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MDEW
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Nobody's vowels are better or worse than anyone else's. There's also nothing magic about "Italian" vowels. What does change are the word examples used to specify what vowel you're talking about. For example I'm Australian so if I said "ah as in blast" that would be wrong for an American because for them the vowel would be a as in cat.

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That is exactly what I mean. Even when someone says use an OO as in book. I may pronounce that different than the intended vowel.

Yes I was trying to be funny with the statement "americans are horrible about producing vowels". Every 10 miles or so you run into a different dialect.

But there are accepted vowels to be practicing. And you do hear "use the Italian vowel" or "the french" in some situations.

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Curious, give me an example of how to produce the Italian EE please :).

I cannot. :| What led me to ask this question? I saw a post where some one had suggested to use the "oo" vowel. I asked is that oo as in book or oo as in soon. Then I found out that it was suggested oo as in cool.

All of these are somewhat different. Which would be more beneficial in training?

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Egg, yes americans absolutely murder vowels. I know, I am an american. However one person gave me a compliment and said that I sing like a european, something like a brit. That my vowel sounds sound like european folk usage. Yet, I don't have a thick brit accent like Justin Hawkins or any number of british singers.

In America, we have a plethora, a veritable cornucopia of dipthongs (vowels that change pronounciation during the speaking of the word), especially related to regional accents. For example, MDEW has a southern states "r" sound that will be difficult for him to get rid of. I don't have it because even though I live in Texas, the first 10 years of my life were in California, where I was born.

For me, the closer I get to italian vowels, the better. One can find those in the million and one examples of the IPA chart that has been shown in these discussions. In fact, a search of "vowels" is likely turn up several threads that have that in it.

However, it will mean dropping that hick 'r' sound that you have, MDEW. And that will probably be the hardest thing for you to do. For that is ingrained habit. Singing is mental.

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Egg, yes americans absolutely murder vowels. I know, I am an american. However one person gave me a compliment and said that I sing like a european, something like a brit. That my vowel sounds sound like european folk usage. Yet, I don't have a thick brit accent like Justin Hawkins or any number of british singers.

In America, we have a plethora, a veritable cornucopia of dipthongs (vowels that change pronounciation during the speaking of the word), especially related to regional accents. For example, MDEW has a southern states "r" sound that will be difficult for him to get rid of. I don't have it because even though I live in Texas, the first 10 years of my life were in California, where I was born.

For me, the closer I get to italian vowels, the better. One can find those in the million and one examples of the IPA chart that has been shown in these discussions. In fact, a search of "vowels" is likely turn up several threads that have that in it.

However, it will mean dropping that hick 'r' sound that you have, MDEW. And that will probably be the hardest thing for you to do. For that is ingrained habit. Singing is mental.

That freakin "R" I trip over that when I am talking also.

Maybe this was a dumb question being that you mention The million and one axamples of the IPA chart. Is there a million and one audio examples?

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That freakin "R" I trip over that when I am talking also.

Maybe this was a dumb question being that you mention The million and one axamples of the IPA chart. Is there a million and one audio examples?

I think youtube might have a few.

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mdew it was not directed to you, but to that statement of Italian vowels having nothing special about them. When in fact they have a lot of things that are desirable. When you guys are trainning twang, lift up, all this super tech stuff, you are simply walking in that direction.

The italian EE in particular is a quite neat vowel :). Still this is all useless info without practical application.

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I am not trying to find a "Magic Vowel" that will fix everything. Although using the correct one will make things easier. I know that I pronouce them in a way that is counterproductive.

I have seen the chart where it shows the open vows progressing to the closed vowels and back to open again.

And I realize that the exact postions of mouth,tongue and so on would be slightly different for each individual.

But the proper sound produced should have common charactoristics. My "Oh" sound is commonly pronounced as the word "Owe". Little things like that will trip a person up when they are singing.

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:) Ajusting these vowels is the problem. Its not a matter of which but how they are done.

Do this, just so you understand better what I mean, relax, close your mouth. Use your hand to move your jaw a bit and make sure its relaxed. Keeping it relaxed using just the tongue, pronounce KNEE, on a very comfortable tone, with your mouth still closed. Aim to relax and release the air into the KNEE, move just the tip of your tongue to articulate it.

It will be a nasal humming of course, but feel how your voice is all forward behind the nose.This is the overall place where the vowels should be centered, just a bit lower of course. The italian EE is produced almost in this position, just not nasal.

By precisely ajusting this EE and the mouth posture you have focus.

