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Top-Down Voice

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Hey all, I'm just going to cut straight to chase. Before taking a top-down approach I could not bridge at all. However I noticed that when I do get into a "hybrid" condition (mix) it sounds weak or whiny just not the way I want it to sound. My chest voice belts have always been aesthetically pleasing so it seems like sacrificing the quality of sound just for more notes.

How can I completely revamp those "chest-voice" belts I have. I know a lot of people say that you can't get a heady-mix that has POWER but I really believe it's possible.

What has helped you master "top-down phonation" all throughout the range. I know it's already in the TVS book but what I want to know it how exactly to take the flexibility of the top voice and use it to make all kinds of sounds (even chesty sounding belts). The top-down phonation DOES work for me but if I'm going to sound shitty in mixed voice I'd rather just belt in my modal register.

How do I empower my voice with a top-down phonation without sounding too weak and girly? What top-down approaches helped you get that POWER without losing beauty of tone WHILE fascillitating a "blend?" I'm not asking "how to mix" I'm asking how to mix in a way that eventually develops that effortlessly powerful blend that can TRICK the listener into thinking you're really chest-belting. Must I sacrifice the beauty/power of my chest voice so I can have a few extra notes and blend into head musculature?

Sincerely, an ex-chestvoice-belter. Hope I'm not being too confusing!

Thanks in advance.

JayMC

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I agree with Daniel. If you truly want to sound like you are able to sing with more power in the mixed voice then you have to take it slow. Master each pitch...If F4 is loud and powerful, but F#4 is not then you need to just stay in that area for a while learning to master it.

Many people often think that falsetto singing is going to help them to sing more powerfully, but that is not the case at all. The singers with the most connected ranges don't even acknowledge having a falsetto which causes them to learn to ascend the scale without breaking. When or if they break they move back down the scale and try again.

This method has worked for me very well and now I can sing up to A5 with no break in between and no fooling people into thinking I didn't break. On certain days I do not do this as well, but trust me the hard work and patience pays off. I am happier with a full voiced D5 than a disconnected G5.

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Also what I mean by falsetto is not the resonance shift, but the laryngeal registration. The resonance is continually shifting, but the laryngeal registration does not have to break, flip, or blend into another voice just gradually thin. That's the difference between connected and disconnected in my opinion.

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I am kind of in the same boat. Did start out as a "chesty belter" and now trying to learn light-mass coordinations. I think what really is key to this is a "twang-comes-first"-attitude. This means ALWAYS make sure that your twang is spot on and that your placement is kind of forward around the root of the nose. This is absolutely top priority.

This is also what separates falsetto as a vocal mode from falsetto as a fold registration. Falsetto as a fold registration CAN have forward placement and twang (above E5 it will always have it, at notes below it can have it depending on volume and mass-configuration). Falsetto as a vocal mode on the other hand is basically defined in a way that it has not enough twang and no forward placement.

So coming from a "twang-first"-attitude you can AFTER that try to induce more mass and more important more resonance. The resonance comes mainly from larynx dampening, the mass comes from using appoggio-technique. However, usually the resonance changes should be enough to make your head voice assume a "belt-like" character.

While the dampen-and-release onset is really cool to induce more mass into your singing, I would really recommend to start out with the quack-and-release onset or with messa-di-voce-onset. Always start with a small sound, even if its only for a split-second. Do this until twang-coordination gets second nature for you, then you can start working with appoggio or dampen-and-release to get more mass.

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Should I? Or, should I not?

As reigning king of head voice, should I add my opinions to this? For a while, I thought of staying out of discussions wondering what advice can I offer baritones. But, I think, some of the processes are the same, regardless of where your voice starts. Or ends.

And once again, I will refer to Frisell, mainly in perspective, rather than getting bogged down in the list of techniques. Granted, only a few of us have read Frisell and take value in what he says but I think it's as valid a perspective as anything else is and it has certainly helped me, some. In his book, "The Tenor Voice," he essentially advocates top-down training, with falsetto as a training tool, not a destination. Like any number of things that feel or sound funny at first, these are training tools, like training wheels on a bicycle. After a while, you take the training wheels off, though some of the basics remain the same.

In almost this phrasing, if you are a tenor, train as a tenor. Start in tenor and then, stay there. You will lose some of the bottom, lowest notes that you are capable of, certainly at first. Make up your mind. We have sayings around here to euphemize that. Drop your deuce or get off the commode. Fish, or cut bait. Get on with it, daylight's burning.

