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Energetic songs and low notes being quiet

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Hanalei
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2 questions:

1) THis might be a silly question, but is there any good way to practice the more energetic, hard rock, better-with-a-band-than-on-your-own type of songs? I find it hard most of the time to get the energy and emotion behind my voice up to where it should be to do those kind of songs when I'm sitting or standing by myself at night, either singing along with the song or playing on my guitar.

2) After I get to a certain note (somwhere around C3), I can still get a few notes lower where it still comes out, but those listening say it starts to get really quiet and kind of gravelly. How do you know where the point is where you just shouldn't go any lower (or can't), or when you need a mic or something to make your voice louder? And is a mic the only way to fix the quiet notes?

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1. Find (do whatever it it takes) a place where you can be as loud as you want without anyone complaining. This is so valuable to enable yourself to train to sing with a lot of power and volume.

It often helps to sing along to the song played on a speaker, fairly loudly, and not use amplification on your own voice. Then if anyone hears you they're gonna hear more of the music, less of you belting your brains out.

2. The quiet and gravelly thing will always happen at some point but you can train to push that point down lower. I'd say lowering the larynx, thickening the vocal folds, increasing twang, and increasing subglottal air pressure are the most important technical components to getting more power and volume in the low range. I don't know if there is a point where you can't train it to go lower. But never try to go so low that it hurts. It will take time to stretch the lower range. Adding power to it isn't so difficult but acquiring more notes on the extreme low end is the tough part.

If you are singing them quiet, a mic is the only fix. And really getting right up to the grill for the most volume. The other fix is making your voice louder through training.

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I actually asked my voice coach about that at one of my lessons, and she said that an E3 was "very low", even though I frequently go several notes lower than that on my own, and those listening say it sounds good. She seems to be more interested in getting me into higher powerful notes rather than low ones - whether that's good or bad, I have no idea. My guess is that's just what she thinks is best to start with?

I'd love to be able to hit a few notes lower. A lot of my favorite songs (Bon Jovi, anyone?) have lots of low notes in the verses, and then the chorus gets a lot higher. And many of them I can't quite hit the notes on, or I can but they don't sound very good.

What kind of place do you guys use for being louder? I usually practice at night after my dad and brother are asleep (confidence issues I'm working on), which I should probably change, but other than that, my house is very open and anywhere, including the basement, is still very audible upstairs.

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I actually asked my voice coach about that at one of my lessons, and she said that an E3 was "very low", even though I frequently go several notes lower than that on my own, and those listening say it sounds good. She seems to be more interested in getting me into higher powerful notes rather than low ones - whether that's good or bad, I have no idea. My guess is that's just what she thinks is best to start with?

I'd love to be able to hit a few notes lower. A lot of my favorite songs (Bon Jovi, anyone?) have lots of low notes in the verses, and then the chorus gets a lot higher. And many of them I can't quite hit the notes on, or I can but they don't sound very good.

What kind of place do you guys use for being louder? I usually practice at night after my dad and brother are asleep (confidence issues I'm working on), which I should probably change, but other than that, my house is very open and anywhere, including the basement, is still very audible upstairs.

I am blessed to have quite a special place to practice louder...a barn studio right near my house. The neighbors can probably hear a little bit, but, (*auto edit*) 'em...:lol:

Also just inside the house if no one's around. Or in a room on the other side of where other people are, with the door closed. Though I feel I can't get quite as loud in that situation.

I've heard many others suggest practicing in a parked car or during your daily commute (you have to not care about your surrounding drivers :lol:). That works too.

Tell your coach what songs you want to do and how they need notes that low. Hopefully she can help you out. If not, maybe work with another coach on the side who is good with teaching the low range. One lesson may even cut it, techniques for the low range are much more simple and tend to get quicker results, at least in terms of power.

By the way, you are a female right? If so, then, E3 IS low. Maybe not very low but a lot of females can't sing that low and/or wouldn't really chose to often.

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Yep, I'm a girl. My range, without head voice as i haven't done much with that yet, is at best, around C3 to D5 or E5. I know there are some women who can get down to like E2. Don't know any names at the moment.

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Increase twang to access your lower notes. At first that might sound odd to do, but try it out and let us know how it went.

You could also just sing those lowest notes an octave above, being a woman.

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You could also just sing those lowest notes an octave above, being a woman.

Aww, that's no fun... I've actually tried a couple of Lesley Roy and JoJo songs that are REALLY high that I tried to sing an octave lower, and to me it sounded really weird and I couldn't quite figure out the notes on my own.

How do you add twang? I know my coach mentioned once about moving the sound to your sinus area or something to make the lower notes sound better, and whatever it was helped a little bit when I tried it initially, but I don't know how to recreate it again on my own.

I also tried more "talking" the lowest notes rather than singing them, and I do remember that helping somewhat, too, but it was hard transitioning from speaking to singing within a couple of words. Probably wasn't doing it right.

