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How to break into falsetto?

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Mithali
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Hi,I wonder how to get into falsetto? From what I read falsetto isn't just airy headvoice but, according to wikipedia:

"Production of falsetto vibrates only the ligamentous edges of the vocal folds while leaving each fold's body relatively relaxed. Transition from modal voice to falsetto occurs when each vocal cord's main body, or vocalis muscle, relaxes, enabling the cricothyroid muscles to stretch the vocal ligaments."

Now that is nice, but I have absolutely no idea how to do that... I think that I am always in, what I believe to be, head voice, only more or less airy.

So could anyone please help me and recommend some exercises on finding falsetto? I love it when singer in song breaks from full voice into falsetto, but how do they do that?

I cant think now of any good example. But there is some "break into falsetto" in Whitney Houstons I will always love you at 1:55 and 2:07

or in Paramores The Only Exception at 0:44 on word "swore"

Thanks,

M.

P.S. please I dont want this thread to be about terminology - I know that different approaches (SS,KTVA,MV etc.) uses different terminology so someone may disagree with how I use it... I hope that from the recordings it is clear what I mean by full voice and falsetto...

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First off, wikipedia is not the true source of knowledge. It is user-defined knowledge, which is not always accurate. Falsetto is minimal fold involvement, usually with just about none of the vocalise muscle involved. Try sound what you think a woman sounds like. That is falsetto.

In fact, let me send you a link in email of a song. Listen to the end, for the transition from full voice to falsetto.

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It is true that to get into falsetto you relax the vocalis muscle (TA) and let the CT muscle stretch the folds. And the vibration is only on the outer edges of the folds. Can you yodel? When you yodel you are turning on and off the TA (vocalis muscle).

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@ronws : .. actually I am a woman, so I dont have to imagine sounding like one :) Anyway, thanks for the recording, nice work.

Well... ok... so lets forget about terminology at all... I just want to know, how to produce the type of effect that is in those recordings by Whitney and Paramore I posted... I am not able to simulate that "break", no matter how high or low I try... So what do I need to practice in order to get there...? I can try and post some recording of me singing so you know what "level" I am I know I still have a lot of problems, and I am working on them... but right now, these "breaks" is what I am interested in...

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@guitartrek : yodel you say... hmm... I never actually tried that other than just for fun when I was a kid. So I have no idea if I can do them - I mean properly... How can I tell? :) Do you know about some "manual" on how to do them properly? Thanx :)

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The Paramore example is a good place to start.

So, are you trying to tell us that you can only sing let's say, a C5 or higher in full voice? That you have absolutely no "whisper" quality to your voice, anywhere in the range? At all? Now, that is amazing.

Falsetto is a tonal quality brought about by what is nominally called incomplete adduction of the vocal folds. They are not as close together as when, for example, most people speak. While there is an airy quality to the voice, "falsetto" is a bit of a misnomer. It is a legitimate tone of voice, most commonly used and found in the headvoice region of a singing range.

So, you say you are almost always in head voice. Fair enough. When you say more or less airy, what about the "more airy." That is not falsetto to you? Also, comparing yourself to what Whitney Houston or the singer from Paramore sounds like is unfair to both them and you. Maybe you should upload a clip of what you mean. It doesn't have to be pretty or professionally recorded. It doesn't have to be a whole song. Just u/l what you think is full voice and what you think is an "attempt" and falsetto.

I'm calling your mathematical bluff. "Ron, what do you mean by mathematical?" Every so often, we get someone who claims they can't do this or that, regardless of any advice offered. The perfect mathematically "unsolvable" problem. So, whatcha got? Step up to the plate and take a swing. I mean that in a nice way. It's hard to diagnose what you think your problem is if we can't hear an example.

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mithali - do you have a chest voice at all? If you are blending your chest into head seamlessly, then you are at a level a lot people are trying to acheive. If you don't have a break you may consider yourself lucky. Remember Jewel? She is a great yodeler. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9oxbyLlAYI She is flipping and out of falsetto when yodeling. If you can emulate her I'd think you'd be close to what you are searching for. I don't have any instructions on how to acheive this, except to try to emulate. There is a feeling in the laryx that you let go of something (which is the vocalis) when you flip into falsetto.

You'd should try to post a clip of yourself of singing throughout your range so we can get an idea of what you are doing.

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What you call head voice may really be falsetto. We'd have to hear it.

Falsetto creates very little tension and is usually flute like unless you shape it so that it's not.

