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Good Tension Vs Bad Tension

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I would instruct into doing the correct way. :) and by doing so, it becomes obvious.

What you are asking here is not different from trying to explain colors or smells. If a person never experienced blue, you will not be able to tell this person how blue is like.

Provided that the person can see, all you need to do is to pick a blue object and show it, here, this is blue. Effective, straight to the point. But requires someone to show it to you, and this someone must know blue. Its not an object that looks cold, or that reminds of the ocean. Blue is just blue. Sensation depends on experience, and all methods to teach singing depends on sensations.

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I don't normally feel tension when I sing however when I look at video's of me singing it looks like the veins in my neck are about to pop! I started to try and analyze this but decided after some observation not to worry about it.

As has been mentioned by Lord Adon, I don't feel it so to me it isn't a problem. If my neck was hurting from it or I was getting tired or my face or neck/shoulders became tense feeling I would then think this was bad tension. Since I never even knew until seeing video and then feeling around my neck, jaw and face with my hands as I sang and feeling that they were relaxed, I figure it's just how I sing. At times I feel tension in my core/abs etc but that is normal support for me at work and that is when I am going for a certain note or phrase.

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When I sing well I barely feel anything! Only the resonance shaking my body. Sometimes a little push from my lower back. I'm speaking of tension in the cords, for example, falsetto would not have the correction tension to produce a powerful head voice, right? What is the minimum tension necessary to sing :cool:

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Thanks Owen, it makes sense that good tension does not cause pain. The good tension during head voice ENHANCES the sound without hurting your body :D This sensitivity is developed over-time, so I'm going to keep working at it, feeling my way through every note. Also in terms of falsetto, I need to find firm and gentle cord closure, that's kind of the missing link for me. If it is firm but not gentle then I will usually experience pain.

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or a lazy soft chest voice.


Never heard of that one, before.

There will be some tension. Even speaking has some tension, compared to just breathing. So , perhaps, the word is misused and overused. Just like the word strain. Some people think that some empassioned singing will certainly have tension, maybe even some strain or at least, sound strained, "for emotional effect." But then, that is just a sound. What if that strained sound was not a strain on the singer? Is it less legit because he didn't hurt himself?

There are times I can do a rattle. Only when I feel like it. I don't do it all the time, primarily because all rattle, all the time, is not the sound I am going for or want, regardless of me having a clean voice. However, if I wanted more distortion more of the time, I would work to create a sound that is sustainable within the average endurance of my voice. Simple functionality. If you cannot sustain it for the period of an average show, then it is causing damage. So, while a singer may want to sound strained, you can't be really too strained and continue. Damage is damage and the voice will quit. You just can't stop it. So, if it feels like a strain that you cannot accomodate, then stop it.

So, now, I expect the rebuttals that say, well, there will be some strain as you train. Fair enough. At some point, you should have some muscle or whatever trained to where it is not such an actual strain.

So many are so happy to liken singing unto an athletic endeavor. Fine, let's really, really go with that.

An person trains to be an athlete in whatever sport. Let's say, long-distance running so that I can make a self-serving point.

At first, the student will get sore and tired easily. In the muscles, this is what happens and it is an established matter of fact, not subject to debate, because it is how training happens. Don't make me start quoting Covert Bailey. I would bore you to tears.

A muscle is challenged past what it is used to doing. It breaks down the tissue in a flood of lactic acid (the soreness is a sign of the presence of lactic acid, which is actually there to repair the muscle.) As the muscle re-builds, it re-builds a bigger cell. You don't grow more muscles, you grow larger muscle cells. Especially in a case where the muscle works a heavier load than before. Which is not the case with singing.

With singing, you are actually talking about endurance training. Sustained activity. This also causes muscle tear down in the beginning of training. Instead of building back bigger, the muscle cells stay the same size but they re-build denser. How do I know this? From lifting weights to bodybuild a better physical profile. At one time, I could butterfly 110 lbs with cast iron free weights. And that is decline butterfly, with your chest lower than your pelvis.

At a certain point, you reach a plateau. And the ten reps at 110 are now easy. The muscle has rebuilt in size the load and now, you can do more reps, which is endurance and the muscle becomes denser, to handle the repeated load, rather than an increased load.

That is simply how muscle works, whether any cares to believe that or not.

Point being, the strain you feel at first will go away and that is actually a good sign. If it is not going away, something is wrong and you will be damaged and that is a fact, no matter how unpopular that fact may be. Some facts are just not up to popular vote, sorry about that. It's like voting on whether or not the sun should rise tomorrow. Good luck with that.

Strain at first may not be so much of a problem. Strain that never goes away? That needs to be looked at.

Training should make the activity more managable to endure.

If long distance runner does not experience a lessening of strain as time goes by in training, they will not finish the race. That does not mean that a runner will not experience some fatigue, especially after a competition. But, they should not also find themselvs temporarily crippled, either. Enough strain to cause an injury or the need for long recovery time does not, I repeat, does not produce good results. I promise that.

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Completely relax. Sing a melody comfortably low in chest voice at a low volume without thinking about technique at all. Done. Did that take any noticeable effort? Didn't think so. People do this all the time just humming a melody to themselves. That's truly about the least amount of effort you can sing with.

Thanks for clarifying. I thought that is what you meant but many of my follies start with an assumption.

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