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A question/thought on the whole bridging early vs late debate

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jco5055
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Let me preface that I've owned Four Pillars 2.0 since March, and coupled with a few lessons with Robert used it pretty much religiously up until mid October. It was around this time when I read about the differences between Four Pillars and the KTVA method, mainly about the bridging early vs late. I was curious, and one of my main sticking points of singing had been to keep my low head tones (F4-A4) free of a breathy quality and with more anchoring, which with late bridging would obviously eliminate if I stayed in chest through that region.

So I thought, what the hell it comes with a money-back guarantee, I'll give it a shot. So as I started doing the workouts, not only did my chest voice grow up to C#5, I found that some trouble spots in 4 Pillars I had (such as the ones stated above) I actually ended up fixing, even when I sang in the low head tones exclusive to Four Pillars. I think a "fresh" approach helped me become more aware of the mechanisms of my throat and how my own voice is personally. I however do still approach Four Pillars less stressful and dare I say "majestic/clean" quality the style brings in the style of Tate etc., and maybe after using the KTVA method a bit more and contrasting it to what I've learned in Pillars, I may have to upgrade to 2.5 (the updated ebook and the interface look great!) I only posted this section to show I'm trying to stay as unbiased as possible and see from both sides of the bridging argument as I continue my main point.

About the debate of bridging early vs late: I know Ken has stated how eventually, if one always bridges at their early, natural passagio point that down the road a person will pretty much lose the ability to belt, and stated Geoff Tate as one example of a guy who can't belt anymore. Now I haven't analyzed Tate's current abilities too deeply, or have obviously been singing long enough for this to happen to me personally, but is the current debate even valid? If one can perfectly simulate belting using head voice, which is a goal of TVS and I am pretty sure Tate was a master of back in the Warning-Rage for Order days; AND always sticks to the TVS/Four Pillars ideal of (at least for me) E4 and under=Chest and F4= head, why would one care if they can belt high or not? I have heard that as one gets better at head voice it becomes harder to intentionally sing in falsetto, which I also can attest to, but believe me, this is a trade off I'm more than happy to make.

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Maybe it's just me, but in my opinion real chesty belts still sound different from "simulated chesty belts" with head voice. I think it especially makes a difference for really "heavy" (in classical terms "dramatic") voices that have a lot of mass to work with.

Somewhere in a classical context I read that squillo (which is "twang" in classical terms) makes your voice more "lyric" in a classical sense. This is the point why, when you use a twang-heavy technique like TVS, voice types don't matter anymore, because everyone becomes a lyric voice in the classical way of thinking, heavier voice types just have to twang harder.

If you are a lyric voice by nature it doesn't make much difference sound-wise if you use a TVS-like technique, but if you are one of the really heavy voice types, your real chesty belts still sound way boomier than those covered head tones.

However, Robert himself seems to start embracing a slightly heavier-mass technique (more TA involved) now with his "appoggio"-approach, and in his own songs he is also sometimes belting up to around F#4.

Personally, I think of real chesty belting as an "effect" like distortion. I creates a slightly different tone and is more demanding on your support capabilities. However, real chesty belting makes it very hard, if not impossible, to smoothly bridge to your head voice if you do it too late.

The Geoff Tate phenomenon you describe has to do with him being one of those low/heavy voice types. For a heavy voice type (I'm really heavy myself), a twang-focused technique like TVS and a belting-focused technique is VERY different, because you have to use much more twang in the TVS technique than a lighter voice type. So if you sing very long using only the TVS-technique you might forget how to do a chesty belt because it is just soo different.

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Maybe it's just me, but in my opinion real chesty belts still sound different from "simulated chesty belts" with head voice. I think it especially makes a difference for really "heavy" (in classical terms "dramatic") voices that have a lot of mass to work with.

Somewhere in a classical context I read that squillo (which is "twang" in classical terms) makes your voice more "lyric" in a classical sense. This is the point why, when you use a twang-heavy technique like TVS, voice types don't matter anymore, because everyone becomes a lyric voice in the classical way of thinking, heavier voice types just have to twang harder.

