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Ray Alder - EXCELLENT LARYNX DAMPENING / GOOD "UH" SHADINGS

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Robert Lunte
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Wow, this is what my most recent thread was about. It doesn't sound like he "enters" head voice at all.... the belty sounds are shaded perfectly into his low head tones. That's what I'm working on and really has an effect on bridging & connecting... dampening + twanger = 1 step closer to a seamless voice.

Btw this is not my main genre of music but I'm pretty sure 2:10 = MONEY NOTE.

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The problem here is I agree with you both >< Rach and Lunte

What Ray is doing is inbetween what you both are suggesting or in a sense he is doing both.

He is doing what Cvt calls overdrive at parts the OH parts, but he has Compression and slighly a hold wich shades the voice towards Uh.

I hear this uh shadings lunte's talking about it's very common in rock and metal despite of belt or bridge or whatever sounds we are talking about

Cheers :)

here's like a thousand examples of this ;)

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well yes, i agree with that... But thats not exactly what Ray is using :P my point basicly... for instance if you know Cvt terms Ray is using slight hold on all his stuff wich would indicate curbing still he's singing on the Overdrive vowels.

Edit: a great example of this is 1:33 - 1:38 Curbing on overdrive vowels slightly towards uh keeping some of the "hold"

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Excellent discussion.

For it to be classified as Belting, I would want to hear a stronger glottal attack and see more 'chest pull' on these notes. In Estillian and TVS language, I think its more twang then belt Rach.

Its M2 with great intrinsic anchoring (including M1 musculature), with tunings to "Uh" shadings.... to my ears.

Interesting points on the "oh" vowel. So "oh" would be considered the vowel to use to train 'overdrive'. I thought it was IPA "ae"? or "i"?

So, using a blended Estillian, CVT, TVS language, I think we have:

The Phonation Package is characterized by a strong intrinsic anchoring set inside of M2 with curbing, tuned to "Uh" harmonic shadings. :cool:

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Well the problem is, that you can get two diffrent coordinations sound very similar. It's also very hard to hear what they are doing because it's a recording.

WIth that said i dont think we will ever come to an agreement, wed have to line them up and hear physicly if they are doing the same thing :)

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I've found shading toward the UH sound to be a great way to keep the sound big and open on higher notes (so they match better tonally and 'girth-wise' with low notes and don't thin out too much). In fact, I tend to "shade early" (if that's a term) when thinking of the lyrics because shading toward the UH doesn't change the sound of most words too drastically if you're careful and don't overdo it. That along with minimizing consonant sounds and improving my support has gone a long way toward helping me improve and gain greater confidence in the higher part of my range.

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Maybe my definition of belting is different from other people but I have to agree with Rob. What Alder is doing here is definitely M2 + twang in my ears.

However, I have often experienced people defining the term "belting" in a different way. For me, personally, belting is a vocal mode that is totally primitive. That also means, no one really has "to learn to belt", because it is something people can do naturally. Even babies can belt, it's their primitive way to get their parent's attention.

The reason why people often have problems to use belting or want "to learn belting" when learning to sing is that belting in its primitive sense requires a totally "relaxed" larynx. Any manipulation on the larynx like added CT or twang will remove that relaxed state. Unfortunately, hardly any person today has a naturally relaxed larynx. Even the habit to keep your mouth closed most of the time sets tension on the larynx, because in the relaxed state your mouth is slightly open and your jaw is hanging down in a loose position.

The real totally primitive belting as a whole is a purely "breath-dominant" technique, there is no larynx technique involved, just pushing out breath and supporting with your abdominal muscles. This is a natural reflex that is also used when coughing for example.

If you want to experience real chesty belting, try to induce the appoggio technique that is described in pillars 2.5. It is absolutely crucial to just relax everything that affects your larynx. A good way to do this is to make a totally "unintelligent" face, with something like tunnel vision, a loosely hanging jaw (the "mouth breather" way) and loosely hanging tongue. If it's totally relaxed, the tongue will rest on your lower front teeth. This is the "natural" position where your tongue was lying when you were a baby and didn't have teeth that made your tongue lie farther back in your mouth.

Now everything you have to do is to build air pressure and push it through your totally relaxed larynx. A good visualization for this is to push your lower back in a back-down direction and at the same time push your chest to a front-up direction. Just push harder to create higher pitches. However, since this is a totally primitive mechanism, often people don't need a visualization for that. The urge to create a loud sound while still keeping your larynx relaxed will often automatically active that "pushing mechanism". I often call this the "baby cry mode". This is in my opinion the most "pure" form of real belting.

