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RowboCaup
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Hello! My name is Kevin, and I am a tenor actively trying to improve my technique so that I may one day sing Opera. About 6 months ago, I figured out how to sing up to the Bb. I have been stuck here, and cannot seem to go beyond that. Additionally, I feel that I lose a lot of the brightness I had on the middle and low notes as I ascend. The vibration on the roof of my mouth disappears as I pass the F/F#. Does anyone have any advice on how to fix these issues? Here is an example of myself singing a High A:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/high-a

I apologize for the bad audio quality, it was recorded on my phone.

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Great job! Now if you want to get a little higher passed the Bb here is what you do. (now its hard to teach in writing so I'll try) back off your intensity and do it from a more relaxed position as if you were speaking, do not make it breathy be solid on your attack and support just bring the volume down 20%. Start there I think you will see an immediate ceiling lifted. Do it on an arpeggio 1,3,5,8,5,3,1. Try different vowels and mix the vowels say ah to ouh( book) ah to uh ee to aw etc. There is no rocket science behind this, you may not like your tone initially but it will get stronger and as far as brightness stick with ee to aw and keep the ee in the aw sound. Don't worry to much about the larynx being low enough I think it will be fine.

Hope that helped

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When I bring my volume down, I tend to slip into what I think is "Falsettone". Tried switching from Ee to Aw, and I realized that if I get it right, I get some vibration on my hard palate. I will definitely work on keeping the brightness from the Ee in the Aw. Any further advice on covering and lowering the volume?

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When I bring my volume down, I tend to slip into what I think is "Falsettone". Tried switching from Ee to Aw, and I realized that if I get it right, I get some vibration on my hard palate. I will definitely work on keeping the brightness from the Ee in the Aw. Any further advice on covering and lowering the volume?

Depends on what you think is "falsetto" in your tone. What does your teacher say?

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My teacher has flip-flopped in regard to that, so I will say he is unsure. I am pretty sure it is falsettone because I cannot smoothly go into chest voice from there. I apologize for the stuttering of my phone in this demonstration: https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone

I was just now looking in a mirror that allowed me to see my profile, and I noticed something about the motion of my larynx: As I cover the voice, the muscles at the top of my larynx (under the chin) push my larynx down, and forward at the same time. I'm pretty sure the downward push should not be happening, and that the same muscles should not be pushing it forward. This is probably what is causing the woofiness on the covered pitches. I can record a video if you like...

Questions: Is it possible that I have not learned to properly engage the CT muscles? What exercises could I try to help me gain brightness/lose woofiness on the covered pitches?

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That was NOT falsetto. And, you are seriously stomping the mic. You might try a different mic, if you have one, or back away from the one that you are using.

Evidentlly, by you being here and asking these questions, you are not getting what you need from your teacher.

For an example of falsetto, listen to some of the high notes of Chris Isaak or even Paul Hewson, I mean, Bono.

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It's hard to tell with the clipping, but IMO that could have been a very twanged falsetto. The fact that it doesn't connect, and that it appears as you reduce the volume, is good evidence that it is indeed falsetto/headvoice/not what you need as a classical tenor. IMO the first clip was closer to the mark. I don't know much about classical though so this could be bollocks.

To be honest it's hard to discuss volume at all based on a recording. Soft singing is loud if someone does it right into your ear. So I would say, ignore any advice that would make you lose so much volume that you lose the powerful "metallic" sound.

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Recorded using another microphone, not the best but better then the cell phone:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone-crescendo

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/chest-cover-falsettone-on-a-bb

I put them side by side so you can hear the difference. I still feel like it's falsetto, but once again, I may be wrong. If it's not, how do I connect it with my chest? Any recommendations for the larynx issue? And thank you all for responding!!

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I think it's falsetto but the clipping from the microphone (still present in this latest one) makes it sound more powerful than it is. To tell for sure, you could make yet another recording standing much further from the mic.

Does your larynx stay very low on all pitches? Apparently this can make high notes harder and would explain why the higher parts sound dull. For the classical sound you need to keep it relatively low, but you might try letting it rise a bit as you go higher. Not so high that it doesn't sound classical any more, though. Again, I should state that I am only an intermediate nonclassical singer, relaying things I've heard from people I trust but I don't have much direct experience with myself.

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https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone

- This is not falsetto/falsettone. You're singing an E5 in headvoice then descending down in headvoice.

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone-crescendo

- You are shifting from falsetto to reinforced falsetto (falsettone) to full headvoice all in D5.

