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help me with a Dio song

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Keith
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One of the most popular bands in my area asked me to fill in and sing a Dio song - Straight Through The Heart. Amy help with vowel mods and stuff would be appreciated. I haven't tried to sing it yet, but to get a Duo sound for it is gonna be toihhnfor me, since I train clean vocals. Help?

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It will probably not be that great by then if it's a totally new skill set for you but do it anyways for the experience!

Best you can do is practice it daily in an efficient manner.

Alternate route: sing it like Keith, not Dio. Or a mix of Keith and Dio.

My 2 cents...I'm not one of the many Dio experts on this forum

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From 1983 -

There are a few here who are bigger Dio fans than I am, though I can count them on one hand. I have read and seen interviews with him, read an interview with Ron Keel, who was his friend and even toured with him for a while.

Dio never talked about vocal training except to say that his experience playing horned instruments taught him how to breathe for singing. So, the key things I know about horned and even reeded instruments are this. Breath, embouchre, and resonance. My brother, Scott, had lessons in clarinet and even played it in marching band. You want to talk about some conditioning? Try playing a wind instrument while goose-stepping the length of a football field. Where as I was stockier. I played right defensive tackle and nose guard when I was in 9th grade. It was my role to knock out the offense left guard and left end. Which I was pretty good at. Here's some trivia. My jersey number was 72. I took pride in that because it was the same number as Ed "Too Tall" Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. But I digress.

So, you already have some breath control. And you already have some resonance. That leaves embouchre, or opening. In a horn player, the lips are set with a particular tension and aperture, depending on the pitch of the note. The rest is moving valves in the horn to set the right size of resonance for the note. If I am not mistaken, the higher notes require a smaller embouchre and slightly more concentrated breath. Then, you just press the right combination of valves.

But I am not an expert at playing horns.

Also, I noticed that in several instances, RJD would get his heaviest rasp when he was using a vowel sound that was similar to the a in the word "cat." Which makes me think his rasp was in the soft palate, away from the vocal folds. Which explains why he could be in his prime for over 40 years.

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From 1983 -

There are a few here who are bigger Dio fans than I am, though I can count them on one hand. I have read and seen interviews with him, read an interview with Ron Keel, who was his friend and even toured with him for a while.

Dio never talked about vocal training except to say that his experience playing horned instruments taught him how to breathe for singing. So, the key things I know about horned and even reeded instruments are this. Breath, embouchre, and resonance. My brother, Scott, had lessons in clarinet and even played it in marching band. You want to talk about some conditioning? Try playing a wind instrument while goose-stepping the length of a football field. Where as I was stockier. I played right defensive tackle and nose guard when I was in 9th grade. It was my role to knock out the offense left guard and left end. Which I was pretty good at. Here's some trivia. My jersey number was 72. I took pride in that because it was the same number as Ed "Too Tall" Jones of the Dallas Cowboys. But I digress.

So, you already have some breath control. And you already have some resonance. That leaves embouchre, or opening. In a horn player, the lips are set with a particular tension and aperture, depending on the pitch of the note. The rest is moving valves in the horn to set the right size of resonance for the note. If I am not mistaken, the higher notes require a smaller embouchre and slightly more concentrated breath. Then, you just press the right combination of valves.

But I am not an expert at playing horns.

Also, I noticed that in several instances, RJD would get his heaviest rasp when he was using a vowel sound that was similar to the a in the word "cat." Which makes me think his rasp was in the soft palate, away from the vocal folds. Which explains why he could be in his prime for over 40 years.

He sounds like he's 100% in control of his technique, it's pretty damn impressive.

Speaking as a former clarinet player, I'm now tempted to get ahold of one and see if using my controlled airflow techniques for singing work for the clarinet. It's never something that any of my teachers emphasized, although we did have to learn not to overblow.

Remember also that unlike the horns with their three valves, the clarinet has keys all over it that work to change its pitch. You still need less air for the high notes and thus there's a register break that beginners have to overcome that starts at B4 (though it's actually A4 on the piano). Even though there's a specific fingering for B4 that includes a register key that raises everything up 19 semitones, that B4 is still not going to come out clean if you're using the same airflow you did on the lower notes. I also learned later on that I could play that B4 (and most of the middle register) without the use of that register key if I did the airflow right. But I was told by my teacher it's still a good idea to use it.

