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Do you have to sing as loud as you can to get full high notes?

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jonpall
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Personally, I don't think so, but I wanted to get you guys' opinion.

Now, I don't think singing very softly is ever going to sound very full, but I'm guessing that singing at a comfortable volume, maybe slightly loud, maybe messo forte, is is the way to go. To start off, singing non-breathy is going to increase the volume a bit.

The thing is, for the past few weeks, I've been thinking that I need to be able to increase the volume in my head voice range (E4-E5) and then, voila - I would have a fuller, more powerful sounding head voice. But now I've come to think that if I sing a thin, high note and make it louder, it will just be a louder, thin note!

A better way would be to do things like reduce the amount of air, don't shoot my larynx to the roof for more bass overtones, twang a bit for more treble/cut overtones, a slight vowel modification here and there, relax my external throat muscles for better resonance, etc. and then you'd have a great, full high note, even though it was just at messo forte volume.

It's hard to stay connected in your high range if you're singing as, or almost as loud as you can! It would help to be able to reduce the volume slightly and still sound awesome.

It would mean a lot to me if some of you experts here would take the time to read that and tell me if I'm on the right track here.

Thanks in advance!

jonpall

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Let me preface this by saying that I am speaking of classical technique. You learn to sing on the piano tone, and a fully realized, free note is one that you can crescendo and decrescendo. This depends upon having a throat that is relaxed and free. If the only way you can get a note is in forte, that signals there is something wrong with your production, usually involving throat constriction and pushing.

Since technique is developed in the human body, this advice should hold true regardless of the repertoire.

It takes ten years to achieve mastery over singing, and over any kind of activity, even playing chess. That is how much time it takes to repeat the actions correctly so that myelination of all the connections of the nerves takes place.

Cheers,

Roberta

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<snip>

Now, I don't think singing very softly is ever going to sound very full, but I'm guessing that singing at a comfortable volume, maybe slightly loud, maybe messo forte, is is the way to go. To start off, singing non-breathy is going to increase the volume a bit.

<snip>

jonpall

Jonpall: Its a great question, To really get at this, I believe that it would be useful to discuss first what characteristics a 'full' sung note has, regardless of the range. Then, we can proceed to whether those characteristics can be achieved without singing at top volume.

So, for you, what would be a 'full' tone?

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I guess I mean a tone with lots of overtones, i.e. both bottom and top ones. After experimenting with this some more, I keep on finding that reducing the amount of air automatically makes the tone a bit louder. I was just wondering if you could make a high note louder, then louder, then ever more loud ... and THEN, voila, it would be a "full" tone (with a big range of overtones). But I don't think that's the correct way to do it, i.e. simply increase the volume (which I think is done by thickening the vocal folds and increasing the breath pressure).

Does that answer your question, Steven?

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jonpall,

you are right, pure volume doe not make a head voice range note automatically fuller. you can sing reasonably loud very light head voice tones or even falsettos, the volume doesnt suddenly make them fuller (more chest voice like sounding). making them fuller sounding has to do with resonance and differing coordinations/setups. however if you are trying to set up those different coordinations/or are getting close to them in your training then singing them loudly can be helpful to get them in place. ultimately though you should have the choice whether to sing any note quiet or loud without it losing its "core"or "body" if you dont want it too. if you look at a tenor singing pianissimo it still has a "core" to the sound even though its quiet.

for example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noeYwZTQN04

Pavarotti at 2:04. that pianissimo still has core or body to the sound even though its quiet. he could easily take that quiet sound and swell it into a very loud sound because he started off with a good coordination in the first place.

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I don't think so either but I do hear guys who's volume stays the same or slightly decreases as they go up (very popular in R&B back up singers) and sometimes the voice loses an urgency. I think it's natural to increase some volume and I think it's good, especially in rock. Traditionally guitars are layered in the chorus of a song where the vocal will go up and a little extra db isn't always the worst thing to help the vocal to poke through. And it's not a matter of turning up a fader volume, it comes from the singer. When done right it can be very effective. Stand in a room when Christina Agulaira is throwing down, that kids got some serious crank in her voice, it sells records.

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Thanks, guys.

Steven, do you have anything further to add?

Jonpall: I am in agreement that the presence of plentiful overtones serves to make a tone perceived as 'full', but only when they are in a particular balance of strength. There is a difference between a 'present' harmonic, and one loud enough to contribute the overall volume of the tone. For me, a full tone has strength in the lower harmonics that is not overpowered by the higher harmonics which must be present as well.

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