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I Just don't get what middle/mix voice is. Any help?

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LuckNoMore
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It doesn't exist, that's what it is. :)

Skip to 5:56 if you want to skip over the bulk of the lesson (how to attain what others call mixed voice) and just hear his verbal thoughts on mixed voice as a terminology.

To clarify, you are still mixing chest and head. Otherwise you wouldn't hear Rob seamlessly gliding from chest to head in this. But the point is, it's a spectrum of ratios of chest and head, not a third register in the middle. You have chest, head, and you can blend them how you wish, with enough training. But it just gets harder and harder the closer you get to a 50/50 ratio of the two, and a huge part of vocal training is training to be able to get through that spot without yodeling. There is no one "mix"...you just get better at mixing chest and head.

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This is Von Smith singing

Skip to 3:12

Is this what we are aiming for in the long run though to be able to do that?

If so i can do that sort of.

Sort of. He is singing with a more splatty timbre than what most listeners prefer to hear, but he's still using what people are calling "mixed voice" and is in fact just a well developed head voice, or in some cases, the chest voice of a high, light tenor. If you are a lower or heavier voice, you will need to sing those notes in head voice to get that sound. But it's not a middle register, let's get that straight.

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Mix voice is just a term that means singing medium-high notes with only slightly less power/intensity than low notes. So it definitely exists. The only issue with the term is that it gives people an incorrect impression of how to achieve it. It sounds like "doing two things at once" but that's not true.

It's not a completely different configuration from "chest voice" it just requires the right amount of support and some care given to choice of vowels.

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Mix voice is just a term that means singing medium-high notes with only slightly less power/intensity than low notes. So it definitely exists. The only issue with the term is that it gives people an incorrect impression of how to achieve it. It sounds like "doing two things at once" but that's not true.

It's not a completely different configuration from "chest voice" it just requires the right amount of support and some care given to choice of vowels.

And here is where "mixed voice" gets confusing. I don't agree that what you are describing is any different from chest voice. I think that if you have not changed the configuration, it is still chest voice. Now is the change of configuration to start mixing into the head voice drastic, no. But it should allow access to more range. If not, you're still stuck in chest voice.

I hear too many people attempting mixed voice without releasing anything. They keep their full chest musculature, narrow the vowel, and compress really hard. And they think that's mixed voice because it sounds smaller than chest. But if you still haven't released any chest musculature and you haven't entered a configuration that gives you more high range than belting would allow, all you are doing is making less sound with more effort, the exact opposite of what qualifies as efficient, healthy singing. And the result tends to be singers quite frankly sounding like they are taking a dump while singing. That's called straining. That's not mixed voice, okay?

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Mixed voice is something that just happens for me most of the time. I do not conscieously (sp?) let go of anything, of shift anything. As far as I can tell, me body makes the necessay adjustments when it needs to . What has to happen first is you need to strengthen your head voice musculature. The closer you get to having your chest and head voice musculatures even, the better your mixing ability will be. To do this, assuming you have mastered breath support and other basics, do decending falsetto slids. A lot of them. Take them down as far as you can go. I do three sets of them, 15 minutes per set, a day. Also, I hum and talk and sing songs in head voice. It sounds silly, but using the muscles is the only way to strangthen them. Hope This jargon was of some help.

~Keith

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I understand mix voice as

- curbing & medium overdrive/edge

- and mln (curbing like neutral, & overdrive/edge-like neutral)

In short, in a scale of 1 to 10 of volume, being 10 your max volume posible for the given pitch, mixed voice is 3-7 (remember that neutral is 1-4, curbing is 4-7, and overdrive/edge is 7-10)

so....

B4-A5 in mixed is curbing

F#4 and up in chest is overdrive

Lower chest tones, upper falsetto/head tones etc is neutral

right?

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You can do any mode on those pitches, but if you want you can train them with fixed pitches, and there is no problem about that :P

(unless,.. if you then wanna do C5 in overdrive, or F5 in edge or curbing, you will not be able cause you havent trained for that!), so it all depends on your goals and tastes.

C5 in overdrive chest is not impossible but requires >6 months of vocal practice, even for a tenor, if you don't build up semitone by semitone trying to force chest up that high will result in strained vocal cords. It will also make anything below about an F3 sound metallic and horrible until you've had some sleep.

