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Questions about head voice and breath support

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Erkki
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Hello! I've been wondering some things about head voice and breath support.

1. Head voice: How can I access head voice and make sure, it's not falsetto? I can connect from my chest voice to the upper part of my range without breaks (lift up pull back?), but that sounds weak so I think it's falsetto. Also, I can't add power to my top notes. Once I've found my head voice, how can I strengten it?

2. Breath support: My vocal coach tells me to constrict my abs when singing higher. However, no matter how hard I constrict them, I don't feel any difference, high notes are still as hard as before. I don't think that it's about the strength of my abs, instead, I must be doing it incorrectly. Where should I feel tension when singing, upper/lower part of my belly? Do you have any other advice on finding the correct way to support my breath?

Thank you for any advice!

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Well, the two of these go hand in hand in my opinion. You can tell if it's falsetto by the tone of it. does it sound breathy? If it's similar to a whisper then it's falsetto. If it's more 'connected' and sounds powerful it's a stronger head voice, obviously there are many variants between this. If you've found falsetto then thats a good thing, it can be a useful tool sometimes. There are different ways of teaching how to bridge from your chest voice to head voice, and one way might work for you better than another, I can only say what I have had most experience with and that's TVS. I think it's important to find falsetto first then work on introducing twang, this to me is the first step to finding a fuller head voice, if you can control twang in your head voice then you're a step closer. lowering your larynx can take this twangy sound into something more connected, full and resonant. This works hand in hand with good breath support, an open throat and good resonant placement and of course good control over vowels and vowel modification. These things in my opinion are key to getting a full and resonant head voice.

A thing on the breath support. The whole point of breath support is to control the amount of air we are sending to the vocal cords. What exercises do you do to practice it? I don't know if i'd particularly describe the feeling i get as constricting my abs. They should be relatively mobile and not hard and fixed. I feel it more a bit like your going to the bathroom :P people feel it differently I guess :)

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2. Breath support: My vocal coach tells me to constrict my abs when singing higher. However, no matter how hard I constrict them, I don't feel any difference, high notes are still as hard as before. I don't think that it's about the strength of my abs, instead, I must be doing it incorrectly. Where should I feel tension when singing, upper/lower part of my belly? Do you have any other advice on finding the correct way to support my breath?

Thank you for any advice!

Constricting your abs does several things:

1. Provides stronger support to create a consistent posture that creates a consistent tone.

2. Pushes forward the lower back and then uplifts the chest, which then uplifts the throat and head, all of which facilitate the higher tones to resonante more in the head.

3. I don't understand why this is so, but when the throat-neck is set more backwards (because stronger abdominal constriction sets posture more aligned), the vocal apparatus is more relaxed to emit higher pitched sounds. This vocal apparatus includes the soft palate and pillars of fauces, and these two enable the transmission through the nasal-area to enable high resonance.

4. Many other things as well.

So, you may be constricting your abs support, yet not activating all the other necessary items of the vocal tract. One likely area is lowering the larynx. If you're raising the larynx, the tightening the abs won't help much.

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Great replies, thank you! I'm still wondering one thing: I've heard multiple times to "anchor my larynx to my diaphragm", and that using my abs allows the diaphragm to go lower. Does that mean that proper support also prevents larynx from rising too high?

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