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Help with my "lower" range

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ronnis
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Hey all,

Not sure whether this should be in "Vocal Technique" or "Critique my singing"... because this is a technique question, including a sample of me singing :)

I've found myself a song with a pretty important part being sung in the area H2-A3, and now I pay the price for ignoring the lower part of my voice. I want to sing this part with a good tone, but not necessarily loud. But I'm having trouble finding a good "configuration".

To my ears I sound really goofy, like I'm swallowing my larynx (I probably am), or when I actually find a strong tone, it feels slightly operatic, but more like a parody :) But I always hate the sound of my voice doing new things, so I kind of need someone else to listen for me.

So my question is pretty open... but:

Does it sound forced, goofy or unnatural?

And in this case, what can I practise to change this?

So, here is my best attempt at the first 1,5 minute of "This is the moment" from Jekyll & Hyde:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cebfwzu5x0rn4pl/This%20is%20the%20moment%2C%20part%201.mp3

My question is regarding the first minute of this clip. The remaining 30 seconds I already know what to work on, but feel free to comment here as well.

Oh, and the noises in the background is my son tearing up the apartment ;)

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I was wondering about the noises. At first, it sounded like someone loudly stapling papers together, followed by the wails of someone dying in agony.

So, I didn't hear anything wrong with your singing. Are you just fishing for a compliment? "Oh, I stink so bad" to be followed by a number of people saying, "No, you are quite marvelous."

Anyway, I don't know what the problem is. I have a weak low end that I hide with post-recording editing strategy. Because, here, the recording is all we have.

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Ok, I was not aware I had to suck to be allowed to post in this forum :)

This is an honest question, and I'm fishing for an honest answer, singer to singer.

I'm quite aware of what I'm good at. And now I'm doing something I feel very insecure about.

That is singing lower range with some "power".

It simply feels like I'm faking a sound I'm not built to produce.

An unfamiliar sound and sensation to me.

Some examples of the sounds I'm struggling to like:

Day (0:07)

Today (0:28)

Rhyme (0:41)

Chance (0:49)

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Ok, I was not aware I had to suck to be allowed to post in this forum :)

This is an honest question, and I'm fishing for an honest answer, singer to singer.

I'm quite aware of what I'm good at. And now I'm doing something I feel very insecure about.

That is singing lower range with some "power".

It simply feels like I'm faking a sound I'm not built to produce.

An unfamiliar sound and sensation to me.

Some examples of the sounds I'm struggling to like:

Day (0:07)

Today (0:28)

Rhyme (0:41)

Chance (0:49)

Yes, you must suck before you can post here. How else will I feel better about my singing problems. :P:lol:

Some things to think about on lower notes. They need support just like higher notes. People tend to follow the same bad patterns with singing low notes as they do high notes. For high note we think I must go high so we lift the head and look up trying to REACH them. We also Have a bad habit of trying to mash our jaw into out chest to Reach low notes. Don't do either one. If you are doing either of these think the opposite. think low for high notes and high for low notes.

For low notes focus the sound in front of the lips. I think I read that in a Caruso book.

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Thanks for those suggestions!

I've never heard of focusing the sound in front of the lips. Will experiment some with that and see what it does for me.

I no longer look up, when singing high, but in trying to find a lower larynx position I might move my head more than I think. Will sing infront of a mirror and see what it looks like.

Do you think I sound like I'm pretending to have a lower/deeper voice than I can pull off?

If I'm getting away with it, I guess I'm happy with that, but my ears tell me it sounds comical, that's my issue :)

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Hey Ronnis,

Thanks for sharing. I thought the noises was someone shouting 'yeah' to encourage your crescendos :)

It doesn't sound goofy or forced, but it does sound like you are lowering your larynx for the lowest notes. for instance is coming in to 'PLAY' at 0.26 sounds darker.

The operatic sound comes in because you are using a dark sound colour with a lot of twang and at a loud volume for a low note.