Frisell's opinion, which is one that I share, is that the tenor is going to spend more time in the mid and upper part of the range with most material that is out there. And, in casting, a tenor is chosen specifically because of the ringing power he has above, say, C4. So, at least as far as casting goes, it's not important if a tenor hired for a role can also go down to, say, G2. Parts of the libretto that require voluminous floorboard-rattling at those notes are likely going to be written for the dramatic or heavy baritone, anyway. Unless you need that sounding kind of heady, in which case, you might have a bass singing that softly.

And, as we like to say, that has nothing to do with pop music and vice versa.

And some will disagree, saying, it is absolutely valid to go for the 4 and 5 octave range and to sing just about every song ever written. And they are right, too.

And plenty of others who believe in chest up approach. And have great results with that. Either method is about coordination, more than it is "muscle." It is about the control of the muscle. Whether you go bottom up and train to not the adduction but the amount of vibrating mass, or if you start from the other end, with lighter mass and bring in a little more. A number of teachers advocate top down. Frisell, Vendera, to name a few.

I hesitate to bring in voice types, as that always engenders yet another discussion of "limits," a word that is as dirty to some people as "work" is to me. Can a light voice start out chesty? Sure. And it will never, ever sound the same as a heavier voice that starts at a lower pitch also doing the "chest" thing. Just like, some of you guys are probably 6 feet tall or less. And it doesn't matter if you spend a lifetime hanging from a bar in a jungle gym, you are never, ever going to match my 6' 6" (2 m.) Life is unfair, live with it.

That being said, tenor uses head voice quite a bit and that's not just a personal opinion of mine. It is the opinion of a number of teachers, many of them classical. Can a baritone benefit from headvoice and even falsetto training? Yes. Anthony Frisell makes those points, as I understand, in his book, "The Baritone Voice," which I have not read. Essentially, the same principles brought down about 1/2 an octave, I think, though someone can correct me on that and not hurt my feelings, at all.

Which leads to a wholly personal opinion that any voice range and singing, to be wider than 1 octave, is going to use some head voice. Life is unfair, live with it. I think we just differ on how to use, train, or approach headvoice.

I think it is interesting that the thread starts out with a common feeling shared by many that sounding "girly" is to be avoided, eschewed, something negative. Well, I already sound girly. Well, first off, define sounding girly. Secondly, why is sounding girly bad? What do the girls, if any are reading this thread, have to say about it? Are we a bunch of misogynists here? :P

Yeah, I get it, men are supposed to sound like men, etcetera. So, are men supposed to sound like deep baritones, with deep, rumbling voices? Is that a case of saying that all men are baritones, an artificial imposition of limit if I ever knew one to be? So far, we have only partially agreed on fachs being defined by where the passaggi are. Rather than lowest usable note. How do we grow longer, thicker folds? I'm drifting, sorry.

It may ultimately depend on where your voice starts and what kind of music you want to sing. And what your voice can do, which is not a way of me introducing limits. It's the same thing, in simile, as a guy who is 5' 10" playing basketball opposing Shaq. It can be done, but it will have some differences. Which may be minor.

And, I may just be of the opinion that any voice can benefit from top-down phonation, regardless of the desire of belting. But some are more comfortable belting from speaking voice. It's what he (whoever he is) has done all of his life and it feels safer than going through the "girly" phase. Is sounding "girly" in training like riding a moped? They're both fun to do until someone sees you doing this?

:lol:

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owen, i agree with most of what you said, except that top down singing can't be powerful. it absolutely can be.

when you sing top down you can drive air pressure into/or around and back of the soft palette and can create one serious, resonant ring.

when you hit the pocket just right, the sound can be so loud as to ring your eardrums.

girly sounds come from letting go and backing off of the voice. one voice.

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owen, i agree with most of what you said, except that top down singing can't be powerful. it absolutely can be.

Then, I am not understanding what you mean by "powerful." And I don't just ask that to justify me being a light and heady singer. If you could clarify what you mean by "powerful."

Semantics can be a slippery slope, indeed.

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Okay, then, Bob. We are probably at different perspectives. For I do not see top-down as "not powerful." Top down can lead to resonant and intense, which it is, for me. And I, like you, am not adverse to applying fortified breath pressure against thickened folds. Such as whatever thickness I have. I am just not a baritone, and I can't explain that any clearer. In a forum full of baritones. To me, what I do feels powerful and resonant, and intense. It just simply does not sound like a baritone singing high. But I draw exception at the idea that top-down cannot be powerful. Unless you think that top-down is primarily falsetto.

In which case, we shall probably never agree. I cannot change other people's minds, their faith. I can only change what I think.

Singing is mental. And so is listening.

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Yes, all the intrinsic muscles can be involved in adducting the vocal folds (except the abductor - posterior cricoarytenoid. However, they can be individually controlled to a certain extend. And this is the case with falsetto (M2). In falsetto the TA doesn't "bulge" the lower part of the vocal folds which is what partly creates the full adduction of the membranous part of the vocal folds. This leaves only the outer edges of the vocal folds (superficial layer of the lamina propria) to vibrate.

