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Passagio question

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anotherreason25
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Hey,

no matter what I do, at a pianissimo volume at about c4c#4 and d4 there is ALWAYS some airiness. Always. Is there anything I can do to eliminate it? I'm having trouble getting full closure through my bridge and I think it's because I can't close at the lightest coordination. Any suggestions? It's the tiniest amount of air but it's there for sure. No matter support, pressure, I cannot remove the air from those few notes. TIA

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Any note will always be a bit airy at a pianissimo volume that's just how the voice works. At least until you are a real expert. The pianissimo dynamic with full closure is THE very last thing a vocalist will ever master.

Focus more on PIANO (comfortably quiet, not the absolute quietest you can be) and allow as much airiness you need, just no BREAK from chest to head. That's step #1 to learning to bridge and only about 5% of the full process but it sounds like you are being instructed to start there. Just want to clarify how you do it because that is the answer to your question. This problem you're noticing in your post is really not going to be solved until probably a decade down the road, and has very little relevance to actual singing, so the best route is to avoid the distraction and focus on what's important! Just figuring out your bridge is not the time to worry about being too airy and making the quietest sound you can with precise closure. It's the time to think about developing a sensation and sound of one free, combined voice with no abrupt switch in the middle. Just keep it extremely comfortable and natural, like you are just singing a little tune to yourself as you're walking down the street. It will be basically falsetto and you're just comfortably blending back into chest when it gets low enough to do that comfortably. That's the volume level and configuration you learn to bridge with first.

Then you need to strengthen your full closure in M1 so you have enough headroom to start building strength into the bridge. At the same time you also have to practice something different, bridging at a medium volume - this time don't worry about the break just focus on finding head resonance. So you are building head resonance release and full voice power separately. Once you have those two ideas working well you combine them and learning to bridge at a loud volume/late bridging, this is where you make that resonance shift around the F4 where everybody thinks you're supposed to lighten up (in fact you're supposed to simply shift resonance) then pull up all the closure and weight you can through it but also eliminating as much strain and pushing as possible from this, to prevent you from getting locked against a range ceiling caused by excess tension.

It's not until you can smoothly bridge way up around the C5 that you should start thinking about the idea of bridging earlier/lighter and still maintaining full closure - that's even more advanced and if you try to learn it too early you will run into loads of vocal issues trying to get through a simple song in the passaggio range.

And learning to bridge smoothly with full closure at PIANISSIMO? that's like the certificate of complete vocal technique mastery lol, don't even bother lol! You're never going to need to sing like that unless you become a famous classical singer and actually most of them never even get that far in their technique development.

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The idea of bridging is not to do your first modification at c5..your first bridge starts before middle c4. So you modify slightly at or before c4. Then again around e4ish then again at or around Bb4 and again at the c5 or c#5. If you try and bring certain vowels up to c5 without slightly changing them before you will certain end up shouty and ugly sounding. And at a young age it will work for a while but you will end up with problems.

Your cord closure issue can be worked on doing certain staccato exercises and then to legato eventually

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Dan and I are talking about two different things. I agree with him on shifting resonance, you just do it early and you're good. I'm not sure about modifying before the C4 but you definitely need to around the E4 and then again at those higher and higher spots or else you will strain and everything will be way harder. Key word MODIFY not change the vowel and completely butcher the pronunciation. Although you may have to completely change vowels at first but you want to work on getting it more and more subtle over time without losing the shift to head resonance.

But talking about registration (full voice vs. falsetto vs. mixing), if you train correctly, you do not need to leave full voice at any point if you don't want to, you just have to train patiently and carefully at extending the full voice however high you need it, and it's done by learning how to modify vowels and shift resonance as Dan says. And good support and cord closure of course.Through those techniques (support, closure, resonance shifting) anyone can learn how to extend full voice high enough to sing Bruno Mars material etc convincingly. If you try to mix lower it will be very difficult to coordinate that's why I say it's advanced and don't let beginner singing programs trick you into thinking that is the bridging smoothly from full voice to falsetto is what you really need to learn to sing high. What is most important is the resonance shifting WITHIN full voice so that you can extend it higher correctly.

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owen, sounds like you moved away from your thinking about bridging by lightening up.

anotherreason25, send us a sample...because pianissimo is a relative term just like loud is a relative term. your perception of pianissimo may be too light to induce fold closure.

