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Twang and gradual/tapering off?

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Chiaroscuro
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Hi guys, got a question here. My vocal coach has introduced me to twang, and has recommended that I sing with an over-emphasized twangy sensation for all notes above my chest register for now, and gradually taper that down to a more pleasurable sounding and balanced tone. She says at first it might sound strange but eventually will lead to a balanced tone for the high notes. When I do this it sounds squeezed (though feels pretty relaxed) and sounds unpleasing to the ears. Sometimes when navigating the higher register with this configuration, my voice goes straight into a vocal fry sound, and I can't make the notes out. In other words, it doesn't seem like it would work out, yet she says to trust the process and that even opera singers use this for a pharyngeal "tilt". Is this how all singers train their voice or is it just some kind of alternative? I honestly would prefer just breaking into head voice above the chest register until I can get a connection. I know I doing it right because during a lesson my coach said I got really close to true middle voice at some points. What is anybody else take on this? Is their a better approach? I just don't enjoy singing the higher notes with this configuration. My coach has asked me to sing "wah" and "ming", "meow", and to taper it down over time until the twang is not so over emphasized. Thanks guys. I more into bel canto and prefer no form of belting technique. Thanks guys.

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I would not be alarmed, sometimes you have to go through weird phases to learn the correct coordination.

Just don't sing like this, only train it. When you sing, find and do what sounds good of course, even if it's not what your teacher recommends when practicing exercises. There is always a trade off of technique vs. artistry at the beginning, and the better you get the more they will merge as long as when you go to sing you let your vocalizing habits naturally incorporate themselves in a small amount rather than forcing them in.

I would personally ask your coach if she went through this sound personally when she was training...and then if you like her voice, then there you go that is your proof that the phase she is taking you through will work out in the end.

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lowering the larynx is the most important in operatic style, not pharyngeal.

you can't directly transfer into a rounded tone from a high belting, pharyngeal like style. While belting and such can definitely help with expending your potential larynx control, you still have to practice in that said operatic style to grow that large operatic sound.

having a bright pharyngeal sound won't allow you to get that rounded tone. The larynx has to be lowered properly and it has to be done so dramatically that it eventually causes excess tension in your diaphragm, which helps sustain vibrato and such at high notes.

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ron, i had the same questions......

twang isolation exercises (when done with support and in conjunction with other exercises) will strengthen your voice over time.

there's nothing to fear or distrust about this. it isn't pleasant sounding, it's an exercise!

that "meow" exercise is one of my favorites and there are two ways you can do it...

when done slowly, on the loud side with mental concentration it helps you with feeling and sensing how your voice responds as you pass through the vowel sounds.....,ee, eh, ah, oh, oo...

you can also do it quick and and staccato for twang development.

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Also, though my larynx doesn't rise significantly, this approach does seem to encourage a higher larynx and I would prefer a technique that encourages a lower larynx. Thanks.

You can control this later, and probably she is not telling you to train to consolidate your whole voice there, but rather to learn to control it correct? Sounds like a plan.

Even if it didnt, no one in this forum is in better condition to know your voice and your needs than your teacher is, and, although there are many ways to learn the same things, being quite blunt with you, if its working (you are learning to control it) and you dont like it, work more so that you are done with it sooner :P.

Keep it up and let us know how it turns out later.

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Thanks for the replies guys, I really appreciate. I probably wont sing songs with this coordination but I will sing some of my exercises this way, it gives me that buzzy resonance feeling and allows me to get a feel for the overtones on the soft palate. Would you say this approach is more suited for belting technique? I'm not trying to sing 100% opera, though I would prefer to learn the bel canto technique over belting due to personal evaluation. I am interested in te classical technique more than I am a twangy belting technique, I hope this configuration wont keep me from learning Bel Canto. Thanks.

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lowering the larynx is the most important in operatic style, not pharyngeal.

you can't directly transfer into a rounded tone from a high belting, pharyngeal like style. While belting and such can definitely help with expending your potential larynx control, you still have to practice in that said operatic style to grow that large operatic sound.

having a bright pharyngeal sound won't allow you to get that rounded tone. The larynx has to be lowered properly and it has to be done so dramatically that it eventually causes excess tension in your diaphragm, which helps sustain vibrato and such at high notes.

How exactly would you lower the larynx correctly?