If you are a lyric voice by nature it doesn't make much difference sound-wise if you use a TVS-like technique, but if you are one of the really heavy voice types, your real chesty belts still sound way boomier than those covered head tones.

However, Robert himself seems to start embracing a slightly heavier-mass technique (more TA involved) now with his "appoggio"-approach, and in his own songs he is also sometimes belting up to around F#4.

Personally, I think of real chesty belting as an "effect" like distortion. I creates a slightly different tone and is more demanding on your support capabilities. However, real chesty belting makes it very hard, if not impossible, to smoothly bridge to your head voice if you do it too late.

The Geoff Tate phenomenon you describe has to do with him being one of those low/heavy voice types. For a heavy voice type (I'm really heavy myself), a twang-focused technique like TVS and a belting-focused technique is VERY different, because you have to use much more twang in the TVS technique than a lighter voice type. So if you sing very long using only the TVS-technique you might forget how to do a chesty belt because it is just soo different.

This was quite a good reply! Yeah, looking at the ""apoggio" and the other close to 100 pages new to the 2.5 ebook has me seriously considering getting the update.

Do you know what your vocal classification is, whether it be the classical or more contemporary way? I'm a high baritone using modern terminology (a la standard baritone, high baritone, low tenor etc) but at least using a special ebook from the KTVA program called "how to find your voice type" which basically looks at 2 passagio points to determine your voice, I'm a baritone-tenor, also known as a "dramatic tenor." Although I guess my voice is as light as baritones come, I think the whole Geoff Tate and deep voice=more twang may have affected why I had a lot of trouble using enough twang in my head voice when I was using Four Pillars. When I try to sing in a TVS/dampened style, Geoff Tate and I are almost twins timbre wise. I assume my brother (who's definitely a kind of tenor) were to start training, he'd have a much easier time with twanging.

Thanks for the reply!

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I dunno If it works for metal belting though

Since I started bridging early (D#4) my singing became much better.

I'm not 4P fanboy (I'm not friend of any singing program either), that's my personal experience only.

For me, not only was belting/pulling chest a natural kind of thing (as it is for pretty much every untrained person), but like I said, really twanging hard was a problem. So I would go to karaoke nights, using my TVS training, and I never had a video to confirm it, but to my ears from the monitors it was quite obvious and kind of falsetto-ish when I would be using head voice compared to chest. With KTVA I just focus on keeping my throat open and vowel modifications etc seem to come natural. Coupled with my ability to go up to C#5 in chest now I can pull off a lot of songs easily. Last time I went to karaoke night (and where I'm at it is like an hour wait at its busiest and filled with college students) I had people just staring dumbstruck and even a guy flip me off in a "screw you, you're showing everyone else up" kind of way when I managed to sing "Kickstart my Heart" in all chest. But I still love TVS method with its Tate/Khan/general power metal qualities it brings to the table.

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Disclaimer: This is basically how I personally think about voice types...

From my understanding the "contemporary" classification of voice types is basically linear, which means bass is the lowest and high tenor ist the highest. The parameter which defines this linearity is basically the mass or the thickness of your vocal folds, so a bass has much thicker vocal folds than a tenor.

In a world where you sing like Rob suggests it with lots of twang and early bridging this is basically sufficient. However, thicker vocal folds puts you in a position where for example a bass has to use more twang and more CT than a tenor to hit the same note, because he has to use CT to make his folds thinner and match the size of the tenor's folds and then use twang to bring his folds together.

In this classification the passaggio that really matters is what I know as the "lower passagio". This is basically the place where your chest voice will start to break if your voice is totally untrained. For basses this passaggio sits around B3, for high tenors it can be as high as F4. The E4 that Rob suggests for transition into head voice sits quite in the middle of this range so its a good orientation for most men. This also explains why G4 is usually a really hard note for all types of male voices, because it sits past the passagio even for the highest tenors.

