Jump to content

Do some people just have a very high chest voice/"flipping" point?

Rate this topic


miss pk
 Share

Recommended Posts

I've heard that people all tend to "flip" at the same approximate point from chest to head (obviously men at a different point from women). But it seems like i often come across singers who seem to have a chest voice that just keeps going and have an extremely high breaking point? This is a clip of kelly clarkson (she won american idol a while ago) singing the star spangled banner. It seems like she sings the entire thing in chest voice (it seems heavier than "mix" voice). I am a female and i definitely can't take my chest voice ANYWHERE near the high notes that she sings here (i realize they're not that high, but still). I don't hear anything that sounds like head voice - thus my question, do some people just have really high chest voice/breaking point - much higher than the average? her voice sounds so free and easy as well (at least to my minimally trained ears) with nice vibrato, etc so i guess there's not a lot of tension going on. i do notice though that her voice has a slight "raspy" quality, and that her lower notes kind of disappear. not sure what that means.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Miss pk. NO NO NO! The placement of natural register changes is very consistent through out all human voices. This is also part of what determines singer type. Bass, Baritone etc. So yes a Soprano changes are 1/3 above those of a Mezzo soprano who's are a third above those of a Contralto and so forth, the spanning is the same in male voices. However Properly trained and balanced voices make these changes seemly disappear entirely. There are also ways(not considered legit by Operatic standards) which people skip, that is jumping from one voice mode to the other kind of a cheating ,short cut. It does get you from register to register full, but does not blend and the voice texture, quality,vibrato etc are not consistent as would be in properly aligned Voice by classical standard. These are however legit for Rock, pop, contemporary and I encourage non Opera singers to use what works, because your not really going for those standards in non-classical renderings.

Please note in the video you posted you can also hear every breath taken, very cognitively taken as needed. She is claim and not rushed. People should set their breathing spots in each song, piece and make habit of breathing in those same places. This helps a consistent quality of performance. rather then breathing where ever, breathing should be metered and set as needed and practiced into the piece, until it is habitual to breath in those designated spots.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its never just about what you have,its how you use it;)

People who do high notes in their chest voice use a different technique and therefore their voice develops differently.

For instance,I have that,what you might call "free voice" in my higher head voice(not falsetto),but Its not really "suitable" for my

styles of singing(more operatic).So I found a way to belt out those notes,and at first,It was "free" but felt pressed,pushed,

but over time got as easy as that head voice.Now,Im aware that many vocal coaches/teachers might disagree with this,but not always

taking the risk means necessary damage.So,you can practice belting and get high as those people you mentioned,or you can belt,belt,belt,overdo it and hurt your voice.Just my opinion;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am a female and i definitely can't take my chest voice ANYWHERE near the high notes that she sings here

Uh oh, in my humble opinion you're in danger of trying to pull chest to get that sound.

Shes actually well into head voice in quite a lot of that clip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

to be clear, i definitely don't try to pull my chest voice up that high. i definitely try to bridge, etc. i just thought that it sounded like she was singing in chest the whole time - and i was wondering if she was doing that because she can...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would again use CVT terms:

She mainly uses the mode Curbing and also some Overdrive(which is very often considered "pulling chest" but it's NOT).

Ex. "rocket's red glare" - "glare" is Overdrive.

Ex. "land of the free" - "free" is Curbing.

So basically by leaning the different modes there should be no problem singing this song ;)

--Just made a quick recording of me playing around with those two modes: http://www.box.net/shared/5qrlsx5222

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Head tones sounding "chesty"? Well, isnt that the point? The modes that Martin refers to are laryngeal configurations that produce certain sounds and overtones associated with singing. EVTS were first to categorize the sounds of the voice into modes. I think this is a good way to understanding the voice as it integrates physiology with the aesthetic in one classification which lends itself to grasping the abstractions of singing easier.

I personally believe that EVTS should add one mode to their existing 6 and that would be "distortion" making EVTS a 7 mode system. CVI offers a 4 mode system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert,

Yes there is no doubt that Estill paved the way for more modern singing technique and aproaches. But CVT and EVTS are different in many ways. Ex. the 4 moodes are not the same as the 6 figures in EVTS.