I can sing up to F#5 in a pretty nice loud curbing mixed voice when in adrenaline mode (I sing "I Need You" by the Beatles in mixed voice a full octave higher than the actual song, thus in the chorus ['I Didn't Realize, As I Looked In Your Eyes'] the second syllable of each line is an F#5 and I sing it pretty well). After the F#5 the mixed voice turns pretty quickly into a pure falsetto and then a scream and then maxes out at Bb5 or B5 depending on the day. I can scream out a C6 about every 50th attempt, and even that lasts for only a second or less.

So like, I'm trying to get Aerosmith's "Dream On" ending down, but my Ab5 ['DREAM'] sounds inferior to Steven Tyler's (at this point)

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I have been trying to discover this for a long time but can never get it. I only know head and chest. is mix just head voice with cry or meow added to it?

No, its not.

If by chest and head you mean larynx coordination, as in it flips from one to the other, then its all that you have, and all you will ever have, unless you are not human.

The capability of both when well trainned is what you need, there isnt a magic trick that will make you sing in modal voice above the passaggio point with freedom and ease in 1 week, unfortunately.

But it can be trainned, provided that you get good orientation.

Thats what I would do, what I did actually.

Good Luck! :)

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For me, there's obvious notes like C#5 where my brain automatically uses mixed and doesn't even spare a second thought for chest, since I just can't reach it in chest. (C#5/Db5 is my most powerful mixed voice note, by the way)

... but then there's not so obvious ones, like the upper passagio notes such as G#5 to A#5 where you have to make a quick decision. It's not so easy. It really depends on what song you're covering. If you're covering Journey, use mixed, that's what Perry does really, it's fine. If you're covering Linkin Park, it's a lot harder, since Bennington has a really high chest range.

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C5 in overdrive chest is not impossible but requires >6 months of vocal practice, even for a tenor

No, you just need someone who can make you forget about the pitch and just do some nice free easy shouting.

And here is where "mixed voice" gets confusing. I don't agree that what you are describing is any different from chest voice. I think that if you have not changed the configuration, it is still chest voice. Now is the change of configuration to start mixing into the head voice drastic, no. But it should allow access to more range. If not, you're still stuck in chest voice.

I'm not saying nothing changes as a function of pitch. Minor adjustments are needed with each different semitone. Obviously the folds have to stretch a bit (or it wouldn't be a different note) and you need to apply a bit more air pressure and also increase the volume. Also you need to be more precise about the vowels the higher you go. All these little adjustments are made so that you can keep the same character on each note. For those of us who think of this as "staying in the same mode", it's a straw man to suggest we think nothing needs to be adjusted at all.

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Mixed voice is something that just happens for me most of the time. I do not conscieously (sp?) let go of anything, of shift anything. As far as I can tell, me body makes the necessay adjustments when it needs to . What has to happen first is you need to strengthen your head voice musculature. The closer you get to having your chest and head voice musculatures even, the better your mixing ability will be. To do this, assuming you have mastered breath support and other basics, do decending falsetto slids. A lot of them. Take them down as far as you can go. I do three sets of them, 15 minutes per set, a day. Also, I hum and talk and sing songs in head voice. It sounds silly, but using the muscles is the only way to strangthen them. Hope This jargon was of some help.

~Keith

keith, great post...i'm with you all the way on that.

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I'm not saying nothing changes as a function of pitch. Minor adjustments are needed with each different semitone. Obviously the folds have to stretch a bit (or it wouldn't be a different note) and you need to apply a bit more air pressure and also increase the volume. Also you need to be more precise about the vowels the higher you go. All these little adjustments are made so that you can keep the same character on each note. For those of us who think of this as "staying in the same mode", it's a straw man to suggest we think nothing needs to be adjusted at all.

Well here is my question, when you make those minor adjustments, are you gaining more range than you'd have in overdrive, or do you still eventually hit a limit?

If one were to take chest voice then increase air pressure, add volume, and choose vowels carefully, only those three changes, that just results in belting. That's why I don't think what you are describing is mixed voice it all.

