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DoverOs
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help, i need somebody, to give me advice on the passaggio. I can hit c#5 in a short burst, but when I want to sustain it I have trouble. C#5 is my shift from chest to head, and I try to glide up to it and get good attack, but 8/10 times I end up with my voice wobbling around between chest and head. Do I just keep doing this until it starts solidifying, or is there another way to work on it.

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Ok I meant the passage between mix and head, but I was trying to say the difference between chest and head dominance.

I don't intentionally let it wobble. If I try to come up from chest, it usually does a little cracking thing or loses it's projection. And when I come up from the head side, I can sing it and add a little coordination to it, but it's still much too light sounding. So when I come up to chest, my voice wobbles when I try to save the note by shifting slightly to head, and then I start jumping back and forth from chest and head.

So I guess I will work on approaching from the chest. I can almost feel the sustain as I go up, and can sustain a c5 without any problems, but it falls apart the next semi-tone up.

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Ha, got me again. Ya the voice starts mixing and getting more head dominant somewhere past the first octave. But the difference I was talking about, is the difference between the top mix and a full head voice, which is at c#5 for me.

I don't have any trouble bridging between mix and head and I can still hit c#5 with a mixed approach. I'm just trying to sustain a c#5 in mix, which is at the very top.

Thanks for the advice

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Dover - I know what you mean about C5. At B4 or C5 you have basically arrived at CT tilt being the dominant pitch mechanism where you are stretching the folds. When the stretching starts, the folds need to be thin. The issue you are having is that your folds are too thick at that point. You are holding on to thicker folds and then suddenly you go thin at C5. The remedy is to start thinning out the folds earlier so that at B4 or C5 the folds don't go though an abrupt change in thickness. A psychological trick is to think about going "smaller" when you are approaching that point. You need to smooth the fold thickness change. When you smooth this out, you can add weight if you want to go louder. I've found it easier to master a "light" transition first, before adding weight.

gilad - If it feels natural then you are probably doing it right. A lot of singers have to work really hard on these transitions. With others, it comes naturally.

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It seems to me that the same people who are askng about bridging around C5 are the same ones giving advice to beginners who are just learning to bridge around F#4. Same thing applies. go lighter, Top down, Bridge earlier.

I am just a beginner still working on bridging F4-A4. Work it the same way you worked through first bridge.

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i've been lucky i guess, because doing tons of scales and exercises on all vowels and supporting and learning to narrow up high (without backing off) has it so a register is just not there anymore. i just don't feel their occurance anymore, there's not a change of anything except the throat shape (vowel) and the vocal folds.

i personally believe the success comes when you can get to a point where nothing is impeding in any way the natural stretching and contraction of the vocal folds. they are free to go where they need to go to make a pitch.

but you need to the have the requisite musculature developed to such a degree that you can learn to isolate and combine the musculature (ta/ct) at will.

just how i feel (years later).

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It seems to me that the same people who are askng about bridging around C5 are the same ones giving advice to beginners who are just learning to bridge around F#4. Same thing applies. go lighter, Top down, Bridge earlier.

I am just a beginner still working on bridging F4-A4. Work it the same way you worked through first bridge.

Not sure. The E4 - A4 area is where the vowel modifications are very important - that's the passagio where you have to alter the formants. That takes some time to master. Then there is the Tenor C5 which is a different thing altogether where you have to master letting go of the TA in favor of the CT for stretching the folds. They work differently. But others on the forum with lower voices have said that both work in the lower area. So it may depend on your voice.

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Not sure. The E4 - A4 area is where the vowel modifications are very important - that's the passagio where you have to alter the formants. That takes some time to master. Then there is the Tenor C5 which is a different thing altogether where you have to master letting go of the TA in favor of the CT for stretching the folds. They work differently. But others on the forum with lower voices have said that both work in the lower area. So it may depend on your voice.

Dover says he can sustain C#5 in head voice. So He has the coordination needed to get beyond the C#5. Others have already told him. Start from the top down. Start from E5 in whatever configuration you are using and slide down passed B4 using that same coordination get your voice used to the thinner folds in that area. After you do that for a while then work on sustaining a mixed C#5.