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/chest-cover-falsettone-on-a-bb

-Octave jumps from Bb3 chest to Bb4 headvoice. NO falsetto/falsettone.

I am very confused. A lot going on. What exactly is the problem? You can sing E5 in headvoice so you should be able to sing C5 headvoice very easily.

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This one makes it very obvious that it is falsetto, thanks for the tip with backing away from the mic! https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/distant-falsettone

Should I also record another covered tone in this way so you can hear it better?

*Edit Because I did not see MasterBlaster's post prior to replying. MasterBlaster, I cannot sing past a Bb and keep it classical-tenor sounding without it sound like the "Distant Falsettone" example. It sounds good for certain styles, but not for what I need.

eggplantbren, the larynx stays slightly lower then neutral, but it is being done with the muscles on the top of the larynx/under the chin. These muscles also appear to pull the larynx forward when I cover, which should be done with the CT muscles instead (if I'm not mistaken).

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Lots of terms being bandied around, yes everyone has their own definition of falsetto, etc, to me that sound is "metal like neutral". The bottom line is that the sound given is not used by males in classical music as far as I know (but is very useful e.g. in progressive rock). So keep up the volume like in your original clip and go from there. Sorry I can't help with the muscles/larynx part of the discussion.

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Falsettone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsettone

I think it's the same thing as "Reinforced Falsetto". It was used a lot before Gilbert Duprez discovered he can give a high C from the chest/modal register. Someone should make a vocal dictionary with synonyms and all!

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Here is a high C, sung like I sang that E5:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/highcpossiblynotfalsettone (I know I went sharp)

I have no need to sing an E5, none at all. I would gladly trade that E5 for a good C5. Here is a comparison betweeen my chest voice, my covered high notes, and what may or may not be head voice/falsettone:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/distantbbchestcoverfalsettonep (I know the first note was rocky, everything is being done in one take)

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https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone

- This is not falsetto/falsettone. You're singing an E5 in headvoice then descending down in headvoice.

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone-crescendo

- You are shifting from falsetto to reinforced falsetto (falsettone) to full headvoice all in D5.

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/chest-cover-falsettone-on-a-bb

-Octave jumps from Bb3 chest to Bb4 headvoice. NO falsetto/falsettone.

I am very confused. A lot going on. What exactly is the problem? You can sing E5 in headvoice so you should be able to sing C5 headvoice very easily.

That first clip is definitely falsetto from a classical definition.

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Here is a high C, sung like I sang that E5:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/highcpossiblynotfalsettone (I know I went sharp)

I have no need to sing an E5, none at all. I would gladly trade that E5 for a good C5. Here is a comparison betweeen my chest voice, my covered high notes, and what may or may not be head voice/falsettone:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/distantbbchestcoverfalsettonep (I know the first note was rocky, everything is being done in one take)

I not spectrum analysis expert but I've compared your C5 to Pavarotti C5. It's cool because what you see is also what you hear. You are much brighter than Pavarotti. You are on the left. Check out the dark areas. You have a lot of upper harmonics above 4000 HZ, Pavarotti has almost no partials above 4000 HZ (on right side) hence his high C is more full / dark sounding and yours is more brighter. Also Pavarotti has more low partial harmonics ( more low overtones) adding to the body of his high C's.

You need to create a low pass filter in your mouth / vocal track to filter out the high frequencies. This mean you want to filter out the high partial harmonics and let more of the low partials pass through. Your vocal track is not filtering out the high partials. The best way to do this usually is by lowering the larynx. A lower larynx creates more of a low pass filter in the vocal track. That's why sounds are so dark when you lower the larynx. More lows passing through, more highs getting filtered. Are you 100% positive you are singing with a low larynx ? Try lightly touching your larynx when you do a C5. Does it rise ?

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don't worry about the terms just go with what you feel is right . You sounded like you took some advice work with that. All this talk about formants and other terms and axioms are just gonna turn it into something its not. Its just singing and if you just go with the feel and know that you are not yelling or flipping into falsetto or getting breathy etc. You will be fine this is how i built my voice and I do not have any questions about the voice. when you said:

"When I bring my volume down, I tend to slip into what I think is "Falsettone". Tried switching from Ee to Aw, and I realized that if I get it right, I get some vibration on my hard palate. I will definitely work on keeping the brightness from the Ee in the Aw. Any further advice on covering and lowering the volume?"

you are on the right track..It will get stronger and feel larger with time.