To come back to the actual topic. I think Alder clearly doesn't belt, because real belting just doesn't allow for fancy larynx techniques like vowel modifications or shadings or such things. Additionally, a "real" chesty belt actually sounds less boomy in the head area than M2+twang+larynx tuning, because the formant that is associated with "chestiness" fades away when you reach certain pitches. Larynx tuning enables to to keep that "chestiness" in a region of pitches where a "chesty" sound is totally unnatural, so if something sounds "chesty" on pitches that usually reside in the head voice, it is quite obvious that it is an "exotic" vocal mode (like twang) and not a primitive/natural one (like belting).

Of course some people just define belting by pulling M1 a little bit higher but still using things like CT and twang along with it. But this is not belting for me, because it still resides within twang vocal mode, just with a little more TA or M1 mixed into it.

That said, from an acoustic perspective Robert really nails it with the argument that a real chesty belt, especially on pitches that high, will have a clearly audible glottal attack. There is no way to prevent that on high pitches if you use belting.

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Good post Denny... I can see by your talk-track, your a TVS student and have been studying "Pillars" 2.5... great! I love the way you didn't forget to mention the importance of formant tuning and Appoggio. In regards to your appoggio, take a look at "the four components of great appoggio training" in your copy of "The Four Pillars of Singing" 2.5... you will notice that we are advocating the open throat tongue position, not the leveraged tongue position... although, the leveraged tongue position is fine and shouldn't present any obstacle to what your trying to achieve, if you reposition your tongue to the open throat position, you'll begin to discover that your Appoggio is working better. The open throat tongue position triggers a chain reaction in the body that quickly calibrates the body for better respiration.

Alls sounds good bud, just try the new tongue position...

Are you working through your "Foundation Building Routine"... how is it going? What kind of growth and strengthening are you experiencing since you have started training with 'Pillars'?

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I've found shading toward the UH sound to be a great way to keep the sound big and open on higher notes (so they match better tonally and 'girth-wise' with low notes and don't thin out too much). In fact, I tend to "shade early" (if that's a term) when thinking of the lyrics because shading toward the UH doesn't change the sound of most words too drastically if you're careful and don't overdo it. That along with minimizing consonant sounds and improving my support has gone a long way toward helping me improve and gain greater confidence in the higher part of my range.

"Uh" is your friend, "Uh" is your little special friend.... I have been "Uh'ing" all year long and for about the last 6 months, Ive been working real hard on building the M1 musculature with my specialized onsets, "contract & release", "Attack & release" and the latest and 7th specialized onset, "dampen & release".... I can clearly say, my phonations are really getting beefy now. Love it when I eat my own dog food and then the results start coming... I was giving Gabrielle Gozzi a skype lesson yesterday, ( This is Gabrielle Gozzi below, he is my student and now a TVS teacher in Italy)... and I was just booming out some M2 up to C5 and was in the zone... I have to confess, I was having a great day yesterday... I am SURE that all the excessive vocal work I did in the last 5 weeks on my recent masterclass tour has built more strength... anyways, I was sounding really great yesterday and Gabrielli stopped, dropped his jaw and made comments about how much strength and 'boom' my voice has developed... he was pretty impressed... My point is.... the training techniques in "Pillars" work and in particular, training with the "Uh" and these specialized onsets can really push you forward...

... Im quite sure this is not M1 belting, it just wouldn't sound that 'rounded', it wouldn't be that nicely tuned, ... it would be more shouty and this isnt really shouty.

Another thing, in regards to Estill definitions here... is, Estill and CVT are lacking on real vocalize. If you never really work your voice to its full performance envelope and don't do the muscle strengthening and coordination work that needs to be done, your just milling about with academic exercises and not really doing the physical work that needs to be done. Im surprised at how some programs seem to neglect the need to encourage their students to workout on vocalize?

My point in all this is,... you have to work out... you have to train and build musculature to make sounds like this... you need workout scales, you need to train at least 5-10 hours a week.

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A good way to do this is to make a totally "unintelligent" face, with something like tunnel vision, a loosely hanging jaw (the "mouth breather" way) and loosely hanging tongue.

I do that quite easily, with or without singing. :lol:

Now everything you have to do is to build air pressure and push it through your totally relaxed larynx.

kinda reminds me of my mantra. Motion, when necessary (and it will be necessary) in the abs (short-hand for breathing without using the chest), note in the head (find your places of resonance,) nothing in the throat, ever, amen. (self-explanatory.)

Yes there will be tension. You have to have some tension to speak. When I say feel nothing in the throat, I mean the absence of undue strain.

