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Distortion Singing into the 5th Octave! - TVS Student & Teacher

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Robert Lunte
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Just watched that. Gabriele is friggin amazing. I was in a band that played that song years ago, and the singer couldn't make it even half way through. Brings back some memories! Gillen would even bow to that performance!

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Hello everyone!This is Gabriele writing!

Very nice to meet you all!

Thank you very much for your interest and kind words!I'm very pleased you all liked my demonstration!

I'm at your service for any questions, or just to talk singing tech, or anything else!

Thank you again!!

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Hello everyone!This is Gabriele writing!

Very nice to meet you all!

Thank you very much for your interest and kind words!I'm very pleased you all liked my demonstration!

I'm at your service for any questions, or just to talk singing tech, or anything else!

Thank you again!!

Awesome!

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Guys... One thing I need to point out that I have pointed out before on this forum... more then clean notes, more then the ability to bridge, maybe above all other components we train to calibrate and tune in the TVS phonation package... the thing that I have found as a voice coach that is across the board or varies widely from person to person, is their ability to distort, when any individual singer begins to distort and how intuitive it is. The ability to distort is a combination of training and physiology. Take 10 students and all 10 can learn to bridge and connect eventually... take distortion and the results are less consistent.

Some people can't distort. Some people, when they distort, their vocal folds close... others like me can distort, but train it to make it work for me... and yet still others, like Gabriele, distortion comes a little bit more intuitively... Im not making excuses, but Gabriele has a voice that distorts more intuitive then most people, and has had great training, the result is Gabriele is real good at getting that sound and he practices that sound a lot in his band. It has become his "attractor state" in many ways. Gabriele can also sing clean as well... but I know he has been working on getting his distortion to be healtheir and less fatiguing. I know because he has worked on it with me...

In any case... the question to ask Gabriele is what has been his journey of exploration and experimentation on getting HIS distortion to work for him. What is he doing to make his distortion less fatiguing? What techniques or ideas has he been working on to get a good balance between burning out and being able to do it all night long? This is what I worked on with him for a while, but its been about a year, so Im sure he can update us all on his 'relationship' with distortion. I would like to hear from him too... since we haven't train together for about a year.

When we did train together, we worked on activating distortion in 'deeper' or headier positions, instead of more belty/forward positions to see if we could get distortion, but place it in a less fatiguing position...

But we should hear from Gabriele on that...

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Guys... One thing I need to point out that I have pointed out before on this forum... more then clean notes, more then the ability to bridge, maybe above all other components we train to calibrate and tune in the TVS phonation package... the thing that I have found as a voice coach that is across the board or varies widely from person to person, is their ability to distort, when any individual singer begins to distort and how intuitive it is. The ability to distort is a combination of training and physiology. Take 10 students and all 10 can learn to bridge and connect eventually... take distortion and the results are less consistent.

Some people can't distort. Some people, when they distort, their vocal folds close... others like me can distort, but train it to make it work for me... and yet still others, like Gabriele, distortion comes a little bit more intuitively... Im not making excuses, but Gabriele has a voice that distorts more intuitive then most people, and has had great training, the result is Gabriele is real good at getting that sound and he practices that sound a lot in his band. It has become his "attractor state" in many ways. Gabriele can also sing clean as well... but I know he has been working on getting his distortion to be healtheir and less fatiguing. I know because he has worked on it with me...

In any case... the question to ask Gabriele is what has been his journey of exploration and experimentation on getting HIS distortion to work for him. What is he doing to make his distortion less fatiguing? What techniques or ideas has he been working on to get a good balance between burning out and being able to do it all night long? This is what I worked on with him for a while, but its been about a year, so Im sure he can update us all on his 'relationship' with distortion. I would like to hear from him too... since we haven't train together for about a year.

When we did train together, we worked on activating distortion in 'deeper' or headier positions, instead of more belty/forward positions to see if we could get distortion, but place it in a less fatiguing position...

But we should hear from Gabriele on that...

Outstanding post. Full of wisdom, words of truth.

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HI again!

The first thing I can say about my way of singing is that, my natural voice is clean. Since a couple of years ago, I couldn't even think about distorting without feeling strain in my voice. I really had to work my way to it and i still am.

Distortion is basically the ability to create "noise" in the vocal tract, by activating the structures around the vocal folds, like the false chords, the arythenoid cartilages, a portion of the epyglottis...

