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Vocal colours+registers

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Blameitonthevodka
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So I'm really confused about which registers and resonances to use when. There's chest , head , and mixed voice and there's also oral resonance, nasal resonance, and chest resonance. I think now I can tap into most of these with my voice but I have no idea what to use when, so confused. Not really sure if this makes any sense but its confusing me quite a lot.

I guess it depends on the song but I could sing it in a kind of chesty dark voice or a more heady resonant voice and how do I know which one to use?

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Imitate your idols is a good starting point. Or be a rebel and do whatever the heck you think sounds good. :)

Decisions on this stuff are almost always based on (ready for it!) what Dan says here all the time, PITCH, VOWEL, INTENSITY.

The lower the pitch, the chestier, the higher the pitch, the chestier.

The higher the intensity, the chestier, the lower the intensity, the headier.

The more open the vowel, the chestier, the more closed the vowel, the headier.

Figure out the right mixing and matching of that. Use your ear. Consult a coach or a second opinion if necessary.

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So I'm really confused about which registers and resonances to use when. There's chest , head , and mixed voice and there's also oral resonance, nasal resonance, and chest resonance. I think now I can tap into most of these with my voice but I have no idea what to use when, so confused. Not really sure if this makes any sense but its confusing me quite a lot.

I guess it depends on the song but I could sing it in a kind of chesty dark voice or a more heady resonant voice and how do I know which one to use?

Get rid of registers. Unless you want to define a register for each note you can make. (Lilli Lehmann.)

It is all one voice. Let yourself adjust to create the one voice.

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^I agree with these guys. In the end, most of these things are personal sensations...you can't directly control which muscles you want to engage for example. Aim to do what feels and sounds right and when you achieve that you will also get all of that technical stuff right without even knowing it.

And it is indeed one voice. I find that if your voice is already prepared for the change below and before you approach your "weak points-passagios" then you won't need to do too much to shift gears. It will just happen.

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^I agree with these guys. In the end, most of these things are personal sensations...you can't directly control which muscles you want to engage for example. Aim to do what feels and sounds right and when you achieve that you will also get all of that technical stuff right without even knowing it.

And it is indeed one voice. I find that if your voice is already prepared for the change below and before you approach your "weak points-passagios" then you won't need to do too much to shift gears. It will just happen.

And I agree with this, as well as Felipe's advice that you get a teacher or coach. However, which teacher or coach? People have stories of glory, of horror, sometimes both. A balance between what the student wants and what can be accomplished. Between what the student wants and what the teacher will teach.

But let's say that you find a teacher who can adequately hear that you are on true pitch and have consistent tone and dynamic control. When the teacher tells you that you have done it right, memorize what the physical feeling was when you were doing the note or notes. That is aligning and tuning your instrument.

Nor do I think you have to take lessons for years, twice a week, unless that is what makes you comfortable. It's not how many lessons you take, it is a matter of how well you pay attention to and utilize the lessons.

So, what kind of teacher, if you are in the market to find one? Personally, I would seek one who believes in the one voice thing. Someone who is more into listening to your tone than getting hung up on register terminology. Someone who can give you ideas to try and once you get it and are "in the pocket," so to speak, can say, "that, right there."

To some extent, I think there is a limit to how we can describe singing by writing about it. I am reminded of a quote from Frank Zappa:

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."

As in, a non-sequitural relationship and the language of one totally inadequate for describing the other. I think the same thing might be said about singing, at times.

Now, what if you do a sound or thing that others like but maybe one teacher doesn't like? Who do you listen to?

Pick your audience, when possible.

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And I will differ with you on this point because often, a singer cannot hear himself as others hear him. Partly mental, partly due to you hearing yourself through bone conduction, as well as whatever monitor system you have.

I get it, you don't think a coach is necessary, most times. And I do agree that you need to learn what is the right sound. And a lot of times, the right teacher can help you identify that quicker. Some one who has good pitch perception and an appreciation of tonality, especially if he can tailor it to the genre you sing.