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The airiness in the quietest sound I could make. I was working on the pianissimo stuff and it sealed up. I wasn't managing my airflow properly. So I just took the slowest five tone scale I could find and made tiny hums up and down it just below my middle c and it sealed up. It's all good.

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owen, sounds like you moved away from your thinking about bridging by lightening up.

Yes, in a sense. It's way more complicated than that though.

There are two common problems in beginners, one is trying to bridge early and being too light, and the other is just yelling and completely missing the opportunity to bridge. I used to be limited to one or the other only.

The solution to both is very similar, but most students don't even know there is a middle ground where you can build a powerful full voice that goes up to the A4-C5 with no excess strain, and then nearly bridges by itself above that, for ANY male voice. I didn't know this either until months ago. And that it's WAY easier than bridging to M2 at the F4.

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Not a strange worry at all really. Fine cord closure is extremely important to control in my opinion. Having excess air at any volume is a signal of a perhaps slightly irritated cord, improper alignment, or poor air management unless it's stylistic. Mine wasn't stylistic. It's also in a strange place in my mix because of some poor habits I had I've been overcoming and it felt too weak to seal up nicely as I would any higher than about an f4. It also stands to reason that occasionally asking a question stems from having already been engaged in practice, so the answer reveals or resolves itself through time. That's all that happened.

As far as all good, what I wanted to happen happened. Even though I'll be cognizant of that fine closure and air management, moving forward there are other goals I have in mind, and through conditioning I'm basically moving what I think Mr. Lunte called an attractor state, mostly by removing all of the boomy chest I built from my routines, lightening up, finding perfect closure, and listening to Bruno Mars on repeat.

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He has a very well built mix. He isn't a huge voice. But he can be loud. My voice isn't built like that. I'm much weightier initially. I've been working on that because to sing his songs convincingly, as was mentioned, my mass is going to have to come off and move to a different section and I'll have to give up any real gripping in order to do it. I've already gotten more fullness up top in my higher mix sounds but it isn't consistent so he's my modelling voice. He's how I reference the sounds I need to create a voice I want to sing with. Tough work really, he's very very talented, needless to say.

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ThePowerOfOne, how so? Can you explain a little more? Really, I'll put it like this... I understand what feels right and doesn't, and have a fair amount of training and am THOROUGH enough (thank god for that) not to just let bad technique really conquer my progression. Please explain though, maybe you hear something I can't.

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Well, I may be wrong but when I try to match Bruno's exact tone and style I find that he incorporates unnecessary jaw and neck tension and also places some unneeded stress on the larynx causing it to go higher I'd like. As a result I find that Bruno often sounds rather strained and forceful. That's what I hear and feel anyway.

With a healthy, balanced technique you can sing just like him and mimic his tone but without all the stress on the jaw and neck area.

To me the ultimate test if a technique is healthy to not feel a single thing in the throat, jaw, chin etc. Absolutely nothing.

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It's more the placement of his tone and the literal sound of his voice I'm interested in. I'm not interested in replicating exactly his technique. Which is why I prefaced with saying I know enough not to adopt his bad habits. My voice will probably sound more refined actually, once I get it down. It's just getting it down.

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I should mention he isn't my only modelling voice. There are dozens and dozens of singers I reference in order to pick and choose who makes the best sounds for what songs in what areas and styles. It's comprehensive. I'm a student. I have a lot of time on my hands. If somebody has poor technique in some area I'll reference ten others, or as many as I can find, to correct for it. Then I search the web for technique pointers and teachers aware of what to do. So far so good.

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The long term goal is to be a recording artist. A big name per say. I want big things in life. It isn't only music. Music is a major part of me. Bringing up repeat again, I'll listen to a song maybe dozens of times or more in a sitting. In order to be good enough it takes dedication and I won't be left in the dust for not practicing. That'd be stupid.

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Mmmkay. It's basically done. I'm there. So if I either make a ton of money and prove to the world I have what it takes, or record something less provocative at home :D - you can hear.

Perfect technique or no. It'll be incorporated like everything else. That's how singing works to me. I like having a bunch of different things I can do. I think it adds character to your voice. Hopefully though I can make it less damaging. We sing for people who do not sing right? They don't usually care how bad you tear yourself up doing it as long as you sound good doing it. He adds a lot of compression and grit so I know that can take its toll. I'll make sure those things aren't problems and it's all good.

Thanks for the input everybody.

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