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Best Twang Vowels

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Hey everyone, in your experience what are the best vowels to help build and develop twang.l I find that EE and Ah as in cat are great but would prefer to add twang to a naturally "darker" vowels.

What vowels have a natural tendency to help twang? I like "i" a lot but it seems hard sometimes to get that sweet super-resonant twangy spot which is easier felt with EE or Ahh.


- JayMC

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Because that's not possible. Well, twang requires tension. Which you may perceive as strain, due to past vocal teachers saying singing should be completely strain-free and not defining strain for you. And then you misinterpreting that as singing should be tension-free. But they are two different things. If you feel something but it doesn't hurt, that's only tension and it's often a good thing in singing. If you're feeling something and it hurts like hell, that's strain.

Even in the beginning, building twang requires even more than just tension, you will have to strain for it for a while. After that it will become stronger and you can get it just with tension, not strain. Then eventually you may be able to twang and not feel much of anything at all. But let's be clear, in the beginning, it's very physically difficult.

I'm just about willing to agree with you, Owen, in that learning a new thing might seem to be a strain or, for example, when learning to do the inner smile, it may seem tiring at first, especially if one is not used to smiling a lot. And after a while, with most any muscle still operating within it's possible range of motion, a conditioning takes place and the action is not a strain any more, except of course overworking by means of duration. For example, you might literally sing all day and feel tired and that is not poor technique, that is just physical exhaustion.

And my point about singing without strain or undue tension is that, in training, the object is to make the singing more endurable for the singer.

Since we are often comparing singing to other athletic endeavors, let's go ahead and do that. I mean, really go for it, whole hog.

Football. A player does not "over train." Or "under train." He trains for the game. If game day is so much more exhausting or damaging (tackles from 300 lb lineman aside) than anything in practice, something is wrong.

A surfer does not practice his sport by playing tennis. He practices by surfing. That's not to say that athletes cannot enjoy another sport outside of their occupational sport.

Of course, I know, during the seventies, some football teams were teaching their players ballet, mostly to get more grace and balance. But that's just one item. You still get better at football by playing football.

Anyway, and some will disagree with me, I think, at some point, the "strain" of learning to twang should go away. Which means singing should get easier as time goes by.

Guitar players don't practice in order for the performance to be damaging. They practice in order to be efficient in what they do. So, in the beginning, yes, the hands and arms get tired and the fingers are sore. As time goes by, the muscles in the hand become coordinated and accustomed to the action involved. Calluses build on the fingertips, a necessary result of repeated hard impacts, to protect the underlying tissue from damage.

John Lennon saying "I've got blistahs on me fingahs!" is a funny line. It doesn't actually have to be that way, all the time.

And, I think, it begs the question, while a guitar player needs to alter his physicality by growing calluses on his fingertips, does a singer need to develope calluses on his folds?

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That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking, Owen. Does twang occur from the neck up? Or can I twang from my air support? Sounds impossible. We're talking about vowels. Neck-up type stuff.

When twang, I assume a high larynx position and sing through a narrower space, off the roof of my mouth, with slower air, while modifying to "boomy" vowels. Does this sound about right? Well, when I do this in a way that is comfortable, I have the outward appearance of straining quite hard, probably because my Adam's apple is literally the size of an apple. But really, I tend think I have the same endurance as anyone should. I don't have serious problems with pain or fatigue unless I actually do something that I know is a bad idea. If I post videos, people tell me to stop straining so hard. If I only post audio, they aren't usually any the wiser. The visual seems to affect the way people perceive the sound itself. If I dip my larynx to a dopey low spot and use faster air, I don't appear to be straining as much, but it does not feel good. I can twang this way, but it's super weird. The diction and note length suffers and the sound becomes swallowed.

I'm currently convinced that I can either stop twanging completely, or I can "strain."

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