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Getting past E4 with consistency.

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fortheo
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Hey, so I'm really working on getting past E4 and being consistent with it. The good thing is that I don't feel strain when I do it, but at the same time I don't feel real consistency either. Like one day my body is completely fine and relaxed and I can sing it nice and smooth, the next day my throat hates me and wants to constrict. Anyways, I was hoping for some tips on how to be more consistent and smooth with the transition. I uploaded a few short clips of me singing songs that seem to display the problem area for me. I'd appreciate any tips on how to sing the parts near E4 better.

Me singing some Dallas Green

http://picosong.com/caX3/

and a short clip of me singing disarm by the smashing pumpkins

http://picosong.com/caXQ/

Sorry for no backing track; guitaring at the same time has been messing up my breathing.

Also sorry if this is the wrong forum. Any help is appreciated.

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You're backing off the volume too much and trying to bridge from chest to head voice at too low of a pitch, or too "early". This is creating a self-imposed ceiling on your range that isn't actually supposed to be there. What most pro singers do and what you probably want to as well at the F4 is just be shifting your resonance a bit to help reduce strain, but maintaining full voice and plenty of vocal weight higher than that. In fact, around the E4 the volume of your voice should start increasing a bit.

Do you know about vowel modifications? They will help you a lot to eliminate the need to transition at these pitches, as will good breath support. Both of those together will allow you to sing higher in your full voice but without strain in the upper body or throat.

It's worth noting that Dallas Green does sing in a way more similar to what you're doing now - he does "bridge early" you could say but he does it a particular way that's very hard to explain and more advanced for most of us - so I'd say, for now, don't worry about imitating his tone or intensity yet, just think about carrying your full voice up higher. It will give you a lot more flexibility and consistency. Then you can learn to bridge earlier, later on, and you'll finally be able to do it consistently and smoothly like Dallas does. A big part of the reason he can sing lighter but connected like that because he is able to belt high in chest voice as well. Your chest voice/full voice has to be strong and free at pitches well above the E4 in order to mix and bridge registers at the E4 with ease - you need headroom, an nice overlap of chest and head so that you're not straining as you are bridging and so that you don't have to flip abruptly.

One last thing that helped me personally when I was gaining this part of my own range. Try running a mile a couple times a week and focusing on your breathing. After a while you may start noticing this naturally makes it easier to get past the E4 in full voice when you go to sing because breath support and overall energy has so much to do with it and running really channels that. Or replace running with whatever cardio exercise you prefer.

One things for sure, once you get to the E4 and higher, singing becomes all about the body. You just can't get those high notes in full voice without strain if you're being lazy on your breath support.

That's my two cents. This approach is a bit controversial especially among some vocal coaches who mistakenly think it's unhealthy, but it's a lot closer to what every single male singer on the radio is doing and you will learn to be able to hear the difference. Not many singers out there are bridging to their head VOICE, lightening up, making a transition, as early as the E4. To be restricted to that would make you unique but also severely limit the amount of repertoire you can sing. I think it's better to have options, and to learn the more reliable and consistent way first - getting above the E4 with a nice strong full voice.

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nice chunk of advice there owen.

do i hear a little change of direction/beliefs in there somewhere?....lol!!!

fortheo,

it's important for you to realize this breathier type of phonation may work fine in a studio, or for effect or what have you....but compare this recorded performance to his live ones....you'll hear a difference in delivery.

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nice chunk of advice there owen.

do i hear a little change of direction/beliefs in there somewhere?....lol!!!

from many months ago yes. But recently, we would agree on this kind of stuff but on certain qualities of the end product I would still disagree with you - things like pressing being okay...it's not Bob, it's not...staying in full voice is not the same as pressing, or straining for "unavailable notes"...

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Thanks guys. My problem is a bit greater than trying to imitate Dallas; I tend to bridge early with any song that I try to sing. It's something that I need to work on and I'm glad you guys pointed it out! I think I bridge early because of either A. I don't want the note to get away from me, or B. Nerves/afraid to let go. It's probably a mixture of the two.

Owen, I do know about Vowel modifications, though I still need a lot of work on them especially implementing them into actual songs. Also, you mentioned running a few times a week and focusing on your breathing, do you mean to just concentrate on how my body breathes naturally as I run? or do you mean run while I consciously try to breathe low like I would when I'm singing.

You also mentioned that I should get a little louder as I get higher, is that something that will happen naturally or something that I should actively try to do?

Thanks again.

