. Maybe it's a gift.

Where I would draw an exception is elevator muscle atrophy, such as someone who has been intubated in a medical procedure. But I will grant some retraining in singing since most people speak wrongly when the speak in chest. But any muscle developement would be very subtle, indeed.

It sounds like your definition of chest voice is full voice, anywhere else. And that your definition of head voice is less or softer than full voice. Which makes me think of the erroneous idea that falsetto is head voice. It is not. Falsetto is a tone that can be used in the head voice region of resonance but is not, of itself, head voice. One can have a full voice tone in head voice resonance. And it will sound overtonally different than lower notes, for the very physical reasons I have previously mentioned. For me, chest voice is not a matter of full voice versus soft or falsetto. It is a matter of a type of resonance. For the passaggio is a matter of change in resonance, not a specific point in the range, though it does happen in somewhat the same spot for many a person, primarily because they do not speak properly and carry their bad speaking habits upwards from their "chest voice" used in speaking.

Now, if one's live absolutely depends on hitting some gravelly lows, the best advice I can offer is to shift to head resonance in the second octave, where the tonal difference is negligible and usually, not noticable. Which, in so many words, is the value and aim of Lunte's 4 Pillars. It is certainly the method of Geoff Tate, who shifts early. He don't worry 'bout no stinking passaggio because he transitions early or jumps over it.

So, do you have a reason to justify that chest voice is a matter of full voice alone, regardless of point in the range? Or, more accurately, that a C6 is not full voice when the singer has a light ringy voice that you may or may not interpret as full voice?

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Thanks analog.

I agree Grandi-tenori is an EXCELLENT resource for all of this. There hasn't been as much stimulating discussion on there as of late, but in the archives going back to 2003, there have been so many topics, including Frisell's work, Reid's work, Douglas Stanley's work, and Caesari's work, in addition to texts by Manuel Garcia, Giovanni Lamperti, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Enrico Caruso, and some other singers. All of it has been discussed ad naseum on there.

BTW, have I seen you on Grandi-tenori before?



No. I stumbled onto it a few months ago, but have only made it through the first page of the Singers, Teachers and Voice forum(a shedload of info.) Looking forward to making my way through the archives.

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Great thread Bob - I really liked those experpts! Excellent stuff really.

Dante - it's great to hear your explanations. Be it right or wrong, I've been defining head voice lately as simply the point at which the CT starts stretching the TA and folds and the tilting starts to occur. I don't define it has how the sound resonates, rather I think of it in how the vibrations are produced. As I develop my head I'm able to make head sound like chest - either by continued TA activity and / or keeping the closed phase the same or both. So the head sound becomes harder to distinguish - but you can feel the difference very easily. Is this similar to how you define "head"?

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For me, the defining characteristic head voice is that it is resonated in the head, primarily with a lifted palate. And that you can sing down in it, quite far. At some point, you will drop out of head resonance to go any lower or to speak, the way most people speak with descended palate, which I think is actually a survival mechanism. Point being, low enough, the change in tonality brought about by the change in resonance won't be so noticable. And let's be frightfully honest. There almost never a melody that goes from second octave to fifth octave, except for maybe "Silent Lucidity" but a) Geoff Tate is an individual B) the melody line changes octaves but is not one glissando from bottom to top, allowing to change config at convenient intervals.

And yes, one can vary the volume to some extent, on an acoustic guitar by how hard one is striking or plucking the strings. And one can strike hard enough to break the strings. What also changes apparent volume of a guitar is how many of the strings are strummed at one time. Which might relate to the depth of fold vibration. Which also brings us back to genetics. Some will have slightly thicker or thinner sets of folds.

I also know that my highest notes are easily achieved at concert volume but not as falsetto or soft. And that is driven by air. Not as much air as other needs but more consistent in pressure. Which sounds like I am exerting greatly but I am not. So, that would be a case of singing in full voice higher than I can in falsetto.

But I am glad my point got across about the filter effect of certain resonance. It really is that simple but it also explains why you will not have the same overtones up high that you will down low. Yet, you can have a high note that sounds chesty because volume of tone quality.

I also think a number of people, hearing their own voices, assume there is not enough "meat" in their upper voice and that is wholly psychological. A) Thinking there is not enough "meat" B) Thinking one has to have "meat" C) thinking that a genre of music can only be properly sung with high, meaty voice, which is just as didactic and moribund as anything they would accuse of classical opera singing.

Singing is mental. And I'm out of time. Gotta get to work ....

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that was a lot to go through, but man this is a great discussion!!

i agree so much with you dante and geno!

this is why i contend that if you are out to get to a superior level vocal ability...you have to strengthen the voice.

the breath regulating and pressure aspects

the folds ability to withstand the pressure (not pushing, metered pressure)

adduction strength

cord depth engagement (thank you dante for the right term) strength

plus all the other elements i haven't mentioned...

ron, you can say "that's my voice" and leave it like that...and that's fine for you...but i can tell you firsthand (regardless of key) if you are after the vocal prowess of a lou gramm (and others like him) you simply have to build up a certain degree of strength...like you say "period, end of story".....lol!!!

now i'm not saying anything about squeezing the throat, or straining, or constricting...i'm saying singing with all that's supposed to be relaxed...relaxed. but believe me, when your doing a song like "hot blooded," where you've got the punchiness, the interval jump, the high tessitura, you become accutely aware of whether or not you have the strength to sing that song. i once lacked the physical ability to sing that song...now i don't..but it's still a royal bitch (at least for me)...i might have said..."f" this, i can't do it, it's too high or whatever, but i stuck with it..and i'm down a half step doing it...but i can do it and each time i do it, i feel ways to place the tone and position my vocal apperatus to get it better and better.

i am so happy because i truly worked my ass off to get that song where it needed to be sounding (again, for me). learning to sing like him) truly has improved me as a singer, and has given me more singers i can do the songs of.

i know this sounds weird, but lately chest and head are indistinguishable to me while singing.

when you're singing his stuff, you really feel like there is no passagio. i'm rambling, but another point i'm trying to make is in some sounds/notes/songs ...if you don't generate the air pressure, sustain the pressure, and tightly (as needed) keep the folds adducted, you simply will not get the notes...like you say "period, end of story."

i hate when some of these people that sell vocal programs tell you how easy it is, that singing should be just like speaking...i say b.s.!

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Bob - I never paid too much attention to lou grahm until this forum with your posts. I used to put lou in the same category with steve walsh, steve perry and others singers who were simply lucky to be born with a high range. From your posts I have really learned to appreciate lou's singing ability. He is fantastic and maybe he was one of those lucky ones that just sang this way by accident. Or maybe he developed it, I don't know. But now we know we all have the ability to sing up there. And the whole Chest / Head thing is a blurr. I'm developing one single voice that can go really high, and my low range is also expanding. I agree with you that a lot of it is muscle development. And of course a ton of fine coordination and vowel formation. It does go together. That's what I like about the KTVA program and I believe Lunte's program is the same. These programs are vocal workouts - like lifting weights.

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