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Larynx rises at the onset of note.

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prickstein
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Hi all,

I've been checking in the mirror lately to make sure I'm not raising my larynx while doing exercises or singing but I've noticed that before I even make a sound, my larynx rises then comes back down once sound is produced. It seems to do it while I sing too.

Is there anything I can do to combat it?

I noticed while doing Jaime's "falsetto slides" the most but it seems to do it a bit on most exercises.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks heaps,

Rick

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Rick,

Yes, there are things you can do, but they do not involve 'combat' ;)

The motion you mention is due to some action in the muscles which raise the larynx. There are 20 some-odd of them, and they are strong. They flex each time you swallow.

To really overcome this, so that the muscles do not engage that way during onset or while singing, will necessitate re-tooling of your technique just a bit. To start is simple... just go to the mirror as you have, renew the breath (like, a microbreath) and do the softest, slowest onsets you can, watching for the motion in the mirror.

It will take some concentrated work, as this habit is likely ingrained. But, over time, you will see some results if you include these onsets in every practice session.

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Thanks Steven,

I noticed this morning that before I even start a note, just thinking about it and breathing in in anticipation of producing sound, I can see the muscles that run down the outside of my throat to where my neck meets my chest engage. And that's before I even produce a sound.....

I assume this is a no no?

Is it really such a big deal? My duo partner has the most "listenable" voice of anyone I've worked with (I'm a fairly well known indy producer around my parts) and he seems to do everything"wrong" yet when he sings, people shut up and listen as the magic comes out.

I'll keep practicing in front of the mirror.... or my Macbook :)

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as for the breathing in. forget about singing or making any sound for that matter and go to the mirror and take a breath through your nose like you were smelling something nice. did you notice any external muscles engaging?

take in the same breath but with your mouth instead of your nose. once again were there any external muscles engaged?

im affraid there are some people that can do all kinds of strange things technically (or un-technically lol) but still seem to produce the goods (lucky gits :P). you have to realise that they are the exception to the rule and that most peeps cant get away with it.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Tip - place your fingers gently on the adams apple and make the sound ooh mid range. Then keeping fingers there to feel what's happening move the sound down like a scale of notes. If you are producing the sound correctly the larynx stays put, just a slight move at the bottom of the range. Then go back up the scale.. focus your sound holding your larynx stable. As you put power in the higher you go keep the sound as though it is coming from the bottom of your larynx and not rising into the back of your throat. Practise this until you have autopilot on how the sound you produce fits with the stability of your larynx. It will move very very slightly it is not a static piece of furniture, but it shouldn't jump up and down. :lol: H

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Gigli always said that when he took a breath he felt his belly "fall". He meant that you should take a low breath.

That way the larynx stays in its more natural position. As you go higher in pitch you need to breathe lower.

Best

Roberta

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What the heck do I know? Just an amateur.

I've never understood the discussions about the larynx. Several books said, try to keep the larynx down, etc. etc. Never made any sense to me. If you try to force your larynx to do anything more than its natural position, it is under stress, and your voice will sound worse.

The larynx should be at its natural position, which should be in a relaxed state ready for whatever sound it will next make. To affect the larynx, do not affect it directly. First fix the support leading to it.

Just like a house, to fix the roof, make sure you first have good frame and foundations first. Don't try to put a roof on a wobbly foundation or bent frames. How did the roof get bent and cracked to begin with?

The most likely reason your larynx isn't already working properly--it has to do with bad posture and bad posture habits. If you fix these two, the larynx will automatically be on good foundations and frame, and the rest is easy.

Trying to fix the roof without the frame and foundations correct is possible, but much more difficult than need be. Same with the larynx, except that in addition to the lower support, you'll also have to fix the upper torsion tension--the head weight. The head weight is also fixed by proper posture. It is these support and torsion tensions that are primarily causing the larynx to move in unnatural ways.

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FYI. Here is an article by Ingo R. Titze (one of the worlds leading voice scientists) about larynx position:

http://www.ncvs.org/ncvs/info/singers/raisedve.pdf

I also want to point out that ex. in Belting the larynx is farely high positioned.

There is nothing wrong with a high or low larynx. It's the constrictors we don't want to be interfering.