Which is not to say that you cannot introduce elements of strain for a sound because you can. But I would not make a habit of it. Otherwise, people will think you do that all the time. :lol:

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To make it a little bit more clear what belting is for me (I know others define it in different ways):

Belting has a characteristic mass. This is the mass that vibrates if CT and TA cancel each other out in a way that the folds are neither thinned nor thickened. This is some sort of "resting level". This mass can easily be induced if you let the breath pressure be the single controller of your singing process. This form of phonation is really easy to learn. However, it is not really suitable for singing, because the breath pressure is your "controller". This means you are extremely limited in your ways to phonate. You can't sing high notes in pianissimo for example, because higher notes require more breath pressure to close the folds via Bernoulli (remember: no additional twang allowed in belting).

Once you start reducing the mass by letting CT become a little more dominant, you also have to increase twang to not become more breathy. This automatically puts you into a twang-like phonation mode. This mode has the incredible advantage that you can use the smaller instrinsic larynx muscles as your "controllers" (through intrinsic anchoring for example) instead of the big and more inert breath musculature, which allows for much better fine tuning.

What is really hard to learn now is to use a twang like phonation and have full fine-control over your singing process but also getting als close as possible towards the "real" belting configuration (so big and boomy in the head voice) without letting the breath management become your dominant controller again. Your head tones will even sound more boomy than "real belting" using this approach because mastering the control of your larynx allows you to tune your formants to a boomier sound.

That said, the example video is really much closer to "real belting" than what Ray Alder does. You hear much less formant tuning in that example and can't hear any "twanger activity" (which you can in the Ray Alder video).

But as I said, it maybe just different definitions, because belting basically equals natural yelling or "natural free crying" for me.

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Are you working through your "Foundation Building Routine"... how is it going? What kind of growth and strengthening are you experiencing since you have started training with 'Pillars'?

Yes, it seems to be working out really well for me. What I have to add is that I was training basically on my own for about 2 years before using Pillars, picking up some exercises and theory here and there and experimenting a lot on my own with my voice.

Pillars is the first product I actually purchased because it is the first one I came across that really fits my needs and corresponds with a lot of things that I basically found out while training on my own, the most striking aspects for me are:

- I was always under the impression that twang is an absolutely super-important key concept for singing

- I always firmly believed that there has to be a way to stabilize your singing that is governed by intrinsic muscles

It is really ridicolous how many programs and teachers don't know/teach these concepts. In a German Vocalist Board where I'm posting regularly they started calling me Mr. Twang because it happens so often that I advice a beginner to "learn to twang", especially if he/she is too airy. I even often got comments like "don't tell a beginner to twang, this just causes constrictions everywhere", or "twang is just a vocal effect that makes you sound more trumpet-like and nasty".

So Pillars is working out great for me because I was doing a lot of the things before that you teach. While I think I had a quite decent twang compression and quite strong M1 musculature before, I'm really getting better in combining the two. Previously it was always either belting or a quite thin and quacky twang-phonation for me. Especially the intrinsic anchoring and larynx tuning parts of Pillars really seem to help me getting to a sweet spot in between the two and shaping my sound more towards my desires.

What I'm really after for about a year now is what I often call the "mix-belt" or the "twang-belt", which basically means to get a twang-driven phonation as close as possible in terms of mass and sound to a belting-phonation. And I think Pillars has a really great focus on exactly that type of phonations.

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cmon guys i was just joking about introducing more terms >< There is not one approach that is better than the other. It's all about choice really, whats harder/better is all individual and also gotta match your own needs...

Rob and all i belive CVTand estill has some great vocal exercises(atleast CVT havent read estill exept for the gillian keyes book) But as all methods you will only see the full potential with a certified teacher...

However with CVT i can feel it can be abit overwhelming for a beginner and more suited for the average and pro level singers wich can use it more to it's full potential. There is a point i think programs who have a (step by step)program you can go through have an edge like the four pillars, ken tamplin,james lugos program, ryv ect

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Estill and CVT have a lot of exercises. Just look in both books. However, they don't believe in doing endless scales, sirens etc. They rather use simple specific exercises so that you can focus on getting the right muscle memory ingrained and quickly apply it to the song you are working with. They prefer to work on songs instead on vocalises. Because singing is the goal and you have to practice as close as to what you want to accomplish. If you mostly train scales, sirens etc. Then that is what you are going to be good at. In exercise physiology it is called the "specificity principle" and states that a training program must be appropriate for the activity or performance. This means, that for every song you need a slightly different approach. And this means that the exercises have to be specific for that song and therefore Estill and CVT don't use a "one fits all" approach because every song is different and every singer is different. The singer then has to pick his/her own exercises that he/she needs for a given song. It is referred to as the "individuality principle" in exercise physiology and that is why there are no fixed "training program" in Estill or CVT.