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Wow, thank you Masterblater for that spectrum comparison, flippin cool! My larynx is definitely low, no doubt about that. My adam's apple is very visible, so it is easy for me to tell. Danielformica, I will keep messing with what you told me to. Do you think the hard palate resonance/vibration is the right way to go?

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Wow, thank you Masterblater for that spectrum comparison, flippin cool! My larynx is definitely low, no doubt about that. My adam's apple is very visible, so it is easy for me to tell. Danielformica, I will keep messing with what you told me to. Do you think the hard palate resonance/vibration is the right way to go?

I think another option that may help you is to do more work on your chest voice. Work on chest vowels like "ah", sing loud and at low pitches. Basically you need get more chest in your high notes to help reduce the brilliance.

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I work the chest all the time, specifically singing loudly and on "ah"! That's almost all I do, and I bring that into the covered sounds but lose the brightness. If I do it in falsettone/headvoice, I lose the chestiness. :(

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Ok, to clear things up and make it easier for anybody jumping into the thread, here is a recap/list of the thread with all the sound files and why they are here:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/high-a -Original demonstration of chest voice and a covered high note, which sounds a bit woofy. "Danielformica" replied and recommended I lower the volume and play with other vowels to keep the brightness, practicing on an arpeggio 1-3-5-8-5-3-1. I replied that when I lower my volume, I go into falsettone. "ronws" asked what my teacher thinks, and questioned my own thoughts on falsetto. I replied with another sound file and stated my teacher is uncertain:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone -This was a demonstration of possible falsettone, descending into chest voice (and cracking) recorded on a potato. I checked myself in a mirror and mentioned about how the muscles at the top of my larynx (under the chin/jaw) push my larynx down, and forward at the same time when I cover (pretty sure CT muscles are supposed to control this). "ronws" replied that it is NOT falsetto, back away from the mic, and my teacher is not giving me what I need. "eggplantbren" advised that it was possibly a very twanged falsetto, and the cracking/decrease in volume is evidence that it is probably falsetto/headvoice/not what I need. "Masterblaster" is convinced it's full headvoice. I replied with 2 examples, recorded with a better potato:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/falsettone-crescendo

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/chest-cover-falsettone-on-a-bb -I failed to step away from the microphone/potato, so the sound was still clipped. They are different examples of falsetto/chest/covered sounds. "eggplantbren" still thinks it's falsetto (I agree), and asks me to back away from the microphone. He advised that the low larynx may cause it to sound dull (it does get low), but it should be relatively low if I want it to sound like a classical tenor. I finally backed away from the potato:

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/distant-falsettone -The distance from the microphone reveals that "Masterblaster" is still convinced that it's full headvoice. I advise "eggplantbren" that the larynx stays slightly lower then neutral, but it is being done with the muscles on the top of the larynx/under the chin. These muscles also appear to pull the larynx forward when I cover (which I think should be done with the CT muscles instead). "eggplantbren" is confused with all the terminology being bandied around, and clarifies to everyone that I cannot use the sound I am making in a classical setting (hence my discontent with an E5). I reply with a definition:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsettone

"Masterblaster" replies that my Distant Falsettone clip is full E5 headvoice, and in no way shape or form falsettone. I respond with a High C using the same falsettone/headvoice technique that I have been demonstrating, and another (better recorded) version of a Chest sound, Covered sound, and Falsettone/Headvoice/Whatever sound.

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/highcpossiblynotfalsettone

https://soundcloud.com/rowbocaup/distantbbchestcoverfalsettonep

"Shabutie" agrees that it is falsetto. "Masterblaster" replies with an epic photo of my C5 compared to Pavarotti's, which reveals that I have more higher harmonics and he has more lower harmonics. "Masterblaster" continues to talk about creating a low pass filter with my mouth/vocal track to exchange the higher frequencies with the low ones. "Danielformica" advises me that I am on the right track. I let "Masterblaster" know that my larynx is low, and "Danielformica" is advised that I will play with his recommendations. "Masterblaster" advises me to practice singing loudly in the chest, but this is pretty much all I do.

Now that the recap is over, the questions:

1. I lose the vibration/resonance/placement on the roof of my mouth when I make a "covered" sound. Should I try and keep it? If I should, how?

2. What's up with the muscles below the chin/on top of the larynx? Should they be bring my larynx down and forward like they are? Should the CT muscles be making this motion instead? How do I train that?