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Hi guys I agree here....the larynx has to move naturally but in breathing technique it is usually kept fairly stable and with the sound production properly made tyhe larynx does not get stressed. My larynx moves a little up and down it is not designed to remain static but it is also bad technique to have it moving strongly too high or too low. You can feel when it's right and that is the point! :rolleyes:H

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I totally agree with Martin here... thanks for chiming in Martin. As I was reading this chain, Im asking myself... "but wait a minute, are we sure we want to communicate the impression that a raised larynx is universally wrong?"... Its important to point out that some genre's and styles of singing invite, if not flat out require a raised laryngeal configuration; belting, twang, primarily...

My message would be to first determine what kind of vocalist you are? whats your style?

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Well, here's another one of my off-the-cuff remarks.

The Titze article basically says--it's unclear what position the larynx should be in, and that by better managing it, one can get greater voice tones.

But what it doesn't explain is Why the larynx wasn't able to naturally produce these to begin with.

What I'm trying to say is that most singing is better as an activity in restoration of what was already there rather than an increase of a particular characteristic. So, the objective should be to restore what is natural to the larynx first, and then enhance its skills.

The Titze article refers to this, as stating that different individuals have different characteristics. As far as I can determine, the larynx high or low is a peculiar question until one figures out what is one's natural larynx position and what tones one is then trying to make. Ask instead, why the larynx is high or low to begin with.

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Additionally, Titze's anatomical explanations on larynx controls are suspect. Even if he's right, I'll bet it applies to less than 80% of all singers. One finds in the history of medicine that all kinds of explanations are inadequate; in singing, these anatomical explanations will be found to be also inadequate.

Titze himself acknowledges this in his third paragraph....

"One could also reason.... It would follow.... In that case...."

These are all speculations that Titze is using. He may be right--it may be reasonable, it might follow, and it may be the case.... But, it may also be different from all these.

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HI guys...here's where I chime in again about the sound coming from the body and the larynx and throat mechanism is the expression. Don't get hung up on larynx position...as Robert says singing styles vary and so will the way the larynx moves in each person. However nearly all contemporary teachers teach keeping the breath down for power and stability and that in itself stabilises the larynx more. The Larynx isn't seperate from the whole sound producing mechanism of the total voice! Loosen the high register with higher breath and the larynx goes up, go into your deep notes and the larynx goes down....where are you singing, how are you singing and how are you breathing? So long as the larynx isn't hurting or feeling strained and tense in the process....your technique and sound should be ok. CVT & Robert teach extreme techniques as well, not all singers use these techniques when singing different genres, so larynx positioning is variable and naturally so :lol: H

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?... Titze's anatomical explanations are suspect?

Additionally, Titze's anatomical explanations on larynx controls are suspect. Even if he's right, I'll bet it applies to less than 80% of all singers. One finds in the history of medicine that all kinds of explanations are inadequate; in singing, these anatomical explanations will be found to be also inadequate.

Titze himself acknowledges this in his third paragraph....

"One could also reason.... It would follow.... In that case...."

These are all speculations that Titze is using. He may be right--it may be reasonable, it might follow, and it may be the case.... But, it may also be different from all these.

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Prick, look into "twang" , learn how to bridge and then learn how to twang in the head voice... you'll get what your looking for, its just that simple... dont let all my academic friends here confuse the mission. If your a rocker, belt... but dont belt too high... learn to bridge earlier in the chest voice and once you get that manuever coordinated, strengthen your AES and coordination to twang in the head tones... put it all together and you'll be singing incredible.

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Titze said it himself... Martin's Titze article above doesn't issue that many definitives on the anatomy; though it does state a definitive on the desired end result. Moreso, Titze is saying on larynx alike-- maybe influenced by this anatomy, and it stands to reason that some anatomy is thus affected, and some people are such and such anatomied. Reasoned speculations; always suspect when people and biology are involved.

Additionally, reading in particular Titze's article's second paragraph, he is saying lower larynx produces more intensity and in other paragraphs, higher larynx produces higher pitch. The correct inference, is that belting highs with power is a quandary. Yet, the body can do this. So, one would have to say, belting and larynx are not discussed in Titze's article, and perhaps is a contrary piece of evidence to what Titze suggests.

?... Titze's anatomical explanations are suspect?

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Prick, look into "twang" , learn how to bridge and then learn how to twang in the head voice... you'll get what your looking for, its just that simple... dont let all my academic friends here confuse the mission. If your a rocker, belt... but dont belt too high... learn to bridge earlier in the chest voice and once you get that manuever coordinated, strengthen your AES and coordination to twang in the head tones... put it all together and you'll be singing incredible.