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Just like higher notes the lower notes can also be trained, perhaps a bit less. The 2 top things that helped me so far to achieve a good tone down there are 1) keeping a neutral larynx - there will be a tendency to swallow it 2) add some nasality or twang which is pretty much the same as focusing at the sinus area you're talking about. Basically try to imitate Axl Rose but on lower notes. It will add some bite to the notes and prevent them from getting dull. :)

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The 2 top things that helped me so far to achieve a good tone down there are 1) keeping a neutral larynx - there will be a tendency to swallow it 2) add some nasality or twang which is pretty much the same as focusing at the sinus area you're talking about.

That's one thing I have trouble with, too, is I'm still learning which areas are what and what each muscle area feels like when you're singing. But I'll give that a shot and see what happens. Thanks for your help, everyone!

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Yeah, on low notes, imagine that you turn into a duck, witch or Axl Rose, lol.

...but seriously.

And note that super low notes will almost always have lower volume than your high notes that you can belt out. Good luck with it.

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We actually had that topic on another forum recently and the result was basically that the lowest notes for most women are in the E3-G3 area. Very few can go lower than that without totally losing definition.

The twanging jonpall mentions will help in the part of your voice that CVT calls "the low part", which for women is C3-C4; so an E3 is really close to "the floor" for women.

On notes below C3 you have to make compromises, one of them will DEFINITELY be that those are very quiet (sometimes still managable with a mic, but definitely not acousticly).

The very low notes are usually sung in pulse register. But that register is really really weak for basically anyone that is not a low baritone/bass in terms of voice type and requires a different placement and a registration to not mess up with your technique for the higher notes.

All in all the lows are a lot less extendable than the highs, especially if you don't use a mic. But even if you do, it is more limited compared to expansion on the upper end.

So how do you test how low you should go? Twang is really a good option here. You can try "quacking like a duck" for example. Make it really quacky and penetrating, even if it's unpleasant to the ear. Then go towards the low end on that sound. At some point you will lose the penetrating "quacky" quality, which can easily be a little bit before C3. The note where you lose the quack is probably the lowest you should go, especially in an acoustic situation.

But honestly: Training for lows isn't really worth it imo (which is why so few people do it). As jonpall states, lower notes will ALWAYS be more quiet, and even if you have mic amplification they often don't have the quality to penetrate and carry over your band or co-singers.

Personally, I'm a bass and can do notes down to C1 quite easily. However, it is a total PITA to incorporate them into a live situation because my C5 for example is easily ten times louder than my C1 in terms of sound pressure. Thus, I basically leave the whole pulse register alone (which is the C1-C2 octave for me) and especially in performances I also don't use my lowest chest notes. Over an acoustic guitar I can sing up from E2 with quite some "ring" and carrying quality, in a band performance I usually don't go lower than G2.

As a woman you can basically transpose all that stuff a full octave up. So I wouldn't say it is uncommon to not go below something like G3 in a live performance. And E3 IS really low for girls (especially sopranos, and ~ 90% of the females are sopranos)

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Channeling my inner Jens here, I don't believe that the lows are less extendable than the highs, but rather, we haven't figured out how to extend that range yet since so few people care to.

Just imagine if we lived in a culture that admired powerful low notes in the exact way that we admire powerful high notes...I'm pretty sure we would be doing a lot more than we currently think is possible.

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Hana Ive been doing what I can now that I have a baby on the house and I cant practice that late anymore, but there is no other way, I have a time schedule where I vocalize and there is nothing I can do about it, it will be heard and its a bit annoying... On the mornings maybe?

About the lower notes... Bon Jovi is not soo low... what you cant do is try to go loud on those passages, you will not be loud, no matter the secret technique you try to use. So mic close to your mouth, take the volume down, but keep it intense (think going loud but dont allow the sound to explode out) and round while moving the placement a bit forward like the guys said. Done right will probably sound more powerfull than what most guys do when sing Bon Jovi :P, but you will have to let the mic do the work for you.

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I'm not sure what "type" of voice I am - from the charts online, it seems like contralto fits me pretty well:

"The vocal range for the Contralto voice would lie somewhere between the E note below middle C (E3) to the 2nd G note above middle C (G5). This would mean that the Contralto voice would be very close to the male tenor voice, having a similar range in vocals, and would thus be able to handle most of the songs that men may sing too!

The Contralto would probably transition out of chest voice around the G above middle C (G4) and shift into head voice around the D note an octave above middle C (D5).

Also, the tone of the Contralto's voice would be darker and richer than the Mezzo Soprano, and she would be totally comfortable in the lower part of her voice."

My coach said the bridge (right word?) in my voice is around C5/D5. Hitting a D5 well is pretty hard for me. The songs I usually play normally stay within the D3 to B4 range, which is the most comfortable for me. Does what you listen to affect how your voice sounds? I mostly listen to men - Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Journey, Drake Bell, Huey Lewis, etc. For the most part, the only women I listen to most of the time are Pat Benatar and Heart. And it's always been that way - I grew up listening to 90% Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban and 10% random people. I'm also not a girly-girl at all. Not sure what kind of effect any of that has on my voice, if any.