That is the same advice for working through G#4 passaggio. Get your voice used to using the lighter coordination from top down first. An then work your way back up.

I can be wrong. I am no teacher. But I see that over and over again.

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I got some progress today. I started sliding up to the c#5 and I got it so it was this solid 50/50 note. The onset and shape was like how it is in chest, and the resonance was from the head voice, so it was like balancing half chest and half head. It wasn't nearly as loud as I wanted it, but it's still progress.

Ya my head voice was already coordinated enough or it was coordinated enough today, to get the right resonance. I have been working on my head voice everyday, so I also need to add in passaggio work too.

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I would like to join this discussion with a question as well.

How the heck do you decide where to bridge. It feels natural and I dont think I can change where the bridge happens... This is very confusing to me.

Basically, here's how I think it works

When you're first starting out, you don't always have a good idea of how much fold mass you need to stay smooth and connected through the passaggio. So you reach points that are trouble spots.

You can get through the trouble spots one of two ways. The first way, is to start using a really light mass setup on lower notes so that you don't have too much fold mass once you get to the high notes and can easily get through the passaggio. This will be a tradeoff in that you lose power. This is bridging early.

Bridging late is when you reach those trouble spots, you push your way through them, until you reach notes that are high enough that you can use a light mass configuration and still make big sounds (somewhere around Bb4-C5).

A singer with good command of their voice doesn't need to make these choices because they can smoothly navigate their passaggio area, keeping full power without pushing anything. Once people get to this point, they start to understand more and more why chest voice and head voice are metaphors and how we really just have one voice.

But when you're first learning you inevitably reach those trouble spots and you have to decide to thin things out or push your way through.

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Basically, here's how I think it works

When you're first starting out, you don't always have a good idea of how much fold mass you need to stay smooth and connected through the passaggio. So you reach points that are trouble spots.

You can get through the trouble spots one of two ways. The first way, is to start using a really light mass setup on lower notes so that you don't have too much fold mass once you get to the high notes and can easily get through the passaggio. This will be a tradeoff in that you lose power. This is bridging early.

Bridging late is when you reach those trouble spots, you push your way through them, until you reach notes that are high enough that you can use a light mass configuration and still make big sounds (somewhere around Bb4-C5).

A singer with good command of their voice doesn't need to make these choices because they can smoothly navigate their passaggio area, keeping full power without pushing anything. Once people get to this point, they start to understand more and more why chest voice and head voice are metaphors and how we really just have one voice.

But when you're first learning you inevitably reach those trouble spots and you have to decide to thin things out or push your way through.

i think a key is you have to get the development in the musculature. once you have a achieved a certain level of development you start to go to places and achieve a fold flexibility and resiliency you never had before.

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Dover - I know what you mean about C5. At B4 or C5 you have basically arrived at CT tilt being the dominant pitch mechanism where you are stretching the folds. When the stretching starts, the folds need to be thin. The issue you are having is that your folds are too thick at that point. You are holding on to thicker folds and then suddenly you go thin at C5. The remedy is to start thinning out the folds earlier so that at B4 or C5 the folds don't go though an abrupt change in thickness. A psychological trick is to think about going "smaller" when you are approaching that point. You need to smooth the fold thickness change. When you smooth this out, you can add weight if you want to go louder. I've found it easier to master a "light" transition first, before adding weight.

gilad - If it feels natural then you are probably doing it right. A lot of singers have to work really hard on these transitions. With others, it comes naturally.

Two things:

1. Geno's answer is spot on. Read and learn.

2. I checked out gilad's song, "Thank you" and sincerelly like it :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Basically, here's how I think it works

When you're first starting out, you don't always have a good idea of how much fold mass you need to stay smooth and connected through the passaggio. So you reach points that are trouble spots.

You can get through the trouble spots one of two ways. The first way, is to start using a really light mass setup on lower notes so that you don't have too much fold mass once you get to the high notes and can easily get through the passaggio. This will be a tradeoff in that you lose power. This is bridging early.

Bridging late is when you reach those trouble spots, you push your way through them, until you reach notes that are high enough that you can use a light mass configuration and still make big sounds (somewhere around Bb4-C5).