"Mixed voice" would require a gradual decrease of TA activity and increase of CT activity until the two are nearly in an even balance and would naturally progress into a CT dominant phonation if taken higher and making the same changes progressively. That's the mixing process. "Mixed voice" to me is simply mixing the TA and CT in a more even balance. That's not what you are describing. You are describing making a few modifications so you can take chest higher without a ton of volume. But where is the RELEASE that will eventually get you into head voice? That doesn't just happen naturally as a result of tweaking vowels and support, if the larynx is statically fixed to the TA dominant sensation it knows as chest voice, that is present in all beginners.

It's so important to be precise about this, cause if you talk about mixed voice as something similar to chest voice, the student probably never learn to make that gradual TA/CT switch and they will get nowhere in their development.

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Well here is my question, when you make those minor adjustments, are you gaining more range than you'd have in overdrive, or do you still eventually hit a limit?

Great question. Actually no, so I might be missing something. I can go up to about B4 in overdrive and in curbing and in edge, I find them all equally challenging. After that I have to go into neutral.

If one were to take chest voice then increase air pressure, add volume, and choose vowels carefully, only those three changes, that just results in belting. That's why I don't think what you are describing is mixed voice it all.

Interesting. I think a recording would help.

"Mixed voice" would require a gradual decrease of TA activity and increase of CT activity until the two are nearly in an even balance and would naturally progress into a CT dominant phonation if taken higher and making the same changes progressively. That's the mixing process. "Mixed voice" to me is simply mixing the TA and CT in a more even balance. That's not what you are describing. You are describing making a few modifications so you can take chest higher without a ton of volume. But where is the RELEASE that will eventually get you into head voice? That doesn't just happen naturally as a result of tweaking vowels and support, if the larynx is statically fixed to the TA dominant sensation it knows as chest voice, that is present in all beginners.

It's so important to be precise about this, cause if you talk about mixed voice as something similar to chest voice, the student probably never learn to make that gradual TA/CT switch and they will get nowhere in their development.

How do you tell a student to activate tiny muscles that they can't feel? Actually I had the opposite experience of your example student who wouldn't progress. When I had an awful break around E4 I would have to modify something and the only thing I could access at that pitch was a windy falsetto. That got me nowhere for 5 years. Someone telling me that it felt like pulling chest, that gave me good progress. :-/

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Alright, here is a clip. I recorded it with my laptop mic. Please be gentle as I am nowhere near as accomplished as most of the people here at singing in this range. I included a high C and that goes way beyond my pay grade. But is this a "mix" or not? I'm trying to stay mostly in curbing (hence pronouncing "empty" with an I, etc).

https://soundcloud.com/eggplantbren/high-curbing-attempt

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Hi Owen,

Thanks for your reply. I think I understand what you're saying. So my windy falsetto that used to be all I could do above E4 -- I now call that the flageolet, and apparently this is needed in order to sing anything above high C. And yeah, I can definitely feel it. So that is a CT dominant phonation with low TA involvement. Cool.

So the roadblock that I and other CVT users often have at around the high C might indeed be that we need the more CT dominant phonation, which is what CVT would call using the flageolet (I don't know if this is correct, it's just a hypothesis that is forming in my mind right now based on your post and my readings). I might try that out and see if I can open up the C5-E5 range.

It should still take you up higher than chest pulling would, otherwise, what's the point!

Well my old school pulling chest would have only taken me up to E4, and opening up E4-C5 gets me to about 95% of songs I'd ever want to sing. So there's a lot of point! You're right that I sing with a light sound color though, which may make it sound like I'm not using much mass even though I may be. Of the 6 ways there are to lighten or darken the soundcolor, my default habit is to have 5 of them in the 'light' setting (distinct twang, raised larynx, lowered soft palate, open nasal port, broad tongue; I usually used relaxed mouth corners though which makes things darker).

