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Abnormal buzz rattle when singing n-words on high notes

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I have searched EVERYWHERE for information about this problem I have been having. I am a female mezzo, and While singing the Nazareth song "Love Hurts", when I get to the bridge part "They're not fooling me" which I sing in the blend/mix/middle register, the N in NOT comes out crackely/buzzy/rattly and sometimes causes an interruption/dampening of the sound. What causes this and how can I fix this? PS - I don't feel like I have a stuffy nose (except when I sing that N sound to high notes).


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One thing I am suspecting... you may have tension in the base of your tongue when you try singing "N" in those places in your voice. Try putting two fingers under your chin, tell yourself not to bulk up your tongue there and try again.

I look forward to hearing what works for you!

Judy Rodman

Power, Path & Performance professional vocal training


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It starts a little above and persists all the way up in mixed/middle voice, and in head voice I can't even say the n sound. It always comes out like a d sound. Any ideas?

Liebensong: There is a clue embedded in your description: If the attempt to make an 'n' comes out sounding like a 'd', then there is something preventing you from nasalizing in that pitch range. Here are the possiblities. I don't know which one is actually the case for you:

1) You are constricting your nostrils by motion of your facial muscles, reducing the amount of air that can pass through the nasal cavities. If this is the case you should be able to see this motion while looking at yourself in the mirror. If you think it may be this, stop the note while keeping your face in the position, and try breathing through your nose. :-)

2) There is blockage in your nasal cavities that restricts airflow, and you are using more airflow in your mix range than the nasal spaces will allow. I suggest doing some slow, nasal sirens (on M and N) through the entirety of your range, and at all dynamic levels to discover which are, or are not, affected.

3) The soft palate is rising higher for the vowels in this pitch region, and is getting pulled up too high to allow a good n or m to happen. To try this out, use the 'ng' nasal, as in the last sound of the word 'sung'. If you find yourself unable to slide through the pitch region in question without opening to a vowel, this could be an indicator.

IMO, the best way to learn to sing nasals consistently is to, well, sing nasals. :-) The NG sound is a good place to start. Then try transitions from NG, to M, to N on single pitches. First, do the transitions comfortably in your lower range, then proceed up scalewise. I think you will discover what is going on.

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Thank you so much for the tips! I am going to try both! Strangely, I sang that particular song out last night and did it perfectly - I have no idea how so maybe your ideas will help me do that consistently.

My ENT also suggested a possible blockage/mucus since my sinuses are structurally normal & he recommended a saline rinse along with paying attention to technique.

Thanks again!

- Heather

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