Jump to content

Struggling To Control Air Flow

Rate this topic


Guest
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey all, I recently realized WHY my falsetto is still falsetto and it is difficult to connect my voice. I know theoretically that the higher you sing the less air is required. I've never understood how to APPLY support to a high note. The semi-occluded phonations such as MM, NN, and NG STILL use too much air. It took me a while to sensitize myself to this and it feels horrible knowing that my vocal cords have to deal with all the bad "pressure."

It feels like the air is just rushing out wild and recklessly especially in upper register notes. Even in staccato notes that is the issue. How do I take the pressure off my vocal cords and CONTROL the air instead of letting my vocal cords fell the "bad pressure." Should I stop working the upper register completely? If I was to sing infront of a candle on a high falsetto note... It would blow out right away, I could probably blow out 3 (this is not good).

What steps can I take to not "blast air" through the cords and control the air elegantly? The more I practice the more I realize how much of an issue this is for me. Please help! Throat can't take much more :|

- JayMC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is not the case. Your falsetto is still falsetto because you are singing in falsetto. Falsetto will never change to full voice. Work on onsets in full connected pitches as high as comfortable when you have reached the limit descend. Do this everyday and your range will grow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Felipe just put it into perfect perspective in his last post. Modal=Full Voice and Falsetto is anything that you have to crack, break, bridge, or blend into is falsetto/Anything other than modal voice. It takes a lot longer to acquire more range this way, but it is worth it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a huge part of it is air flow... the vocal cords cannot close properly if too much air is being pushed at them. That is exactly my problem, although I can make "full" sounding notes there is an abundance of air being used as I mention in the post it feels "wild." What can help me control the airflow in the upper notes including "belty" notes without letting the rush of air take over?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Iz,

If those are the definitions (a vocal fold coordination perspective) then it's possible to change from falsetto to full voice in the higher range.

Rachsing: If what you have in mind is to do this during a single note, this last thing is a very rare skill. In order to accomplish it, the singer has to have complete command of registration and support, to the point that introduction of TA muscle involvement is so subtle as to be inaudible, (this means a modal phonation with high open quotient) and then in coordination with the CT, to incrementally re-adjust the activity of both so that the fundamental does not change while getting progressively shorter open phase.

Anything less than this mastery will produce a crack, including a pitch blip, in this case, the sudden appearance of strong modal voice due to less-than-subtle incremental action of the TA.

If you want to learn this skill, then IMO the best place to work is in the middle range, not the highest. The delicacy of muscular adjustment required for it is much more accessible in this range, and then once learned, can be extended to higher ranges.

Remember this as you consider it... the vibrating length and stiffness of the moving parts of the vocal band tissues are what influence the frequency of the resulting fundamental. Changing the registration in the middle of a note causes a change in the stiffness which must be met with a change in the length and a commensurate change in the breath flow/support. It will take some experimentation and practice to learn just what thoughts are required.

I hope this is helpful to the discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Iz,

If those are the definitions (a vocal fold coordination perspective) then it's possible to change from falsetto to full voice in the higher range.

I'm not sure if it is possible. Well I know I cannot change from falsetto to full voice. Once I break the tone will remain that way until I descend or start a new vocal onset.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is not the case. Your falsetto is still falsetto because you are singing in falsetto. Falsetto will never change to full voice. Work on onsets in full connected pitches as high as comfortable when you have reached the limit descend. Do this everyday and your range will grow.

On its own, no falsetto will not change to full voice. However, falsetto has been used as a training tool to get used to allowing CT to be dominant in control. But no, I don't think you can train volume with falsetto.

On the other hand, we have a few members who have spent the better part of a year just trying to gain range by always having a connected note and they are still having breaks and flips.

I think I'm going to agree with Felipe, at least in the sense that you need someone with a trained ear to hear you. I say that because I have done notes that are full voice for me and others thought it was a falsetto note because I have a light voice.

So, by golly, I had consulted with a coach (a classical one, at that) and he could hear that what I was doing was a light tenor, kind of what I thought, but it can be a help to have someone with experience hear it and give an opinion.

I could certainly be wrong. And the mechanics of falsetto and the mechanics of full voice might never meet. I don't know anymore. But I do know that my highest notes are not falsetto. I have to have some adduction and minimum of "air bleeding through" to accomplish them.

But are there gradual stages or amounts of adduction that may start out as falsetto and become full voice as you bring adduction closer?

I think that was part of the plan in Frisell's teachings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Then, as you get louder and add more cord thickness, you must gradually lessen that hold coordination and add breath support. And this is not a subtle change, it is huge. The hold is practically gone by the time you get to a full voice coordination. Feeling that hold in the first place just helps you discover the feeling of singing with little air. All you have to do now is control the air from a different source, you control it not by the vocal folds resisting it, but the diaphragm resisting the exhalation and slowing it down before the air gets to the vocal folds, so that the vocal folds are allowed to fully bulk up, free of extra constriction. And that in itself is also a totally different feeling. But you will also feel a similarity in the sensations of both of them because neither one allows "blasting."

Great description. And along with that is "the love that dare not speak its name." Resonance, for that is where major volume comes from. After all, it is 2012 and it is okay to talk about resonance. Might as well. The world will end just before Christmas, disappointing a lot of children and this will be our last chance to talk about it, as mature adults. And ignoring it will not make it go away. It happens to everyone once in a while and I am unashamedly seeking to make it happen to people more often.

