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Help with "middle voice"/"mixed voice" and staying connected

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Gruuve
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey guys...I think I've made some good progress since my last post. I believe I've found that "pharyngeal resonance" that's been somewhat elusive to me...and I can already tell it makes a BIG difference in hitting lower notes in head voice, as well as singing through the chest/head bridge. I've got plenty more practice to do, but it sure feels like I'm on the right path.

I re-did the lead vocal on the chorus of the song I posted after about a week of practice...I've obviously still got plenty more than I can improve on, but this is already much better:

http://www.reverbnation.com/gruuve/song/19622906-grand-pretender-rough-draft

This is quite encouraging...I can actually *sing* in the break range now...it's not great yet, but it's getting there!

Cheers,

Gruuve

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Since you guys have helped me with this, let me try to give back. :) There's some analogies that I find really useful, particularly about resonance and how important it is.

Take an unplugged electric guitar and strum it...it makes some sound from the strings vibrating, but it's not very loud. Now take an acoustic guitar and strum it...it's loud! What's the different between an unplugged solidbody electric guitar and an acoustic guitar? Resonance. The acoustic guitar has an air chamber where the air resonates, thus greatly amplifying a range of frequencies produced by the strings. You could strum the unplugged electric guitar really hard to try to make it as loud as the acoustic, but you'll probably break a string before you get any where near the same volume as the acoustic guitar strummed lightly. Same thing with your vocal chords...you can try to get loud by pulling them tighter and blowing more air through them...but the right way to do it without damaging yourself is to find and use the resonance in your available air chambers. Then, you don't have to work your vocal chords (and everything else) nearly as hard. The point: resonance = "natural amplifier". And as us bassists often say, "let the amp do the work". ;)

Here's another analogy that I find useful: In low frequency speaker cabinet design, you always design in a particular frequency as the resonant frequency. The wave produced by the driver is loudest at the exact resonant frequency of the cabinet, the volume fades off as the frequency goes up, but the volume drops off very fast as the frequency being produced goes below the resonant frequency of the cabinet. Also, at the most resonant frequency, the speaker cone is highly damped by the back pressure from the air resonating in the chamber...in other words, at the resonant frequency of the cabinet, the speaker cone is hardly moving at all. I believe the same is also true if you pluck the string on an acoustic guitar at the most resonant frequency of the air chamber...the string is dampened by the resonance, and it's hardly moving at all. Think about this for our vocal chords...just like a speaker cone in a bass bin cabinet or a string on an acoustic guitar, when your vocal chords are producing a sound at the most resonant frequency in your chest, pharyngeal area, or head, your vocal chords are dampened by the resonance and are hardly moving at all...they are doing very little work...the resonance is doing the work Isn't THAT cool? Speaker drivers work harder but produce much less sound as they drop below the resonant frequency...I believe the same is true for our vocal chords: once you drop substantially below the resonant frequency of whatever air space you're currently using, your vocal chords quickly go from not working very hard to working really hard but still producing less sound. Of course, going way above the resonant frequency works them hard too (stretches them more). The good thing about the pharyngeal resonance is that you can adjust the resonant frequency of that air chamber by changing it's size (by raising or lowering your larynx). The point: Your vocal chords are dampened and doing the least amount of work but producing the most sound when at your most resonant frequencies. Again, let the "amplifier" do the work.

I hope these might be useful for explaining some of this to some of your students!

Cheers guys!

Gruuve

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