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Faithfully - Acoustic

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MDEW
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It's nasal throughout and off pitch at many points. You were flat on the G4 (due to technique problems you've still yet to fix because you're not seeing a teacher who can show you how) and on a lot of the middle notes around C4 you were sharp.

I tell you this every single cover you do, you need a darker tone. The way you are getting your brightness is inefficient, not elegant sounding, and is directly causing your range ceiling. Try finding more relaxation by singing darker at first (find a fairly dark sounding singer you like and imitate them in your comfortable range) and thinking of an open throat. However, when you go for this darker tone, do not let the sound drop into the throat. The higher placement you're using now is correct, it's just the way you're shaping the components of the vocal tract around it is interfering and forcing the brightness in an ugly way.

Specifically some sources of tension I hear in you are you're not dropping your jaw enough and in a relaxed enough way, and you're closing off the back of the throat by letting the soft palate drop more and tongue raise more the higher you go which is also causing the nasal sound. And that itself is happening as a result of the larynx shooting up too high. It's all interconnected, your whole vocal tract needs to be in a different setup where all the components are further from each other, leaving more space for a darker tone.

I know this because I used to have the same problems as you, this forced bright tone and throat closing causing a ceiling in the upper range. And still do to an smaller extent. It's an ongoing process to fix it, but the big key principles at least from what I've learned are

1. keeping the jaw dropped all the way as much as possible

2. not letting the tongue raise as high as you go higher

3. getting the soft palate to raise as you go higher (instead of lowering)

4. not letting the larynx raise as high as you go higher

5. maintaing an open "ah" sensation at the back of the throat at all times

6. using a more tall vertical embouchure instead of splatting out horizontally

7. keeping the placement high

8. keeping the head posture correct. no jutting jaw forward, no tilting your head back or forward, no jutting it forward, no turning to the side, etc. etc. etc. at the same time dont make it stiff. ultimately you want to be able to sing while swinging your head left to right like you're saying "no" and hear no change in sound or feel no discomfort. That's a great test to check for neck tension

And like I said it's all interconnected.

in you particular I think you need to focus most on #1-4 though. And #7 you already have figured out I think, just make sure you don't throw it off as you adjust everything else.

When you get all that down then you can start working in the brightness and it will happen properly. The end goal is actually to train very bright, similar to what you're doing - just without all the tension and nasality.

Also for you, you definitely actually need LESS compression if you want to stop hitting that ceiling at the G4. Let a tad of air through the sound, key word "let". Do not PUSH air through, just visualize opening the vocal folds and throat a bit more so that the throat stays open instead of closing up on you. Try practicing lightly at first, bridging early, so that these problems are less severe and you can sort them out on a small scale first. Then add the weight once the light practice becomes comfortable.

I'd advise you to spend A LOT of time practicing scales with your face right in front of a mirror, monitoring everything. Follow the checklist above or better yet consult a real coach to teach you this stuff with some credibility (I'm only speaking from what I know as an intermediate student still working through these issues, and partly parroting what my coaches have taught me, so it may not be 100% accurate) and be your own coach, catch your own bad habits and try to fix them.

Good luck. It's all technique stuff, as you're practicing get your technique down first before you worry about telling a story or any of that stuff. You need to work your left brain here in order to improve. Obviously don't keep it on when you perform but when you practice go super unemotional/analytical/technical/clinical and it will go a long way to help you improve your technique and direct your focus heavily on improving that, where most of your issues lie.

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Thanks for the feedback Owen.

This was the 4th recording and I did sing it overly bright on the last take. Sitting down playing guitar in a cramped space is not optimal for recording the voice. As it was getting late and I wanted feedback I took that last recording good or bad.

I also noticed the wobbly pitch on things like " We all need the "Clowns". I was trying a new coordination for me. As you mentioned, letting more air in and less compression. I also know about the Flat G4. I worked that line several times on its own. I kept tripping on the phrase "Two strangers learn to FALL in love again" It almost seemed like there were too many words for the melody. I kept stopping for breath after the "TO" I finally decided to keep "Two stangers learn" as one phrase and "To FALL in love again" as another. Taking a breath between the two. That helped and I did nail it before recording.