In a classical world, the classification is a little more complicated, because you try to stay in chest voice (M1) longer. While the contemporary classification is mostly linear, the classical classification is more of a 2-dimensional thing. Voices are classified by timbre (dark to bright / bass to tenor) and by "heaviness" (dramatic vs. lyric voice). This means the contemporary classification that uses thickness of your vocal folds as the main character is actually reflected in the classical world more in terms of lyric vs. dramatic. This explains why someone that is a high baritone in the contemporary world can be a baritenor or even a dramatic tenor in the classical world.

Because of this system there are two passaggios that matter in the classical world: Additionally to the lower passagio explained above, there is what I know as the "upper passaggio". This passaggio basically determines how long you are able to sustain M1 (chest voice). For example: Only singers of the timbre type "tenor" are able to reach C5 in M1. I believe (this is not proven) that the physiological backround for this is that the larynx of a tenor "sit higher" in your throat, creating a lighter timbre and making you able to push M1 a little bit more. For non-tenors Bb4 is usually the highest possible note in M1.

This classification is a little harder to understand. The 2-dimensional nature expresses itself quite well if you compare a lyric baritone and a dramatic tenor. The lyric baritone has a lower-placed larynx which gives him a darker timbre, but his vocal folds are actually a little thinner than those of the dramatic tenor. The tessitura of those two voice types is actually pretty similar and usually goes up to A4 in chest voice. But only the dramatic tenor is able to push his voice a little higher and reach C5 in M1, while the lyric baritone is not. The thicker vocal folds can even make the dramatic tenor being able to have more range on the lower end because to have good lows you need thick vocal folds. However, because his voice is "heavier" singing usually gets a little more physical for the dramatic tenor.

The classical classification also knows the "mixed voice types" bass-baritone and baritenor. A baritenor basically has the timbre of a tenor, but the heaviness of a baritone. This means a baritenor can reach C5 in M1 but has to work really hard for it. This is reflected in the fact, that usually the lower passaggio is quite low for a baritenor (around C4), but the upper passaggio is quite high (around C5).

This fact also makes baritenors the singers that have the biggest tendency towards belting (Michael Bolton is a good example of this), because belting is really viable in the area between the two passagii. Lyric Baritones on the other hand have a very low tendency to belt, because their "belting area" usually only goes from about F4 to about A4, so only has 3 notes in it compared to 8 for the baritenor.

For myself I always thought of me as a low baritone in contemporary classifications. However, in the classical world I'm not quite sure. I may be a bass-baritone but even may be a real bass (I'm quite sure that I'm not a profound bass (=dramatic bass) though). My lower passaggio sits around B3, my upper one around F#4.

This all is quite some theory of me mixed up with a lot of known facts, but it has worked for me to describe the nature of many singers and the fact why some singers have more of a natural tendency to belt than others.

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It puzzles me why you guys associate chest with power and emission quality...

Lets say that I agree with this: how do you train the two main strategies to produce voice inside this "chest" register?

Chesty "chest" and Heady "chest"?

lol figures...

My understanding is that "chesty chest" is basically produced by Rob's appogio-technique. This basically puts you in a position where you kind of "merge" the registers by giving your throat maximal freedom and letting breath pressure and TA do the rest. This technique is really powerful (Rob seems to notice that know) and if you do it right it leads you into a connected head voice just around the upper passagio without having to think about twang or resonance things. The "sensation" of the tone when using this technique is not really in your head, even if you're singing in M2, it sits somewhere in the middle and you feel pretty much as if the sound directly comes out of your open and free throat.

However, the strong focus on breath is also the weakness of this technique as you don't have the option to shape the sound or do things like singing a soft piano. For this you need to have control of twang.

My understanding of "heady chest" is basically that it's what opera singers do. In this case you take the "chesty chest" as the basement (this is why appoggio or support is usually THE starting point in classical training) and then start pulling back on that breath and incorprate twang and resonance a little bit more. This leads to a singing style where your high notes (like C5 for a tenor) are still sung in M1, but "sit" in the head resonance-wise. However, after the upper passagio it becomes impossible to combine the "heady chest" technique with the resonance shaping that is preferred in opera-style, which is why chest and head voice are usually not connected for opera singers.

