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Another thought on support

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MDEW
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I thought about posting this in the other thread about rib expansion, but I may have things totally wrong.

After you get all that rib expansion and proper alignment and stuff the idea is to pressurize the air. This is the part that always escaped me and no one seemed to mention. They talk about holding back the air. A balance of inhale and exhale..... Great I have the rib expansion but still no support. I am able to stop the flow of air at will without closing off my vocal folds. The thing that is missing is that you need to feel a little pressure in your lungs and on your vocal folds while you sing.

I had to trick myself into that by holding the breath and applying the pressure with my lower abs like I was trying to blow out while holding the breath. But I had to let air out while still feeling that pressure. You have to keep a little of that pressurized feeling while you sing.

If you keep this pressurized feeling while singing this very act will keep the chest and ribs expanded. Some kind of back pressure happens and helps to keep the larynx stable. When you use up your air and cannot keep the pressure just relax the abs and the glottis and air will rush in. Reingage the abs and you are ready to go again.

This pressurized feeling is what is usually missing when others write or speak of supporting the sound.

The thing is if you are feeling this pressure you have the potential for sound. If you feel this pressure the air is being held back.

If anyone understands what I am trying to convey and has a better way of explaining please do. Or just tell me I am full of crap and tell me why. :)

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I don't fully understand what you're saying, but I sense that it is mostly correct information. I think your main point is that we need SOME subglottal pressure, and that is correct.

I'm still not sure about your claim that the pressurized feeling automatically causes the chest and ribs to expand. What is probably more likely happening is you personally are able to simply think of that pressure and the chest and ribs expand as a result of that thought. But not all students will find it that way, that may have to manually make the movement first to discover the pressure.

So I would just be careful claiming that particular part applies to everyone.

Everything else seems accurate though.

A very common issue for members of this forum who don't train with a good coach or program is to lack the understanding that support is a balancing act and it varies depending on what you are singing. You have correctly broken the trend and figured out that, yea we need some of this pressure, some of that.

The next thing you need to get in touch with after this balance settles in, is how it vary it depending on the laryngeal coordination. That part is very tough to explain in text

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What you say, M, sounds reasonable. I've not worried about keeping ribs expanded or the chest noble, per se, though I do have some straighter posture going when singing. No slouching, I guess, would be the phrase.

Even the balance of pressure makes sense and I had not really thought about. Me saying that I feel nothing in the throat might be the same as me saying that I don't feel anything strenuous or discomforting on the bottoms of my feet when I walk. Or an overexertion when I reach for a bottle of water, for example. Multiple alignments and muscles in action with nary a conscious thought from me. I guess the right description would be that it is a good pressure.

Sundberg's research shows that with the right management of breath, there is not a bowing of the larynx. The converse statement would also be that there is pressure but all things being equal, there is just a slight amount higher sub-glottal than supra-glottal, enough to drive the production of sound.

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yea you need more than an expanded ribs to get support, you also need contraction of certain muscles (and cord closure) which adds pressure to the airflow which makes the breath held back and come out slower. so what your saying makes sense to me. but you want to make sure there engaged with some tension but not like a flexing which will close of your throat. but I wouldn't say its missing, just some times it is, especially from people of the 'singing should feel effortless' camp. it's just usually said without mentioning pressure.

i did some reading from estill recently which is really helpful i think in finding support. one method they have is with your hands out in front and palms facing each other, pretend to forcefully put poles in the ground. another is as your singing pretend to squish oranges under your armpits and you should feel your upper abdominals and your lats of your back engage. also I think the back is a big thing in support that people often don't mention.

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I agree with you MDEW when you say it is not only keeping the ribs expanded while singing. You also need this kind of downward pressure in the abs. And when some people say that good singing or good technique equals effortless singing, I think they mean you don't have to strain or pop a blood vessel to sing high pitch notes, because if you have good chord closure, support and resonance on your side you can go long ways.

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md,

the pressure you are referring to varies. it can even vary from word to word and from syllable to syllable. just sing soft to loud or loud to soft or steadily on one pitch for 20 seconds or more will help you sense it.

if you can do any of these things well you are supporting.

