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Trying to find "ring" while avoiding nasality.... what's going on?

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mjgp3
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Hey guys, I'm new here and new to singing/voice lessons as well.

Every now and then I'll produce a semblance of a tone that I actually like, but it's usually very fleeting, so I'm trying to just nail it down!

I think the sensations I have when I'm producing such a tone are what my teacher calls ring or ping or whatever. I can really feel it around my nose and the tone that I hear in my head sounds very high frequency and almost tinny, but translates to nicer fuller sound on playback (it almost sounds like this resonance is covering my voice and masking the tone that I don't like or something?).

Anyhow, trouble is I think to myself "try to feel it in your nose/face" now whenever I sing and sometimes this translates to a truly nasal, lowered soft palette-y tone or sometimes the tone isn't nasal, but otherwise feels forced.

When I'm doing it "right," I can sing higher in my range more easily and it seems like I'm using less air maybe...

Of course, I'm not even totally satisfied with my tone when I'm doing it "right" which is why right is in quotations, but I think it's a step in the right direction?

I guess with that as a setup, what's going on here? Does what I'm describing make sense? Are there exercises that can help me hone in on this "placement?"

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Hey mjgp3, I find that sometimes that 'fleeting ping' can be a vowel issue, especially in the higher range which seems to be where you're experiencing it. First, though, I would recommend not worrying too much about the nasality at first. Getting the ping way up high and forward is one of the most important things for a singer, so get that down and then you'll have the freedom to darken it later rather than taking a dark sound and trying to force that ping.

Certain vowels resonate better up high, like the 'i' in 'hit'. The term is vowel modification and there's lots of good threads, but the idea is that your vowels need to start shading towards these to maintain that good ring up high. So your fleeting moments might be when you are singing a word that has an 'ih' or 'ooh' in it because these resonate well higher up. Try taking a line and just substituting all the vowels with 'ih'. It will sound weird, but really helps your resonance, then back it off to something in between once you have it.

Once you have that, you control how much of the sound goes into your nose with the soft palate/nasal port.

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Thanks, guys. I only sort of understand what you mean by dopy. I understand lifting the soft palate though and singing on ng and releasing to an ah vowel has helped me to do that or right the ship when I sense it going awry. The "dopy" sound, I thought, was a low larynx exercise, which may well be something I can benefit from, but I'd love to learn more. I haven't heard about it in voice lessons yet, so I haven't worked with any "dopy" exercises.

And truth1ness, now that you mention it, you are very right about the fleetingness being dependent on vowels. As you say, the "ih" vowel is very easy for me. Also, ee's as in 'beat' seem to resonate nicely. I will try substituting as you say, and I know the idea of vowel modification, but am not quite sure how to execute it on, say an "ah" vowel. I notice when I do the above ng-ah exercise, all the vibrations I'm feeling around my nose and eyes are gone once I sing the "ah" vowel. I can feel it more on the "ih" vowel as you suspect.

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Hey mjgp, this video was posted on this forum and was incredibly helpful to me for this specific issue. He shows how you blend the vowel towards one of the more 'head friendly' ones as you go up with lots of good examples of moving any vowel towards ih and ooh. Ah is tough because it's on the far opposite on the scale of 'headiness' as it resonates towards the lower back of the mouth. Try doing an Ah-Uh-Oh smoothly back and forth and you'll feel how the resonance moves.

http://www.goodrichvocal.com/videos/goodrichvocalvideo5.html

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I'm excited to play with this tonight when I get a chance to practice.

Strange that he brings up singing with a mouth too open vertically... my voice teacher is always telling me I need to open my mouth "more than I think." I understand what he's getting at with the splatting sing high on the ahh vowel, but it seems to me that opening your mouth wide is a symptom of that splatting rather than a cause... he guess he was more using it as a diagnostic tool so maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

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I'm excited to play with this tonight when I get a chance to practice.

Strange that he brings up singing with a mouth too open vertically... my voice teacher is always telling me I need to open my mouth "more than I think." I understand what he's getting at with the splatting sing high on the ahh vowel, but it seems to me that opening your mouth wide is a symptom of that splatting rather than a cause... he guess he was more using it as a diagnostic tool so maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

mjgp3: The amount of vertical opening moves the vowel resonances around. Depending on the vowel, and the note, a particular amount of vertical opening could be too much, or too little. If combined with too much horizontal opening of the lips, the vowel can become overly bright for some genres of music.

The particular tunings used also vary from voice type to voice type.

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Practices like yesterday's make me question the degree to which I've actually produced "ring." Whenever I'd try to recreate that sensation, my voice would just sound comically brassy, tinny, and bad! I'd get a bit more full of a tone by kind of not paying attention to "placement" (if that's the word) and just singing loudly... but I don't feel comfortable with having 'just sing louder' be the answer.

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