The third style of course is "heady head" which is what Rob teaches. In this case you pull back even further on your breath pressure and worke even more with your twang, CT, and resonance shaping to create loudness and power. There is actually one type of opera singers that also use this technique, which is the countertenor. Countertenors sing on much lower levels of breath pressure and mainly use twang and resonance shaping to create loudness. That's why countertenors are not able to "belt" their really high notes, because increasing the breath level would destroy their classical resonance shaping (as said above in the high head voice those things don't go well with each other).

In terms of objective loudness the pure "chesty chest" approach is really the loudest because it produces the highest sound pressure. However, because the human ear is more sensitive to certain higher frequencies, the "heady chest" approach is usually the loudest in terms of percieved loudness. In earlier days this was very important for opera singers because they didn't have mics and had to sing against a full orchestra at times.

However, in the days where you use mics the "heady head" approach is really viable because it still creates significant loudness with a very efficient use of your breath.

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folks,

this is all fine in the beginning, but don't lose sight of the ultimate goal.......to get yourself to a point where there is no "perceived" bridging. one voice, top to bottom, bottom to top.....

if you concentrate too much on the activity of bridging, you end up anticipating a bridge. let support and the vowel work for you.

don't let the passaggio control you. in the end, you determine whether you produce a "heady" head, or a "chesty" head, or any combination thereof.

sometimes i just feel like you are "pre-thinking" or "pre-anticipating" the results of your training...you cannot.

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folks,

this is all fine in the beginning, but don't lose sight of the ultimate goal.......to get yourself to a point where there is no "perceived" bridging. one voice, top to bottom, bottom to top.....

if you concentrate too much on the activity of bridging, you end up anticipating a bridge. let support and the vowel work for you.

don't let the passaggio control you. in the end, you determine whether you produce a "heady" head, or a "chesty" head, or any combination thereof.

sometimes i just feel like you are "pre-thinking" or "pre-anticipating" the results of your training...you cannot.

That's basically the purpose of training with appoggio, which Robert seems to embrace now too. Appoggio creates a really strong "one-register"-feeling, sometimes I don't even notice myself if I'm still in M1 or already in M2. Once you master this however, the really difficult thing is to fit in your desired "sound shaping" because that can suddenly change the cool CT/TA-balance that is created by training appoggio.

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Very interesting... coming at you guys from Germany right now... about to go to sleep and prepare for a 150 participant Masterclass in Ulm, Germany at 10:00 am tomorrow... btw, if you guys are interested, you can watch my video diaries and see pictures of the tour... its fairly entertaining I think...

Geez, where should I start?... I just don't have the strength to write a big thing... I guess Ill start by saying... please check out the information below, for most of the new updates from 2.0 to 2.5.. You will find it to be very significant.... its extremely significant... This is why I have no life guys... this is all I did this year pretty much... Highlights include the new "Training Media Interface", which is an application that organizes all the content of Pillars (over 476 files and an eBook) into a user-friendly interface. This is the first time anyone has done this in the business. It makes your training more efficient and effective.

***

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Cutting to the chase... on the whole TVS vs KTVA 'thing'.. its really old hat... these comments and observations... whether positive for TVS or equally valid with Ken's program... are based on old assumptions... old conclusions... For the last 9 months, to include the development of 2.5... (like some of you guys accurately pointed out... thank you)... I have been on training a lot personally, and therefore updating the book as well... to build more M1 musculature inside of my M2/head phonations... Simply put... I have been building the pedagogy and techniques required to sing with more 'belty' phonations... NOT because I felt I needed to or that "Pillars" needed it so much... because I"m flat out telling you guys... bridging early is the sure bet... and this is what most TRAINED singers do... telling students to "bridge late" is not only bad advise, its just not accurately describing that kind of bridge... but that is not a 'dish' on Ken... I like Ken and thing he is a great coach... if anything, its just that I think he is using the wrong terminology for what is going on here... Its not "late bridging", which implies timing is late... and I think like the term "mixed voice" it could confuse a lot of people and get people constricting... which is not what anyone wants to happen.

