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A little question about vowel modification ..

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Hey guys,

We do this song in our band

At the end of the chorus there is the long Melissma on the word release. Which would usually be sustained on the 'ee' vowel. When I modify it to something 'ay' ish it just sounds wrong because the sound of the word disappears (it's 1.04 on the video) and if i don't modify obviously doesn't sound as beefy as I want it too.

any ideas on how I can approach this particular phrase?

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The singer is not modifying - rather singing that in falsetto which you can retain more of the original "ee". In CVT speak, he's singing in neutral which supposedly you can do without modification. But in other areas where he is belting out the "ee" he modifies to "eh". So it all depends on how much power you want. If you want it powerful you need to open it up it "sit" or "eh".

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The singer is not modifying - rather singing that in falsetto which you can retain more of the original "ee". In CVT speak, he's singing in neutral which supposedly you can do without modification. But in other areas where he is belting out the "ee" he modifies to "eh". So it all depends on how much power you want. If you want it powerful you need to open it up it "sit" or "eh".

Geno, I disagree. He is modifying in this song. Modification doesn't mean you have to choose between a super closed "ee" and a more open "ih". You can sing your vowel somewhere in between the closed and open vowel. Of course, the bigger a sound you want to get, the more you will need to modify and move toward the open vowel. In this case the guy isn't modifying all the way to ih, because he doesn't need a huge tone. But he absolutely has to be modifying somewhat, because you simply can't get a pleasant tone like that with a really forward closed "ee" vowel, no matter how small your tone.

Secondly, I don't think he's in falsetto. The tone is not particularly breathy and is well connected when he drops back down into the lower register. I'd say it's a light cry/headvoice tone. I believe in CVT they'd call it "curbing".

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Not sure I follow, what would be the differece from the I on sit, to ee? Like see? Free?

Felipe, just out of curiosity, is English your native language? If so, speak the word "free" or "see". Then do it again, but this time sustain the pitch. It will likely produce a rather ugly sound.

If English is not your native language, this may not happen. The way that many other languages pronounce the "ee" in free, it's quite similar to the I in sit.

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Not sure I follow, what would be the differece from the I on sit, to ee? Like see? Free?

I believe the i in sit is pronounced more like "ee" together with an "uh". It's not really the pierciness of an "ee" as in free, still not as dark as an "uh". :)

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thought these 3 EEs were interesting. powerful high C.

First one "cos its free" is quite a piercing 'ee', second one "and I see" is a little more 'ii' and the last one "that its me" is a little more uhh

0:24

edit: actually, on relistening, they all have some uhh in them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQzNBTukO0w&feature=related

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Remylebeau - I'm talking about whether or not he changed either the 1st or 2nd formant. To me it doesn't sound that way. In other parts of the song he definitely changed the formants on "ee's" but not in this area (to my ears). If I compare this section of the song to others - I would not say he was singing "sit" or "eh" - I recognize the vowel as "ee".

Tamplin's approach to "ee" is that it is modified through the passagio area and then above a certain point, you go back to a pure "ee". And from my own exeperience - I practice the CVT neutral exercises every day which is a non-modified "ee". I don't have to modify (or if I do it is not much at all) from F3 through F5. However, if I put more power (volume) into the tone, I almost have to modify it.

In the area she pointed out - it is a light CT dominant tone. Falsetto / Head and Chest have have so many definitions that he is singing in what I call falsetto, but you may not.

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Cool song. Sounds to me that in the Chorus he is singing that in what most would call falsetto. Instead of release he sings ruh-switches to falsetto Liiiiiieese me.

The final Chorus sounds like he is in head voice. You can hear him Reh-Leh siren up to ii or closer eese me.

Anyway that is how I hear it. I could verywell be wrong.

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i agree with geno.

if we're reffering specifically to the "ee" he sings at 1:04 and in the way he sings it, it can definitely be taken up in a pure "ee" as in "see."

it's a narrow, open throat "ee" not a horizontal speech "ee." it's doable in that heady way he did it.

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I think we have different definitions of modification, for sure. My guess is that while you may not consciously modify your "ee" towards an "ih", you keep you soft palate high and your tongue curved.

The only version of "ee" that I consider to be "unmodified", is the kind where you have a dropped soft palate, your tongue is flat and covering the top of your mouth, and you feel the vibrations right at your lips rather than in the back of your throat. This is the way that native English speakers (at least the ones I know) say "ee" in everyday speech. It's a god awful sound for singing and its only use is if you intentionally want to create a sound with an annoying ring to it. Neil Patrick Harris does it here on the "ee" in the word "Ease" at 0:22.

Now, you're right that in Release, the guy definitely still sounds like he's singing an "ee" rather than an "ih". But it doesn't have that god awful annoying ring to it that a really front "ee" like the one NPH sings in that video does. Most likely his soft palate is raised, his tongue is not flat, and the vibrations are felt in the back of his throat.

Again, English speakers do not have have this setup when they're saying the "ee" vowel in everyday speech. Italian speakers, on the other hand, do. Not surprisingly, the way they say "ee" in Italian is much closer to the I in sit than when English speakers say "ee". It may still sounds more like "ee" than like "Ih", but it's closer to "Ih" than the English "ee".

And you're right we definitely have different definitions of falsetto. My definition of falsetto is not a light CT dominant tone. I would call that a soft cry. My definition of falsetto is no fold closure. That guy's tone definitely has some closure.

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I agree about that "ee" at 0:22 - that is bad. When I talk about an unmodified "ee" I'm talking about the "ee" from the CVT audio clips "neutral without air". They (cvt) would consider this an unmodified "ee". It has more of a rounded deeper sound to it. It is definitely not "ih" or "eh" - and it is definitely not like that video at 0:22.

Some of my past teachers would say "put some "oo" in the "ee". I beleive what they wanted is to make sure the 3rd formant in the "ee" was more like the 3rd formant of the "oo". The super high 3rd formant (controlled at the lips) gives that crazy bright "ee" like this guy in the video.

There are so many definitions of head and falsetto - I've been going by the definitions I found below - The TA is almost completely relaxed. It makes the most sense to me. But again - there are so many definitions you can't argue with anyone about it because there is no single "right" answer.

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