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Tight sound in my upper chest voice

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haver26
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Hi guys,

I'm struggling with a very annoying (and rare?) problem. I'm a bass-baritone and it's hard for me to produce a good sound already since G3 which is not high at all. My teacher refers to these notes G3-Eb4 as my upper chest voice, and although she's an excellent teacher (in the SLS method), still after spending a few months trying to work on these notes, they sound very tight and pressed and I can't produce a clean sound there (even on A3!). I can do some manipulations such as lowering the larynx, but it just sounds funny.

Do you think it's normal that over the past few months there still hasn't been an improvement within this range?

Are some of you familiar with this specific problem and have some suggestions how to quickly overcome it?

(I've been studying for a year now.)

Thanks in advance,

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Hi there.

What notation are you using? Is C4 the tenor high C?

Either way, that depends on a lot of things. I could write a lot of guesses but it will all boil down to how you feel about the directions you are receiving. You must be working on something with the intention to solve it, even if its a long way to the goal and you dont know exactly the details, there must be a plan of action to address it.

Months are not enough to solve problems usually, it can take a year easily, and if we are talking about the C4 being the tenor high C, yearS. (a bass going to Eb4 on full voice???!)

Unless you are doing something bizarre that hurts you and/or you feel its all totally random with no plan of study, insist on it and try to find your way to get things to work.

One thing that is very important, besides the training, play around with your voice to find out what it can do.

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Hello Felipe, thanks for your answer. I know that a tenor high C is C5 ): Which means I'm referring to A3 as A3, and I do sound tight there, as weird as it might seem. Unfortunately for me I don't really have a plan, maybe it will just get better with time and my usual practice, but I'm hoping there are specific things I can do. It's frustrating to think that most of the singers don't face these problems with such low notes

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I see man... Its not weird, its just a tension. Its best to acknowledge it and deal with it, then ignore as normal and just try to force the way through it.

Consider using the search function and reading a bit around the forums to see if you relate to anything around, there is a real LOT of info on reduction of effort. Feeling "tight" indicates tension...

One thing that you can do that maybe could help is the following:

Close your mouth and position your tongue high and forward. Think of articulating "NEE" on a low and comfortable tone, to help it stay on the position. Dont pronounce it, dont emit sound, just think and let the tongue position.

With the tongue in that place, relax you jaw, it should hang a bit backwards, the maxilar can not protude forward. Think of a chewing motion to help it if its necessary. Keep the tongue there.

Once you got the tongue comfortably placed forward and high, breath without letting the posture change, and release air strongly through your nose. Pretend that the flow of air begins on the nostrils, you should not feel presure anywhere else, not in the tongue, not in the jaw, and specially not in the throat.

Then finally emit sound, dont let the posture change and thinking on humming on MMMM, but making the sound begin on your nostrils, on the same motion of that your released the air, try to think of "riding the airflow". Fill your nose with sound, it will buzz and itch a bit with the vibration, its ok. If it hurts, stop it, it should be very comfortable. If you cant do it comfortable at all, then its best to not do it.

If you find that it does not being on the nose, add a bit of an H before the sound, letting some air flow and then starting to humm. If you find that there is too much air and you feel it "drying" your throat, attack a bit stronger. By controling these ideas you will find that you can control where the sensation of attack is.

Then when you get a hang of it, it must be very, very comfortable, try to bring it higher to the area of problem. Dont force it to "stay together", if it brakes, it brakes. Your focus should be keeping the air moving and singing on this air flow.

Let me know if it works. If not, try to describe what feels wrong.

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Need to hear a file to know exactly what's going on, but here's my guess:

To put it really simply, stop speaking on pitch. That's not what SLS is about, it's a common misinterpretation of it. Plus I'm guessing this is a case of, you may have bad speaking technique and you're trying to apply it to singing which is making you encounter tensions when you try to go too high. If you come at this with the approach of finding a technique better than speaking, that enables you to go higher with a similar EASE as speech, that's more on the right track. :)

And the main solution, I think, based just on my own experience, is to give it more intensity. Get your posture lined up nice, apply just a little more exhalation force/air flow than what you'd use for speaking, and make the mental intention a louder sound, that gets slightly louder as the pitch ascends, but only slightly. The result will feel almost as easy as speaking and free of tensions, but it's important to realize, it's not speaking, it's actually more similar to shouting when done at louder volumes. And at softer volumes, it could be thought of as imitating the voice of a higher-voiced person speaking in that range. It's not like the way you personally would speak if you tried to speak that high, which probably wouldn't work because your speaking habits have been adapted to the lower range you speak in. But if you try to mimic the sound and intensity of, say, a lyric tenor's speech, you might get close.

Felipe's advice seems good. I'm not a teacher and he is, try his exercise. My thoughts here are more from the perspective of a student looking back on my previous struggles and how I overcame them. I didn't do any specific exercises for this I just sang a lot and figured it out eventually. This range really is easy but sometimes it's not obvious how to approach at first. It may help to study other male singers, visually and aurally, and mimic how they tend to approach this range.

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Need to hear a file to know exactly what's going on, but here's my guess:

To put it really simply, stop speaking on pitch. That's not what SLS is about, it's a common misinterpretation of it. Plus I'm guessing this is a case of, you may have bad speaking technique and you're trying to apply it to singing which is making you encounter tensions when you try to go too high. If you come at this with the approach of finding a technique better than speaking, that enables you to go higher with a similar EASE as speech, that's more on the right track. :)

Absolutely. You cannot, I repeat, CANNOT sing like you speak. Every time I tripped up on something, it is because I was trying to "speak" it at whatever pitch. The singing voice is an instrument of music, not one of recitation of prose.

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Thanks a lot for the answers!

I can't post a clip right now but I will as soon as I can

Felipe, I try to implement your exercise. Should I see immediate results?

Owen, I try not to speak on pitch but to sing, but I honestly don't know exactly what the difference is, cause I'm not good at imitating singers, it always sounds like I'm doing a character

Anyway, I should post a clip as soon as I can

Thanks again guys

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