Now in order to create this noise, A LOT OF AIR SUPPORT IS NEEDED. No support, no air flow, no noise, and this is why it is fundamental to learn to get right respiration, placement, and projection BEFORE starting to mess around with distorted sounds.

"My" way of distorting basically relies on those factors above. It doesn't have a lot of dynamic range, it's easier on high and powerful notes because of the increased air support which triggers my false chords to vibrate at a higher speed, causing the distortion.yET, you always have to have the idea of "sound projection" in your mind, and go for the right placement.

I wanna share something I just experienced while I was recording the second album with my band RHYME...we're talking about last week! : very aggressive voice needed, I knew it wouldnt have been an easy task, and I knew It would have been very very fatiguing (all distorted sounds have a "price"). I warmed up, I increased my water intake to stay more hydrated and I started. The first 3 days were the most difficult, because I wanted to give it all and I was concerned about getting it right! My voice went down, and I had to take a day off from the recordings because i felt it was too much. I tried to talk as less as I could for 36 hrs. Then, reluctant, I decided to give it another try, always warming up and everything. From day 5 till the end (day 12), my voice, to my surprise, suddently adapted to this kind of singing, and except for the fatiguing part (we use muscles, and muscles get tired no matter what, expecially if distorting), I had almost no problem singing like that for 4-5 hrs a day.On the contrary,it went better and better and by day 8-9...my distorted vocal range increased.....the day after the end of the recordings, I went teaching for 5 hrs, the day after that too, and yesterday I did the demostration you heard...and now....I'm totally fine...without "resting". That's why I must assume that there was something "right" I was doing. Fatiguing but in an healthier way, or I could have never get to the end without serious damage otherwise.

My conclusions here?.........well the concept of "adapting" and "positioning" work for me. I believe that after the initial "trauma"...my muscles, my constrictors, my false chords, my vocal chords, my diaphragm, registered the "position" of the kind of distortion I wanted to create, and adapted to that, but this was made possible by the fact that I knew I had to make some technical adjustments while supporting and placing the sound. My "down and out" air support and use of the constrictors triggered the distortion, by letting one vocal fold vibrate more than the other one, like in a asymmetrical way.

Again, this is possible because there's a solid vocal technique behind!!!thats the only way your muscles can adapt to the air pressure, the "constriction" in some cases and can stimulate enough the "distortion triggers".

the cool thing is that, once your muscles adapt to the distorted position, you discover that IT IS NOT NECESSARY to always crack it up to 11!!

What you heard in the demostration, is not "my real distortion", i consider that a pretty clean sound with hints of distorted sound...i could have distorted it a lot more, by increasing the air flow velocity, adding a lil more twang and putting my false chord to work with my real ones, but it wasnt necessary. To be honest, it had been a long time since I had sung so clean and high, expecially in the studio, so my muscle had to go through an adaptation process as well!!!! See my point on "adapting"?

In the end, I can say that, in EVERY distorted sound there's an involvement of the real vocal folds, that's why it is never 100% safe, and it's no beginner stuff to teach. Hydration, sleep, warm up and cool down, silence are key factors as well of course if your schedule is very demanding!

It has been so for me at least so far!

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Great response Gab... nice work... I know these guys appreciate it. In some sense, I think what Gab is saying is, if you work on the voice, even distortion, (assuming that it is relatively healthier distortion created by noise in the vocal tract and not grinding), the voice can become resilient. You can develop a new 'attractor state'... simply put, you develop the strength and endurance for it so that you can do it more often and more consistently. Practice brings it on and keeps it consistent.... just like anything else you work on with your voice.

Always be careful with distortion. Learn when to walk away and let it rest. Short spurts of it early on is probably prudent. Cool, thanks bro... good luck on your tour in Russia, the TVS teachers will miss you at the Cagliari get together and the other one we are doing in Germany... we love ya, keep going and I'm always here for you.

Bro

:cool:

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One last thing: it all comes to a point where you have to trust your technique and go for it. Sometimes the problem is more pshycological than muscular. You have to try it for yourself, even paying a little price to discover what works for you, AND HOW it works for you! Built a solid technique, because most of the times, damage is created by "holding back"!!!!

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Gab, I really liked your singing. A really flexible sounding voice. Very fluid.