A singer with good command of their voice doesn't need to make these choices because they can smoothly navigate their passaggio area, keeping full power without pushing anything. Once people get to this point, they start to understand more and more why chest voice and head voice are metaphors and how we really just have one voice.

But when you're first learning you inevitably reach those trouble spots and you have to decide to thin things out or push your way through.

What you describe here really reflects well the issue I have been tackling for almost a year of vocal practise.

I don't feel my voice is one seamless connected flow, although i can more and more achieve consistency through my tessitura.

I am a bit baffled when people talk here about "putting more chest" or "head" as if their voice has become infinitely malleable. I still experience two very different ways of phonating and it is always a problem with the passagio notes.

These problematic notes are mainly : A, Bb, and B. It seems to me that I have two distinct options. The first one is to pull chest voice up there, which i can do up to Bb, but it sounds screamy. The second one is to try to cover head voice as much as possible to make it sound chesty. Unfortunately, it seems that my head voice is really empowered around the high C, and lower is a bit squishy.

So i am still stuck in these problematic sensations (because i always ask myself how to approach these passagio notes), and for the moment i am not satisfied with either the chest pulling and the head covering solution. And its not as if these passagio notes could be skipped. Many great rock songs tops right there so it seems always some kind of accrobatic whether i opt out for a chest or head solution.

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I have basically a similar issue (see my thread about) it. However in the last days I really improved a bit. There is some thing that really seems to throw many people off, and this is the following fact:

During passaggio (starting around C4) you have to increase BOTH, TA and CT to do the bridging really well. If you start making CT dominant too much you're head voice is weak and thin. If you go too much over the top with TA your voice will break at some point.

That's why Rob teaches to belt the notes C4 and D4 and then starting to make CT the dominant mechanism, because you need that increase of TA at the beginning of the passaggio so your head voice will not be too weak in the end.

The key to learning this for me was to make Twang the absolute dominant mechanism. Start working on your passagio in a low-mass configuration (without belting). But really keep an eye on the twang, so your voice NEVER sounds breathy at any given point. Try to develop a feeling for the vocal placement in head voice from that. The twanged head voice sits somewhere "in the back" of your head if compression is good.

The key to always bridge smoothly is to always keep the placement back in your head (which is loosely tied to CT as well) while AT THE SAME TIME pushing forward against your chest which activates TA. If you lose the placement in the back it means you are pushing too strong. If you don't push your voice gets too weak.

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I want to add, that keeping the same "sound" when you ascend is among other thing based on the Qo (open quotient - how much the vocal folds are open in one cycle of vibration). The TA and CT is mentioned a lot on this forum. However, one must not forget that it is actually some other muscles which are responsible for the primary adduction of the vocal folds and thereby defines "chest or head". It's the lateral cricoarytenoids (LCA) and the interarytenoids (IA).

Yes, exactly! That is why keeping an eye on your twang is so important. Because twang greatly reduces the open quotient in M2. If you twang correctly you will notice that you basically are forced to "push" at some point during passagio to keep the vibration going. If you dont push and let the twang go at that point you flip to falsetto.

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folks, scales, all kinds......simple, everyday, boring, (but so important) supported scales on all vowels

over and over and over and over over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over...thousands....

light scales, balls to the walls scales, all vowels...up and down, down and up!!!!

after a while you will feel an "entrance" develop (the best way i can describe it) a "placement sensation" develops which helps you ascend and build range (semi-tone by semi-tone)....

you don't have to lighten!!!! i'll say it again, you do not "have" to lighten......thin? yes, you don't have to transcend, change to, flip into, let go of, release to, .............. anything!!! one connected voice!!!!

what gets you a sense that there's one connected voice? support, an open throat, and the mind!!!!!

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Thanks guys for the feedback. Its a bit a relief i am not the only one who has the same issue.

I have been doing octave sirens for one year ( mostly with the "ay" sound - as in the word "may"-) I am on my way to achieve a well connected octave shift. I start from C-> middle C and i usually end with middle F -> high F

These sirens works better and better for me, but when i sing songs, i have troubles finding good placement, and i usually tend to be more "chesty" and to really lean back on CT for the highest notes.

