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Singing loudly vs. quietly

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JohnnyL
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Today, I've tried to sing louder than usual just because I figured out that the musical styles I like require more energy. I've discovered that it's like taking a blanket of my vocals. Kind of like raising the volume on your stereo beyond a certain minimum for the song to sound good (it has to be above the 'office friendly' volume!).

Singing quietly, high notes sound completely like falsetto and lack overtones... with added twang and a wide smile I can do something that would pass for an AC/DC imitation (I've read that Brian Johnson sings quietly, not sure if it's true but I can see why someone would think that's the case).

The problem is, that when I sing loudly it's harder for me to hit the notes and I feel like I'm straining. Maybe the added 'throat' makes it sound better, just like my favorite singers might have not done it completely properly - but I don't want to hurt myself. So are there any tips on how to raise the volume without straining and singing off-key? or maybe just tip for sounding as good at low volumes?

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A clip would definitely help.

I guess that you at the moment associate singing louder with being strained. It shouldn't be. For me, when I belt, I definitely sound louder than when I sing in a cleaner more ''gentle'' vocal mode - yet it doesn't hurt when I do so. You're suppose to be in control of what you do, that includes when you sing louder.

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Yeah... I know I need to work my way up to sing louder. I try to do it with support and not with my throat but I still feel that I'm not relaxed enough. Maybe using my abdominals makes me strain? or is there something else that I might do that is not right? sending too much air upwards every time?

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There are so many things that could be going on and it is extremely difficult for people to give you advice without hearing you. Dante is an excellent teacher - you should take him up and post a clip. He can analyze and give you great advice.

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the ironic thing with singing loudly especially in the beginning is it may very well feel like strain because your taking your voice to a place it's not used to going and it will be put through some strain.

so you may have feelings of strain, but it may be a growth strain and not detrimental.

yes, a teacher will definitely help you there to make sure you're working out safely.

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To clarify on VIDEOHERE's point, it's important to note that strain should not all be up around the neck though.

The general goal with correct loud singing when is to get the lower body involved as much as possible and the upper body (neck etc.) involved as little as possible. But that is only the GOAL, the process to get there often ends up more like this

1. As a complete beginner the tendency is you feel tension in the neck all the time and rely on that for your stability and be limited in what you can actually sing because your neck is basically choking you when you want to sing something difficult.

2. After some vocal lessons, or perhaps right away if you're more naturally inclined to singing to begin with, it may begin to feel like A. either there is strain nowhere and the note is weak or unstable, or B. there is tension through your whole body and the note is stable and way too powerful. And the goal then is to explore the various degrees in between those extremes of A and B.

3. Then finally with enough training you get to the point where you can combine the no-tension sensation in the neck with the tension sensation in the lower torso (which is where the stability of your singing will now come from) which is what you want.

"Yeah... I know I need to work my way up to sing louder. I try to do it with support and not with my throat but I still feel that I'm not relaxed enough. Maybe using my abdominals makes me strain? or is there something else that I might do that is not right? sending too much air upwards every time?"

Simply "trying" usually isn't enough because it's a very unusual combination of relaxation up there and tension down there that's very counterintuitive to get used to and produce stable notes from. For most beginners who try to do this just by thinking about it, it ends up being a terrible attempt that is not even close to what we really want to happen. But the good news is that a good teacher can take note of your failed attempt and begin to shape it through individualized instruction to be more and more correct until one day you will finally be executing the correct sensation of support!

And yes using your abdominals incorrectly (too much of the upper abs for instance) can cause strain.

Also don't think about sending air upwards. That will happen by itself as you go to sing. If you just sing "ah" on a note without thinking you are already doing that. What you want to think more about it is more like maintaining air pressure downwards as you do that...wish I could explain it in a less confusing way. Taking about breath support on a forum always gets incredibly confusing, there's no real way around it. I never understood it until I learned one on one with a teacher who fully understood it.

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the one thing i've come to realize is there are very few analogies you can use to help explain the voice.

well, the wind instrument is good, and working out...

but support? over a forum with just words? next to impossible. but i can tell you this, when that part starts to develop and strengthen, a whole new "availability" makes itself known.

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Today, I've tried to sing louder than usual just because I figured out that the musical styles I like require more energy. I've discovered that it's like taking a blanket of my vocals. Kind of like raising the volume on your stereo beyond a certain minimum for the song to sound good (it has to be above the 'office friendly' volume!).

Singing quietly, high notes sound completely like falsetto and lack overtones... with added twang and a wide smile I can do something that would pass for an AC/DC imitation (I've read that Brian Johnson sings quietly, not sure if it's true but I can see why someone would think that's the case).

The problem is, that when I sing loudly it's harder for me to hit the notes and I feel like I'm straining. Maybe the added 'throat' makes it sound better, just like my favorite singers might have not done it completely properly - but I don't want to hurt myself. So are there any tips on how to raise the volume without straining and singing off-key? or maybe just tip for sounding as good at low volumes?

Actual Volume and perceived volume are two different things. Your favorite singer may really be using a low volume and some kind of distortion or even electronic effects such as reverb, delay, compression or even doubling to give the impression of volume.

Tone can also effect perceived volume, add to that different "Modes" or "Styles" of singing. What I am meaning here would be like the difference between a falsetto, or edge sound, or airy sound, or full cord closure sound.

Changing volume does not have to mean the difference in effort like the difference between talking, yelling, and sceaming, Changing the point of resonance(or which frequency is being resonated) can increase or decrease volume. A sort of tone control.

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