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Until a few months ago singing was about staying on pitch and getting the message across to the audience. :P

Now I have to think about vowels, formants and support. :|

So I can get back to staying on pitch and getting the message across again. :D

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The better way is to learn to LISTEN to yourself, and habitually TUNE the vowel how you know it resonates best on that pitch. That is the whole point of vowel modification. The vowel amplifies the voice. If you don't tune it close enough to the harmonics of the pitch, you have to work much harder to get more volume, and even so, the result would be a much thinner sound. Then there is the pronunciation dilemma. Your audience also has to hear the lyrics. So there is a compromise involved. And which side is given more priority is heavily dependent on genre.

And the clouds part, and the sun shines, and the angels sing "Hallelujah!" (As done in Handel's "Messiah.")

For that is what I do. Habitually tune while I am singing. It requires concentration. You can't just "phone it in."

One of the things that helped me with pronunciation was to start at the highest note where I can get some articulation. And work my way down a scale. Don't ask me why but the phrase "Jesus Christ Pose" (thanks, Chris Cornell) seemed to work wonders for me. For example, starting at C5 and descending the starting of the phrase in each repetition after that.

Formant, "pocket," a rose by any other name ....

Certain vowel roots lead to certain positions of tongue and I think that helps formants, in my own redneck chili recipe of how to sing.

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I believe I have derailed myself by developing an unassuming nature. Supressed the formants in order to stay under the radar so to speak.

Even now if I am singing and a tone gets loud I readjust to match earlier volume. I should be doing the opposite.

When the tone gets loud on its own take notice of the conditions that made it loud and match that.

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I believe I have derailed myself by developing an unassuming nature. Supressed the formants in order to stay under the radar so to speak.

Even now if I am singing and a tone gets loud I readjust to match earlier volume. I should be doing the opposite.

When the tone gets loud on its own take notice of the conditions that made it loud and match that.

That was excactly my problem aswell. I will second Owen's "Bingo" here :)

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I stayed with some family for a week or so when I was a child. They all had red-necked accents, and I sub-conciously picked it up and started talking like that. Luckily for me, it went away. I tend to become more articulate if I listen to speakers who are, as well. Especially guys like Christopher Hitchens hah.

I have practiced lots of different accents though. Australian, Bristish, Southern american, etc. For shits and giggles.

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I stayed with some family for a week or so when I was a child. They all had red-necked accents, and I sub-conciously picked it up and started talking like that. Luckily for me, it went away. I tend to become more articulate if I listen to speakers who are, as well. Especially guys like Christopher Hitchens hah.

I have practiced lots of different accents though. Australian, Bristish, Southern american, etc. For shits and giggles.

I can't quite get the south american accent. I can speak spanish and sound mexican when I do it because I have been most often exposed to how mexicans speak spanish than as to other latin language countries speak the variations. But, because I have an ear for music and language sounds like music, to me, I can hear different accents and dialects, something most gringos cannot. One co-worker of mine was from Honduras and he spoke with different inflection and accent than the mexican co-workers. Same with another fellow from Costa Rica.

I heard Felipe on the only conference that got recorded And brought here and he sounded a bit european in how he speaks English, even though he is from Brasil.

I can speak an aussie accent, a british accent, a scottish and irish one, too (there are subtle differences.) And mimicking Arnold Schwarzenegger (originally from Austria) is always fun."Run to the chopper! Now!"

Other times, I think I sound like a hick compared to someone else from another part of the country. Several years ago, I got to meet Ted Nugent at a book signging of his. I have autographed copies of "God, Guns, and Rock and Roll" and his cookbook "Kill it and Grill it!". Anyway, I sounded hick, compared to him.

I like what Geran said and tend to agree with that. How I have the throat set up is one thing, articulating an apparent vowel sound through punctuation with the lips and front of the tongue is another thing. Notice I said apparent. It's all an auditory illusion.

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Hey and wait to hear one argentinian!, they speak in a 'italianized' spanish hahah

Not just that but how a word is spelled and used. For example, in european versions, mallissimo means bad or malovent.

In mexican spanish, especially tex-mex, it is shorten to mala. For example, a bad person is mala Jente (mah-lah hehn-teh.)

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I also speak German. My mother's father was a german immigrant but I learned German in school. I took 2 years and would have studied 3rd year, which was mainly german literature, but our only german teacher had a medical emergency and retired from teaching and the school district had no one to take up the reigns of it and so, there you go. So, I studied a few more years, on my own. This was back in the early 80's. I listened to tapes to get the dialects right, better than listening to my teacher, who had a thick, Texas accent. And could also tell the dialects of Northern and Southern apart. In the southern dialect, the ch aspirant is a little farther forward and the influence of France and Belgium becomes more apparent, as well.