Yes, the sensation of sound is not exactly accurate as to it's real placement. For example, calling something "chest" because you think you feel a vibration in the clavicles does not mean the note is resonating there. What is felt would actually be considered a sympathetic vibration occuring when the "right" thing is being done. But it is still valuable.

Just like feeling a "buzz" where you would make the ng sound is not the actual resonance but a sympathetic vibration when the right resonance is happening. And for some people, a coach or teacher helps them get that a lot sooner.

The mental part - some people will not make a sound that is required of them because it does not feel or sound right to them. And having an objective set of ears lead them and get them through this mental block may be necessary. "Oh, my voice sounds weak when I do that" - which can be just as influenced by their perspective as any actual weakness that might be found. So, maybe they need a shrink before they go to singing lessons. :lol:

Can a person learn to sing without direct lessons? Maybe. It might take longer.

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And to follow up, that is why when I review, I try to separate technical from style. For me, and I am not an expert or a singing teacher, the two technical aspects I consider important are pitch accuracy and relevant volume. Tone is a consideration for many others but not so much, for me. For example, Macy Gray. She can sing on pitch with useful volume. My wife cannot stand the tone of her voice. But others like it enough to buy a bunch of her recordings.

Bon Jovi took lessons later in life, cleaned up his tone, even dropped some of the high notes. Much to the chagrin of some people who feel he has "lost" it. But the ladies in the audience still respond.

So, can a person learn on their own how to match pitch? Sure. Get an instrument or pitch generator and keep doing it and recording it until you hear congruence of pitch. And for that, even if a teacher showed you to do that, the real work is at home, between lessons. The student must still teach himself. It's just that sometimes, a teacher can give an insight or pointer that saves some time.

And other times, people do need more than one lesson. And some genres do require certain tonalities. Tonalities that are best sought by having a coach in that genre listen to the student. Felipe may disagree with me but I have the unfounded suspicion that no opera company is going to hire you if your opera coach was Jim Gillette, but they might take you on if you had the same teachers as Renee Fleming.

But I could be wrong and usually, I am. :)

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The difference of opinion here is also part of the problem of what Colours or registers to use. It comes down to perception. We percieve things differently based on outside influences and our own thoughts about them.

One of my biggest problems that was pointed out to me by others members here is my Accent. This is something that I would never have known because I am used to it. I hear it every day. It is natural to me. It is not something that I would have concidered to be a problem. The balance of emissions in a line is being broken because in my accent I use alot of dipthongs that other languages and cultures do not use. In the word " I " I naturally pronounce it as " ah-yee " sometimes the stressed sylable to this one sylable word for me is "yee". I never even noticed it. Let alone realise that it could break the line or even at times pull me out of pitch.

That may be something that you would pick up on listening to me faster than I would if I was studying my own voice trying to figure out what I am doing Wrong. There are other words that this happens to me. And to me it is imperceptible. To others it may stand out like a sore thumb.

That is the only thing that Ronws and others are trying to get at with this thing about get a coach. There are things that are going to be imperceptible to us because of reasons that we are not aware of ourselves.

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The accent example was just that, an example of how something could be percieved by someone else and not by the person using it. Someone from inside a culture could pick up on something that is close but not quite right before someone from outside the culture could.

Also many times even on here when someone is using a metaphor to use as an example, what is replied on is the wording of the metaphor instead of the idea given. Again this is caused by a misperception.

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So I'm really confused about which registers and resonances to use when. There's chest , head , and mixed voice and there's also oral resonance, nasal resonance, and chest resonance. I think now I can tap into most of these with my voice but I have no idea what to use when, so confused. Not really sure if this makes any sense but its confusing me quite a lot.

I guess it depends on the song but I could sing it in a kind of chesty dark voice or a more heady resonant voice and how do I know which one to use?

i just wanted to say that deciding what to use depends on whether you're covering a song for the express purposes of sounding like the original artist or whether you're doing originals.

the more skill and strength you develop the more "tricks" you have up your sleeve...the more colors and textures you can use.

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Rather than parse a post to quote it, I would rather just respond to the points as I think of them.