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So, you are spending money on a voice teacher and want us to tell you she is wrong? And she is teaching you opera and you want a bunch of rock singers to advise you?

I don't want you to tell me that she is wrong, she knows I prefer the bel canto but recommends this exercise as if they were "training wheels" to help me sing through the break, it isn't permanent. I just wanted to know if any if you guys had experience with this and most importantly does it work for bel canto? Thanks.

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chiaro most all of the programs out there sls ss ktva etc with the exception of a couple like cvt(which still I'm sure has some bel canto principles) all teach a modified version of bel canto, bel canto was formed not just for opera singers but from the technique from italians singing italian folk songs and some say from the castrati but if you listen to singers like tito schipa sing his folk songs it doesn't have that big what we like to call 'classical sound' that is a style of singing. To be honest bel canto just means "beautiful singing" and then somewhere down the line they put a market around it as a technique. just learn and then sing your favorite style and songs it will fall into place

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chiaroscuro, can you give me an example of what "twang" means? What types of vowels and exercises is she having you sing? Is she having you practice it in your songs, on vocalises, or both? I'm just wondering if this is another way of helping you experience vowel modification to work through the bridge. For me, phrases like "twang" don't really make sense in my mind. I can't wrap my brain around what I'm supposed to do. I would rather someone tell me what specific shapes I should make with my vowels, what specific positions my tongue should be in, etc. Maybe this is the same for you, and perhaps this is why you're struggling to understand?

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chiaroscuro, can you give me an example of what "twang" means? What types of vowels and exercises is she having you sing? Is she having you practice it in your songs, on vocalises, or both? I'm just wondering if this is another way of helping you experience vowel modification to work through the bridge. For me, phrases like "twang" don't really make sense in my mind. I can't wrap my brain around what I'm supposed to do. I would rather someone tell me what specific shapes I should make with my vowels, what specific positions my tongue should be in, etc. Maybe this is the same for you, and perhaps this is why you're struggling to understand?

Excellent question, and suggestion, aspiring. It's diificult to understand the problem or idea without at least one sound file, even if recorded on a phone.

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chiaroscuro, can you give me an example of what "twang" means? What types of vowels and exercises is she having you sing? Is she having you practice it in your songs, on vocalises, or both? I'm just wondering if this is another way of helping you experience vowel modification to work through the bridge. For me, phrases like "twang" don't really make sense in my mind. I can't wrap my brain around what I'm supposed to do. I would rather someone tell me what specific shapes I should make with my vowels, what specific positions my tongue should be in, etc. Maybe this is the same for you, and perhaps this is why you're struggling to understand?

She has given me exercises such as "wah", "meow", "ming", and "ng", to execute the twang sensations. It's supposed to sound a little nasty and over exaggerated at first, and she says to gradually taper that down to a regular singing tone over time once this configuration becomes consistent. She says you don't actually want to sing this way in the long run, it's just a tool to help sing through the break. I don't know if you are familiar with the "nay nat nay" exercises, but it uses the same concept. It gives you those buzzing sensations in the masque and behind nose/soft palate to access overtones and brightness. She has me doing some exercises this way and has recommended that I sing all notes above the chest register this way for now, and eventually I will lessen the twang until I'm barely using it at all, maybe just that slight tilt of the larynx. Appreciate it.

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This sounds good. Here is the deal, this coordination can be considered a rudimentary control, if you are going to sing classical repertoire, not only you will need this, as you will also need it to be ready to go, and most probably it will be on "autopilot" way before you consolidate the tonal quality you want.

Understand this, you will need to control a lot of aspects at the same time, you will have to keep twang, keep the posture of the tongue forward, yet relaxed, give enough space on pharynx, lower the larynx relatively to what you would normally do, keep the back expanded and so on. A lot of minor details that when we think of them appart from each other, is not much, put it all together and considering that some ARE antagonic in nature, and you have a real mess.

This one in particular will HURT you if its not working well, so its not an optinional feat, its probably one of the most important points in your technique so really nail down all the exercises. I cant really say why she gave you the exercises in this manner, not because its unnusual but because she probably did considering what YOU need.

I hope it clarifies, now study!!! :)

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I don't know if you are familiar with the "nay nat nay" exercises, but it uses the same concept-

I love this exercise. It's the first one I ever actually felt the "release" you're supposed to feel in the mix. And it was the first exercise I felt the connection from chest to headvoice while controlling the larynx.