I think my voice starts getting quiet once I get to C3. So do you guys think it's a good idea for me to buy a cheap mic and work on the lower notes? Even when guys (tenors, mostly) get below about the same note area, they get kind of quiet, too, and tend to get really close to the mic. Same reason?

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I think my voice starts getting quiet once I get to C3. So do you guys think it's a good idea for me to buy a cheap mic and work on the lower notes? Even when guys (tenors, mostly) get below about the same note area, they get kind of quiet, too, and tend to get really close to the mic. Same reason?

Yes same reason. The vocal folds have less compression the lower you go. Thus, hitting a C4 for example compared to C3 using the same amount of air, the C3 will be a lot more quiet. Of course you can increase airflow to some extent but there is still a limit.

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I think my voice starts getting quiet once I get to C3. So do you guys think it's a good idea for me to buy a cheap mic and work on the lower notes? Even when guys (tenors, mostly) get below about the same note area, they get kind of quiet, too, and tend to get really close to the mic. Same reason?

Yes.

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I'm also not a girly-girl at all. Not sure what kind of effect any of that has on my voice, if any.

If you are a naturally-born lesbian or post-menopausal, then yes, your voice is most likely to be more masculine sounding and deeper than the average woman singer's is.

The reason is because "manly" women naturally have more male hormones and their larynxes are more likely to become deeper during puberty. And during menopause, all women's vocal cords deepen, many quite a bit due to the reduced feminine hormone to masculine hormone ratio.

For the average young (pre-menopausal) "womanly" girl however C3 is pretty darn near impossible.

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If you are a naturally-born lesbian or post-menopausal, then yes, your voice is most likely to be more masculine sounding and deeper than the average woman singer's is.

The reason is because "manly" women naturally have more male hormones and their larynxes are more likely to become deeper during puberty. And during menopause, all women's vocal cords deepen, many quite a bit due to the reduced feminine hormone to masculine hormone ratio.

For the average young (pre-menopausal) "womanly" girl however C3 is pretty darn near impossible.

Haha, well, I am definitely not lesbian or post-menopausal. But I've almost always been the exception to the rules... ;)

My normal speaking voice is somewhat lower pitched than the normal 16-24 year old girl, but not unusually so. Just a bit. I don't wear dresses, skirts, heels or makeup. I am much more Jon Bon Jovi than Selena Gomez, but on a good day, yes, I can hit a C3, and sometimes a weak B2. I'm sure at least some of that must be influenced by the fact that I've always had probably 2 male singers for every female singer on my MP3 player. And the women I do have are the rougher rock singers. BUT, there are plenty of famous singers that hit notes typically unusual for their gender, whether it be girls hitting low notes or guys with high notes.

I do plan on posting another song for critique soon (if not tonight, sometime this week, hopefully), and if I can hit a good low note when I record it, I'll post it for you guys.

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Haha, well, I am definitely not lesbian or post-menopausal. But I've almost always been the exception to the rules... ;)

My normal speaking voice is somewhat lower pitched than the normal 16-24 year old girl, but not unusually so. Just a bit. I don't wear dresses, skirts, heels or makeup. I am much more Jon Bon Jovi than Selena Gomez, but on a good day, yes, I can hit a C3, and sometimes a weak B2. I'm sure at least some of that must be influenced by the fact that I've always had probably 2 male singers for every female singer on my MP3 player. And the women I do have are the rougher rock singers. BUT, there are plenty of famous singers that hit notes typically unusual for their gender, whether it be girls hitting low notes or guys with high notes.

I do plan on posting another song for critique soon (if not tonight, sometime this week, hopefully), and if I can hit a good low note when I record it, I'll post it for you guys.

Never heard a true woman hitting a B2, but yeah Steven Tyler's Ab5's in Dream On are something else.

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It's the perfect storm. A soprano-ish woman wanting to sing like a baritone. I am reminded of Marianne Faithful and her harmony singing with James Hetfield.

And she was post menopausal when she recorded with them. But then, she was never a true soprano when she sang before, either as a single artist or paramour to Mick Jagger.

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Never heard a true woman hitting a B2, but yeah Steven Tyler's Ab5's in Dream On are something else.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVtDrOzsNK8

By the way, I did post a couple of critique songs, but none of them had real low notes. According to a quick search, Toni Braxton, Beyonce, and Celine Dion all hit notes lower than C3.

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It's the perfect storm. A soprano-ish woman wanting to sing like a baritone. I am reminded of Marianne Faithful and her harmony singing with James Hetfield.

And she was post menopausal when she recorded with them. But then, she was never a true soprano when she sang before, either as a single artist or paramour to Mick Jagger.

I hear a legit Db3 in there from her in the "da-da-da" bridge part, but yeah, definitely postmenopausal.

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