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Cannot Feel Cord Closure

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Hi everyone, I honestly feel as if I have little control over how "closed" my cords are. Sometimes notes in the high whistle range are accessible to me and mixed registers notes feel easy but at other times my high notes are breathy af.

For me breathiness is cause by 2 major things:

1. overtly wasting air... i realize if i feel too much moving down below i screwed up

2. leak at the cords itself

Without using too much fancy terms what is the correct logical approach in removing breathiness and creating efficiency between the support (body) and larynx.

Last point... if I can hold a falsetto-ish note for more than 10 seconds... then problem 1 is somewhat removed as when I am in pure falsetto I cannot sing a note for over 10 seconds... because so much air is being wasted

Problem 2 is annoying me because when training with the upper register.. the DEFAULT is breathy. I have to be extremely careful to not let my lower notes take on TOO MUCH breathiness otherwise my entire singing feels weak.

Hope someone has some useful advice that makes sense :) What feedback do I use to help me figure this cord-closure/wasting air thing out.

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#1 isn't a cause for breathiness. Not even close. You can move like hell down below, let the lungs release a lot of air (of course in a steady manner) and if you get enough cord closure above to resist it and enough resonance to cushion the vocal folds during this high subglottal pressure feat, that's a fairly efficient phonation and it won't sound the slightest bit breathy.

It's all in #2. You are right about the low notes. If they are breathy the high ones are likely to be too, though that's not a hard and fast rule.

Can you do me a favor and send us three files? These will just help diagnose the issue and test the abilities of your laryngeal musculature:

1. A quacky/witchy/buzzy "ee" in head voice.

2. Attack & release onset into CVT overdrive in high chest voice, on an "eh" vowel.

3. A dampen & release onset in head voice into a vowel of your choice.

If you are struggling with any of these (and I will let you know if I can hear the files) then you need to practice them, in 15 minutes spurts, several times a day for a few weeks.

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I was going to say the gug-gug exercise. Basically, anything that promotes the glottal stroke. And only as temporary tool to fix a problem. Just as others who too much glottal stroke can ease off by using aspirated h as an onset.

I think Daniel is also right in that you should work in the middle part of your voice.

As I have found in my own experience, navigate the passaggio, and you can navigate the whole voice. Let extremes worry about themselves, later. Not that you need extremes of range, Jay. Especially considering your chosen genre of music, which requires mastery of passaggio, rather than a gritty scream that could pop balloons.

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Staccato exercises like. Ah ah ah. Eh eh eh. From e3 to c4. Clean onsets no HHS. Once you can do that onset on the first note of a 3 note scale. Another is ah as in cat solid tone not to high.

Why isn't there a "LIKE" button on this forum :cool:

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Staccato exercises like. Ah ah ah. Eh eh eh. From e3 to c4. Clean onsets no HHS. Once you can do that onset on the first note of a 3 note scale. Another is ah as in cat solid tone not to high.

Should you be hearing a slight click in your throat during these exercises? Are there any audio examples that anyone knows of with this exercise? I'd like to make sure I am doing it right :)

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The click comes from a glottal attack, which is not preferable as an end result. You want a non-breathy adducted tone, but it should start smoothly together with your breath.

Whether or not you need to use a glottal attack during your exercises is up to your teacher, I would guess it might "solve" a very breathy voice if done for a period of time. From what I know however, overdoing it is not healthy.

Cheers!

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So what about the NAY exercise? My understanding, perhaps flawed, is that this exercise promotes cord closure. My problem is that I cannot get that witchy, screechy, nasally sound in head voice without it being breathy.

In fact, I've never really been able to do a "WOO-HOO" at a football game in any type of non-breathy voice.

So would I be understanding correctly that cord closure begins in chest voice and should be perfected there first? Daniel mentioned staccato exercises up to C4 without any H sound - will this also help keep the cords closed in head voice?

Thanks!!

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I think the WOO HOO at the football game is all about the breathy falsetto. YEE HAH is more about closed folds. Hillbilly logic..... It can be faulty.... I am not a teacher :P

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So what about the NAY exercise? My understanding, perhaps flawed, is that this exercise promotes cord closure. My problem is that I cannot get that witchy, screechy, nasally sound in head voice without it being breathy.

In fact, I've never really been able to do a "WOO-HOO" at a football game in any type of non-breathy voice.

So would I be understanding correctly that cord closure begins in chest voice and should be perfected there first? Daniel mentioned staccato exercises up to C4 without any H sound - will this also help keep the cords closed in head voice?

Thanks!!

Many would disagree but I personally think it's best to start working on closure inside the head voice. That way there is no risk of cheating by simply adding more weighty chest musculature to help close the glottis...something that you can no longer use too much of when you are in head voice. Whereas if you train cord closure inside the head voice you're forced to get that adduction by using smaller muscles that can provide adduction both in chest voice and head voice.

I can't even begin to tell you how much practicing witchy ee's in the head voice, particularly low head voice, has helped me develop strength and coordination in my twang compression...I seriously believe that is by far the best exercise to develop twang. Just go "mmmmeeeeeeeeeee" or even a gentle glottal attack into an "eeeeee" and try like hell to get the air out of the ee. You probably won't be able to in the first couple months but if you keep at it eventually you'll notice the muscular coordination getting stronger and fast forward a year and you will be able to make that witchy ee on the spot any time of day. I just tested myself and did it right now, first try...it's quite amazing how much that exercise grows the voice in such a measurable way. And I don't recall ever consciously changing the technique in order to get more wind out...just through repetition the coordination I was already doing got stronger to the point where it could finally bring the vocal folds together completely.

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Thanks Owen,

I guess there is no better example that an actual audio file. Here is one of me doing a mmmmeeeeee in what I think is headvoice.

https://www.box.com/s/t41xewanx3e8pe7eoa6x

Is there a breathy quality or am I imagining it? I guess that is the first question :)

If so, I will keep working on it as you suggested and let the muscles develop.

Thanks!!

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Thanks Owen,

I guess there is no better example that an actual audio file. Here is one of me doing a mmmmeeeeee in what I think is headvoice.

https://www.box.com/s/t41xewanx3e8pe7eoa6x

Is there a breathy quality or am I imagining it? I guess that is the first question :)

If so, I will keep working on it as you suggested and let the muscles develop.

Thanks!!

It was not breathy at the top.

Don't do it on a siren, just work on it note by note, starting at A4. Onset, hold and calibrate. Get that one non-breathy (it already is your file I think) and then repeat it non-breathy a few times. Then do the same with a G#4. Keep descending down a half step and calibrating your technique on each note until you get to the pitch that is really hard to get the breath out of. Work really hard on getting the breath out of that pitch and once you get it, again repeat a few times to reinforce the muscle memory, then stop. This may all only last 10 minutes. It's still a great work out. Revisit it a couple times a day.

It's also a great way to diagnose the condition of your voice. Your success in this exercise will pretty directly correspond with your overall vocal health as it naturally fluctuates throughout time. For instance if you are dehydrated, tired, or not warmed up enough, you may find the exercise especially difficult.

Feel free to add an open vowel at the end, ala the TVS quack and release onset...that can be nice for training to apply twang inside a balanced coordination. But IMO that is not as important as just pounding on the quacky ee part and building the strength and coordination of twang compression. And if you get good at the quacky ee's the twang will probably start naturally showing up in your singing.

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