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Voice gets "tired" after difficult singing, is this normal?

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Hi,

When I practise singing hard stuff, plenty of high loud notes, pushing the boundaries etc my voice gets tired. It's like I'm weightlifting, first reps (hard notes or whatever) go along well and it feels good but the longer I sing this way the more difficult it gets until I can't really do it anymore. At this point it feels like my voice is too tired to keep the compression and as a result some vocal fry slips in and the tone is no longer clean. At this point I can't hit the highest notes anymore without insane effort. If I wait a little bit or I can hit the notes again but my voice is still tired, just like you couldn't lift the same weight in the afternoon if you had a workout earlier in the same day.

In spite of this "tiredness" I seem to improve after I have rested for a day or more (similar to weightlifting). It's been like this ever since I found "headvoice" about six months ago but I have been getting better ever since. It feels like muscles in my larynx get tired from difficult singing (such as sustaining a loud C5 for example) over and over again, I want to know if this is normal or if might be hurting my voice?

Here is a clip after taking a few mins break, I hit some high notes but you can also hear the vocal fry sound creeping in (in the end of clip) like I mentioned.

edit: I added a bit to the end (was not recorded at the same time) where you can hear the vocal fry. It ONLY occurs when I sing high in "head" my chest voice always sounds clear and normal. This to me indicates that there is some form of muscle fatigue that affects the high part of my range. It usually affects my high falsetto as well (although this is usually very temporary).

https://www.box.com/s/bjkm2z1c2yj1c13zr25q

Thoughts?

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Honestly I think you are on the right track, the fry sound seems like an added effect haha! People use fry to warm-up their vocal cords sometimes and it oftens occurs when the cords are overly-relaxed or slacked. I think your body is getting used to the high-notes. Similarly after you are "tired" at the gym... if you keep pushing yourself you will end up hurting yourself. You need to get comfortable in that zone WITHOUT getting the tired, the only way to do this is to take a break when you start fatiguing and try again later :) Try doing 10 reps of your maximum weight... you might be able to do it the first time... now try 10 more... it won't workout the same way! Remember, QUALITY, QUALITY, QUALITY :)

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When this happens, it can be because you're still a bit of a beginner (haven't been doing this for many many years) and need to build up some strength and coordination. BUT, what's even more important is having good technique. If you sing stuff like this with sub-optimal technique, you get tired MUCH faster. Stuff to look for is f.ex. if you're singing resonant vowels like Uh instead of Ah, not making the sound TOO dark but not forgetting to have a slight yawn, etc. In your case, it could be that you're forgetting to relax completely between phrases BECAUSE it sounds to me that you're vowels are pretty good and you lighten the sound colour gradually and nicely as you go up in pitch.

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Well I think the whole problem comes from the compression. compression in high notes is really advanced, because you are trying to take chest strength into a higher head area. That's my take on it. You might want to back of the tone, and just let your voice thin out first.

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Becoming tired from difficult singing is perfectly normal even for the advanced singer. The better the technique, the slower the fatigue sets in. The trick is listening to your body and knowing when to stop and allow for recuperation. If you practice too long you may compensate and introduce bad habits.

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Not normal. As a rule, if after a reharsal or gig your voice is tired, sore or altered in any way, something is being done wrong. Maybe when you are searching for some coordinations during trainning its acceptable, but never when consolidating with a scale, for example.

From what I hear on the sample, larynx is way to high.Check support and covering.,

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Another question: for how long are you singing in a session? Even with good technique, etc, anyone can get fatigued.

Believe it or not, some thought goes into a set list for a show. Heavy hard parts, usually at first, for a few reasons. First, it gets the audience energized. Second, everyone in the band is at their freshest. Then fast and slow are alternated in the mean time. The show may end on another strat note, and by then, you are rested and ready for it. Also, there are instrumental breaks, banter with the audience, etcetera.

But if you are singing at the very top of your range all the time for a long time, I would imagine that you are getting tired. And that's not a good thing, in the beginning. For you could be starting bad habits.

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Alright after some thinking Felipe is right here.

I've realized that I can't independently control constriction muscles and whatever muscles which keeps my voice in full voice in the high register. As a result of this, if I turn off the constriction I also turn off the compression and bam back in falsetto. If I turn on the compression for highs, I also turn on constriction.

