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Does singing loud prevent blending chest and head?

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Billy Budapest
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I'm a pretty loud singer. Trying to teach myself to sing quietly but am having a helluva time blending my chest into my head voice without yelling it. Some sounds are pretty easy and I can do them lighter/quieter (ee's & oohs). Some sounds are really difficult or plain impossible (ohs, ahs).

If I try to do those latter sounds quietly, my falsetto breaks up into this airy, damaged sounding mess.

Just makes me wonder if there's kind of a "volume rule" for transitioning.

Kind of an odd question, I know.

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It's easiest to blend chest and head at low volumes. It can still be done loud, it just kind of gets progressively more challenging the louder you do it.

Also keep in mind the softer your sing the earlier you need to bridge, and the louder you sing the later you need to bridge, generally speaking.

ee and oo do go well with low volume and oh and ah do go well with louder volume. but i should be easier to sing oh and ah quiet than to sing ee and oo loud.

Can you send us a file? "airy damaged sounding mess" is a pretty vague description

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Billy - I can relate. I originally learned chest to head singing loudly - bridging late around Bb4 or B4. After a couples years of doing that I'm finally able to go into head singing really quiet - stretching the folds much lower. I'm doing some amazing muscle independence exercises that are allowing me to do this. I can finally sing really light through the passagio. Never could do that before. So it definitely can be done. It's just way different than how I learned originally.

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Its almost like there are two different pipes- one that leads to a hootier voice that lets u blend better into your head, and one that leads to a falsetto with not a lot of bottom end thats just thinner and more rough and cracky. If my songs are all eeee and oooo, great, but...

Tough to know which way to go or which is right if i can't freely use either approach.

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billy, i'm working on this as well.

sometimes it's really hard to tell without a teacher whether you are in falsetto or just a nice, lightly held head tone.

i found these two videos very interesting, especially the second one. hope it helps.

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Could I just say geno, bridging.at b4 in full chest....wow....that would've been hard to sustain right? I know some tenors that have sung open till g4 g4# and then begin covering or whatever u wanna call it, but gee, it would take a bit of spreading and a ton of proper support.

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Not so much exercises as songs. Im a belter usually. A great example of what i am talking about is "i will" from the white album. To me that sounds like a really round and hootier headvoice instead of a falsetto. Also sounds like Mccartney is singing the song super quietly. I would really like to learn that.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx_APcTyIUg

VH yeah i got Marks points there. I'm not really looking for a definition of head vs. falsetto so much. Its more the "how can i sing quietly?" question thats bugging me. There are some words tbat i cant do quietly. As an exercise, the Boh boh 5 tone scale in the vocalizeU app is a good example. I can't do that without shouting it. Yet i can do 5 tones on eee and oooo that blend fine. If i do the boh, i either shout or have to swap to falsetto that isn't connected to chest, its just whimpy and airy. Maybe that helps.

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Wonderful singing by Paul McCartney in that song, Billy!

I too have trouble taking that soft sound very high without flipping into flageolet/falsetto. I have had a bit of success with trying to support a lot, and experimenting with the volume but it is still unreliable. Good luck.

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what exercices are you doing? maybe would be useful to know xD

Good question - they are from Per Bristows program - it's a whole series of things starting with learning how to extend range down. It all about learn how to relax muscles that aren't needed, and working those that are needed. To go down - and I have extended downward - you have to be very relaxed. Then a bunch of different tongue exercises - all focused on getting your tongue detached from the vocal fold mechanism. In the end the exercises isolate the TA and CT muscles so they can build strength on their own and most importantly build the coordination. Letting your CT start stretching while keeping a totally consistent tone when the stretching starts.

To go from chest to head - lightly - you have to be very relaxed.

Many of the exercises are octave slides on different configurations - lots of them very fast - going from chest to mix and back to chest. No time for big adjustments. Drills - focused on building elasticity and flexibility. Hardly any energy is needed. All about TA/CT coordination.