In my experience the break is more dramatic and easier to locate for people with lower voices. For me a break between modal voice and falsetto is always present. I can't bridge between them via mezza voce or any other way.

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Hi,I wonder how to get into falsetto? From what I read falsetto isn't just airy headvoice but, according to wikipedia:

"Production of falsetto vibrates only the ligamentous edges of the vocal folds while leaving each fold's body relatively relaxed. Transition from modal voice to falsetto occurs when each vocal cord's main body, or vocalis muscle, relaxes, enabling the cricothyroid muscles to stretch the vocal ligaments."

Now that is nice, but I have absolutely no idea how to do that... I think that I am always in, what I believe to be, head voice, only more or less airy.

So could anyone please help me and recommend some exercises on finding falsetto? I love it when singer in song breaks from full voice into falsetto, but how do they do that?

I cant think now of any good example. But there is some "break into falsetto" in Whitney Houstons I will always love you at 1:55 and 2:07

or in Paramores The Only Exception at 0:44 on word "swore"

Thanks,

M.

P.S. please I dont want this thread to be about terminology - I know that different approaches (SS,KTVA,MV etc.) uses different terminology so someone may disagree with how I use it... I hope that from the recordings it is clear what I mean by full voice and falsetto...

Mithali: Do you want to learn how to make that tone quality shift suddenly, as they do, or are you interested to learn how to sing with that softer, lighter quality?

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Ok... so now I think... that they are actually going from mixed voice into pure head voice and not into falsetto (they dont sound airy)... is that possible? And maybe falsetto is really just airy head voice...?

If that is the case, it would mean that I dont know how to get into pure headvoice which would explain why I have a "second" break around D# = I cannot get above H without adding air... so I cant sing those notes with ease and quietly. This "ceiling" can be heard at the end of followin recording from 1:15 :

I have to "shout" it a bit and it changes color to bit of "squeezy" or "operish".

So my question now is... how do I find pure head voice? I used to sing in chest voice only for few past years and I am fooling around with head voice just for a half a year now.

Btw this is how I used to sing before (chest voice only) I started trying to acces my head voice and erase the break:

Btw I know I have tons of work to do... but any advice (what should I focuse on, what exercises) will be appreciated...

Thnax. M.

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Ok... so now I think... that they are actually going from mixed voice into pure head voice and not into falsetto (they dont sound airy)... is that possible? And maybe falsetto is really just airy head voice...?

If that is the case, it would mean that I dont know how to get into pure headvoice which would explain why I have a "second" break around D# = I cannot get above H without adding air... so I cant sing those notes with ease and quietly. This "ceiling" can be heard at the end of followin recording from 1:15 :

I have to "shout" it a bit and it changes color to bit of "squeezy" or "operish".

So my question now is... how do I find pure head voice? I used to sing in chest voice only for few past years and I am fooling around with head voice just for a half a year now.

Btw this is how I used to sing before (chest voice only) I started trying to acces my head voice and erase the break:

Btw I know I have tons of work to do... but any advice (what should I focuse on, what exercises) will be appreciated...

Thnax. M.

it helps to just know that when you are in "falsetto" there will be a feeling like you are expiring breath quick. you cannot strengthen it because it's airy and breathy.

head voice (which b.t.w.) you are in for this paramore link above, has fold closure and has more connection and core. you have a nice head voice actually.

this is what people call "falsetto"...note others may say light head voice...the term itself remain the biggest obstacle to understanding it.

at 1:23 is considered "falsetto" ...he's in and out of falsetto through this entire song. you don't always break into falsetto, somtimes you have to release into it. you let go of your fold closure and "allow" falsetto. chris isaak is so skilled at this. listen at 2:49 he releases into "falsetto" from chest voice.

at the end the "dream on's" are falsetto.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx2rEbG4_H4

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@VIDEOHERE : thank you!:) Anyway... the Isaaks thingy doesnt sound breathy to me... actually it sounds very thin and sharp - more like a head voice with minimal air flow. So I must officialy admit - I cannot tell falsetto from head voice.

Anyway when I try to do breathy sound it is just a breathy head voice - meaning I can go from that to full head voice without any breaks or anything... And I guess its not possible to gradually shift from head voice into falsetto, or is it? I tried the "cant do a thing" and I tried to make it as airy as possible but I still think it is head voice, just airy as hell :)

So for now I would like to learn how to quickly shift from full-ish to breathy voice... like Elle on this track (it is not mine! This is from Mastering Mix series by Bratt Mannings.) :

http://soundcloud.com/mithali/03-hypnotized-elle-track

Do you guys have a tip on an exercise that may help speed things up? Or do you think it is to early for me to be thinking about such a things? :) I keep in mind the yodeling tip, that sounds interesting.