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https://www.box.com/s/tjjehjf844zrfkxlue7z

Overdrive, then my hack attempt at curbing, both at my upper limit. Then what I'd consider a more effective, more CT-dominant mixed voice. You might as well call it head voice cause at that point I'm above the passaggio. But it's not windy falsetto. It can pass as "full voice". Notice that because it's CT dominant I can hold it longer (less strain) and it's actually louder than curbing because it works on open, belty vowels. And then really without having to do much at all except shift the resonance, it gets you up into this range (I don't sing this high live yet, it needs improvement, but you get the point):

https://www.box.com/s/e1qjb6yx43cchlyr0knq

That, particularly down around the Ab4 (carrying it up to D5 it starts to lose the chestiness) is about the closest my voice can get to an even mix at this point in my training, and it just seems like CVT doesn't have a mode for this...they have a mode for a TA dominant mix, curbing, but not CT dominant...MLN is close I guess but there's a lot you can do besides just adding "metal"

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Cool clips. Thanks for that.

Not that it matters at all (just trying to organise my own thoughts), but I'd label your first "CT dominant mix" note as medium overdrive and then call it overdrive-like neutral on the higher pitches (these are new labels from the 2012 edition, prior to that it would have been considered grey areas). That approach will take less work and that's probably why it's good from a stamina point of view, and also totally cool if you like that sound.

But one might want to take the slightly thicker sounding curbing higher than what you did, and it is possible (and it is my stylistic preference, not that there's anything wrong with your style). Later I might have a go at a similar clip where I do overdrive, curbing and then a hack attempt at head voice / overdrive-like neutral, which I don't practice often.

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Cool clips. Thanks for that.

Not that it matters at all (just trying to organise my own thoughts), but I'd label your first "CT dominant mix" note as medium overdrive and then call it overdrive-like neutral on the higher pitches (these are new labels from the 2012 edition, prior to that it would have been considered grey areas). That approach will take less work and that's probably why it's good from a stamina point of view, and also totally cool if you like that sound.

But one might want to take the slightly thicker sounding curbing higher than what you did, and it is possible (and it is my stylistic preference, not that there's anything wrong with your style). Later I might have a go at a similar clip where I do overdrive, curbing and then a hack attempt at head voice / overdrive-like neutral, which I don't practice often.

Well you see, it's a bit of an illusion. That G#4 was the same mode as the stuff above it, it's just at a pitch where I can really put a lot of overdrive characteristics into it. There is a slight release of musculature necessary right around the point where one's chest pulling limit would occur, in order to go higher, but within the CT dominant setup it's a very subtle adjustment, you don't even feel it and certain don't perceive it as a bridge. My point is, on the G#4 it's not just a chest pull at a lower volume, it's a head tone that sounds a bit like a controlled chest pull because it's like CT dominant but still a good 40% TA or whatever. When you get around that ratio it tends to make the note easier than it sounds, or sound beefier than it feels.

The kind of "curbing" I did currently shits out at around A4. I could probably strengthen it to go higher, but the thing is, the overdrive-like-neutral is already really loud and powerful. I would only need something chestier if I needed something that was truly a fortissimo dynamic. And you're not gonna need that much above A4.

Choosing the overdrive-like-neutral instead is not only about stamina and workload, but dynamics. If you take things in neutral up high, around G4 to...F5? (somewhere around there), after you've trained the coordination well, you'll have the ability to smoothly navigate from any dynamic from piano to forte (soft to loud), without having to switch modes.

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Oh, and you might wanna start practicing head voice often, if you want those higher notes. You're just not going to get them without strengthening head voice. Even if you want to stay in a TA dominant curbing up that high, you're going to need to have worked out the head voice musculature so that you have enough CT activity assisting the TA dominant setup in stretching higher.

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Neat article, Geran.

And one should note how the effect of helium is described. It did NOT change the abilities of the singer, did not change his structure. Helium dominant atmosphere changed what parts of the sound are getting transmitted through air, based on density of particles.

Normal atmosphere that we breathe is mostly nitrogen with some oxygen and other trace elements. And when you exhale, you are exhaling mostly carbon dioxide. Yes, you are now a pollutant according the EPA in the US, which has defined CO2 as a pollutant. (It is not, it is plant food, for anyone who studied science to at least the 8th grade level, or 8th grade when I was in 8th grade, which is when dinosaurs roamed the Earth). It's not so much that someone's "overdrive" ability was raised, it's just what overtones gained prominence due the nature of the atmosphere involved.

It also does not note and possibly could not, what long term structural effects to tissue and metabolism might occur with prolonged exposure to helium.

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