I, too, achieve some distortion, at times, like a garnish, but only what my voice can do. Which is a rattle. I did it on some of the high notes in "Child in Time" and in "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." And it's a vibration of my uvula, as near as I can tell. Way above the true folds. And only now and then, not because it hurts but because my own aesthetic is to sing as clean as possible, which works for me, as I also have a clean voice.

Anyway, welcome aboard and thanks a bunch to Adolph and Robert for getting you to join the forum.

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Great posts, GAB.

I have a question for you:

My problem with singing high pitched phrases with distortion isn't really HOW to create such sounds, but more how can I best spend my vocal training time so that I can very consistant sing songs like this? As in, what exercises should I mostly do? How many of those exercises should be raspy, if any? Should I focus on sirens, or just hitting high notes dead on pitch without sliding up to them? Or should I spend more time on singing songs than exercises? Or should I spend more time on improvising songs? Etc.

Sometimes when I want to bring out some distortion, I only increase my volume (although this is getting to be less frequent), so my wish is to be a bit more consistant with these types of vocals.

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I wanted to jump in here and point something out... above I had made the point that some people can distort a bit more intuitively or easier then other, which is a valid point... however, Gabriele did a nice job of reminding us that you can train it as well. As he said, he used to be all clean and he had to work on this to make it work and build the strength, endurance and muscle memory for vocal distortion... so there is hope for those of us that need to train it...

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And, again, Robert, an excellent post. Each voice is different. Some of us, such as myself, cannot do a "large' distortion, though it has earned me the label of "not doing enough wtih my voice." Though, I also realized that I am just not that into lots of distortion in my voice, whether it was made for it, or not.

And, it starts with a clean phonation. Any distortion I can have is after the fact and only be feel.

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Great posts, GAB.

I have a question for you:

My problem with singing high pitched phrases with distortion isn't really HOW to create such sounds, but more how can I best spend my vocal training time so that I can very consistant sing songs like this? As in, what exercises should I mostly do? How many of those exercises should be raspy, if any? Should I focus on sirens, or just hitting high notes dead on pitch without sliding up to them? Or should I spend more time on singing songs than exercises? Or should I spend more time on improvising songs? Etc.

Sometimes when I want to bring out some distortion, I only increase my volume (although this is getting to be less frequent), so my wish is to be a bit more consistant with these types of vocals.

Any comments on this, GAB?

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Well, it is important to separate training from the actual performance. Don't train distortion without some warming up...ever.

I would suggest by starting with exercises in your "comfort zone", with a fair amount of volume: sirens are good to get your voice "in shape" and get rid of your "speaking" quality" and dial into the singing mode, but I wouldn't use them to make distorted sounds, meaning, whole distorted sirens are very fatiguing.

Once I'm warmed up and I wanna experiment with distortion (and i mean, scratched vocals, not actual growling or screaming), I prefer to work with quick sounds....like when you call out for someone by saying "HEY", and I create numeral patterns, for example:hEY!! (breath), HEY HEY!!(breath), HEY HEY HEY!! and so on), increasing gradually the amount of amount of support (thus the volume) to activate the false chords and the arythenoid vibration that triggers the distortion.

At first, it is important to emphasize the "H" on your onset, like "HHHHHEY!!" to engage the air flow properly and to stay projected!!

You can use other words of course like ONE, TWO, THREE...or similar, or you could take a song phrase (EVEN BETTER so you can actually work on the articulation!!)

A very important thing to remember about distortion is that it is all about projection and resonance. If you sing distorted not maintaining a fair amount of projection, you're gonna get hurt. You always have to think that "you are singing with distortion, not distorting with some singing!!). You have to try to transfer that projection into the distortion.

I wouldn't train distortion more than 5-10 minutes per session at the beginning, because it's like a "Shock" therapy.

In time you could go on a lil longer, but remember to pay attention to what your muscles are telling you!!

It takes time and there are no shortcuts.

I have to point out another thing: my distortion always works better when I am psycologically properly stimulated. Thats why I think that training cannot be a substitute (in a way) for the actual performance: If I'm pumped up, I'll sing better even when distorting!! If I have a gig, if i have to do a record, if I have a proper "goal", the adrenaline flow will eventually kick in to help you. IF YOUR ENERGY LEVEL IS LOW, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO SINGING!

Distortion requires A LOT of energy. If you hold back and "think too much", fears and thoughts will show up because your body wouldn't normally want to leave its "comfort zone". (Distorted sounds are a risky business no matter what).