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i would watch out for the louder as you go higher that could get you yelling. i would practice 5 tone scales to about middle c then start using octave jumps on mum or luh or nguh and just stay true to the vowel and consistent. hard to explain in writing without hearing you, i might do something else. but uh is neutral and can take you up. just work at it starting with a solid no air bottom note. then do some falsetto slides through that area and feel the ease and then attack it again:)

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owen,

pressed phonation seems to scare you off, but it all depends on who is doing it and how it's done. once the vocal folds are adducted, you can lean into them if you do it correctly. if you slam them together or bombard them with excessive air pressure at the time of onset you are pretty much asking for trouble.

but if you control the pressure and onset cleanly it's another story. you have to know your own voice and get a sense for how much compression you can apply.

a compressed sound can be very rich sounding i.m.h.o. like anything else, it's to be used in moderation.

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my respond in bold

Thanks guys. My problem is a bit greater than trying to imitate Dallas; I tend to bridge early with any song that I try to sing. It's something that I need to work on and I'm glad you guys pointed it out! I think I bridge early because of either A. I don't want the note to get away from me, or B. Nerves/afraid to let go. It's probably a mixture of the two.

that's funny, those are actually the two reasons i would tend to chose to pull chest when maybe i should be mixing or bridging instead.

definitely for MY voice personally, i find bridging to be a much more vulnerable and nerve wracking activity than just belting it out.

but it could be different for you depending on your voice type and how you're training it

Owen, I do know about Vowel modifications, though I still need a lot of work on them especially implementing them into actual songs. it may help to print out a copy of your lyrics and write in the vowel mods.Also, you mentioned running a few times a week and focusing on your breathing, do you mean to just concentrate on how my body breathes naturally as I run? or do you mean run while I consciously try to breathe low like I would when I'm singing.The second one. For most people, the body naturally breathes terribly as we run, you'll likely have to retrain it to breathe low and deep despite the challenging, athletic activity. Eventually learning to breathe actively but correctly through an athletic activity multiplies your stamina at the activity itself. That is the idea and why it relates over to singing. But even more importantly than that, cardio exercise just warms up your entire body to get ready for singing - it will naturally encourage you to use more bodily energy to support high notes, which is what you need anyways.

You also mentioned that I should get a little louder as I get higher, is that something that will happen naturally or something that I should actively try to do?

Completely natural. You don't try to get louder, you just find the right volume your voice wants to be at to stay full, and follow that path. It may take some experimentation of various volumes to find what's most natural for you. Something that might help you find it is to pretend you are home alone and there's no way anyone will hear you, and you're just singing some higher songs for the fun of it, not thinking about technique or anything.

See if that helps you find more of a full voice. My advice may not help as I have always been naturally a louder kind of singer though so no guarantees, just give it a shot.

Thanks again.

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To consistently get past the E4, whether baritone or tenor, get used to the mix. Like it, love it, get some more of it.

That definitely helps too.

The desired outcome in the E4-A4 range especially, is indeed a mix of the strength of chest voice and the freedom of head voice. Different people like different balances of the two, but consistency happens when they are both there. That's what makes those notes comfortable and great sounding.

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its really about tuning and modifying the vowel. Whether or not its "chest" or a "mix" . You need to find an optimal space and adjustement

Yeah, I know what you mean. It's finding it with consistency is the problem though haha. I will just keep at it though!

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This definitely seems to be the case. Since I've started this thread I've been experimenting a lot with volume and like you said owen, I was indeed bridging earlier than I need to. I've been focusing on not pulling back the volume once I get around D4 - G4 range and I can definitely do it in a fuller chestier mix. I had a really good week singing songs that required me to hit a reasonably powerful F#4 and I was able to do it consistently with decent volume and power. However, It's definitely about finding the right volume and right place in the mix because yesterday I went for a bit more power and I ended out pulling chest and had the first sore throat induced by singing that I've ever had. ( I was trying to sing the chorus to incubus - I miss you )

Long story short: focus on singing at a natural volume as you progress up the notes, and focus on modifying the vowels so you feel that sweet spot where they resonate nicely, and allow relaxation in the throat/ jaw area so you can really find that healthy spot in the mix.

Anyways thanks again everyone, despite the one day of me pulling chest I really feel like I made a lot of progress just from listening to the advice on here!

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Long story short: focus on singing at a natural volume as you progress up the notes, and focus on modifying the vowels so you feel that sweet spot where they resonate nicely, and allow relaxation in the throat/ jaw area so you can really find that healthy spot in the mix.

That's what I wanted to say and you beat me to it. Volume is NOT a matter of how hard you are pushing or even a particular gradient of adduction. Volume is an apparent EFFECT when all factors combined create a note that sounds powerful or usable, especially for whatever song and whatever part of that song it is in.

To borrow from Felipe's performance of "Take Hold of the Flame," he is not pushing hard at any one point and is not singing very "loud" and is certainly not shouting or hollering. But he is creating good volume with the alignment of his vocal apparatus.

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