.. And (I feel) it's the easiest exercise to apply into singing directly.

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riding on twang through the muscular passaggio is a very smart idea. once phonation settles you can lower the larynx and turn the voice (if you want classical sound), but you won't be able to do that unless you have nice phonation balance going.

in other words, you are training the TA-CT musculature (and probably the twanger), so you need to focus on that. larynx rising itself is fine (you can lower it through support/anchoring later), but you need to make sure

1. CT muscle is engaging, in other words as you ascend you feel more and more like you are crying--not shouting. if you go louder you should feel like screaming, not yelling.

2. you are not pressing the folds together. when I first did the quack and nays and cackle and all the twang sounds in addition to twanging I pressed my folds very tightly to give it more buzz. that's not good. especially if you are doing classical singing, you should almost hear individual harmonics in twang, not tight rumbling buzz. starting from slightly breathy sounds and engaging twang to make it firmer is a good idea.

In either case just focus on what you feel at the level of vocal folds. it should not feel like it's bunched up and you are shouting, and it should not feel like you are somehow banging on lighter folds to make buzz. there should be a healthy sense of stretch and depth.

all in all, the twanging thing is fine as long as you are supervised/monitored correctly.

I do believe I was over emphasizing the twang a little too much at first, which caused the folds to press together. I've realised this and have corrected that problem to where I can sing with a twang configuration through the break with comfort and ease (though I still would not sing this way in public, it is just a tool). My larynx barely ever rises anymore; my coach has gone over support and appogio with me a long time ago. in our lesson today, we discussed this, and I told her about the article I found explaining the route which focuses on incorporating the bringing down of an operatic vowel in pure head voice to connect with chest, attempting to bring the heady sensations down as low as possible. We've decided that it would be best to incorporate both twang and the bringing of head voice down in a classical approach both into my vocal exercise routine. Thanks for the help guys. Here is the link to the article my coach and I discussed in todays lesson (she also went through the exercise stated in the article with me in todays lesson):

http://www.voicesoaring.com/Informative_Articles/Entries/2010/3/24_Applying_Classical_Technique_to_Pop_Rock_Singing..html

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Can someone PLEEEEAAAAASE post a sound file of the "nay nat nay" exercise? I teach a men's chorus (14-18 year olds) and would love to bring this to my classroom. Anything to help guys with their vocal technique!

I'll take several examples of this twang thang if you're able! :D

Hmmmm don't really have a sound file but found a video on youtube where this guy explains it pretty well:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T8kS6jGDs8o

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Chiaroscuro thank you for the video link. I did more poking around trying to find out what twang is and, after further investigation, I realize that my idea about twang is completely different from how everyone else is explaining. I'm from the south, so twang (to me) means over-exaggerated diphthongs. I couldn't get that concept out of my head. I'm also classically trained, so I feel your desire to achieve that Bel Canto sound. My classical training along with my southern roots completely did not jive with the term "twang." I think I get it now. Your vocal coach was trying to get you to achieve that "ping." Maybe you're too much on the scuro side and she needs some more chiaro? It makes sense, since you're focused on keeping the larynx low. The thoughts about a low larynx may have been contributing to some muscular tension in the back of your mouth that was creating a darker sound. I'm forever trying to get the guys in my chorus to achieve that "ping," so I think that these "twang" exercises could help.

Not that you need my blessing, but I agree that the exercises will be useful in achieving the bright sound that may be offensive right now, but will eventually lead to a better connection. I would even go so far as to say that you should put these exercises into:

1) the melodies in your songs to feel the consistency of the placement throughout your range, and

2) the actual words of your songs to feel the ping throughout all vowel and consonant combinations.

That beautiful ping that we desire in the Bel Canto style is so hard to achieve throughout the entire range because of the dang stupid vowels changes of words. If we could sing all songs on neutral syllables, we'd all sound beautiful.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you had more success in your recent voice lesson. This has been a very informative post for me, so thank you for posting! I'll take these concepts to my men's chorus. :)

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That beautiful ping that we desire in the Bel Canto style is so hard to achieve throughout the entire range because of the dang stupid vowels changes of words. If we could sing all songs on neutral syllables, we'd all sound beautiful.