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md,

the pressure you are referring to varies. it can even vary from word to word and from syllable to syllable. just sing soft to loud or loud to soft or steadily on one pitch for 20 seconds or more will help you sense it.

if you can do any of these things well you are supporting.

Yes, I can sense and control this pressure now. The point that I am making now is that when people are explaining support and telling how to achieve it they often forget to mention this pressure or resistance of air flow.

You can Keep your ribs expanded and your abs tight and make sound without the air actually being under pressure. It is almost static. Without the pressure you are still not supporting.

No, I am not saying that you need to have a lot of pressure. Just saying that without pressurizing the air there is no support.

IT is almost like an active resistance to the air flow instead of a holding back of the air. When I would view it as holding back the air I had no support. When I started thinking about it as resisting the airflow the rib expansion and lower abdominal movement took care of itself.

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mdew,

"

IT is almost like an active resistance to the air flow instead of a holding back of the air. When I would view it as holding back the air I had no support. When I started thinking about it as resisting the airflow the rib expansion and lower abdominal movement took care of itself."

Think about it, what real difference is there between saying:

-holding back the air

-resisting the air flow

-controling the air flow

Wouldnt it be the case that you did something different than what you thought we meant, and now you are talking about this difference on the execution?

Thats the whole problem, no matter what words you use to describe it, the important thing is to experience it yourself, then you can call it whatever you want.

For example:

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=8036

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?pid=72382#p72382

Now there is more to it. How you organize this is very important, so that you can simply by thinking of the phrase you have to do, prepare the posture properly, and without having to worry much about it (should be overlearned).

And, remember that it alone is not much, you can support as much as you want (as in using more of this pressure), if your emission is airy it wont fix the problem, if you lose forward placement/twang, you WILL strain, if you are trying to produce a certain tonal quality with antagonic postures, you will also strain, etc...

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I understand your meaning Felipe. Even when trying to write this thread I could not think of a better way to explain my own feeling about this. My words were no better than anyone else in describing a difference in attitude about this. And that is basically what happened with me, a different way of thinking about it.

Reading back on the thread that you supplied I did mention that I would support with character voices but could not with singing. It was singing through a characters voice that gave me this view of resisting rather than Holding back. To me there is a difference between the two.

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i prefer holding back..(lol)

or the imagery of "enabling" various levels of pressure up against the folds.

I guess it is just a different way to say the same thing. In my case I have always held back. What I needed was to press air through a narrow passage. I could feel the resistance of the folds and the pressure on the lungs.

Others may be used to the action of shouting and need to dial back on the escape of air.

The thought of holding back the air put a lock on the breathflow. I have never had a problem with keeping the glottis open and applying pressure with my abs but still having little to no air leave the lungs. The basic action of antagonism between the inhale muscles and the exhale muscles. My problem was not letting enough air move through the folds for the bernoulli effect to happen.

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I think we could come up with a few more words, "technical descriptions," whatever. What is most important is that you have found the path of breath support for you that brings the volume and power and consistency that you desire.

For example, I could say it is motion in the abs, when necessary, which I imply to mean it can vary from time to time, whether others get that meaning or not. Or, that I have a deal with Satan to have the folds of destiny, sounding 30 years younger than I really am (even as my body fails me in various ways.) You know, my grandparents said "if it doesn't hurt, it doesn't work anymore." And I have not had a headache in years. Wait a minute, that sounded better in my head ....

Anyway, so I realize, too, that when I say nothing in the throat, others might take that to mean absolutely nothing. But I have been singing so long that I don't recall the new sensations that someone else might encounter as they get into better breath support, better closure, etcetera. So, my mantra can be easily misinterpreted.

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but when i support (depending on what i'm singing) i feel like i can almost literally lay the breath pressure onto the folds as well as retract it away from them. this only came into existence this past year. i could swear singing the foreigner stuff helped me to get in touch with it.

i wish i could think of an analogy...

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but when i support (depending on what i'm singing) i feel like i can almost literally lay the breath pressure onto the folds as well as retract it away from them. this only came into existence this past year. i could swear singing the foreigner stuff helped me to get in touch with it.

i wish i could think of an analogy...

You don't have to. If I didn't know any better, I would think you are fan of Lou Gramm and his sound and style. :D

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but when i support (depending on what i'm singing) i feel like i can almost literally lay the breath pressure onto the folds as well as retract it away from them. this only came into existence this past year. i could swear singing the foreigner stuff helped me to get in touch with it.

i wish i could think of an analogy...