On this take I did not scew up the guitar or singing too bad to scrap it. I can use the guitar and redo the vocals when I get some alone time. Too many distractions tonight to concentrate.

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Owen Wrote:

"I tell you this every single cover you do, you need a darker tone. The way you are getting your brightness is inefficient, not elegant sounding, and is directly causing your range ceiling. Try finding more relaxation by singing darker at first (find a fairly dark sounding singer you like and imitate them in your comfortable range) and thinking of an open throat. However, when you go for this darker tone, do not let the sound drop into the throat. The higher placement you're using now is correct, it's just the way you're shaping the components of the vocal tract around it is interfering and forcing the brightness in an ugly way."

You make this sound as if you have told me this on every cover I have done.

I looked back over my cover posts for the last 6 months. I had not received comment from you. A year or two ago I did a cover of a Bob Seger song in which you mentioned it, But not any other follow up posts saying that I still was not improving on this. I wish you had.

On earlier posts I practically begged for input of this nature. I even mentioned that I would need to Post songs by Foreigner and Journey to get someone to give input other than Ronws and an occasional other member. And so I did.

Ronws has been very helpful. I am paying more attention to dropping my accent but it still comes through.

Conflicting insights on Higher singing. On this song it is true that my tongue is higher placed and the larynx raises on the high notes. Supposedly for high belting this is required. My source? Several places. CVT for one and Estill for another. This song is probably the wrong situation for that, at least when the song is dropped to G4 being the high note instead of B4.

In other songs where things are going wrong for me I may have gotten the responce. "sorry Man, No good" without a reason for why it was no good. To get a reason I had to create a conflict. Sometimes that did not work.

I do believe you are correct in your assessment. I have been working on Roberts "Wind and Release", "Quack and Release" and "Dampen and Release". I recently found a video of his on youtube and have only been doing this for a few days.

So I am aware of some of the problems that I am facing.

Thank you for your post. This is the kind of responce I have been looking for. I do not post a song because I thought I did a great job on it(But it is good to get a "Good Job Man" every now and then). I post it to get feedback.

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Hi MDEW, I'm with you regarding the trying a new coordination and playing guitar at the same time can be a mess. I first noticed that when I started to record on my cell phone my practice. I usually skip a beat or mess up the strumming on very easy songs (e.g. Knocking on Heaven's Door) if I'm focusing on the vocal technique. So, after finding this out, I started to pay more attention at my band practice, that I now have to play the bass for lack of bass players. So, I realized that some songs need way more practice to achieve a decent level of quality. I actually like your voice for this song, and I'm pretty sure that it is within your range, but you are probably still struggling with accessing your high range for not knowing how to "mix" or "bridge" to higher gears. I think you would benefit from Owen's tips, but I would like to suggest you something that has helped me a lot, which is singing through the straw. I don't know if you are aware of this technique, but you may easily find videos on youtube about it. The benefit is to keep a higher placement and work on bridging the registers avoiding tension. I am no teacher nor experienced vocal student, just sharing something that has helped me tremendously. Keep rocking! ;)

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haha now everybody wants me critiquing everything? :D

Sorry MDEW for my hyperbole. I didn't mean literally every cover. Just all the ones I looked at which was really only a few, I'm aware.

Thing is I'm actually not very active in this part of the forum. I tend to pick and choose and only critique songs I know because then I have a reference of what the song is kinda supposed to sound like. But Bzean because you requested I will do my best to critique your first one whether I know the song or not.

Good job working on Rob's onsets but for right now MDEW I think you should stay away from quack and release because you are already twanging hard. The wind and release and dampen release will help balance you out though.

In addition to that, be sure to work on legato open vowel scales without consonants. The purpose of the specialized onsets is to fix balance issues via compensation, and the legato stuff is there to reinforce the correct balance once you've gotten close to it.

I'm not a fan of CVT and Estill advocating the larynx and tongue raising and throat closing because they make it sound like you have to intentionally take those actions. But I think most singers and certainly yourself included, do make these adjustments naturally but actually overdo it to where it causes constriction. So often you have to mentally go against what the science may recommend in order to find a better balance.