Thnx, M.

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@VIDEOHERE : thank you!:) Anyway... the Isaaks thingy doesnt sound breathy to me... actually it sounds very thin and sharp - more like a head voice with minimal air flow. So I must officialy admit - I cannot tell falsetto from head voice.

Anyway when I try to do breathy sound it is just a breathy head voice - meaning I can go from that to full head voice without any breaks or anything... And I guess its not possible to gradually shift from head voice into falsetto, or is it? I tried the "cant do a thing" and I tried to make it as airy as possible but I still think it is head voice, just airy as hell :)

So for now I would like to learn how to quickly shift from full-ish to breathy voice... like Elle on this track (it is not mine! This is from Mastering Mix series by Bratt Mannings.) :

http://soundcloud.com/mithali/03-hypnotized-elle-track

Do you guys have a tip on an exercise that may help speed things up? Or do you think it is to early for me to be thinking about such a things? :) I keep in mind the yodeling tip, that sounds interesting.

Thnx, M.

i'm not sure i understand your desire. where specifically on that elle track are you hearing what you want from your voice?

i feel you have those components in your vocals already. i'm kinda stumped. you may not be cognizant of the fact that you're voice is going there.

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Well... ok... to generalize what I feel is my problem here... I dont know how to do big QUICK shifts in my tone... I mean from firm, to airy and back, big pitch jumps etc.... every time I try it still feels (sounds) too smooth (which means slow I guess). In those vids from Whitney, Paramore and Isaak they all are able to do those skips more dramatic, more sudden or how to say it... it really sounds like if they "break" into it. I also have a problem with "attacking" notes when the words dont start with some nice letters like "r" etc.... which is I guess a problem of diaphram support and being relaxed enough?

So I guess now I need exercises to gain better breath support and another set to get my larynx used to quick changes without making it tense up...

In the recording from Elle she shifts rapidly from airy to firmer eg at 1:14 at words "you dont know what you've been"... if I try to do that, my neck quickly tense up and it sounds bad.... plus she has a nice attack on the notes/words... eg right on the start of the track at "you dont know what you've been"... I cant do that either with that kind of attack/staccato without tensing up.

So gaining this kind of "relaxed control" is my next goal. Now I just have to figure out how to gain it... :)

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Well... ok... to generalize what I feel is my problem here... I dont know how to do big QUICK shifts in my tone... I mean from firm, to airy and back, big pitch jumps etc.... every time I try it still feels (sounds) too smooth (which means slow I guess). In those vids from Whitney, Paramore and Isaak they all are able to do those skips more dramatic, more sudden or how to say it... it really sounds like if they "break" into it. I also have a problem with "attacking" notes when the words dont start with some nice letters like "r" etc.... which is I guess a problem of diaphram support and being relaxed enough?

So I guess now I need exercises to gain better breath support and another set to get my larynx used to quick changes without making it tense up...

In the recording from Elle she shifts rapidly from airy to firmer eg at 1:14 at words "you dont know what you've been"... if I try to do that, my neck quickly tense up and it sounds bad.... plus she has a nice attack on the notes/words... eg right on the start of the track at "you dont know what you've been"... I cant do that either with that kind of attack/staccato without tensing up.

So gaining this kind of "relaxed control" is my next goal. Now I just have to figure out how to gain it... :)

ah, okay now i see. yes, your own assumptions are basically right.

guitartrek's suggestion to yodel gets you to feel that release. i wouldn't call it a "break" ...more of a release.

when i sing "wicked game" (another chris isaak, big fan) and i sing "no i dont want to fall in love" i'm in chest for the "no" and i "release" the ta muscles and move up into falsetto (or head if you want to call it a light head voice). it takes a lot of control and yes staying relaxed in the throat area so you can shift without it locking up.

hope this helped.

i think you have a nice tone to your voice as it is.

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Yeah - I started reading a lot of the wikipedia stuff as a result of this thread. It is put together pretty well.

Mithali - Your voice is very nice and relaxed. Nice tone. In your original clip it sounded like you were going into female falsetto at 0:28. The rest of the high notes toward the end sound like head voice. But, as wikipedia says, it is hard to tell with a female voice.