The following explains very well the difference between the two aproaches...it's a very interesting read! :

" Cathrine has had knowledge about EVTS for many years. As a representative for Danish Artist Union she was among the first to arrange for Jo Estill to visit Denmark - I guess in the mid 80's. At that time Cathrine was already long in developing her own techniques (what in the singing technique video from 1991 would be named as "Rough, Ready and Able"), and she declined an offer from Jo Estill to become "a disciple". However the EVTS method became quite popular in Denmark, and many skilled Danish teachers are trained in the EVTS system. We have had the pleasure of meeting several of them as guest teachers at the 3-year Singer/ Teacher Diploma Course at CVI, to present an alternative perspective for the coming authorized CVT teachers.

Jo Estill's approach to singing technique with anatomy instead of myths, and her acceptance of (some) newer sounds, has been an inspiration for many voice professionals worldwide. Cathrine was also inspired in that way that it became obvious that new approaches to vocal technique was needed, but found EVTS too far from her own vision of singing technique, and was unable to use the system really. EVTS and CVT might have more in common with each other, than they have with for example Bel Canto, but that aside they present fundamental different views on vocal technique.

I will here try to describe some of the differences between CVT and EVTS, but I will very much like to stress that even though we see things different, both systems presents well-laid out suggestions to solve different voice problems. I am of course an advocate for CVT, but it is my solid believe that both systems has a place in the voice world, and that it should be up to the individual singer to choose the system that fits her/him best. Also bare in mind that I am no EVTS expert, and I encourage any such to comment on this:

Support is one of CVT's overall principles, and a big part of that is working with the stomach muscles.

EVTS doesn't work with the term 'support', but instead with 'anchoring'. According to EVTS the work with the stomach muscles are considered less important. EVTS works with for example head- and neck anchoring which means that a singer should put a tension in certain muscles in the neck, and that is not recommended by CVT as our experience shows that this can lead to unintentional constrictions.

CVT presents '4 Vocal Modes', Neutral, Curbing, Overdrive and Belting. These 4 vocal modes covers all sounds the human voice can make, and are distinguished by, among other factors, the amount of 'metal' the sound. The 4 vocal modes are separated from 'Soundcolor', so after choosing a certain Vocal Mode, we can choose to color the sound darker or lighter.

EVTS maps the voice in another way, and present a number of 'Compulsory Figures' or 'Voice Qualities', called Speech, Falsetto, Cry, Twang, Opera, Belting... (you can construct an endless number of more qualities by combining different settings in the vocal tract). From a CVT point of view the different EVTS-figures are mostly different choices of 'Soundcolor', and EVTS does not distinguish between non-metallic, half-metallic or full-metallic sounds. So a high pitched Neutral with light soundcolor, a high pitched Curbing with light soundcolor, and a high pitched CVT-Belting, might all be named Belting according to EVTS.

CVT research shows that the false vocal folds (ventricular folds) plays a major part in producing all the metallic modes + different effects hereunder Distortion, and that they are very active in most singing. According to EVTS it is considered undesirable, or maybe even harmful for the voice, when the false vocal folds get closer to each other during singing or speaking, and EVTS presents exercises in 'retraction' to train how to avoid the false folds to interfere. EVTS does not have methods for working with what CVT calls Distortion, Growl, Grunt, Rattle etc.

I hope this brings some answers to the subject.

Best wishes :) Henrik "

Link to comment
Share on other sites

CVT research shows that the false vocal folds (ventricular folds) plays a major part in producing all the metallic modes + different effects hereunder Distortion, and that they are very active in most singing. According to EVTS it is considered undesirable, or maybe even harmful for the voice, when the false vocal folds get closer to each other during singing or speaking, and EVTS presents exercises in 'retraction' to train how to avoid the false folds to interfere. EVTS does not have methods for working with what CVT calls Distortion, Growl, Grunt, Rattle etc.