To be clear yes the larynx and tongue do need to rise it's just not as much as a lot of beginners naturally do. If you really look at yourself in the mirror while singing you'll notice the rising is almost unavoidable, but you can tame it so it's less extreme. That's what you should work on. Part of that is also thinking about going from bright tone at the bottom of your range toward darker at the top.

And whoever above recommended working on bridging, that's another thing that will definitely help you as I've yet to hear you smoothly bridge into head voice at least in the covers I've heard, and once you learn to your versatility and range will improved. But I need to make clear that flipping over and over again until you get it right is a ridiculously incorrect way of training bridging - I made that mistake for years and all it does is reinforce the flipping habit. The fastest way to build bridging coordination is get it down smoothly at a light level, bridging early without much compression, then adding weight and compression and chest musculature (shifting the bridging point higher) gradually as the coordination improves - that is how you train bridging.

Lastly, look at all those excuses in your first reply! You might want to free your mind of those excuses and start accepting that the non-singing-related obstacles you perceive in front of you aren't the reason you sang poorly. If you get used to the idea that you have to be able to sing acceptably anywhere any time that will go a long way toward how seriously you take your vocal development. You need to be good at your worst not just great at your best.

That's not to say you shouldn't warm up and hydrate and prepare and what not, of course you should. But just consider the lack of excuses any professional singer would operate under - they don't say things like "the room was too small for me to sing well in" which is kind of what I think you were saying in that post. If you want to become as good as them you have to take on this mentality of preparing long term to do your absolute best, putting it out publicly, and not trying to defend your mistakes by blaming the environment, but accepting them as real areas for improvement.

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Thanks Owen I was not meaning to give excuses just giving a picture of my environment and this particular recording of the song. Head straight and relaxed, Posture perfect or close, full breath..... Very good for Training, not always posible in real life. Also to say that you where spot on this time and the environment is conformation for you, along with the overly bright sound. That was my last attempt for the night ,I had promised my wife I would stop after that recording. For some reason I purposely sang overly bright(Twang) to see if it would help with the transition.

Again I am making no excuses for the out come, I am stating facts. I should have kept those things in mind but I ignored them. Good call.

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I thought I would give this another shot. Please do not say that it does not sound like Perry. Trying that makes me too nasal. :o

This is the result of doing things opposite to what I have read to be healthy and the proper way to sing. The result is a better quality and control than I have found before. What works for one may not work for another. I will give props to Ronws for making me realize a few things that He was aware of and I was not.

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Hey MDEW, I think you hit gold with this approach, it sounds so much better, and you seem to be so much more comfortable singing that if I didn't know better I would think this was an original song by MDEW. You still got practice more to really nail the performance. I think that on the 2nd part you started to drift away a little bit from your approach. Maybe you were losing focus, as this was probably a new coordination you were trying, or just getting tired, or maybe is just in my head, or my semi-deaf ear. :P

Anyways, just keep practicing on this coordination and you will get even more comfortable and consistent.

Good job man, and keep on rocking! :cool:

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Hey MDEW, I think you hit gold with this approach, it sounds so much better, and you seem to be so much more comfortable singing that if I didn't know better I would think this was an original song by MDEW. You still got practice more to really nail the performance. I think that on the 2nd part you started to drift away a little bit from your approach. Maybe you were losing focus, as this was probably a new coordination you were trying, or just getting tired, or maybe is just in my head, or my semi-deaf ear. :P

Anyways, just keep practicing on this coordination and you will get even more comfortable and consistent.

Good job man, and keep on rocking! :cool:

Thanks Gneetapp, it is a very new approach. Totally different from what I usually do. I pretty much did every thing opposite of what I read or heard was healthy and proper, But in that I found a way to drive my voice and smooth out some of the bad qualities of my voice. A work in progress but I think it is a good turning point.

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The second practice recording you posted was much closer to what would be considered healthy singing, MDEW!

I think you may be coming to terms with the fact that you may have had the requisite amounts of twang already and were possibly just coaching yourself with the wrong cues. Also the recording sounds a little better mic'd as well to my ears... or was that just the difference changing your technique made on your sound/resonance?!

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The second recording is miles better. Still have some work to do but it is a much better foundation. I agree fully with Slow Start's points on your technique.