If you are trying to emulate what Elle is doing in that clip, at 1:14 (which she flips into either a breathy head, or falsetto), it seems that you need to develop your chest voice more.

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Ah, so it is about psychology. It depends on what you are thinking is falsetto. Chris Isaak does quite a bit of falsetto, and quite well. Yet, you though it was sharp and focused. Which it is. For falsetto.

It is also possible to have a falsetto that has some volume. My understanding of falsetto is greatly helped by the likes of Anthony Frisell. The intensified stream of air provides the pressure to drive falsetto into a full voice sound. That is, at one level of air pressure, it is what we nominally call falsetto. With more intense air, we achieve a fuller phonation without having to strain the folds into a closer adduction.

In other words, ya gots to have some wind going on.

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Well... ok... to generalize what I feel is my problem here... I dont know how to do big QUICK shifts in my tone... I mean from firm, to airy and back, big pitch jumps etc.... every time I try it still feels (sounds) too smooth (which means slow I guess). In those vids from Whitney, Paramore and Isaak they all are able to do those skips more dramatic, more sudden or how to say it... it really sounds like if they "break" into it. I also have a problem with "attacking" notes when the words dont start with some nice letters like "r" etc.... which is I guess a problem of diaphram support and being relaxed enough?

So I guess now I need exercises to gain better breath support and another set to get my larynx used to quick changes without making it tense up...

Mithali: I listened to your recordings from your first post, and they were very enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the 'Desperado'... your clear lower tones reminded me of how Karen Carpenter sang, a sound I really like.

In the other recording, when you progress toward the upper middle range, you are adding head voice coordination to it, and getting louder just as I would expect a full female voice with those lower tones to posess. As you ascend and crescendo, a pleasant vibrato shows up, which I liked.

To my ear, the reason that you don't have that rapid tonal shift is that you've not yet found out how to make that very much lighter head voice sound. For it to occur, it will be very helpful to let the oo and ee vowels assist. Remember back to Whitney's 'I will always love you'? You can hear her make the transition in the last chorus, in the middle of the word 'I', which she pronounces Ah-ee-Ah-ee-Ah. The Ah vowels in the word are in mid voice, and she lets the ee vowels go in to head.

OO and ee vowels, if you do not drop the jaw much, or open the lips too widely sideways, will go into head voice earlier in an upward note pattern than all the other vowels. This effect begins to occur quite naturally at about A or Bb above middle C. To experience it, sing an oo with the end of your little finger between your teeth, and with your lips loosely shaped around it. This will give a somewhat puckered mouth shape. With that shape, start an easy medium volume siren on the D above middle C, and slide up the octave maintaining that shape and volume. Transpose up 4 or five times.

At some point in one of the transpositions, you will likely feel the point where the 'release' others have been discussing will tend to occur. With oo or ee, this is more easily experienced.

Once you have found this new feeling, you can incorporate it more firmly into your technique via the use of onsets added to the end of a siren. Beginning as before, slide up on the oo to the D above middle C, release the note, and re-start it with the same sound. Repeat the release and re-start of the note several times. Transpose upward, and repeat.

I hope this helps.

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Thank you very much, guys... this discussion really helps me understand what I need to work on now :)

@Steven Fraser : You are certainly right about the lighter head voice. I read everywhere that as you ascend in pitch you should need less and less air... but that is not my case so I am doing something wrong. I will try the exercise you advised, hopefully I will be able to find the right way :) Thank you.

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@guitartrek : btw what exactly you mean by "develop your chest voice more" ? ...you can hear how my chest voice is in the Desperado recording... so you mean expanding range or am I doing something completely wrong?

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Ok - I didn't listen to desperado until now. Yeah that is good chest voice. Sounds very nice. If you want to experience a sudden shift to falsetto, you'd want to sing one of those higher chest voice notes, and then let go to sing a breathy note maybe a 5th above. Try singing your chest voice with a thick tone, and sing an ascending scale while keeping the thick sound. At some point you are not going to be able to sing any higher, then let yourself "crack" into a higher pitch. That crack will be the TA letting go and you will flip into falsetto. Of course this is something that most of us are trying NOT to do, as we are all trying to blend chest into head, and a lot of us guys don't like falsetto. But seeing as you already have a great connection, and you want to sing falsetto, this may help you find control over that muscle. It's there and you're using it. You just have to find where the "switch" is so you can turn it on and off. This will be that yodel that I've been talking about.

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