Martin H: Very interesting article. I am not an afficianado of either CVT or EVTS, but I can see that the originators (JE and CS) had differences in the scope of their enquiries. Seems to me that they were (are) working to understand the differing voice qualities that can be made by a person, varying breath energy, laryngeal muscle action, pharyngeal, buccal, laryngeal and epilaryngeal resonances, positioning of parts, muscle actions etc., and grouping resulting variety of sounds into categories based on these aspects.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In a very practical way, I get this when I pull instead of push my voice out. The act of communicating the lyric actually opens the throat channel instead of closing it. It requires a careful allotment of breath support and control that will not close the throat down to a pinch. Then all the vocal colors are at my command to use as the emotion of the lyric warrents.

I think of these colors not as modes, though I intend to explore this way of thinking, but of different mixes of the head and chest voices. What Kelly is doing is not hurting her at all, because she is not over-driving her voice to the point of freezing the vocal mechanism. You can see her neck muscles do not get tight, her head seems to float on shoulders. Hands are steadying the ribcage open by what she's doing with the mic. She is tall but chin is not unduly lifted. It is powerful communication that does not strain. If you can't sing those notes that high, you're using too much chest in your mix, and need to train to add head voice influence. Miss PK, imno, the first order of business would be to BACK OFF the air pressure you're using. Ramp up the passion... NOT pressure!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Administrator

Excellent contribution Martin... well done. Im just generally recognizing that laying out a voice pedagogy in components like "voice qualities" & "modes" is a good approach to grasping the abstract. An idea we should give Estill credit for... And that in itself, has been very helpful in voice pedagogy regardless of which set you work with. In my opinion, EVTS is at risk of becoming dated if they dont take distortion seriously and consider it as a 7th vocal quality... one thing I have to give Cathrine credit for.

I have to give you a reputation point for that one...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert,

Yes you are right that EVTS is at risk of becoming dated. I personally think that the reason why they don't "aknowledge" distortion is because it involves the false vocal folds (ventricular folds) and that goes against their current teaching. As long as they consider activation of the false folds to be harmful they will not incorperate distortion into their system. I don't know how important the 'retraction' of the false folds are in EVTS (maybe you know that??). But if it's one of the cornerstones then I doubt they will "admit" that they were wrong, also because they as a voice pedagogy are very aknowledged in the voice-scientific field. Just my thoughts...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

most people depending on their calibre of voice lets say tenor, bass etc etc will have a general place where bridges/pasaggio´s lay. some techniques talk about 1 bridge others talk about several, usualy the most noticeable and troublesome is the chest/head bridge however some people whether it be through good genetics or innate ability are able to bridge or belt without needing instruction. these people may experience and portray to the listener no feeling or sound of flipping or cracking.

like Robert said the whole point of learning a bridged or belted technique is to create a sound without flips or cracks or major differences in tone up through the singers range, although both techniques can have a differnt quality to them. in terms of what a mixed voice sounds like well it depends. if you master "mixing" you can add different ratios of chest or head to the sound. its entirley possible to create a mix with so much chest in it that it could be mistaken for belting by the untrained ear.

as for kelly clarkson all i know about her is she ran into problems with her voice, from doing an belt type sound incorrectly and then went and did some SLS. her very bottom notes are dissaperaing because its the very bottom of her range. its pretty hard to sing your very lowest notes loud, especially if you are scraping the bottom of the barrel as they say to get them. also if you were to sing your lowest note and your higest note at the same volume your ears would percieve the higher one as louder; thats just how our ears work!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robert,

Yes you are right that EVTS is at risk of becoming dated. I personally think that the reason why they don't "aknowledge" distortion is because it involves the false vocal folds (ventricular folds) and that goes against their current teaching. As long as they consider activation of the false folds to be harmful they will not incorperate distortion into their system. I don't know how important the 'retraction' of the false folds are in EVTS (maybe you know that??). But if it's one of the cornerstones then I doubt they will "admit" that they were wrong, also because they as a voice pedagogy are very aknowledged in the voice-scientific field. Just my thoughts...