But I don't want to make it sound as though this requires the kind of effort and time that mastering your passaggio as a singer does. The band teacher had pretty much all of the 4th graders playing B4 by Christmas break. Maybe expert clarinet players do use a more intense amount of breath support like singers do to control their tone. But I don't think it ever reaches he level that Dio is using to control his voice.

Horns might be a different matter, though. I never learned how to play one to save my life, so I can't say anything about them for sure. I always remember the band teacher telling the horn players "higher notes require faster air not more air". So perhaps support the way we singers use it, is a necessity for the horn players to get that faster air without overblowing.

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Don't know if this is going to be of any help, but sometimes I think it helps to hear different vocal approaches to a certain song.

This is Jorn Lande performing STTH. I like his appproach, very intense. I think he uses a lot of the same technique as RJD, lots of glottal compression. For me, this tune would be a lot of mix/head voice, although with guys like Dio and Jorn singing it, it sounds like chest voice and thus, lower. So i think supercompressed head voice is the way to go :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf18WkXjdac

Here is Tim "Ripper" Owens doing the same tune with Toby Jepson. Ripper is struggling a lot more, because IMO he's pushing chest and not mixing enough:

Finally I would like to post a clip of a friend of mine doing Dio, not the same tune, but still Dio and this song cover some of the same range. And you mentioned that you're a fan of clean vocals, and this guy is a master of high clean vocals. So you might wanna try his approach? Here it is:

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If the Band already playes the song be sure to get a copy of their performance. Practice with that incase they play the song a little different than DIO.

You may need to adjust your style to fit them anyway.

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Rippers version was not very impressive lol. Last night we went through the song 5 times. The first time was close to 1/2 head voice 1/2 chest voice. Every time after that I found myself using more head voice. The last time I sang it all in head voice. Had a dokken ish sound. Its a little quacky , which I need to fix. Especially the lower notes. Surprisingly, my chest voice /mixed voice "set up" tired very quickly, which is why I ended up singing it in all head. I need to really drill this song to get it beefier.

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Rippers version was not very impressive lol. Last night we went through the song 5 times. The first time was close to 1/2 head voice 1/2 chest voice. Every time after that I found myself using more head voice. The last time I sang it all in head voice. Had a dokken ish sound. Its a little quacky , which I need to fix. Especially the lower notes. Surprisingly, my chest voice /mixed voice "set up" tired very quickly, which is why I ended up singing it in all head. I need to really drill this song to get it beefier.

Dokken is cool sounding in my book! :) I think Dio goes from a more compressed sound tone to, from time to time, easing off on the lower, chest voice notes. Obviously he's got quite a seamless transition there, but you can clearly hear a difference when he's not compressing. Good luck on the 10th! :)

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Thanks man! I'm gonna work on this song until I get it. Most of the other bands on Dio Day are gonna play singer friendly songs. I think we will be the only band playing a hard one. I think if I can just get the rasp in headvoice, I have a chance to emulate him pretty well. I have trained so far to be clean, so it will be a challange!

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I have a different perspective. I didn't hear Dio as all that compressed. In fact, I would say that Don Dokken was narrower, more compressed, whereas Ronnie was a bit more spread or wide in his sound. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, Keith, I know you will rock this like the bad guy that you are.

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I have a different perspective. I didn't hear Dio as all that compressed. In fact, I would say that Don Dokken was narrower, more compressed, whereas Ronnie was a bit more spread or wide in his sound. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, Keith, I know you will rock this like the bad guy that you are.

Hey! Yes, Dokken was waaayy narrower and sounded a bit nasal at times, almost like Klaus Meine from the Scorpions, but I still loved Don's sound :) Regarding Dio, I think he did compress his breath a lot by holding his breath back and not blasting it out. Dio also kept an open throat, therefore his sound was big and full.

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Dio is so much fun to sing. He can carry that growl straight to the top! The best tips I can offer is to approach it clean and basically growl out those rough parts as fierce as you can (or as fierce as you can without your throat tickling)! The key is that after those rough parts to just relax everything back into clean mode (don't let your throat muscles stay clenched). I know this forum centers on technique, but it's not really something you should be overthinking.

Anyway, Dio's songs kind of came naturally to me after years of imitating "Mr. McMahon" from WWE. haha. Although, I still have to switch modes for his very high growls into a more "heady" tone than his rich and full tenor high notes.

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