This, right here, so eloquently stated and I felt the same way when I came here and encountered the word and concept of twang. For me, chef Paula Deen speaks with a "twang." Tommy Lee Jones (from Houston) has a Texas twang in his speaking. Which, like you said, was more about dipthongs and, I think, cadence than a particular resonance set-up.

And what it takes to clean up and simplify the vowels, which has been very important for me and I can hear where it solves a problem for someone else. But, like any other pursuit of semantics, it depends on what different people mean by "ah." Just telling someone to say "ah" as in father doesn't help if their particular ah is wrong or problematic. Or their way of speaking has them closing vowels at the ends of of words and phrases.

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Chiaroscuro thank you for the video link. I did more poking around trying to find out what twang is and, after further investigation, I realize that my idea about twang is completely different from how everyone else is explaining. I'm from the south, so twang (to me) means over-exaggerated diphthongs. I couldn't get that concept out of my head. I'm also classically trained, so I feel your desire to achieve that Bel Canto sound. My classical training along with my southern roots completely did not jive with the term "twang." I think I get it now. Your vocal coach was trying to get you to achieve that "ping." Maybe you're too much on the scuro side and she needs some more chiaro? It makes sense, since you're focused on keeping the larynx low. The thoughts about a low larynx may have been contributing to some muscular tension in the back of your mouth that was creating a darker sound. I'm forever trying to get the guys in my chorus to achieve that "ping," so I think that these "twang" exercises could help.

Not that you need my blessing, but I agree that the exercises will be useful in achieving the bright sound that may be offensive right now, but will eventually lead to a better connection. I would even go so far as to say that you should put these exercises into:

1) the melodies in your songs to feel the consistency of the placement throughout your range, and

2) the actual words of your songs to feel the ping throughout all vowel and consonant combinations.

That beautiful ping that we desire in the Bel Canto style is so hard to achieve throughout the entire range because of the dang stupid vowels changes of words. If we could sing all songs on neutral syllables, we'd all sound beautiful.

Anyway, I'm glad to hear that you had more success in your recent voice lesson. This has been a very informative post for me, so thank you for posting! I'll take these concepts to my men's chorus. :)

Thanks for the advice. Are you recommending that When singing at all times I should use the twang configuration on ALL notes above chest until I get the feel fir the "ping" sensations", and then after a while sing with a normal configuration? What I mean is sing like I regularly would in chest voice but as soon As I reach middle voice and head implement the twang configuration? I'm confused as to if I should always be singing with the twang configuration above chest voice or just sometimes? Thanks for your help I really appreciate it.

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I understand the confusion.

It really depends on where you are not getting the right combination of bright and dark, the chiaro and scuro combination that is characteristic of Bel Canto. If you take any song that you can sing from top to bottom, there will be moments in the song where the placement is just not right and where it is not consistent from the top of your range to the bottom of your range. In my experience, this is due to two factors:

1. The resonance falling out of place

2. The various vowel combinations that, by their very nature, activate different overtones

To address issue #1 - As a practice technique, rehearse various sections of the song that go through different registers on a neutral "twanging" syllable. The purpose here is to feel the ping sensation throughout your range, and as you move from one register to another. Twang in chest, bridge and head. Isolate as small a section as you need to in order to navigate between ranges. Sometimes you can practice twanging 4-8 measures that move around through various registers. Sometimes you can practice as few as 3-4 notes over and over again. Again, the goal is to feel consistency of high forward placement throughout your range, especially in the transition from one register to another. It just depends on where your particular need is. Once you get a hang of navigating through the registers while feeling a consistency of placement, back off the twang, but still keep a similar neutral syllable. Can you still feel the high forward placement throughout the various registers? If not, bring back the twang until you feel that you're keeping that placement consistent.

To address issue #2 - Again, isolate a small section of the song, maybe 2 or 3 measures. It doesn't matter which register. Sing it on words and try to identify any words or syllables that fall out of placement. Usually it's "ah" vowels that fall back, but it just depends on you and what your tendencies are. Exaggerate the twang sensation through that section of the song. The goal is to feel the ping throughout the various vowel combinations. Once you feel it consistently, back off the twang and see if you can sing the section of the song with consistent ping.

I hope that makes sense. Let me know!

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