Dark sound colour is typical for classical singers in the mid to high part of the voice but its not so necessary to be dark in the low part.

Theres no reason why you can't do this (unless an MD is telling you what they want), but try out the following to help you decide what is the sound you want.

To practice, you could:

1) Try raising your larynx for the low notes. To do this, try speaking the same note like you're a child speaking!

Or swallow and maintain that sensation then see if you can sing with that position.

Or try raising your tongue.

2) You could try not to raise your soft palate if you are, raising the soft palate will darken your tone.

3) Just try speaking the low note, with every day speech.

4) If acting works for you, try out a different attitude, like sing the note with a sarcastic voice!

Or smile to lighten the sound.

5) Try broadening your tongue, feel the sides of your tongue press against your molars.

6) Sing that part with a contemporary pop sound, try to imitate a singer from a different song you've heard on the radio

With a lighter sound colour you won't need to go so loud for your lower notes so that may also help if you want a quieter volume.

Of course, if any of these feel wrong or spoil your underlying technique, then its not the tool for you! These are all ways of filtering your tone or sound colour, which is best done after establishing good technique first.

You mention you want a good tone. But I'm afraid 'good' is subjective and depends on the person listening, but you can decide on the sound you want by experimenting with things like this, recording it and listening back.

If you want my opinion as a listener, I've only heard this one recording but I think you've got a good theatre sound and would fit the part. :)

One other small thing I heard, at 1.08 is the word Screaming. Watch out for the R consonant, or try twanging the E vowel a bit more.

Keep it up, sounds good. :D

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Sorry, I just posted my last comment without reading your latest posts on the words you're struggling with.

Try centring your vowels:

Day (0:07) Direct the vowel towards EH, as if you were saying the word 'STAY'

Today (0:28) Same, Direct the vowel towards EH as if you were saying the word 'STAY'

Rhyme (0:41) You're singing an AH as in the word 'FAR', try another vowel, either A as in 'AND' or O as in 'SO'

Chance (0:49) sounds a bit like an UH or a O vowel, try directing it towards A as in the word 'AND'

To help all these vowels, another thing you can do is try establishing the feeling of a bite with your top teeth, (making sure you don't tense your jaw) that can help some singers find the position that gives that effect of focusing the sound in front of the lips as MDEW said. For some people, sneering works too.

Let me know if any of these work for you! :D

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Wow, thanks a lot Ben!

This is really helpful. I will play around with all your suggestions and see (hear) what it does to the sound.

Yes, I am lowering my larynx in an attempt to get some more volume on those pesky H2 notes, but that seems like the wrong strategy now, given your comments.

I know I will able to do this eventually, since I can produce a clean (but soft) tone down to about F-F#2 but this is on a simple isolate scale excercise.

Did not even consider raising my larynx. Will try!

The suggestions for vowels are awesome, I don't know how or why this works, but whenever someone does suggest me to change it usually makes a lot of difference in how it feels (and sounds).

And for "good tone" and my underlaying technique... I don't really know what I'm doing or what sound I'm aiming for. I'm basically just trying to stay on pitch using a configuration where I get some resonance without pushing too hard.

Also thanks for pointing out yet another consonant ® I'm holding on to. I know I'm keen to hold on to the "NG" in words like BRING, instead of the vowel. In this instance I think it had more to do with not having any air left due to poor planning, but I'm gonna keep it in mind :)

Again, thanks a lot for all your valuable feedback!

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To go back to my post and echo Bens' suggestion. Our ideas for producing high and low notes have somehow been srewed up. We raise the larynx for high and lower it for low notes. This is backwards. That does happen naturally but we need to counter it by lowering the larynx on high notes and raising on low. Actually what we are doing is Stabilizing the larynx so it does not raise too much on high or lower too much on low.

We think wide for low notes and thin for high notes. This is also backwards. They are in fact, but we need to counter this by thinking Narrow for low notes and wide for high notes.

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