3. If the falsettone/headvoice is indeed full headvoice, how do I connect that with my chest without it sounding so drastically different and cracking? How do I cut out the above 4000 HZ harmonics and bring in the lower frequencies? My larynx is already low.

Thank you to all who have responded, I take everything you say very seriously and am very thankful!

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each time you did different pitches the high c in the last 2 examples was good the second one was a bit lower larynx. I wouldnt worry about the hz nobody on here knows that any way and if you try and stuff a frequency where it doesnt want to go you will have problem later on.

the pitch where you said you werent sure what pitch it was.. was higher and more falsettoish add some twang and closure and its fine.

your second clip was agreat E5 leave it alone. your crescendo d5 was very impressive extremely hard to do, it will get better closure as time goes on but then again i do not know an opera singer that can do that.;)

Yopur Bb covered sound is very good but when you cover like that you are gonna get into trouble later on. I think you can find the sound much easier and because you are so skilled your larynx will stay stable.

Also the more chest you have in your voice the more pingy and brilliant it will be headvoice brings the darker/woofier overtones . Pretty much the opposite of what Master blaster said:P sorry blaster

AS you come down the scale to stay connected concentrate on the intent to stay connected find the stream that will bring you down. I sometimes add alittle whiny feeling.

All and all you sing awesome dont take to much advice mine included. Just do what you do and be smart.

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Thank you very much, I am very flattered by your compliments and will continue to do what feels right. Maybe I am just over thinking things, but my discovery about the larynx being pushed down and forward with the wrong muscles worries me. I also strongly feel that the high notes are still falsettone/reinforcedfalsetto, and not sure if that will connect with the chest correctly. I will do as "Danielformica" says and try to find the stream that will bring me down. Thank you all, once again, for your contributions.

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This is really a tricky coordination, but here is my view on it:

You have to be sure to not mix up the head vs. chest and the modal voice vs. falsetto thing. Head vs. Chest has to to with vocal tract setting, or in easy words: the "resonance chamber" that you use. modal vs. falsetto has to do with the vibration mode of the chords.

What is standard currently in classical singing (for men) is to sing the high notes in "head resonance" but modal voice. The difficulty with this coordination is that for the absolute majority of males this coordination is "non-habitual". The intuitive coordinations are chest voice /w modal voice and head voice /w falsetto.

So here is the deal with overtones:

As Daniel said the head resonance allows for darker overtones than the chest resonance. In the upper part of the voice chest resonance is actually brighter than head resonance. The reason for this is formant tuning (won't go into detail on this again).

On the laryngeal level, modal voice will make your voice more "metallic" and compresses, falsetto (non-modal) will make the voice softer or even airy if its very falsettoish.

From the coordinations you use currently I would agree with what Daniel says. To me it sounds like you sing those Bb4 with a chest + modal voice coordination, which is impressive but will probably mess up your smooth transition into the head area.

To get the sound necessary for classical singing you need to bridge earlier into head resonance. The Falsettone you produce is actually a very good start. It lives somewhere in between a modal head voice and falsetto. You definitely want to sing your higher notes with the vocal tract setting of that Falsettone coordination and not with the setting of your current Bb4.

What you should train is bridging earlier into the Falsettone setting. A common bridging point for tenors is around F4/F#4 as far as I know. Don't be fooled by the impression that the Falsettone is "weak" from a subjective point of view, it will strengthen with training. Pulling the chest coordination high is easier, but it is a dead end road, especially if you want the classical sound shaping someone like Pavarotti has.

The way to strengthen and to some extent darken that Falsettone coordination is not lowering the larynx imo. What you rather have to do is "add back the metal". In classical singing this has to be done by providing additional support/more air compression/appoggio. Lowering the larynx will probably even cause the opposite and make your sound even more airy/heady.

And just to add: The reason why you can't connect your current falsettone on C5 with your chest singing up to Bb4 is not that these coordinations are somehow "incompatible", you just do the transition too late in terms of pitch. This is a question of intensity. If you sing Bb4 in chest your intensity is so high that transitioning into head (which has lower intensity) will cause a flip instead of a smooth registration. Try to find out the note where you can make a smooth transition from chest coordination into falsettone. This shall be your "bridging note". After that you can work on strengthening that falsettone in terms of breath compression (not sound shaping), which will make it sound more similar to your chest coordination. Always remember: the classical "darkening" comes from bridging early, not from bridging late (this misconception made me really struggle with my bridging, too).

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