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Male neutral in the low to middle part of the voice

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Let's talk about using neutral in the low to middle part of the male voice. This is a popular sound in lots of contemporary music. Any of you sing like this? Any tips or other thoughts?

I find singing in neutral in the low part a la Chet Baker in the first video particularly challenging. I always run out of breath and a can't make a focused yet soft sound like Chet.

I also find it hard to add the subtle hold that you in hear in the Bonnie Prince Billy video.

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I've been working on this myself actually. Well I have the low part down, that's super easy for me, but it gets really hard around C4-E4, where chest voice tends to be too heavy and head voice is too light and it's harder to unite them then if you were to bridge earlier or later. At least that's the case in my voice right now.

Anyways, the one thing I was experimenting with that seemed to help is to use the extrinsic muscles of the neck to anchor the larynx. See "the visible neck" thread for some discussion on it. It basically helps keep the larynx from being too floaty to the point where it starts to flip abruptly from chest to head. I find if I keep it anchored, it's stabilized in a way that allows me to create a smoother bridge.

For the lower stuff, the key is to, whether or not you like the term, accept the fact that you are in "chest voice" there. Or you could say, your speaking voice, just softer. If you try to pull the same configuration of higher neutral down there without changing anything it will just get progressively softer and weaker as the pitch lowers to the point where it's unusable. You need the chest musculature (TA muscle) to be dominant down there in order for it to work at such a low pitch. Then to get the middle range without flipping or getting louder, what you have to do is be able to start in a light chest voice (TA dominant) and bridge to a light head voice (CT dominant). That's how you keep an even volume throughout.

If you are running out of air, try to think more along the lines of opening the glottis than using up more air. You don't need to use a lot of air to get that airy sound Chet's getting, you just need to use less vocal fold compression.

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I agree with Owen, I think the best way to find this is to just sing in that pitch but lower the volume until it automatically becomes neutral. If you're running out of air you might be using too much of an open glottis (neutral with air). You can apply a little bit of a hold in neutral to get rid of the air, so you might like to try starting in curbing and then lowering the volume until the "metallic" sound goes away, then hopefully you'll have neutral without air.

For me at least, neutral seems to requires MORE support effort than heavier singing, at least in my low-middle range. So in order to get better at it I had to really understand support by going to a teacher who says concrete things about support (instead of vague things) and can demonstrate it. It's also hard for some men not to have a sudden break from manly-neutral to feminine-neutral (flageolet) at some point around E4 and support really helped me with that trouble spot. Still needs practice though.

I hope this helps and isn't just yet more of my personal singing life story which may not ring true to others.

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do descending head voice slides on "oo" and "ee" staying in head voice mode as far down as possible.....don't engage chest (for this particular goal). train and develop the lower head tones to compete with and unite un-antagonistically with chest voice.

build the head voice ramp and strengthen the head voice musculature so you seal well with just the fold's edges.

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