Thanks Robert, it is all getting a bit too technical for me, I'll let you you guys debate about it.

I have learnt to bridge now, I'm just working on strengthening my passagio. I'll start working on twang. Will that help my head voice sound more like a full range chest voice?

Oh yeah, and who are you calling a prick? My name is Rick, my nickname is prickstein. In between is just downright offensive.

(tongue placed firmly in cheek, hey I just discovered a new vocal technique!)

Cheers

Rick

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Thanks Martin,

His technical discussions on belting are beyond me, and I personally am suspicious of these technical explanations. Physics explanations of the human body and vocal production are very difficult.

What Titze does say definitively though is:

"Perceptually, the singer trades warmth and dark timbre in the classical style for brightness and power in belt. A balance must obviously be struck for those who wish to perform multiple styles in a healthy manner."

And what he says here really is not that different from the original question posed to him in the article. Additionally, in your first Titze article, the entire article can be summarized in "Changing larynx position can provide different range and tone effects".

One doesn't need any technical explanations, particularly speculative physics ones, to arrive at either of these two conclusions. When I try to belt with a high larynx, I tradeoff stresses and possible slight pain for a brighter sound; and this should be a common sense, awareness issue, not a technical issue.

Also, notice his words "must obviously...." Humans can do amazing things; and I'm sure there are those who have figured out ways around "a must obviously" in belting singing--probably on this forum.

WebAndNet,

FYI. Here is another article where Ingo R. Titze talks about larynx position and belting:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6726/is_5_63/ai_n28426965

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WebAndNet,

I see that you have a very philosophical point of view and that Titze is on the scientific side. But as Robert said how is this helping the singer?

In the article Titze mentioned very important things. The limit for Belting is C5 (males). And also why it is imoprtant to raise the larynx to stay in this configuration. Also that spreading the lips and lowering the jaw will help.

This is all valid and practical information for the singer. :)

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Not denying that Titze is saying things. I am saying that his anatomical-scientific explanations as being truth is suspect. On another discussion post I had claimed that unless we have 3D dynamic views of how singing works (a technology that doesn't exist that I know of), it will be very difficult to accurately make "scientific" claims of how the singing works.

Tend to suspect there will be some male out there who can exceed belting limit at C5 (I don't know). If there's one, there is no such limit, and there will be more than one male. The question is how they did this, not whether there is such a limit.

Though I've only read two articles from Titze, so far, what I'm reading are anatomical perspectives that supports what is already known about singing techniques.

It is important to understand that dynamics of motions is very difficult to understand; whereas static anatomy is much easier. Also, people vary, so these dynamics vary tremendously.

If we take a look at birds, dynamics will make a lot of sense. Birds can fly because they are light weight have muscles that flutter wings to lift the air. This is an anatomical view. Now, try to explain, using a dynamic view how these birds are able to rapidly change movement in mid-air, fly backwards quickly, dive, soar.... Man can build a rocket ship beyond the solar system, but we still can't beat a bird when it comes to fluidity in flight.

Same about singing--it's air dynamics are very complicated, and any anatomical explanation is highly suspect. A singer is better off soaring and diving than have pseudo-science telling him or her his wings won't fly.

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Not denying that Titze is saying things. I am saying that his anatomical-scientific explanations as being truth is suspect. On another discussion post I had claimed that unless we have 3D dynamic views of how singing works (a technology that doesn't exist that I know of), it will be very difficult to accurately make "scientific" claims of how the singing works.

Chen: If you read Titze's articles, he does not make the claim that what he is writing is 'truth'. I think you ascribe to him a much different motivation and purpose than he was using when he wrote these articles to the readers of the original publications.

Titze is writing to the singers and teachers of singers, all members of NATS, offering a vocal researcher's perspective on aspects of singing that the readers (of that time) may not have considered before. In the first article, dealing with what may be the physical effects (and associated tone qualities) of high and low laryngeal positions, he does not address technique or singing styles at all, let alone discuss compensatory actions that a singer may take to ameliorate the effects of the positioning.

I get it that you distrust attempts to explain the voice using the tools of Science, and think the perspectives of Scientists are not relevant when discussing singing. However, Titze is also a singer, so he never speaks of these topics purely from the Scientist's perspective. To his credit, he is honest when he offers speculation using the language of speculation, and I know him to be continually revising his understanding and models based on available research and interactions with other researchers and singers.

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