Not sure how to separate the muscle control, I can't seem to get the compression without activating the constrictions (voice just stays in between falsetto and full voice and creaks). The alternative to separating the muscle control would be to "re-find" compression in the head register via new sensations.

I've also realized that the freedom and ease I feel when singing high in falsetto is probably the same freedom I should feel in full-voice, if not, how would I ever be able to sing high for so long with complex runs etc for the duration of a concert. So at least now I know what to strive for, the harder part is making it happen.

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I'm no expert, but my belief is that singers can get away with less efficient technique if they compensate through better vocal health. And that singers with mediocre vocal health can compensate through excellent vocal technique. If the vocal folds are in better condition, they can handle more abuse and "repair" quickly. And if the vocal folds are in bad condition but are being used with maximum efficiency, that bad condition will not get much worse.

I find that they're linked. When I get enough sleep I can hit the high notes without any pushing (good technique). When I don't get enough sleep I often have to give them a bit of a push and tire out more quickly (bad technique). It's also harder to use my support muscles when I'm tired.

As for the OP, a little soreness and fatigue is inevitable for every singer and really every non-singer. Pain, however, is not good. If you're doing something that hurts every time you do it, stop doing it. Generally being hoarse or unable to speak are bad signs as well.

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Another question: for how long are you singing in a session? Even with good technique, etc, anyone can get fatigued.

Believe it or not, some thought goes into a set list for a show. Heavy hard parts, usually at first, for a few reasons. First, it gets the audience energized. Second, everyone in the band is at their freshest. Then fast and slow are alternated in the mean time. The show may end on another strat note, and by then, you are rested and ready for it. Also, there are instrumental breaks, banter with the audience, etcetera.

But if you are singing at the very top of your range all the time for a long time, I would imagine that you are getting tired. And that's not a good thing, in the beginning. For you could be starting bad habits.

Right on. Adam lamberts vocal coach has Adam change keys on the most demanding songs live - as well as re-arrange songs for lighter singing. This is all done to preserve his voice for the long term and help him get through the set with no problems.

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also i'd like to add that not just hard singing can get you.....extended sessions with breathy singing can mess things up too. when you lose adduction strength, you are likely to have a tough time holding things together.

unsupported or undersupported singing can cause issues as well, because when you're undersupported you tend to go up top and squeeze.

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  • 10 months later...

I have found this exact problem lately. I have been training in classical singing with very experienced teachers for about four years. I have steadily built up the operatic power in the lower register, but had struggled to take that power up to my "tenor" notes. In the last month or two I have finally discovered my head voice, and am able to shift the resonance from my chest voice to my head cavity.

In the past, I could practice singing for hours every day without problems, but since I have found this new voice (and my teachers have confirmed that it is the sound I should be going for), after a day of lots of singing, the next day my voice is fatigued and I can't reach those notes again. My voice doesn't feel sore or strained. I am hoping that it is merely a matter of building endurance in this region. I can tell that when I am singing the high notes now that it feels right or correct. My problem is that now that I have discovered these notes, I keep practising them until I get fatigued, because I worry that I will forget how to do them. When my voice is tired, I worry that I will never get them back again or that I have done damage.

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buckley what did the teacher say?

If you were having a very hard time to do it before and now you began finding it, it is possible to feel the soft palate and even the tongue root a bit tired, it feels as if the voice simply does not want to pass anymore.

Its normal AS LONG as it is being addressed, a transitory state where desirable qualities are there, but still have issues to solve. Just repetition without addressing the cause wont help much... Some tensions take time to go away, and the main symptom is this variance, one day is fine, the next not, on the other you do X and it works, next X does nothing, so on.

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Wow old post...

I was definitely doing it wrong back when I made this thread, found some way to sing throughout my range but it was a pressed phonation and doing some harm.

Now my voice just gets better the more I use it during the day

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Wow old post...

I was definitely doing it wrong back when I made this thread, found some way to sing throughout my range but it was a pressed phonation and doing some harm.

Now my voice just gets better the more I use it during the day

Kind of like, the magic pill of singing is the same as the way to get to Carnegie Hall. "Practice, practice, practice ..."

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