So in falsetto the TA is not involved in adduction of the vocal folds and it is not involved in the vibration as well (the deep layer of the lamina propria). This doesn't necessarily mean it's not contracted to a certain extend, but it is mostly believed that it is deactivated or lax.

This is a really good table showing the registers. This is also why I don't like the idea of calling falsetto M2 (even though this is the original definition). The table captures the difference between chest and head, which is very important, even though they are both called M1 in the original scientific definition.

Considering the table I would say, fry = M0, chest = M1, head = M2, faletto = M3, whistle = M4, which would be much more useful for practical singing.

I also think that you are right about TA. While the TA muscles are often contracted even in falsetto or whistle they are not part of the vibratory mechanism anymore.

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Okay, then, Bob. We are probably at different perspectives. For I do not see top-down as "not powerful." Top down can lead to resonant and intense, which it is, for me. And I, like you, am not adverse to applying fortified breath pressure against thickened folds. Such as whatever thickness I have. I am just not a baritone, and I can't explain that any clearer. In a forum full of baritones. To me, what I do feels powerful and resonant, and intense. It just simply does not sound like a baritone singing high. But I draw exception at the idea that top-down cannot be powerful. Unless you think that top-down is primarily falsetto. .

@ Ron - I think Bob and you are saying exactly the same thing, not disagreeing!

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Did I say top down singing can't be powerful? I actually agree with you, it can. In a resonant kind of way. But if you are looking for real OOMPH/BAM/compression/beef/chestiness (which is really just the icing on the cake, you don't need it all the time), a touch of a more bottom up approach will get you that while top down won't.

I agree.

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Yes, all the intrinsic muscles can be involved in adducting the vocal folds (except the abductor - posterior cricoarytenoid. However, they can be individually controlled to a certain extend. And this is the case with falsetto (M2). In falsetto the TA doesn't "bulge" the lower part of the vocal folds which is what partly creates the full adduction of the membranous part of the vocal folds. This leaves only the outer edges of the vocal folds (outer cover of the vocal folds) to vibrate.

So in falsetto the TA is not involved in adduction of the vocal folds and it is not involved in the vibration as well (the body of the vocal folds). This doesn't necessarily mean it's not contracted to a certain extend, but it is mostly believed that it is deactivated or lax.

folks, please hear me out on this, because i cannot be the only singer who sings this way.

this chart is not telling the whole story. head register cannot be confused with head resonance....

you can most definitely go up holding on to a lot of t/a to produce beefy, powerful, whatever adjective you want to use (and it's no illusion!) no lightening!!!

and that's whether you sing top down, down top or anywhere else in between.

you need development and strength to do it....

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this chart is not telling the whole story. head register cannot be confused with head resonance....

you can most definitely go up holding on to a lot of t/a to produce beefy, powerful, whatever adjective you want to use (and it's no illusion!) no lightening!!!

So what is head resonance then? Of course you will use a lot of TA to produce powerful tones in your head voice. The point is just that there is more CT than TA activity. What Rachsing pointed out is just that in Falsetto, which is basically the highest part of your head voice, starting at around B4 for baritones and E5 for tenors (at least from my experience), the TA activity doesn't contribute to fold closure anymore.

It is possible to sing the notes that usually are in the "head voice" area with a TA-dominant configuration, this is known as belting.

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another big misnomer is associating falsetto voice production exclusively with the higher range. falsetto voice production can occur in any part of the range. it is incomplete main vocal fold closure anywhere in the range.

the hell with the t/a c/t thing...an accomplished singer controls his musculature adjustments continuously as he sings.

you can sing powerfully up high when above average air pressure is sent to the most efficient resonators which is largely determined by the vowel.

the power comes from the supported voice and the precise shade of vowel being tuned in to the resonating cavities.

the plain truth is when you sing anywhere in your range you are resonating in various degrees in your head cavities.

another misnomer you don't go the head resonators with just high notes.

so moral of the story...head register does not always mean where you have to go to produce high notes.

head resonance can be produced anywhere in the range.

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Okey WHO deserves à punch in the face?! WHO yet again opened the falsetto discussion?! Good god ruins every thread... Thats falsetto, no it's headvoice, no it's curbing, actualy it's an offcentre neutralcurbing with added air sounds exactly like falsetto but it's still curbing.

Actualy the isogastrapagus contendentermuscles pulls the v shape of the folds unbalancing the voicebox thus creates à windylike quality WHO could,and i repeat could be associated with falsetto...

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