Any comments on this, GAB?

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Well, it is important to separate training from the actual performance. Don't train distortion without some warming up...ever.

I would suggest by starting with exercises in your "comfort zone", with a fair amount of volume: sirens are good to get your voice "in shape" and get rid of your "speaking" quality" and dial into the singing mode, but I wouldn't use them to make distorted sounds, meaning, whole distorted sirens are very fatiguing.

Once I'm warmed up and I wanna experiment with distortion (and i mean, scratched vocals, not actual growling or screaming), I prefer to work with quick sounds....like when you call out for someone by saying "HEY", and I create numeral patterns, for example:hEY!! (breath), HEY HEY!!(breath), HEY HEY HEY!! and so on), increasing gradually the amount of amount of support (thus the volume) to activate the false chords and the arythenoid vibration that triggers the distortion.

At first, it is important to emphasize the "H" on your onset, like "HHHHHEY!!" to engage the air flow properly and to stay projected!!

You can use other words of course like ONE, TWO, THREE...or similar, or you could take a song phrase (EVEN BETTER so you can actually work on the articulation!!)

A very important thing to remember about distortion is that it is all about projection and resonance. If you sing distorted not maintaining a fair amount of projection, you're gonna get hurt. You always have to think that "you are singing with distortion, not distorting with some singing!!). You have to try to transfer that projection into the distortion.

I wouldn't train distortion more than 5-10 minutes per session at the beginning, because it's like a "Shock" therapy.

In time you could go on a lil longer, but remember to pay attention to what your muscles are telling you!!

It takes time and there are no shortcuts.

I have to point out another thing: my distortion always works better when I am psycologically properly stimulated. Thats why I think that training cannot be a substitute (in a way) for the actual performance: If I'm pumped up, I'll sing better even when distorting!! If I have a gig, if i have to do a record, if I have a proper "goal", the adrenaline flow will eventually kick in to help you. IF YOUR ENERGY LEVEL IS LOW, IT WILL AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO SINGING!

Distortion requires A LOT of energy. If you hold back and "think too much", fears and thoughts will show up because your body wouldn't normally want to leave its "comfort zone". (Distorted sounds are a risky business no matter what).

Nice response Gab. One thing I noticed on this was that Gab indicated that he had worked on phonating "Hey" onsets, to activate the ventricular folds (FVF). Onsets like this are called, "wind & release" onsets at TVS and they have multiple applications in training. They insure that you good heady placements, help activate the FVF and the other benefit of 'wind & release' onsets is... they are the best onsets to engage respiration and good Appoggio support, which I 'hear' Gab keep referring to in his responses. Gab is saying, you need a lot of great respiration, enough to rattle the FVF. This is achieved with the four elements of Appoggio, now in the latest update of "The Four Pillars of Singing";

1). Extrinsic Anchoring

2). Open Throat Tongue Position

3). Wind & Release Onsets

4). Engage the intercostals or 'core' musculature (pushy down and outty)

Nice work Gab... your steps described here can be refined and we can iron out the talk-track a bit to include it into our TVS distortion techniques.

Wind & Release onsets on "heys" and "huhs", with proper Appoggio respiratory support? Add to that, strong interarytenoids and vocalis.... built with 'contract & release' & 'attack & release' onsets... good discussion... pieces of the puzzle beginning to fit...

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Ya, this is good Gab. I was thinking on my bike this morning, regarding this discussion, "... so, the wind & release onset is favorable for ventricular fold (fvf) activation.., thus, is favorable for vocal distortion".... Bro, Im updating the "6 specialized onsets for head voice development" in the book with this, under the category for 'wind & release' onsets... very cool Gab, bring it on brother... ! :cool:

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when I train, I concentrate on vocalizes, intervals, triads, and quadriads, scales, sirens, mixing all the vowels, in order not be "stuck" in any position, because, you're gonna sing songs in the end!

If I'm tired and my voice is a lil heavy, i work with EE and OO, because (at very low volume) they help me to smooth out my passaggio and to isolate my head voice placement.

If i feel pumped up and fresh, I prefer to work with open vowels such as AH and EH, stimulating my mask resonance as much as I can. Then and only then, I feel "safe " enough to work a lil distortion in the way I explained in the other post :-)

No more than 10-15 minutes...

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