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Singing with low volume questions

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Singingnewbie
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Its night or noon and you want to sing, so it must be done with low volume like talking quietly for lets say up to a couple of hours. What should change? Technique, support or anything else. Is it healthy?

I feel that i lose proper closure, my voice becomes breathy, stamina is problematic and also high notes are a lot harder to sing. On the other side i feel i can articulate better, have a bit easier vibrato and better expression of the song.

Would it be better to not sing at all or it is a matter of adjustment to that type of singing? Would it be better to lower an octave songs with notes over E4 and make the songs more like ballads?

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Well it's a tough question, low volume relative to what? You need to have good closure and breath throughout singing or you will not be getting a benefit from practicing. Your muscle memory will be loose and airy. On the other hand by singing slightly softer your headvoice will grow a little stronger cause you won't be pushing or straining to high notes so you will feel slightly more released. My advice is practice keeping the voice clear and solid on a lower volume dont be breathy

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I've been having to sing with my 3 month old in my chest carry-thingie. And the way I do it is pretty much the same as I do it with full volume. There's more emphasis on cord closure (edge), and being so, it tends to fry a lot here and there, but that's just a matter of finding the balance. I feel it's the same, only with full voice singing the balance is just easier to find and keep since most people are used to singing louder than speech volume.

Maintaining an even compression? Wouldn't that be a key factor in low volume singing?

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I've found that trying to sing while someone is asleep and being afraid to wake them up, or similar kinds of situations, can sometimes tend to create fear which instills constriction in the voice. And then you find yourself practicing terrible technique because you're nervous and holding back in a tense way. At least this has been my personal experience in the past and i've heard plenty of stories of singers complaining singing was much harder or they couldn't sing their best when they were forced to be quiet like that.

HOWEVER this all changes if you get some good vocal training, learn about the skill of singing at different intensities and gain some experience with that. You could also learn it on your own it would just take longer. But the point is it takes time.

Until you feel comfortable with it one thing you can do is practice singing into a pillow for any louder workouts and it will muffle the sound a lot. If you can leave it off for the lighter exercises where you're allowed to be in pure head voice or bridge early or whatever that's good, just don't force yourself to stay in full voice very quietly without a coach showing you how. Trying to figure that out on your own is usually where the constriction begins because it's actually more of an advanced skill to be able to sing quiet with power. And a lot of times that comes as a surprise to people who are newer to singing and have come from a background of being someone with the "big voice".

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The proper solution to singing when volume is a problem is to change environment, not your singing. Man, that was easy, someone give me a hard question. If singing at usable volume is a problem because of time of day or location, then change one or the other. Changing what you need to do by "holding back" will achieve nothing. Period, paragraph, new book. And if those around you are not supportive of your singing, then change who you are hanging out with. Sounds harsh? Well, how long are you going to stifle yourself to the pleasure and comfort of others?

At the risk of offending those who believe in reincarnation, you have exactly one life. Live it as a singer. Even if that means going out in the woods and singing to the bushes. Or go downtown in the midst of the noisest traffic.

For the love of God and singing, do not stifle your voice. Change your environment.

Do like me, using weaponized singing. :lol: I will keep singing until someone gets hurt. :lol: :lol:

And yes, how dare I speak on this, owning my own house on a 1/4 acre. I can sing as loud as I want to sing. It's just not fair, right? It would not stop me if I lived in an apartment. To make me stop singing, someone would actually have to physically stop me.

Anyone?

Yeah, I thought so.

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Thanks everyone for the answers

Daniel i said lightly talking as if you don't want to bother someone the next room. Being edgy (proper closure) on an E4+ and generally avoiding airiness on that level of volume is challenging for me now.

Khassera, thanks for the video, watching it again after many months i understand more now, i don't know more than before really, but somehow i understand it.

Owen yes correct singing in low volume is more demanding than singing on max volume.

Ronws i thought to write that at first, that i don't seek an answer to avoid the problem but to see how to solve it! What you say, i totally agree with, one shouldn't change his life according to others beliefs/preferences but sometimes it might be hard or even impossible to do that. You got the right determined mindset but i am not that crazy as you *Edit: (to not be misunderstood thats a good way of being crazy ;) ) and i see it as an opportunity to go into a different "way" of singing as till now my mode was all-in. Now i can give more attention to expression than raw power.