And yes, English is largely a germanic language, with misappropriations, as it were, from latin and french. The only thing we have not borrowed from is the slavic and cyrillic languages.

Even in american English, there are differences. In the South, we say "standing in line." In the Northeast (New York, etc.), they say "standing on line." Down here, for a carbonated soft drink, we say "soda." Others say "pop."

But I still have fun with languages. Down the street from my office and shop are a few gas stations (petrol stations, for you europeans.) One sells cold sanwhiches and other snack items. Another has a hot lunch counter specializing in mexican food.

Anyway, I will let my boss know that I am stepping out for :

Roadkill Au Jus

Tacos al Gato

Chihuahua Bourginon

Opossum Tar-Tar

Ratatouille (with real rat :) )

Kung Pao Skunk (with hot mustard)

Pidgeon Provencal au Gratin

Whatever I think of that day. It's good for a laugh.

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Screw vowels. Formants are where it's at. :D

Ok - Vowels are defined by Formants. You're right - as you change pitch and particularly through the passagio - the formants of many vowels need to change. This is what is difficult for many singers. The typical formants that define a spoken vowel sometimes need to change while singing depending on pitch.

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hehe but if the formant change, the vowel is not the same anymore. It should be PERCEIVED as the same, but your intention must addapt accordingly.

Then again, to make it precise and not break the legatto line, each vowel/pitch/dynamics will require a slight different ajustment of the vocal tract to keep it optimal.

And lo and behold, we are reinventing resonant tracking...

The answer is, you have to ajust what is wrong, and keep what is correct. Italian, and even French accents are good because they usually have a higher placement vowel production. Still it does not work all the time, and it may be the case that your voice is already high, so if you try to place it higher, you will brake what was working.

I had a conversation with Dante about this the other day. Many ethnical groups use a very, VERY forward placed production, an accent that is "twangued" and with other properties. What do you think that it would happen if you made a person that used this kind of spoken voice to send it even more forward?

There is no one answer because all the technical solutions for vowels are meant to solve problems, you dont work a voice from ground zero, you apply the concepts on something already formed. Every single human will have different issues and eases. Couple the problem of the psichologic factor on top of it, and you will understand why I always recomend a specialist on the activity, a teacher, to help.

I dont know what exactly you guys think that formant tunning should be, but if done right it should be perceived just as beauty and ease, is that what you are looking for?

Exercises are never done on the sweet spot right away. If you try to bring a voice that is all tense around a totally backwards and up posture to a relaxed postition of comfort around the focus, it will be too unstable to be worked, you must dismantle one problem at a time and even consolidate half complete postures before having the means to reach the end goal.

Even when working gradually like this with voices that are somewhat relaxed, the EE is a pain to go into proper placement, I can only imagine what would happen if you pick someone untrainned and told him:

Ok, now produce me an EE vowel, but instead of the normal spoken EE, I want this one to be produced in a resonant and piercing forward posture, allowing projection, but still retainning body and depth, without tentions on the jaw and without overcompressing the larynx, but yet it must be precisely ajusted. If its airy, you may develop a gap, if its overcompressed, you may develop a nodule. Must be supported and retain quality on the different dynamic levels. Good now do some scales on legatto.

Impossible to happen alone, you can record yourself until you die from it and it will not happen. Even that simple humming I sent the instructions will be difficult to do.

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Felipe - I'm with you for the most part on the need for training - however I am not sold that you cannot learn on your own. I was in a master class with four professional singers this past summer. Two had training and two were self taught or never had training. The latter two, a male tenor and a female soprano, were really, really good. Somehow they overcame the lack of training. They never developed nodules. The female toured with steely Dan, Kenny logins and others. Her technique was so good I could have sworn she had training. Some people can do it while most need actual training.

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There is something called natural singers. natural singers are people in my theory who have speakingvoices and a soundpalate close to our natural sounds. they have a really easytime singing since their voices lie very close to the core functions of the voice.

I agree with felipe, the voice is not something natural speech is invented something developed and learnt by mimicing so is singing.

You dont have an own voice i hate the "finding your own voice" because thats a big myth we are all copycats from birth. Get the sound you want by training, heck you learned to talk by mimicing and it's not that diffrent with singing. ¨

heck you can find tons of singers who sing with exellent technique who havent consulted with specialists and coaches.

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I dont know what exactly you guys think that formant tunning should be,

Usually, we refer to our in-house expert, Steven Fraser. He knows more about formant tuning than any human should actually know. That's what we guys do. At least, some of us.

And, Steven Fraser is a consultant on the 4 Pillars program. And the 4 Pillars program does have resonant tracking in it. And Lunte does it with every onset he does.

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