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Programmes for Classical Singing

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Rhapsody
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TC Helicon's dead so here I am...cut and pasted:

Hi all, I've posted here before..a year ago. Right now this forum seems really really dead. Anyways, just wondering if Jaime Vendera's RYV is suitable for classical singing?

I'm also curious if I'm using damaging vocal techniques. Basically to hit higher notes I'll drop my chin (the same way if I would use my hand to push it in) and really raise my soft palate high up. What happens is sometimes my sound kinda thins out and some phlegm gets into my throat and I'll have to clear it to get a clear sound again. But I don't experience acute pain or any pain at all, just slight irritation probably because of the phlegm. Is it safe to continue to use this technique to reach for the notes?

Well there is a limit for me which is that a G above middle C is really pushing it and usually my voice will just thin out and flatten. Then I'll go to pure head tone (not falsetto) which can go up to..really high I don't really check.

Lastly I'm trying to get a really big and strong sound by maximising resonance, not so much of hitting high notes. I find that I can get a strong resonance really easy in my lower notes, but once I approach D4 I lose the strong vibration feel in my head. Funny thing is for my "e" vowel I can resonate really really well and it is my best vowel to hit F4 or G4 very easily as well.

Will RYV, or suggest another book, be able to help me in these areas?

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I'm also curious if I'm using damaging vocal techniques. Basically to hit higher notes I'll drop my chin (the same way if I would use my hand to push it in) and really raise my soft palate high up. What happens is sometimes my sound kinda thins out and some phlegm gets into my throat and I'll have to clear it to get a clear sound again. But I don't experience acute pain or any pain at all, just slight irritation probably because of the phlegm. Is it safe to continue to use this technique to reach for the notes?

Rhapsody: Why do you feel you have to drop your chin and raise your soft palate to produce high notes? Those motions eventually reach the maximum extent of available motion, and then what do you do?

IMO, if you want to gain consistent resonance as you go up past the D to the G, you want to be sure that you are keeping your phonation consistent and letting the vowels darken (in classical terms, "close") so that the timbre matches well.

Other than inconvenience, I don't think the phlegm is a problem.

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Dropping my chin and raising my soft palate helps in relieving tension when I go higher so I don't strangle myself.. I don't know it helped a little that is why I use it. When I can't drop/raise anymore..and my high notes thin and flatten out from there I just go into head tone.. just that it'll sound weird going from chest to pure head tone even without "breaking" or "flipping".

Do you mean to keep the same shape for my "e" vowel across my other poorer vowels?

Thanks for the reply!!! =D really helpful

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Dropping my chin and raising my soft palate helps in relieving tension when I go higher so I don't strangle myself.. I don't know it helped a little that is why I use it. When I can't drop/raise anymore..and my high notes thin and flatten out from there I just go into head tone.. just that it'll sound weird going from chest to pure head tone even without "breaking" or "flipping".

Do you mean to keep the same shape for my "e" vowel across my other poorer vowels?

Rhapsody: Motions as you describe are done to relieve tensions are workarounds. Ok for awhile, but indicate that there is an unresolved technical issue.

Also, there is the tendency to overdo anything done deliberately. For example, attempting to raise the soft palate 'more' induces undesirable tensions just from the trying. IMO, much better to let your concept of the vowel produce the desired position of the soft palate.

On a technical level, in the transition from the top of the 'chest' voice into the upper voice there is a change in the interaction between resonance and phonation. In this region (depending on the voice, from Bb to Eb for bass, C to F for baritone or from D to G for tenor) the ascending notes are not amplified as much because of the poor alignment of the harmonics with the resonances of the voice. This makes the voice feel and sound thinner, and also cannot be done with the same intensity of phonation as on the notes just immediately lower.

The instinct of the untrained singer is to let the vowels open up , usually by dropping jaw or smiling, so that the production of the upper chest voice is sustained, with vigorous phonation. This actually works very well through most of that problem range, however the singer reaches the limit of beauty... sounds a bit like yelling, and the limit of pitch... it cannot transition to the top voice smoothly because the oversinging cannot be sustained. Generally, this approach is called 'pushing chest' and it is very common.