I think i rarely go lower than 75-80% my max volume when i train or sing and maybe its time to back off some of that, not that i only train that way. I usually have time in the evening to sing freely but i thought i might use the noons too or some light vocalization at night. The reason i am asking advices is that the last thing i want is to make new bad habits, i already have enough right now... With what was said above i believe its not that good idea and to be a good one it needs a lot of concentration or guidance on what i am doing and a lot of training. I will try to post my own cover of the song but check that out and tell me what you think.

What would you say about this guy and the way he sings?

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i dont think its a bad thing if you have to sing quietly, as i remember reading it takes good proper support to be able to do so quietly in full voice, which is why a lot of singers can only sing in full voice by singing loudly. so i would say when you have to sing with low volume, make trying to get singing quietly without breathiness your focus. but im also not a teacher, but i wouldnt see why it would be unhealthy.

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The Wasted Years video was pretty cool. I would use the quiet time as a chance to learn those cool soft songs.

It will also help you to learn new dynamics anyway.

Loud in your face singing gets a little boring or annoying after awhile any way. Better to have a few soft songs in your bag of tricks to break up the monotony and get the croud back under control.

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Singingnewbie its not that easy though - just trying to keep more closure at the low volume could be problematic if you aren't guided to the correct sensation by a teacher. I'm just warning you because I personally went through a phase a long time ago where I was trying to teach myself SLS and always practiced too quiet focusing on cord closure that was too strong and unsupported and not seeing a teacher to check whether what I was doing was correct. Eventually I created terrible habits in my voice that only made it worse - I was squeezing so hard that whenever i tried to sing high I would crack very loudly and obviously (my voice would jump an octave into a very loud squeezed whistle tone) whenever i tried to sing anything louder than a medium low volume. That's one big reason why I'm always emphasizing lessons. You can completely misinterpret things during self-study and it can take you backwards in your progress.

I don't want you to be in fear of failure though my point is just make sure you are actually ready for this training don't rush it. If it feels difficult and bad when you try it, don't. If you follow that principle you will do okay with self-study, you will respect the inevitable slower pace and go through the learning curve more smoothly. So msybe for now you want to do more singing loud and clear into the pillow instead. It's very important to train loud consistently. A big reason why I got that problem I mentioned is because I never balanced out my practice with light and heavy stuff it was just all light and tight and squeezed. Your best bet is train loud with the pillow with good closure and also train light without it only using as much cord closure as feels comfortable and gradually increase that over time. Do both of those everyday.

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Me too, have been singing to my 22month-old son to make him sleep. Good thing I "conditioned" him to listen to good music such as journey, whitesnake, Guns, and others, since the first weeks he was born, as I always sang to him. Daniel Formica has a great video that opened my eyes to singing with closure at low volume. Now a days it is so much easier to me to do this with no problems reaching my high notes. My only problem is trying to do this without proper warmup or early in the morning, as I tend to sing more airy in these situations. Cheers, and Keep on Rocking! :cool:

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I don't mean super powerful and quiet at the same time, that would just be inefficient. I mean having perceived power or a percieved sound of one voice or not flipping to a weak falsetto, even at a lighter more speech-like intensity.

Some singers that kind of do this, they hang in that area of medium or medium light intensity:

Justin Timberlake

Steve Perry

Dallas Green

Pete Townshend

Ben Gibbard

etc.

A few of them do this very well by actually loosening the cord closure and shedding off the weight but really supporting as if they were still singing in full voice. Others can do it by bridging into a light but well adducted head voice. Both skills are not very intuitive to your typical beginner. I'm still working on them personally. These may be coordinations you can find in a matter of months but I've found take years to master. Im familiar with the sensations of both (and even that took a long time to get) but still need to work on executing them reliably in singing. Whereas just belting up the chest nice and loud, you can get some pretty sufficient power and range from that very early on, i certainly did. Just like falsetto is intuitive and gives loads of agility and freedom. It's the middle, mixed shades that are a more advanced skill.

