Jump to content

Curiosity, what is the cause of the strangled cat sound, and the cure?

Rate this topic


TimR
 Share

Recommended Posts

We have a couple of women in our church who sound, well, maybe okay, until they try to sing louder or higher.

Then it comes out flat, blatty, and strained. (and when they try both loud and high..........!) And because it doesn't blend at all it's really obvious.

What is the techique fault that causes that?

It's not my job to fix it, this is just out of curiosity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

guessing here, like felipe said, you have to hear, but one issue might be the vowels are poorly tuned, and they aren't getting released by the right modification.

b.t.w., what does blatty mean? couldn't find it in the dictionary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sorry about using the term blatty.

It would be instantly understandable to a trumpet or trombone player. It's a tone that lacks overtones but has focus, sounds flat, is loud but does not project, is kind of nasal, etc. I'm reaching for words to describe something we've all heard beginners do but is hard to describe. From a brass player the cause is either loose lips (lacking the necessary firmness in the center - but stretched from a smile) or a support fault. It's usually accompanied by poor endurance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'll go with "strangled cat" sound since i know that. "blatty" is not familiar to me. In singing we have "splatty" but to me that's a bit different from "strangled cat" which is a more broad category.

The "strangled cat" singing sound is usually caused by a larynx too high, soft palate too low, bad head posture, lack of or incorrect breath support, ineffective mouth position, tongue tension, neck tension and/or jaw tension.

But it should be noted that there are way too many types of these tensions to list and they all combine differently in different voices and produce different variants of this strangled sound whenever a student tries to do something their voice isn't ready for yet.

This is a big reason why we have vocal teachers, the great ones know how to identify any of these tensions and resolve any of them so their students can stop sounding like slaughtered cats and progress past these hindering tensions.

Whereas most students especially the more "gifted" ones may only have experience with their own few personal tensions they encountered in their training and don't even know many many more types of wrong tensions exist. Therefore they may not be as informed as they need to be to teach a variety of other students effectively.

Funny little anecdote, my father now refers to how my voice sounded before my first vocal performance (which went miraculously okay) as "cats in a bag" whenever he talks to people about my journey of improvement as a vocalist and how terrible I used to be before training. So I am familiar first-hand with this sound!!!

And the only foolproof cure to this is training one on one with a great coach. There is no other cure that I know of because the cause of these sounds can be such a complex combination of tensions and totally varies from person to person.

Hope that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you flatter me owen....lol!!!!

not sure what you mean...

But I just looked at your post again and you actually caught a big point I missed. The vowel shade/modification/tuning. If you're not tuning the vowel to ring out nicely, the strangled cat is just waiting to release instead!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But I just looked at your post again and you actually caught a big point I missed. The vowel shade/modification/tuning. If you're not tuning the vowel to ring out nicely, the strangled cat is just waiting to release instead!

That makes sense, that's kind of what it sounds like.

Does it also makes sense loud singing brings it on? when they're confident in the tune, or feel the need for more volume, that's when the tone changes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That makes sense, that's kind of what it sounds like.

Does it also makes sense loud singing brings it on? when they're confident in the tune, or feel the need for more volume, that's when the tone changes.

Yes, but loud singing is not the problem, singing loud incorrectly is.

Basically, the louder and higher you sing, the more of a tendency there is for the technique to fall apart and begin sounding more strangled-catty. As your vocal technique improves, one result will be the ability to sing higher and louder without being limited by that ceiling of strain where the technique falls apart and creates the strangled sound. The threshold where the strain starts to kick in and screw up the sound is lifted up out of the way to progressively higher pitches and volumes as the singer learns to release various tensions in their voice. Does that make sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...