The compromise used by classical singers when approaching this region is to close ("cover", darken a little) the vowels subtlely in a manner that is unnoticed by the listener. This procedure lessens the power of the notes a little, but when combined with a slight lessening of the intensity of phonation, sets up the circumstances for a smooth transition to the top voice. In effect, by combining these two changes... lessening of phonation intensity and using a darker form of the vowel, the vocal process can make the adjustments required to allow the top voice to function in a manner that is connected with, but slightly different from, the chest voice.

I know this is a bunch of words and concepts. However, its fairly easiliy turned into vocal exercises. Here is one of them:

Begin a scale, medium-soft dynamic, on Ah from the Eb below middle C to the octave above. When you reach the point where you feel like you would normally drop your chin, raise your palate and keep going... do not do any of those things. Instead, lessen the intensity a tiny bit, and round your lips just slightly to shade the vowel toward oh, and sustain that note for a while. Remember what note on the piano this is. Repeat just those notes of the scale... from the Eb to that note, whatever it is, each time, shading the top note toward oh just a little bit.

Then, transpose the scale up 1 whole step, starting on the F below middle C. When you get to 'the note' where you shaded before, do so again, and then go up 1 more note in the scale, and shade that one toward oh just a bit more and hold it. Repeat, keeping the dynamic medium-soft.

Now, add the downward part of the scale. Sing up as you just did, and after a moment on the top note, sing the scale back down on that same breath, 'undoing' the shading on the way down. Repeat this a few times.

Now, transpose the exercise to G, and repeat, shading the top note just a bit more toward oh, sustain a moment, and then scale back down.

Take a 10-min break after doing this for 15 mins or so, and then repeat it.

As you gain familiarity wiith this approach, you will be able to transpose up further, with less strain than you previously experienced.

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Anyways, just wondering if Jaime Vendera's RYV is suitable for classical singing?

Will RYV, or suggest another book, be able to help me in these areas?

I would say RYV focuses towards rock technique. It is a great book though, and helped me a lot with overall understandning of the voice and furthermore it pointed me in the right directions towards further reading and other great programmes. And even if you're just into one style of singing I think it helps reading about technique focused towards other areas of singing too. All understandning of the voice helps you in your own development. Myself I have an education in musical theatre and sing anything from classic musical to pop, rock and metal. That said - this is what I would recommend concerning vocal training and understanding of voice and technique:

- Complete Vocal Technique (Cathrine Sadolin), covers A LOT, from support to singing and adding effects such as distorsion. Good for all genres, classical to death metal, and gives you great understandning of the voice.

- Singing Success (Brett Manning), a training programme for pop voice with a lot of focus on upper registers and headvoice.

- Vocal Asylum (James Lugo), a training programme focused on rock and metal singing.

- Raise Your Voice (Jamie Vendera), as mentioned focused on rock singing and overall technique.

- Singing For The Stars (Seth Riggs), mainly focused on pop voice, a good read about voice and technique.

- Discover Your Voice (Oren L Brown), vocal technique and a lot of focus on vocal problems. Haven't had time to read this myself yet but it's supposed to be great.

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Steven.. your advice works. I don't know how, but it's helped since the moment I "shade" with my lips. I'll work on it for a month to see how it goes. All these while I've been changing my inner vowel to get the best resonance so I can go higher. Also, you guys are right, I guess I've been "pushing chest". My break point is around E to F, but really I can break anywhere (i think). Sometimes when I speak and get lazy I'll break into falsetto =D

Pardon me if I don't get all the lingo right, this is how I understand my body and singing at the moment. Right now I'm working on mixing my pure head tone with chest tone, by working on releasing tension and focusing on getting the resonance. Am I on the correct track? As in, if I intend to train without a voice coach, would be this the ideal direction to move in?

Robert, TC-Helicon Voice Council? Nobody replies there. Well, at least hardly.

Wow Marcus, that's a lot of recommendations. I'm gonna break my head choosing one =p I know venturing into other genres will help, cuz personally I tried Robert Lunte's "lift up pull back" couple of years ago and it has helped my bridging a lot.

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