Martin H: Do you have any ENT video that shows the involvement of the false folds? I'd be very interested to see what that looks like, so I can characterize what the 'involvement' is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Estill has changed one figure which had been "vocal fold mass" to "vocal fold body-cover." Cover is a loose covering of mucosal tissue which is what is involved in glottal fry according to the EVTS folks. They are still exploring. those who are involved in the research end are all SLPs as well as singers/voice teachers. I don't know how much Jo participates now.

Anne Cronvich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess you can say I'm a purest to some extent... I don't understand when it would be appropriate to use the Rattle, or Growl...I just don't think it sounds very attractive. Louis Armstrong and James Brown used them very effectively and that is the only time I think I really like the sound. But other than that it doesn't appeal to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven,

The following two videos are taken from the Pevoc7 (7th Pan European Voice Conference) where CVI presented some of their studies.

Martin H: I watched those two vids last night. Very interesting, and enjoyably presented.

My take-away from the examples, based on hearing the phrase used in the presention: The 'effects' are supraglottal, produced by including oscillations of other tissues while phonating normally. The glottal pulse wave form and the resonance of the tract are modified by these motions, and the resulting tone characteristics effectively hide the underlying phonation characteristics.

From a certain point-of-view, these effects are related to the tone quality modifications which occur when any non-phonatory cyclic motions are occuring in vocal tract-bordering tissues. I do not mean that the resulting sounds are comparable, but rather that motions occuring proximal to the vocal tract (other than phonation) are affecting the vocal tone quality.

Watching some ENT vids, for example, I have seen pharyngeal wall, laryngeal height, and/or tongue root oscillations that are at the same speed as the singer's vibrato or (undesirable) wobble. These motions do not change the character of the phonation pulse wave, but do affect the frequency positions of formants when the dimensions of the vocal tract are affected, to the point that a tone-quality effect of varying resonance is perceived. That some of these are acceptable in classical singing, and some are not, is a matter of aesthetic sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

MIss PK - slightly at a tangent to what you asked, but closely related: on watching the Kelly Clarkson footage, it becomes apparent that most of her problems come from a lack of breath support. Her bottom notes are running out of steam and, frankly, aren't at a low enough pitch for that loss of power to be occurring. If she has run into vocal trouble (as I gather is the case from other posts), it's because she's been singing at great volume, yelling away but without any technique underneath it. An unsupported voice will always end up in trouble, especially if the singer works at volume. KC has been pushing that chest voice sound up and up and up and up, into the range where she should be mixing, and thus has artificially raised the 'flip point' as you say. (By the way, a singer who can mix well sounds just as powerful when mixing as they do when in chest). Don't get me wrong, I love a big, powerful voice - but there are ways of getting that huge power without causing damage.

All of the 'natural' flip points in a voice are pretty much pre-determined, as people have already said - we all have them in roughly the same, quite predictable places. In my studio, I train singers to extend the two main (natural) flip points by about half an octave, then show them how to blend and negotiate their way between the registers as required: for example, sometimes the singer will want to get into the mix earlier in a phrase, sometimes later - it depends on the song, the musical context, and the singer. Extending the flip points in a controlled and manageable way gives the singer much more choice about what he or she does.

However, it's a common problem for untrained singers that they will far over-extend the lower flip point and never learn to bridge or mix, so they end up with a 'seesaw' of a voice which will be pushing way too high in chest voice then flipping into head voice, which nearly always results in an unwanted loss of power, and so they go back and try to push the chest voice even higher in order to compensate! These people need to learn to work with a powerful mix register. I would say that this problem accounts for about 70% of the troubles that I encounter in singers who come to my studio, and it contributes significantly to the damage levels which singers sometimes bring in, so I spend most of my time teaching people how to bridge and mix, and correcting damage caused by over-extending chest!

So the answer in a nutshell is: no, some singers don't have 'naturally higher' flip points - it's entirely possible to extend the natural flip points somewhat higher in order to gain flexibility and choices in your styling, but if you extend those flip points too high, it's always gonna lead to trouble!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...