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Volume for live rock vocals

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Nice to see you here analog!!

As i know that you are very experienced on CVT i would like to ask you something,

Do you think that if a singer were really really experienced on singing technique (for example on a technique like CVT or maybe Estill) could he be able to sing 3-4 nights every week using a lot of overdrive/edge (like jonpall suggested), but WITHOUT swollen his vocal cords, straining or creating damage?, or this is just impossible even if you have a lot of technique?

Of course!!!

The problem is: it takes a LOT OF ENERGY to keep that up for 3 hours(singing in full-metallic mode.) You will also have to think about tessitura/sound color/effects for the entire night. The higher the pitches and darker the color and more distortion the more you're gonna work.

As far as the "sub-modes." Yes. That would be my ultimate answer because: you can get louder or softer, but KEEP THE SAME VOWEL. Of course! Just seems like common sense(and is what Dan is recommending)...but who knows?

Feels like we are dealing with the very real but very grey area of the voice.

I think Alice Cooper said it best:

Welcome to my nightmare!!!!! Mwahhhahahhhhah

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Great thread. One of my pet peeves is having to sing too hard to hear myself well enough to control the voice properly along with the music. That's a recipe for disaster as it continues on and the pushing factor increases, and it's not just live, it also can happen in a novice recording situation like it did for me about 10-12 years ago when home-based recording was gaining in popularity and the guy who was recording me seemed to ignore my requests for additional voice volume (he was doing it for free, so I sort of was in an odd situation and not able to complain too much about it). I also have a friend who had sort of an 'audition/gig' situation several years ago, and the main thing I advised him of was to make sure that the monitors were hot enough to hear himself without having to work too hard throughout the whole parts of all songs to hear himself.

I personally always prefer a 'hot' mic and use mic technique to control some of the dynamics if the vocal line requires additional intensity or whatever (e.g., pulling back from the mic some to avoid overloading/distorting). This also seems to coincide with the widely held dictum of 'not using too much air' when you sing to avoid problems with the vocal folds swelling. I love it when the sound coming back to you is supporting your effort and the notes seem to just 'glide' out. The trick live seems to be getting a soundman who will actually listen to you and will not let his ego get in the way. Despite the fact that YOU are paying THEM, this seems to be the case more often than it should be in my experience, especially when you have a soundman who is not part of your own crew.

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I think jonpall unknowingly did this type of thing during his clip. Right at 0:50...did you hear an pure "eh" vowel on "forget"? Hell yeah you did. And clearly he was not pulling chest there.

Or maybe it was an Eh MODIFIED towards Uh? ;) The thing is, it can be very hard to tell the difference between those two vowels. The note is an A4, if I remember correctly, on the word "forget".

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Some of the songs in our set list are (all in their original keys):

Sweet Home Alabama

Crazy Little Thing called love

Don‘t Look Back In Anger

Last kiss

Blister In The Sun


I Love Rock And Roll

Could You Be Loved

Say it aint so

Can't Buy Me Love

Does Your Mother Know


Proud Mary

Summer Of 69

Moves Like Jagger

White Wedding

I Will Survive

Here I go again

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Somebody I Used To Know

Hit Me baby One More Time

Price Tag

What‘s Up

I Saw Here Standing There

Long Train Running

Final Countdown

Sex On Fire

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Born To Be Wild

Heartbreak Hotel

She Loves You


Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Then there are a few very tough local songs that you don't know that are in the tenor range and are very tough.

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Ronws, curbing is pretty much the same thing as covering and mixed voice as far as I understand it. There are minor differences but they're close enough so that we don't have to explain the differences in every thread. I think there are old threads that cover this. I do realize that all of this kind of boggles the mind. It does to mine at least :)

Felipe, I just listened to your clips. Good stuff, man.

I think that I can hear a slight difference in curbing/covering/mixed voice when sung at level 4 and at level 7, even when I'm not in the same room as the singer and he/she doesn't have a mice. Level 7 DOES sound more powerful and thick, but it's probably a bit more risky as you're playing with the limit of the vocal mode - so you gotta be careful. But as long as you don't go to volume level 8 or nine, then I guess you'll be fine. Of course, if you have twang on notes higher than A4 (for men), then you will automatically be pretty loud - but then, level "7" has become louder than level 7 on lower notes, because we're talking about "relative" volume for each induvidual, for each given pitch.

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Jonpall, what I learned, and Im finding out more and more that it is correct, is that what gives power is the dynamic range you use, rather than the absolute levels you keep around.

So if instead of sitting around 8, as you say, you settle at 5 or even 4, and occasionaly go to 7 or 1, you will create much more impact.

About twang... Depends on what you call twang, I think that in your case is the same as what I know as forward... Id say just keep it forward all the time and use vertical and horizontal openning to create contrasts. Not forward will disappear on most live situations and will just tire you.

Also sit around a more vertical and relaxed posture.

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Ronws, curbing is pretty much the same thing as covering and mixed voice as far as I understand it.