Great example of how just reading about vocal technique can get you in trouble - you can misinterpret things and that's kind of what you were doing MDEW, you thought you needed more twang/high larynx/high tongue/brightness since that's so commonly emphasized as "healthy", but for YOU you already had that and actually needed to work on something different for your individual voice to bring it back into the right balance. It's all about balance. Nothing is ever extreme with vocal technique.

Good job on the G4 this time, sounded a lot better, you thinned out the sound nicely and sang it right on pitch.

So here are some next steps I'd suggest:

1. Working on fine-tuning your pitch with this new approach. The pitch here was much better than the previous version as well but there are still some moments, a notable lyric to watch out for is "alone" from the "sleep alone tonight" phrase, you were sharp on both versions. Also on "stand" for "stand by me" you are slightly flat on that and also a bit nasal - if you modify that to "stEHnd" it should fix the problem.

2. Work on your legato and holding notes - in the higher range you're kind of dancing around them for lack of better word, which is just more work on yourself. It is easier and more elegant sounding to just sing a note, hold it, then go to the next note. Instead of scooping down or up for notes, both at the onset or offset. For this style you want to be onsetting and offsetting notes with no pitch change. Particularly in the choruses which are mostly all the same note - for instance with "they say that the road ain't no place to start a family" it's all the exact same pitch from "they" all the way to "start" - so it should all feel like it's placed in the same spot in the throat and the sound should sound like it's all coming out the exact same pitch and that instead of sounding like you're articulating however many words you're sound like you're singing a long and smooth phrase/sentence. This is kind of a basic taste of what "legato" and "not singing like you speak" is all about. On this version you were still scooping up to some notes and putting some gaps in the phrasing.

But the ultimate goal is to get through those phrases with no interruption, like you're holding one long note (or whatever the notes are in the phrase) and just shaping it with words. Rather than letting the words shape the notes. You could try practicing that chorus melody completely legato on an open vowel to get an idea of the right sensation, then adding in the lyrics while thinking about that sensation of continuity.

3. One last thing, you are dropping your placement a bit more than you need to for the low notes - essentially reaching down for them. This isn't necessarily problematic and certainly doesn't sound bad, it's just less efficient. Experiment with the sensation of making your low notes feel more similar to your middle range - that the pitch lowers but the sensation is not physically lower. If this is confusing you and making you pitchy though, just forget about it. For performance, being on pitch is more important than adjusting pitch as easily as possible - your audience won't pick up on the latter, it would only be to your benefit.

The placement and tone of your middle and high range seems pretty dead on for the right balance for your voice though, so continue right on that path for the notes above G3.

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Thanks guys. To be honest on this I did every thing I had read was damaging and hurtful to the voice. Maybe I just interpret things backwards. :P From using too much air to using a sound that is not easy and free to constricting my airway. But, Whatever works. :D

I first made a recording of this super constricted with way too much air but I think it helped me find what people call support. This recording was closer to normal phonation but still had the constriction to it.

There were several words that I could have pronounced better and this way of singing really makes the BAD stand out from the GOOD.

Legato from a musical standpoint would make the song better and I will work on that, but I believe the scooping and accented words help with the Feeling aspect.

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What I heard that was most important to me, which I think helped a number of other things was cleaner vowels. The only wobbles I could hear was when you had an uh sound. Other times, you had a really good ah. And it almost sounds like a different singer.

Verily I say unto thee, thou wilt surely rock-eth.

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What I heard that was most important to me, which I think helped a number of other things was cleaner vowels. The only wobbles I could hear was when you had an uh sound. Other times, you had a really good ah. And it almost sounds like a different singer.

Verily I say unto thee, thou wilt surely rock-eth.

It was a different singer..... at least a different character. But I did try to concentrate on the Ah vowel as you have been suggesting.

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Mdew - I only listened to the 2nd recording and thought it was great. Good phrasing and rhythm. Did you record the voice separately from the guitar?

Yes the voice is a seperate track. I have an old digital recorder. I originally sang and played the guitar together but after several false starts I kept the guitar even though I came in too early at the end of the last chorus and just rerecorded the vocals.

I think I am finally on track with the support issue but it is still new and there is a lot of work to be done.

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