As far as how others hear you, that is what I was also highlighting, for it can also be fraught with danger. The mental perspective of the coach listening to you. For he or she will value things that you may or may not have in your voice. Now, I have heard some submissions here where the singer was off true pitch, compared to the music. Some people have an issue with that. Thankfully, I can tell when I am going off pitch and either correct it or let it be. For example, in the original, "Highway to Hell" ends a few cents flat with "hell." And I like it that way. It fits the mood of the song, at least in my own reality. I was not saying that a student must sing off pitch to sound right or on pitch to others. But there are some who just don't hear what they are doing. But I agree with you, it would not be a mechanical problem but a perception problem.

And yes, MDEW has a thick accent, so thick I can hear it and I also live in the South. And an accent is vowel use, dipthong, and cadence. A normal Texas accent can be heard from actors such as Bill Paxton (Dallas) and Robert and sister Shelly Duval and Tommy Lee Jones (those three are from Houston.) Theirs is not so thick but the cadence is there, for sure. The timing of phrases.

There is also an element of increased nasality, including through the nose nasality, like chef Paula Dean, in southern accents, and I think that is, like you said, Kicking, because of how we roll the a back from ah to the sound one might find in the word Mack, like Mack Truck. MDEW did that on his cover of "Turn the Page" when he sings the word, "my." Which works fine for that song because it is not opera.

MDEW also has a very strong r sound. Now, sure, this accent works okay and is sometimes expected for country and western music. Many do not know this but Reba McIntire's accent is not nearly as thick as she makes it sound when she's singing. For her, that accent is a style choice.

And I find some accents and phrasing endearing and would not change it. Klaus Meine sings "I want to belong for you," which is how you say that thought in German. In English, you say, "I want to belong TO you." But I like the way he does it better, though it is not correct by american standard usage of English.

And yes, Kicking, raw recordings are just that. And if you don't have a coach or someone with some good ears, it's going to be difficult to tune yourself. Again, not always a mechanical problem.

And I think Felipe answered well when he said that what colors you should use for a song depend on the song and your intention with it. Like the difference between Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust" and the Judas Priest cover of that song.

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If you're expecting to learn from a recording of your favorite artists then it won't always be that easy. Microphones and studio techniques can be pretty deceiving and thus distort your idea of the sound you wish to transmit.

Just being close to an experienced singer and listening to them sing without any tricks can be a great lesson. Watching how they move and use their voice, all in "slow motion" so you can better notice what's really happening behind that great voice.

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And Sethis raises a good point, one that has been debated against by self-describe recording producers here.

In the world of professional recording, where the producer is making 10% of the artist's or band's 12.5 % of the 90 % after the record label deducts 10% for "breakage," (not necessary in the age of digital download but you need a lawyer to argue that with a record company,) they autotune everything. The instruments, including the singer, no matter how good he is. And at 400 to 500 dollars an hour in the studio, you really don't have to time to re-record the vocal track because of one note that is a 5 cents off.

Recording engineers will spend a few hours, not minutes, but hours, mic'ing the drums and choosing how they will gate compressors and roll-offs. So, if it feels like you cannot sing like how it is on the album, don't worry, neither can the actual singer. Because the vocal track has been comp'd, eq'd, compressed, and tuned.

My brother does everything but the autotuning. But, more than once, he has stated that is better to record the high volume vocal parts on a separate track because those need to be mixed differently. Different compressor and eq values, etc.

Like Sethis said, hear the singer in an acoustical setting and you will hear how the song was really meant to be sung and what singing should be like, rather than studio-perfect recordings.

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If you're expecting to learn from a recording of your favorite artists then it won't always be that easy. Microphones and studio techniques can be pretty deceiving and thus distort your idea of the sound you wish to transmit.

Just being close to an experienced singer and listening to them sing without any tricks can be a great lesson. Watching how they move and use their voice, all in "slow motion" so you can better notice what's really happening behind that great voice.

not sure the slow mo thing would help. i'm curious why you say that.

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