The most helpfull thing is to mimic Per's weight and tone, and his coaching tips.

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Could I just say geno, bridging.at b4 in full chest....wow....that would've been hard to sustain right? I know some tenors that have sung open till g4 g4# and then begin covering or whatever u wanna call it, but gee, it would take a bit of spreading and a ton of proper support.

Well - I'm mostly doing it in curbing (covered) not overdrive. But I'm TA dominant - technically not in CT dominated head until B4. Some people define head when covering starts - there are many definitions - I go with TA and CT dominance to define chest and head.

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I found from my own tongue isolation exercises that I feel a squeezing sensation pr maybe a sensation of release in my upper neck baxk of head area which goes to show how involved (sometimes in a bad/constrictive way) the tongue can be.

I will look up Per's program. Thanks.

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I am doing some downward scales and stuff that help but it takes a long time to become natural and useable. I WISH that when I was learning as a kid that I started with soft blending. After 30 years of singing professionally, I've got some real sticky bad habits. Tougher to retrain at this point.

The ng works well to go grime chest to falsetto but I don't get that lower connection for me. Lip trills keep the connection to the lower voice but moving that to songs isn't easy for me. Again it's more a question on the volume. I may sing too loud to make it happen.

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It does not prevent, head voice can be strong and loud too.

But on the other hand, when you take away the volume, you prevent yourself from using chest when you dont want to, because chest voice above the passaggio will not be able to retain dynamic control.

Its a trainning tool that can go away after control working well.

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I seem to tend to kind of "choke" on the ng siren somewhere above C5, I think.

I get the same with my resonant humming, I think this is normal. No need to take it up super high, when I do slides with it my voice will naturally top out around C5 and come back down. Whereas with a vowel I could go above that to E5 or higher.

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billy, dan formica gave me these exercises that are helping me grip less and find that lightness:

i have that same issue trying to hold it together lightly to sing "let it be."

scales and sirens on sounds like "wuh" "woo" and "wee" help you to learn to connect without gripping.

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billy, dan formica gave me these exercises that are helping me grip less and find that lightness:

i have that same issue trying to hold it together lightly to sing "let it be."

scales and sirens on sounds like "wuh" "woo" and "wee" help you to learn to connect without gripping.

Yes Dan and I are old friends. We served in the War together, I had my vocal chords blown off and he and Hawkeye Pierce help put me together again. ;) (sorry, on my second mt. dew. I get giddy).

Not really, but yeah, we've been talking and he's been helping me with these issues. He's a good guy and a good teacher.

Those exercises are great and are kind of what has lead me to ask the questions about singing light and chest stuff. I'm leaning to do this sometimes, but sometimes, it's impossible. I find that I can do this better in the morning, if you can believe that. For example, "I Will" that I cited above. This morning, no problem. Wasn't loud, but it would be fine with a mic. Later in the day, it doesn't come as easy. Also, RIGHT AFTER a gig, it seemed to work well too.

I may be doing this in my shows and not realizing it, or doing it for some songs and not others. I know that in my shows, doing "Hey Jude" it comes really easy, and yet in other tunes I need to really push things and it can get shouty (chorus of "Can't Buy Me Love" for example).

oops, gotta run

Chopper! chopper!

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when I sing "let it be" this light way, i feel there are points where i'm holding on for dear life...like at any minute i'm gonna lose the fold connection. I can easily lean into it bit but it doesn't sound as pretty...lol!!!

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Those exercises are great and are kind of what has lead me to ask the questions about singing light and chest stuff. I'm leaning to do this sometimes, but sometimes, it's impossible.

Dont worry, insist on it. The point of these exercises is a long term "reference" construction. Lets say that when you try to add power/loudness, the "oo/ee" reference is "supressed" by the previous one, so as you make your brain assimilate this one, it gets more priority in that area.

Keep it up and by all means listen to Dan, this works ;)

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