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Chris Cornell is bugging me

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Jason Dupree
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So this has been bugging me for a while...

Whenever I watch Chris Cornell sing, his mouth barely opens at all! Just look up any youtube video of him. in every range, lowest to highest, he barely opens his jaw, and never opens it all the way. sometimes he will have a big "Smile", but his jaw is still pretty closed.

I know that having an open mouth is generally very important, especially for high notes, and I know that when i sing along with chris that I HAVE to open my mouth all the way to get the sound that he does on higher notes. (not that i sound like him, or I would be croudsurfing right now ;)

Around my bridge, I do find it easier to stay relatively closed like he does, but as i get higher, it feels natural to open up, until a certain point where if i dont it sounds like crap. but chris stays closed the whole range.

so the question: Why/How can he do this? and more importantly is there anything i can learn from that?

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How...practice. Why...he probably discovered that's what helps his voice work best but not yours because your physiology or technical foundation differs. Nothing wrong with that. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

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How...practice. Why...he probably discovered that's what helps his voice work best but not yours because your physiology or technical foundation differs. Nothing wrong with that. If it doesn't work for you, don't do it.

I wish more people would get in line with this thinking. Yes, some basics are basics. But, essentially, one size does NOT fit all.

Jason, if you need some jaw drop to do the same thing, then do it.

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My friend does sound at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in San Diego. He says that Cornell's voice is a big illusion. They really crank his volume, because he sings really quietly, even though it sounds powerful and loud. I don't know if it's true, as I wasn't there, but that's just what he says. It could explain the mouth not needing to open, as much.

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My friend does sound at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in San Diego. He says that Cornell's voice is a big illusion. They really crank his volume, because he sings really quietly, even though it sounds powerful and loud. I don't know if it's true, as I wasn't there, but that's just what he says. It could explain the mouth not needing to open, as much.

That's believable. He's probably not as quiet as your friend makes it sound, I doubt he's whisper-screaming. But I definitely think Cornell is doing most of his stuff in head voice. I'd go as far as to say he bridges early. And then just gets that power by distortion.

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cornell has said many times he needed to gear down for longevity reasons.

i've been lucky to have seen him up close and believe me he gets up there. he's scaled down a bit but nothing suffers because he's so skilled at maximization.

but as far as mouth or jaw opening, you have to experiment and tweak to get the most "efficiency" and tonal balance per your own particular voice.

for example, there's a really challenging part in "double vision" (lou often left out of the live performances) where he sings "taking me out of my head"

for me to nail that part i have to configure my jaw and mouth into such positions and avoid closing down on the "my" and keep the throat open and free.....it's a real challenge.

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I hate the strained sound, even on chris, that vid was the worst ive seen him strain lol!

I guess i was bugged because i felt like i was really having to open up so unnaturally wide, literally all the way. but playing around its gotten to where it is comfortable, but still nice and open. I have always had a closed throat, and maybe my jaw was trying to compensate. I really focused on opening and relaxing my throat and that helped. And now i find it easier to break the rules like Phil said.

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On the subject, mouth openning, it depends on the approach.

Using a small vertical openning, going more horizontal, using forward focus is a very nice way to deliver a more open/agressive sound without having to strain for it.

But to work, must be on forward focus... If you try to close a posture that is more jazz/rockstyle, overdrive to use the new fancy names, you will just strain and work against it, not a good idea.

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I hate the strained sound, even on chris, that vid was the worst ive seen him strain lol!

I guess i was bugged because i felt like i was really having to open up so unnaturally wide, literally all the way. but playing around its gotten to where it is comfortable, but still nice and open. I have always had a closed throat, and maybe my jaw was trying to compensate. I really focused on opening and relaxing my throat and that helped. And now i find it easier to break the rules like Phil said.

where on that video is he straining?

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  • 6 years later...
On 5/22/2013 at 7:50 AM, Felipe Carvalho said:

On the subject, mouth openning, it depends on the approach.

 

Using a small vertical openning, going more horizontal, using forward focus is a very nice way to deliver a more open/agressive sound without having to strain for it.

 

But to work, must be on forward focus... If you try to close a posture that is more jazz/rockstyle, overdrive to use the new fancy names, you will just strain and work against it, not a good idea.

 

On 5/22/2013 at 8:38 PM, ronws said:

 

Yeah, but he's only sold like, multi-platinum in two bands and solo. What does he know?

:lol:

Felipe Carvalho is correct. Check out straw phonation. It helps your vocal chords stay in a relaxed position which allows you sing with more resonance with less strain. From what I read the “Maestro” (Cornel’s famous late voice coach) had this technique at the core of his teachings.

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