If you mean covering the "head voice" then that's a way to cover the mode called NEUTRAL in CVT. A compressed neutral is what you are talking about.

Curbing is a mode that always sounds a little strained when singing high, so I would say curbing is a mode mainly for the middle part of the voice. If you want to hear what high curbing sounds like, try to do overdrive past C5 without flipping into falsetto/neutral. What you get is a less powerful and restrained sound... Curbing.

And btw, I haven't heard your clip yet because I'm at work, so I'm not saying you are singing in neutral or anything.

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Covering is not the same thing as head voice without any weight what so ever to it, which cvt's neutral mode is. Hence, it should be curbing, or close to curbing. Curbing ALWAYS sounds "a littled strained" no matter what pitch it is, because it's the nature of the mode. However, the phrase "a little strained" is not so good because it implies that there is tension. A better way to put it is to say that it sounds like the singer is in pain, or something like that. But I know what you mean. That "crying" sound of curbing actually becomes MORE apparent on low notes. On high notes, it doesn't have to sound so much as "crying" as simply holding the vocal cords tight enough together so that you still have a "bit of chest" in the voice.

Felipe, yeah, for sure, varying the volume will make you sound more interesting. I think "forward" is the same as twang, if I'm understanding you correctly. It's how you "project" the sound - by narrowing the epiglottis funnel, increasing the amount of 3k overtones in your sound. You can twang/put the sound foward/project BOTH with a light and dark sound colour, although it's easier to do it with a light sound colour and it's easier for beginners to FIND twang that way - by quacking like a duck or imitating a witch, f.ex. But some people don't know that you can also twang with a DARK sound colour - then you have the "hard/metal" sound that comes with twang PLUS a more "classical" tone to it. That means that it sounds "dark" (using a lower larynx) but the sound also projects over an orcestra (given enough time of solid training).

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Yep sounds the same to me, although there is one important thing, losing the definition of each vowel is not acceptable.

Anyways, do you agree that less is more concerning the overall volume? Comfort always results in better quality, and you still have the choice of going stronger when you want to.

In this regard, if what cvt says is going loud as possible, its plain wrong. I really dont think its the case, probably a comunication problem of some sort.

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Here's a related thread about volume the the different vocal modes and the openness of vowels and the minor but important difference between curbing's "hold/cry" and "cord compression". I'd forgotten about this difference:


What's probably most important in all of this is to let twang, projection, resonance, breath support and the most resonant vowels drive your sound and not to force it.

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I really recommend that people check out CunoDante's comments in that linked thread, if this topic has ever given you headaches :) He's saying that for high, healthy notes, cord compression will always be there but for medium volume notes, the sensation will be more similar to that of a "cry" - as opposed to the sensation of "openness" you get when you increase the volume. As a result, it could help me and many singers more to think of the voice as one voice and resonance rather than specific modes. Personally, I want to know all of this so I can understand the voice pretty well.

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It can also be risky to TRY to lower the volume so that it's less than your projection/resonance/twang WANTS it to be. If you do that with open vowels like Eh, the sound simply WANTS to get loud, and with less effort than you might think it takes (although it will test your stamina if you do it for a long time). Here's an example of me doing full voiced sirens on the "Eh" vowel (with some intentional distortion on the top notes, just to make it sound a bit more "rock"). It's just one way to do it, but it's kind of the "loud way with resonance":


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wow folks, i have to say this is way too analytical for me...i'll just hang out and read...because i really don't want to even think about modes and sections or whatever. i just like to sing with dynamics (loud and soft used very strategically), soul, and feeling....

when you sing with stamina, strength, and support (after a complete warmup) i believe you can sing for hours and just about anything you want.

if i had to concern myself with what mode i'm in, i would find it too "structured" for my taste.

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Haha those sirens are very similar to those I practise jonpall. Nice job. I don't use distortion on top tho, but it sounded good. Can you post a clip without distortion so I can relate to my own sirens ?

Sirens are ok, but singing songs that high in full voice is really tricky.... Takes time to master.

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Haha those sirens are very similar to those I practise jonpall. Nice job. I don't use distortion on top tho, but it sounded good. Can you post a clip without distortion so I can relate to my own sirens ?

Sirens are ok, but singing songs that high in full voice is really tricky.... Takes time to master.

Here's an old clip of me doing full voice sirens:


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It kind of sucks that I kind of stumbled onto how to sing a bit like Brian Johnson a year ago but after a week or so of singing like that, it came so easy to me and seemed pretty limited to just 80s metal, that I considered it be kind of a "party trick", started to work on more "traditional" singing and kind of forgot how to do this. But it had only medium volume so I'm tempted to try to re-learn this. I think the key here is to lighten the sound colour compared to what I normally do for non-raspy songs, which probably means raising the larynx a bit, singing "more like a woman" and KEEPING the sound colour light and the larynx raised. I think I tend to drop it after singing for a while with it raised, without knowing it. Anyway, he's the clip if anyone's interested, me singing AC/DC's "You shook me all night long" (can also be found as an old thread in the reviews section).


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