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newbie question: holding notes freely and strongly in my mid register

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adrizzle36
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Hello everyone! This is my first post on the forum, but I’ve been visiting it for quite a while now. I started singing about a year ago, just for fun, but I have been quite happy with my improvements so far, which gives me some more motivation to try harder lol. I have been playing piano for like 12 years so I had quite a bit of musical background before I decided to start singing. Over this year and a bit, I have been using the singing success program, various youtube videos, and this forum as resources.

I can comfortably hold notes up to an E above middle C and control dynamics. Recently, I’ve been able to keep a light connection in my head register that is not breathy if I sing quietly and I’m able to control it as well. Since I figured out how to support properly [or I hope I’m doing it properly], I could ‘belt’ comfortably up to the B right below male high C. It sounds alright if I just hit the note, but if I have to hold it, I’ll do it slightly whiny with some tension, but it doesn’t hurt and I can still vibrato it a bit. I probably shouldn’t even be trying that yet, but heres my main question:

I can bring a light, connected head voice down into chest, but in the E to G range I want to develop a more resonant sound that doesn’t sound shouty, but still has a full tone about a mezzo piano - mezzo forte volume. Kind of like how Adam Lambert does Mad World. How would I go about accomplishing this? Is that what singing in the mask is for?

My laptop battery is going to die soon, so I’ll have to wrap this up. Hopefully, my post will make sense, I reread it and it looks a bit cluttered, sorry in advance. I’m not too familiar with vocal terminology so if I used something incorrectly or I should change something please tell me. :) If sound clips will be the best way for you guys to help me, I’ll put some up in a week or two once I have time since I have to study for exams lol

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I am also a novice and I have the exact same problem! My voice feels relatively free up to about D4 and between G4-C5. It's the bit in the middle that I struggle to keep a consistent tone with; luckily I continue to feel and hear improvement almost daily with the Singing Success program.

I've heard a couple coaches talk about a natural bridge of E/F/F# (for men), so it maybe it's similar for all unpractised singers. I'd love to hear some feedback, people on this forum know what they're talking about! :D

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Hey,

If you posted a clip of you singing in your lower range (E3-A3 area or so), up into the E4 area, as well as the belt that you do to B4, it would enable everyone to better assess your voice and know what you're talking about.

Josh

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I can bring a light, connected head voice down into chest, but in the E to G range I want to develop a more resonant sound that doesn’t sound shouty, but still has a full tone about a mezzo piano - mezzo forte volume. Kind of like how Adam Lambert does Mad World. How would I go about accomplishing this? Is that what singing in the mask is for?

Adrizzle: In addition to what you are doing by bringing the light, connected high voice down into the mid voice, I recommend sirens or vocal slides (two terms, same thing) over the 2 octave range from A the octave and a 3rd below middle C to the A above it, softly but clearly on all vowels, beginning with /u/ and /i/, (IPA for oo and ee) done very nonaggressively on a mp or even p dynamic.

The goal of the slide is to experience the continual adjustment of the voice which occurs as you change pitch. Without being too technical or jargonny at the moment, the muscles in your throat make small changes in their action and position in response to your change in mental pitch-image. Your goal in the exercise is to make the sound continuous, without blips, shouting, breaks or other anomalies, throughout the range of the exercise.

The reason to start on /u/ and /i/ is that their passagio (bridge) begins lower in the scale than that of any other vowels, so you can experience the resonance changes at a relatively comfortable position in the scale. What this means in the exercise is that you will reach a point as you approach middle C where the resonance starts to thin out and you feel like you have to work harder to make the tone. When you reach that point, resist the temptation to push. Let the voice be dark and small for a little way, slow down the slide, and not too far above that you will find yourself on the 'topside' of that narrow place. As long as you keep the slide going, the tone soft and clear, and do it without allowing throat tension, you will be doing what you need to.

Begin the exercise with soft, clear /i/ (ee), and after a few minutes of that, progress to /u/ (oo). Those will set the stage for the other vowels. I recommend in order /o/ (oh), /e/ (ay), /oe/ (as in foot) and /E/ (eh). For these, you will notice that the narrow place will be a bit higher up the scale because of their resonance characteristics.

Once you have done all those, /A/ (as in cat) and /a/ (as in father) end the series. These have the highest passagio points. Just remember... when you feel the urge to muscle-up, squeeze or push... don't. Your voice is quite capable of singing in a connected fashion through this range without these crutches.

Take it easy on yourself if you find that your voice cracks. THe adjustments we are working toward come with experience, which comes by making the attempt. Be patient with yourself. Performed every day for about 1/2 hour, I think you will notice increasing familiarity with the exercise in a couple days, and have noticable progress in a week. Some of the sensation changes are very subtle.

FYI, I've been doing these for years as a part of my daily warm-up. Let us know how things go, ok?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Adrizzle: as usual, Steven has fabulous advice and the perfect exercise for what you need! You might also try this, when approaching the areas which need more 'presence' in the voice (your E - G area as described, and also on the lower-onset passagio for 'i' and 'u':

a) allow the resonance to fall back out of the mask and direct it back towards the soft palate whilst singing through these tricky areas. You can increase intensity later by adding twang. A lot of guys who are trying to avoid that 'shouty' sound in that E - G (ish) range get good results just from taking the resonance back to this point and then imagining that the sound is exiting through the top of the head.

B) try this support trick: from the waist down, VERY gently push down and out, opening out the pelvis, as you hit the transition notes / the notes which need to be 'present' but not 'shouty'. It'll feel a little like sitting on the loo or (forgive the indelicate reference) pushing out a fart! :P

The combination of this alteration of placement, the 'braced' support (as I like to call it), and Steven's exercises should give you good results quite quickly.

regards,

Dr. Ria Keen

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thanks so much steven and ria :) very clear and at my level of understanding! i've been trying those exercises for a week and a bit around the house and i've been noticing improvements, but now i'm a bit less busy for a while so i'll sit down and try them with more awareness, and hopefully i'll get a clip up soon.

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