Simply put... I think instead of the term, "late bridging"... I think we'll call it "bridging with more musculature" at TVS... and this is really whats going on. Its not about being 'late' to anything.. its about building specific musculature so that you can 'pull' more m1 into your m2 positions.. in essence.. carefully controlled, 'chest pulls'... Yes, for the last 9 months , i have been practicing and developing controlled 'chest pulling' techniques, which is essentially what Ken is doing... and to my point... its is what we are doing at TVS as well... so with "The four Pillars of singing"... you now have the benefit of learning and training bridging with lighter mass (geoff tate, steve perry, James Lebrie) and bridging with more M1 musculature (jeff scott soto, Dio, Cornell, etc...).

There are a LOT of new onsets and techniques around bridging with more musculature to get a more belty sound in Pillars 2.5... If you want to learn and train both approaches, Pillars 2.5 offers a big focus on that... Also, yes... we are not teaching Appoggio, etc...

Look guys, just click on the link above that give you the Table of Contents from the book... that tells you what you will learn... and anyone that trains with me over the internet, we'll definitely get down to business on making your bridges and head tones bridge with light and heavier mass... honestly, we are covering every aspect and every popular concept that is discussed on this forum, pretty much...a lot of my new ideas and exploration come from the discussions on this forum... you guys talked about appoggio,,, I gave you apoggio... you guys talked about more musculatity in the bridge or belting higher, I gave you that too...

I hope you step up and take advantage of the holiday special... its $59 off! Its a frickin no-brainer!! Know this, when the promo is over, its over...

Love you guys, hope to have you as clients...

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That's basically the purpose of training with appoggio, which Robert seems to embrace now too. Appoggio creates a really strong "one-register"-feeling, sometimes I don't even notice myself if I'm still in M1 or already in M2. Once you master this however, the really difficult thing is to fit in your desired "sound shaping" because that can suddenly change the cool CT/TA-balance that is created by training appoggio.

actually benny, when you've achieved a nice degree of upper strength and development (and lower core) strength, it actually gets less effortful, and your flexibility and ability to configure for the sound ideal you want becomes easier...but this aptitude doesn't surface and become apparant to the singer for quite a while.

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actually benny, when you've achieved a nice degree of upper strength and development (and lower core) strength, it actually gets less effortful, and your flexibility and ability to configure for the sound ideal you want becomes easier...but this aptitude doesn't surface and become apparant to the singer for quite a while.

Yes, of course. It is easier to shape your sound if you have a good TA/CT-balance. However, at least for me it is easier to induce a good TA/CT-balance than shaping the sound around it (maybe because of my demand for very "special" sounds).

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If there is such a difference between chest and head, that makes trainning of each something so significant that would render a different kind of voice, a change in the fundamental quality, you are simply producing them wrong. Its not a fault of the resonance strategy, there should be no difference from each where they overlap besides how the vowels are defined (resonance) ;). No matter the type of voice, as long as you are human.

As far as I always understood, the main point of using M2 with head resonance was exactly to program the postures of the vocal tract before appyling full voice, isnt it so? To prevent pulling chest and creating a lot of bad habits (and risking an injury) on the initial trainning. Its what I always understood from other similar approaches like Frisell.

Once properly controlled, it becomes not only less effortfull, it becomes easy, but with quality.

The trainning is quite straight-forward, basics and fundaments refinement until it can happen, nothing else work. But it absolutely requires orientation.

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As far as I always understood, the main point of using M2 with head resonance was exactly to program the postures of the vocal tract before appyling full voice, isnt it so? To prevent pulling chest and creating a lot of bad habits (and risking an injury) on the initial trainning. Its what I always understood from other similar approaches like Frisell.

I think this is a basic key concept in just about any training program. However, at what point the switch from M1 to M2 actually appears is mainly a function of the mass you use (if your bridging is trained well).

And there is a certain critical mass where the whole singing process feels more like "coming from your lower back" than "coming from your larynx". Those two types are (at least for me) quite different in terms of sensation.

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