PS. And if both Estill and CVT were not usefull in training singers for "realistic or applicable" performance (ex. watch the video in the next post) then how can it be that they are both successful?

Rach, you go off on a tangent here and argue points that I was not making an argument for...

Excercises and singing "happy birthday" in twang mode is not WORKING out... and its not a vocalize. Sorry to disappoint you, it just isn't. Nor will it EVER work the musculature and coordination you have to have to sing with extreme phonations and capability...

The argument that training vocalize is somehow, not as important as we might be led to believe on the grounds that a vocalize is not singing, is a weak argument in my view. When we train vocalize and workouts in TVS, we are not singing... I never claimed we were... we are working out, training the musculature, acoustics and skills to build strength and coordination for singing. Vocalize are directly for, strength and coordination building... not primarily for, singing... Singing involves coaching of songs, vowel modification of lyrics, interpretation, other creative activities... its not really strength building.

I never implied that Estill and CVT were not successful, in fact I pointed out that they are. I think they are great. All programs have strengths... a rich variety of vocal workouts to build strength and a culture that puts a high value on it... is not one of Estill and CVT's strengths... nice books with good science and sound samples... ok. Can you learn from it, of course! Its good stuff... but you can't workout... I guess not really by the standards and definition of what 'working out' means in TVS.

I have studied Estill and have two mentors that are hard core Estill and there are big Estill influences inside "The Four Pillars of Singing", so when I speak of Estill, I speak from experience as a student of what they are doing and an author and producer of vocal training products... I kinda know what Im talking about.

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benny82,

To my knowledge. Your various explanations of voice production simply doesn't make much sense according to current vocal science.

I have not that much insight into current vocal science. Just reading some papers here and there. What would be a state-of-the-art-definition of belting in terms of vocal science?

I have heard a lot of belting definitions now and the most common point seems to be the absence of vocal fold thinning even on higher pitches.

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Yes, it seems to be working out really well for me. What I have to add is that I was training basically on my own for about 2 years before using Pillars, picking up some exercises and theory here and there and experimenting a lot on my own with my voice.

Pillars is the first product I actually purchased because it is the first one I came across that really fits my needs and corresponds with a lot of things that I basically found out while training on my own, the most striking aspects for me are:

- I was always under the impression that twang is an absolutely super-important key concept for singing

- I always firmly believed that there has to be a way to stabilize your singing that is governed by intrinsic muscles

It is really ridicolous how many programs and teachers don't know/teach these concepts. In a German Vocalist Board where I'm posting regularly they started calling me Mr. Twang because it happens so often that I advice a beginner to "learn to twang", especially if he/she is too airy. I even often got comments like "don't tell a beginner to twang, this just causes constrictions everywhere", or "twang is just a vocal effect that makes you sound more trumpet-like and nasty".

So Pillars is working out great for me because I was doing a lot of the things before that you teach. While I think I had a quite decent twang compression and quite strong M1 musculature before, I'm really getting better in combining the two. Previously it was always either belting or a quite thin and quacky twang-phonation for me. Especially the intrinsic anchoring and larynx tuning parts of Pillars really seem to help me getting to a sweet spot in between the two and shaping my sound more towards my desires.

What I'm really after for about a year now is what I often call the "mix-belt" or the "twang-belt", which basically means to get a twang-driven phonation as close as possible in terms of mass and sound to a belting-phonation. And I think Pillars has a really great focus on exactly that type of phonations.

Well let these guys know that "Pillars" is working and let them know that we have three TVS Certified Instructors in Germany... and soon a German translated version of "Pillars".

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benny82,

To my knowledge. Your various explanations of voice production simply doesn't make much sense according to current vocal science.

Rach, can you do me a favor? Can you please provide an audio file of you doing a slow and controlled siren from A3 to A4, through the passaggio? Also, if you could, Please provide sound samples of you Belting (according to Estillian definitions), on a G#4...

Thank You... I look forward to hearing it.

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Well Robert, (in regards to post #30)

I can see that you have changed your original post (#21) which my post was a respond to (#23 - where some of your original post is quoted). So I will not comment any further.

Good, that sounds like a pleasant conclusion... and yes, I did edit my response to better represent the tone and point I want to make. My prerogative. Im listening to your audio from the Estill class. You have a pretty voice, kind of Classically sounding... I liked it... it does seem pretty heavy mass and 'belty' alright... I would like to hear those high notes and the A#4 in a more covered, less pushy position.

I agree with you, that is kind of belty... therefore, its pushy and has too much mass. Most people are going to burn out and fail miserably pushing that kind of weight so high... but to the point, that is not what Ray Alder is doing... Alder's sound is a lot more heady, less belty/pushy.

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