Maybe it is just a matter of practise and muscle memory here. As VIDEOHERE suggested, my placement sensation might be not yet developped enough. Also, i have restricted my practise to the most singing friendly wovels which may also explain why i haven't the same sensations when i am singing.

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Benny, i think we are indeed facing the same issue. As my voice is slightly higher than yours ( My lowest workable note is G2, and my top note is G5, which i think is the usual tenor range ), but basically, I have the same troubles a few tones higher.

To illustrate my issues with a concrete sample, here is my attempt to sing Highway to Hell, which is a challenging song for me because it has a lot of these difficult notes, "when you feel like you never know whether you should go for chest or head".

https://www.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_5141472068

So, i think my sensations are not delusional, if you hear me singing the song, it is noticeable i have hesitations whether i shall go for "chest" or "head".

For instance, the first verses :

"Living / easy" -> i start with chest and then go into a covered head voice

"Living free" -> Full chest

"Season ticket for a / one way ride" -> chest to head

"Asking / nothing " -> Chest to head again

"Leave me be" -> Full chest

"Taking on everything in my stride" -> Full head

For the last verses, i am pretty much always into head voice until the refrain "I'm on a highway to hell", when i am in chest voice again.

And this chest voice doesn't sound like "mix" or like theres any CT work in there. I think I am just pushing it up there and my vocal folds feel super thick when i am singing it.

Please guys, help me with this! Maybe I am wrong in how i interpret my own voice.

VIDEOHERE, you mentionned that we shall feel and vocalize on a "single and connected voice". Can you tell me how i am supposed to achieve it?

EDIT : note that I have a little margin to change this chest/head composition. I can try to use more my chest voice to replace the weakest head tones, but at the price of straining or sounding a bit shouty. I can also go for more security and replace the highest chest tones with head voice, at the price of sounding too light and airy for this kind of song.

This is how i understand the comment when people say "go for more chest" or "head" but i guess it is not supposed to work like that. You are supposed to feel one connected voice with infinite control and variations anywhere from massive change to subtle ones.

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i'm gonna tell you what i hear based only on what i hear.....just my opinion...

don't know the reasons, from just forum posts it's very difficult to say, but to me it sounds like you are not engaging enough cord, not supporting enough, and you may not have come to terms with how aggressive and demanding a vocal this actually is.

you simply may not be ready (or also may not have the voice) for this kind of singing. this requires compression and a specific vocal tract shaping that not everyone can do without a serious amount of practise...or not at all.

i hear a "tentativeness" in your voice...this can hold you back.

again, just trying to help out. if you aren't sure how to produce a sound like this, you end up doing more harm than good.

you said:

You are supposed to feel one connected voice with infinite control and variations anywhere from massive change to subtle ones.

the answer is "yes" after you've put a lot of time into training and development of coordinations.

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i'm gonna tell you what i hear based only on what i hear.....just my opinion...

don't know the reasons, from just forum posts it's very difficult to say, but to me it sounds like you are not engaging enough cord, not supporting enough, and you may not have come to terms with how aggressive and demanding a vocal this actually is.

you simply may not be ready (or also may not have the voice) for this kind of singing. this requires compression and a specific vocal tract shaping that not everyone can do without a serious amount of practise...or not at all.

i hear a "tentativeness" in your voice...this can hold you back.

again, just trying to help out. if you aren't sure how to produce a sound like this, you end up doing more harm than good.

you said:

You are supposed to feel one connected voice with infinite control and variations anywhere from massive change to subtle ones.

the answer is "yes" after you've put a lot of time into training and development of coordinations.

Thanks for your honesty. I may try to sing something that my current level cannot match.

I picked it especially because it is a great challenge for me, and right on my difficult spots.

When you mention this style needs compression, do you suggest i should twang more? I can add some twang, even if this generally leads to microphone overloading.

Or do you suggest that my vocal folds aren't correctly abducted? Shall I try to do some glotal attacks to make it sound more agressive?

And definitely, there is a "tentativeness", because my voice doesn't seem to intuitively adjust, but i have to make conscious efforts to think about my placement.

Currently, my voice isn't too tired, even after one or two hours singing like this. But if I try to make it sound thicker, i will probably end up tiring my voice.

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