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Me too, have been singing to my 22month-old son to make him sleep. Good thing I "conditioned" him to listen to good music such as journey, whitesnake, Guns, and others, since the first weeks he was born, as I always sang to him. Daniel Formica has a great video that opened my eyes to singing with closure at low volume. Now a days it is so much easier to me to do this with no problems reaching my high notes. My only problem is trying to do this without proper warmup or early in the morning, as I tend to sing more airy in these situations. Cheers, and Keep on Rocking! :cool:

So, it is my mother's fault, after all. :D

My earliest memory of a singer was when I was a toddler, propped up on the couch while she did housework. And this unknown studio musician named Glen Campbell was singing "Wichita Lineman." I can't remember what I had for dinner 4 nights ago, but I remember that.

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i guess i need a definition of loosening fold closure....tell me what you do to loosen fold closure?

you're on stage, and you are anticipating a high note or an interval jump and you need to loosen fold closure.....what do you do?

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You reduce the squeeze at the vocal folds so much some some air can leak through (you dont add more air, you actually open the cords and slow down the air supply) and because youve backed off subglottal pressure you now have more flexibility to all smooth and easy shedding of weight - but you don't let off the support whatsoever

But Bob this is not about hitting high notes this a style of singing you will into a phrase or verse or song - from start to finish. Never heard anyone do it just on a money note or anything, its mostly when you need to sound gentle but still need clarity of diction and a speech like quality to come through instead of unsupported falsetto mumbling.

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Here's another point I want to make about it. When you back off the intensity the compression decreases naturally and of course you may want to lessen that but if you try hard to contradict that you'll end up pressing so much that you can't get loud again without major problems. That was exactly my experience trying to teach myself SLS off the internet. I ended up pressing a bit on the soft exercises and not having the awareness to realize it was incorrect until I tried to press that same amount (and inevitably more as is the natural tendency when you swell the volume) as I increased the intensity and then Id crack because I was trying to just force more air through a tight finely pressed vocal coordination that essentially began to lock up in response to added pressure.

That is the danger of training too soft and with too much closure without having a coach's guidance

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volume is basically controlled by regulation of subglottic air pressure.

a softer tone does not mean a breathy tone. the backing off is not from the folds, you still need adduction...it's from the breath pressure.

it doesn't make a difference how loud or soft you sing....you still need consistent breath pressure and you need to stay adducted.

what you have to remember is, like i've said before, their soft volume may not even budge or activate your voice. you still have to activate adduction and fold closure...but even when you do at the least possible amount and you can sustain that light phonation the volume may be louder than the other singer even though you are technically soft.

follow?

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From my point of view the problem is when the frequency increases, so from C4 and above i find it increasingly difficult to properly maintain the same adduction in the light phonation as in the low frequency or the high frequency normal-heavy phonation. It just becomes strained, not where it should be unless i add volume which translates into air. Its like taking a street racing car to gravel roads, it could go but its not for that type of ground.

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From my point of view the problem is when the frequency increases, so from C4 and above i find it increasingly difficult to properly maintain the same adduction in the light phonation as in the low frequency or the high frequency normal-heavy phonation. It just becomes strained, not where it should be unless i add volume which translates into air. Its like taking a street racing car to gravel roads, it could go but its not for that type of ground.

Same thing with soft as with heavy singing...you have to teach and train that coordination. Loosen things up enough for the muscles to do what they need to do to sing the note but not enough to loose the connection.

You also have to remember that it may not sound the way you want it to at first. You may be trying to make it sound a certain way and thereby creating problems.

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try practicing sustaining a note at low volume with a focus of maintaining air flow but letting the breath out as slow as possible while not constricting the throat to help hold back the air. i dont have this down either but ive made some improvement with that.

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volume is basically controlled by regulation of subglottic air pressure.

a softer tone does not mean a breathy tone. the backing off is not from the folds, you still need adduction...it's from the breath pressure.

it doesn't make a difference how loud or soft you sing....you still need consistent breath pressure and you need to stay adducted.

what you have to remember is, like i've said before, their soft volume may not even budge or activate your voice. you still have to activate adduction and fold closure...but even when you do at the least possible amount and you can sustain that light phonation the volume may be louder than the other singer even though you are technically soft.

follow?

And...keep the twang. The tone must always have the bright core of twang.

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