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Trouble with Vocal Weight

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Lavishous
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I'm a fairly new singer at 17 yrs old and I have noticed some serious changes in my voice and the "heaviness" of it throughout the day. In the morning-afternoon or later depending on how much I have used my voice that day, I will be very comfortable in the lower register even as low as A1 without much straining to get there whereas I will barely be able to reach an Eb4 on the high side of things without flipping to falsetto. Occasionally when it's later in the day, my voice will feel very light and free and I will be able comfortably sing in the 4th octave, sometimes up to G4 if I'm well supported. I was wondering how to fix this disparity in my voice and if there were any techniques to help get into the "lighter" voice early in the day so I don't have to save the high singing for late at night. Thanks guys!

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Warming up with proper technique. That's all it is.

If its taking you all day to get to that lighter and freer spot in your voice and inconsistently at that, your technique just isn't good enough yet, especially as you warm up.

The solution is one on one lessons with a great vocal teacher. In this case you know they're great if their lessons, more often than not, help you get to that freedom in your voice, rather than leave you fatigued by the end.

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Some singers just take a little longer to warm up. I can understand and I just suggest you warm up with some falsetto and octave jumps flipping back and forth like yodeling that really helps take the weight off. Work this all over your range using staccato I think you will see a difference

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Start out warming up earlier in the day, if possible.

Since you are aware that shedding weight is something you need to do, try to do your warmup exercises in a slightly lighter way. Be mindful as you warmup to not drag any unneeded weight up the scale.

Always make it a habit to lose just a slight shade of chest weight with each half-step you go up in any scale or song.

If you are always doing this, you will ingrain this into your technique and it will tend to go away.

We all wake up with a groggy throat. The sooner we warm it up with light exercises and avoid dragging weight uphill with us, the better our lighter, freer, voice will stay present.

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I'm with Daniel and Geran here.

Narrowing the vowel doesn't do anything (at least not anything helpful), unless you're doing everything else right. This is speaking from my personal struggles with the vowel narrowing concept for so long until I just recently found a balanced production of phonation where I can finally kind of feel what Bob is raving about all the time.

But the catch is, if there is a significant amount of any of the following:

-too much cord closure

-too little cord closure

-not enough support

-un-isolated support (tension creeping up too high)

-excess neck tension

-excess jaw tension

-excess tongue tension

-excess subglottal pressure

etc. etc. etc.

then an OO will be way harder than an AH and an EE will be way harder than an EH. Provided you want to sing closed vowels high with power.

Will the volume still decrease if you narrow the vowel with all those tensions in your voice? Yes. But the tension will increase that exact amount instead of decreasing.

Only when you have the rest of your technique in balance, will these more narrowed vowels actually start releasing

I'm very new to the released full voice closed vowels, can't get it consistently yet, but I've gotten into the sensation enough to compare it with the way I was choking on them for years. And your overall technique has to be very balanced in order to get any benefit out of narrowing the vowel.

If you narrow a vowel with too much subglottal pressure and pressed phonation, yes there will be a "reduction" Bob, but only of volume. However if the open vowel is carrying any excess tension (and I don't see how that isn't possible if you're singing with excess subglottal pressure and cord compression) that tension will only multiply as you reduce the volume by narrowing the vowel.

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owen,

what can i say.......i think what i basically did was build a ramp (as mentioned on frisell's book). anyone can do it, if you choose to.

doing a lot of exercises going from open to narrow, open to narrow over and over and over, a feeling of a channel started to make itself known to where the voice sort of slots into. it feels free and very tall. you just know it's right because the pitch seems to just slot in.

just thinking in a narrow vowel or vowel shade can bring the desired result.

frisell drilled into my head to stop viewing vowels as elements of speech and consider them nothing but adjustable throat shapes.

this way of thinking helped me a lot.

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no, in this case getting yourself used to the sensation of releasing and giving it over to the vowel to release you up.

really getting in touch with the feeling and the effect the throat shapes (vowels) have on your particular voice.

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That's cool Bob, but I think it worked so well for you because you had already learned how to produce narrow vowels without constriction. Either from earlier training or from Frisell's method itself.

Or perhaps you have a natural affinity for it.

All I know is that I certainly didn't!!!! For the first couple years of my singing journey, "oh" was always easier then "oo", and "eh" was always easier than "ee". I was never able to find a way to release on those closed vowels until recently. I had to remove some jaw tension and decrease the subglottal pressure, etc. little adjustments - just to be able to get those vowels to release the way they're meant to.

I mean really, any vowel, if it's inducing excess throat tension, is not a released vowel anymore. If there's excess throat tension it distorts the natural way they're supposed to work positively to help us in different ways, and just gives different vowels different unique sensations of strain, lol!

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just be playful, simply go from "ah" (as in hot, not "hat" make sure it's "hot") to "aw" (as in "ought") c3 to f3 and try to make the vowel change using nothing but the throat. get the throat open in the back by configuring to a beginning of a yawn. feel the effect of the throat shape and how you carve into the higher note. it's very likely vibrato will accompany this as well. it's fine if your mouth comes in with it, but try to do it without.

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Or don't start this until you get to about D4 then you could start shading and feeling the shift in resonance. Which is what will be happening if you keep the sound clear and not a swallowed schaw sound. Which happens when you start pressing the tone instead of blending the resonance

Also the problem is if you keep narrowing as you go higher and higher you could end up sounding sort of like Michael McDonald exaggerated. I went through this for years and my top notes were airy and inconsistent. That's the problem with old books and ideas they don't always work for style and genre and put you in a box of rules that may or may not work.

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dan, it depends, you could go there with it, but you don't have to....the narrowing can occur without it feeling like narrowing or sounding narrowed as well.

you have to experiment..you hear this from so many singers.

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Or don't start this until you get to about D4 then you could start shading and feeling the shift in resonance. Which is what will be happening if you keep the sound clear and not a swallowed schaw sound. Which happens when you start pressing the tone instead of blending the resonance

Also the problem is if you keep narrowing as you go higher and higher you could end up sounding sort of like Michael McDonald exaggerated. I went through this for years and my top notes were airy and inconsistent. That's the problem with old books and ideas they don't always work for style and genre and put you in a box of rules that may or may not work.

This, along with Videoheres suggestion is what I am now working on. Especially going from an Ah to an OO you can not only hear a resonance shift you can also Feel a shift in the "Sound Path". That may be the Pocket that Videohere is referring to.

I can understand why people get confused when either trying to explain this to other people or trying to learn from other peoples instructions. We each will feel or experience things differently. Only through your own experiments can you find or train the coordinations.

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dan, it depends, you could go there with it, but you don't have to....the narrowing can occur without it feeling like narrowing or sounding narrowed as well.

you have to experiment..you hear this from so many singers.

Bob I teach and understand vowel modifation extremely well (watch my range video) or pitch vowel and intensity video)so I know about what you are writing but I'm saying from personally listening to you I hear the vowel being swallowed pressed and distorted as oppose to clear proper vowels.

Perhaps you demonstrate for us so everyone sees and hears what you are doing rather than plagerising frissel or any other book;)

Ps I'm just playing devils advocate here so ;)

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