Exactly, My perception of what others said about "Hold Back" was a constant retraction. To lay the pressure onto the folds is what I am now doing....when needed of course.

For me it has also illuminated what others are calling "Leaning into" the voice and other such terms.

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with me it's a reverse mentality thing i've been trying....

i know in my head from hearing it sung it sounds powerful but the actual mechanics of making of the sound will be different....not easier..... but different.

let's see if i can explain this one...(lol) sometimes you'll hear a singer and see a singer and it appears he's blasting out a note or a line in a song.

but what you may not realize till you've figured it out or someone tells you enough times or you try it out, that their strength in the holding back part is really a big part of it. or they are so skilled as to apply varying degrees of fold closure so skillfully you can't hear the compression changes.

a singer who had this skill that comes to mind is micheal jackson.

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I think the thing here is, for you, MDEW, that "holding back" is giving you a mental image that is a hindrance, rather than a help. If the "pressurized" thing works better, go for it.

Just like, when I say "nothing in the throat," that works for me but maybe no one else. I might be pressurizing and whatever else but don't realize it and so I feel nothing in the throat. By that, I mean, I don't feel undue pressure or strain. Then, again, having done it for a long time, I might be doing something that would strain others but my body has undergone a "training effect" from repeating an activity until it is done with the human tendency toward efficiency.

Semantics is a slippery slope.

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I am still looking for an opportunity to record something new and get feedback from the forum.

I may find that I have been fooling myself for the past few weeks. :P I will leave that up to others to deside. Until then I will keep doing what I am doing. :)

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im not sure if im doing it completely right, but after many months of practice and trying a bunch of different things, I think im finally starting to get closer to correct support. I feel like im finally starting to get that feeling of expand, and keep expanded while singing that is talked a lot here, especially from videohere.

specifically, this is what im now doing. I expand the lower ribs right under the rib cage(sides of waist), the lower back at the waist, and the area right under the sternum (solar plexus). though i think theres some expansion all in front, the majority of it seems to be right under the sternum causing a downward slope underneath.

then on the exhale I focus on keeping the lower ribs, lower back, and the solar plexus all expanded (cvt says that should include the sides of it too, but im not sure if it needs focusing?). so then while singing only the area around the navel goes in and out.

then i also notice different muscles such as the solar plexus areas do gradually contract more and more while singing a phrase, but it seems more a side effect of keeping the expansion while singing. then I think for higher and louder notes you just put more effort in keeping the expansion though im not completely sure.

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big m,

just one thing to be conscious of......if you tense the vocal tract as a result of doing this expansion, you stop, and realize someone has to help you.

it is key that that you are not using the vocal folds like fingers trying to keep a balloon from blowing out it's air fast.

you have to isolate the lower core. in the beginning it easy to stick them together and just tense.

it's not about tensing it's more allowing.

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yea I did that tensing more many months some of the time intentionally a lot of the time not. but I think im starting to get it though I definitely need to practice it and get it more efficient as it still feels new and a bit difficult. but I feel constant air flow and all the tension in my torso. it certainly takes a good amount effort especially toward the end of a phrase, but the interesting things is im not intentionally contracting down there either, just keeping the expansion in the areas I mentioned above and letting it gradually contract naturally. whereas before I would focus on contracting the same areas with I think was adding to much tension.

do you also feel the sensation of trying harder to hold the expansion out when going for louder sounds as opposed to push or flexing?

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mike, it depends a lot on what and how you are singing.

what kind of sound you are going for. some songs i sing i feel like i don't exhale, although i am. some songs feel like you aren't using any support, or the levels fluctuate.

some songs require you to sing with very wide dynamics and could require very solid support because you have to sing soft too or fluctuate intensity.....sometimes quickly! some songs you want a very bouncy thing going on down below.

don't allow the expansion to cave in......resist it. gain an active control over exhalation.

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So is it correct to say at times you'll be just holding the expansion out for softer stuff and not contracting much, and for more intense stuff you'll be holding it out but also at the same time deliberately contracting to varying degrees depending on how intense the sound your going for is?

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