Then, again, I unashamedly do a lot of things. My mom said I had no shame and she was just about always objectively right and always honest, regardless.

I'm rambling and trying to be humurous but I think you are on to something, Owen. Basically, get the emission of the tone right, and the rest will follow. The emission is a matter air flow and pressure, combined with a certain amount of involvement of vibrating mass.

And you won't get volume from pushing tons more air. You will get the massive volume from our dirty little secret, resonance. There, I've said it, ain't no one big enough to wash my mouth out with soap.

And yes, you change breath pressure and/or flow with your abs, not with the throat, generally speaking. And, as a singer singing a certain passage, you may need to change how much pressure or flow and how much adduction, etcetera. Ergo, ipso de facto, and e pluribus unum, and illegitimus non carborundum, and whatever other latin I can think of to raise my pretentious image, breath is mobile and agile. Some feel that you've just got bear down and lock into one set of the miscles and squeeze. I think it works better if it is adjustable. This, however, requires more active focus and may not be suited for everyone.

To complete this with a non-sequitur ending, I am reminded of the words of General Custer.

"I am not concerned. They can't shoot an arrow this f -.........."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What steps can I take to not "blast air" through the cords and control the air elegantly? The more I practice the more I realize how much of an issue this is for me. Please help! Throat can't take much more :|

- JayMC

JayMC: If what you are doing is not addressing the issue, then the cause of the issue is not yet clear. How to discern it? Here are some ideas:

When it comes to support, _all_ the sources of exhalation force have to be in balance or neutralized for support to be effective. What are the sources of these forces?

- falling chest, collapsing ribs, due to gravity and release of stored stretch in the intercostals

- lowering clavicles/shoulders, if they were raised during inhalation

- contraction of the lung tissues that were stretched during inhalation

- narrowing of the aveoli - the teeny air sacks in the lungs, due to surface tension

- ab contraction

- release of stored 'stretch' in the abs

You'll notice that most of these are the release of energy that can be stored in the body as the inhale took place. If these things are allowed to happen during singing, support is incomplete, and the exhale can overpower the laryngeal muscular adjustment. The issue can be the tendency to inhale so much air, with so many different motions, that part which is manageable by the diaphragm is only a small part.

So, how to proceed?

First, the more air inhaled, the greater the stored energy. Avoid that for a while. The basic coordination of larynx and air is sometimes more easily discovered simply by taking a very small breath, one that does not store so much energy in the body.

Second, while taking that small breath, limit the motion of shoulders, ribs and sternum via posture. To stabilize the ribcage, expand it moderately, before you take your actual breath to sing, and maintain its position. A falling sternum, or collapsing ribs is a complexity that gets in the way of the support coordination.

Third, at the end of the small inhale, and I recommend only 1/4 to 1/3 of capacity, slow the inhalation speed until the air stops moving in, but is also not yet moving out. This is the point where a gentle balance has been established between the muscles powering the inhale (now, mostly the diaphragm) and all the things that have been streteched during that inhale, mentioned above. For purposes of this discussion, lets call this a 'Breath Balance'.

Its under this circumstance that you can bring the vocal bands together for a phonation, without any undesired exhalation force being applied. From the Breath Balance, onset a simple, medium-soft, clear 'ah', as if you would speak it. This is not a sung tone, but rather, a supported spoken one.

Repeat this action a few times, until you can create this sound while maintaining that sense you are at the Breath Balance mentioned, and can sustain the sound for a few seconds. You will find that the will to make the spoken sound at the same time you maintain the Breath Balance will release enough air to cause phonation, and that the small breath is more than enough to phonate a few seconds.

Using this approach, 1 of a few things will result:

1) Too little air will be supplied for the laryngeal adjustment, and a fry will result. Experiment with a speaking voice pitch that is slightly higher, until the fry disappears, replaced by modal speaking voice. Alternatively, attempt to speak just slightly louder.

2) The supplied breath and laryngeal adjustment are well-matched, and a tone that is is clear and medium-soft results. This is optimal.

3) The supplied breath is too much for the laryngeal adjustment, and tone is breathy. Decrease the volume of the spoken tone, speak a little lower into your range, or begin the spoken tone with a vocal fry.

4) The vocal bands do not fully adduct, and the tone is breathy. Begin the spoken tone lower in the speaking range, with the vocal fry.

If the clear, soft spoken tone does not result right away, be patient with yourself. Work the exercise for 10-15 mins a day, and then go on to other things.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it is possible. Well I know I cannot change from falsetto to full voice. Once I break the tone will remain that way until I descend or start a new vocal onset.

Perhaps that aspect of it is not important?

To me it is not important to be able to switch from falsetto to full on a single note or within a phrase. It is more about finding a technique in headvoice that at first might result in a falsetto onset/phrase, but then over time it might incorpoprate other stuff so that it eventually might not be falsetto any more. Is that possible?

Like first it is falsetto but then you start holding back air a little more. Then perhaps you add a little twang. Then gradually you might improve small aspects of it, finding more resonance. Suddenly some day it might be full. Is that how it works?

Is that a bad plan? Is it better to do ascending scales from somewhere where you are properly connected or other full approaches?

I'm not saying I know something here, I'm after a good solution too here :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...