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How does this guy get such a haunting falsetto?

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Dave Matthews is a very non-traditional singer but his voice is nothing short of supernatural in my opinion. The falsetto intro and ending to this song give me the chills and I have always wondered how he gets such a throaty and powerful tone. Any ideas?

Here is another example of a similar and incredible falsetto from a fellow named Matt Andersen. Talk about power! The part I am referring to starts around 2:11.

Are there methods I can use to build a falsetto like this?

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I didn't hear any head voice in the first one at the beginning (3 mins in.

if your technique is already perfect, you can approach a head voice from multiple points. one of these points is using a very deep approach providing a wide sound, where the deeper you go the more your mouth resonances change in shape, providing a much wider sound to the head voice. this is what you are hearing.

when you sing deep like this you'll actually feel your nose and mouth "open" up, however just to point out this is a side affect and you aren't "trying" to shape your mouth. your just going very deep. for myself, it took a lot of deep headvoice before I could get it to that fat sound and also make it comfortable also.

the less deep you go, the less the effect is. you can't emulate it at a higher position.

also both examples have echo effects

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I think there is a distinction that needs to be made first.

Head voice and falsetto are not the same thing, and the two terms should not be used interchangeably. Dave Matthews does a brilliant job of demonstrating both. The intro is head voice. At around 7:20, it's still head voice, though it's a lighter demonstration. At 7:40 is when he flips into falsetto. Matt Anderson is demonstrating falsetto at 2:11. Head voice has vibrato, like Dave Matthews does at 7:20. Falsetto does not have vibrato.

To strengthen your falsetto, I think you should understand what's happening to the vocal folds in the modal register vs. the falsetto register. In a really well produced modal register, there is typically full contact throughout the length of the vocal folds. As your vocal folds lengthen, the pitch gets higher. At some point, the pitch gets too high and the vocal cords won't stretch any more. They flip into a different position, causing only the top and bottom ends of the vocal folds to vibrate while the middle section relaxes and remains open. This is what causes the airy tone characteristic of falsetto.

There is some debate about it in the vocal science world, but most people I talk to say that countertenors are just really good falsettoists. There is some disagreement about this (mostly it's the countertenors who disagree and say they're not singing in falsetto) because the vocal folds of countertenors are in full contact as in the modal voice.

I did some research on how to strengthen falsetto and the only thing I could find is that you want to try to keep your vocal folds from letting less air escape. I don't have any specific recommendations for techniques, but it seems like you could start at the high end of your falsetto and work your way down, trying to stretch your falsetto as low as it will go before they flip back into the modal position. What this would do is that you would be shortening the length of the vocal folds as you descend down your range, perhaps encouraging more of the vocal folds to be in contact. You could also try to strengthen your breath support so that less air escapes in the sound, perhaps creating more sound.

I'm kind of guessing here, but I would say that just trying to sing louder in falsetto would not be the answer. It seems like the louder you try to sing, the more air would push through and there would be less vocal fold contact.

I hope that makes sense.

Here's a video of the vocal folds at work, modal voice vs. falsetto.

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Falsetto, or M2, or head, or strawberry, however you call it, is capable of power, dynamic control and vibrato. Just like modal voice you can have complete adduction, can be airy and can have closure.

Its a different mechanism, and it will result in tonal difference when compared to modal voice depending on the pitch used. Counter tenors do not LIKE to call it falsetto as it may imply false voice or something of the sort. The mechanism is still M2 however (on the higher range).

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