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Vocal musculature in relation to vocal technique

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Khassera
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I have a multifaceted question, I'll try my damnedest to boil it down into something cohesive.

Is strong vocal musculature separate from good vocal technique? Can you have one but not the other? I'll try to shape the question.

I understand that "having good vocal technique" includes knowing/understanding, either intuitively or taught, how to train the vocal mechanism in a way that the sound is the one desired while building a strong resonance, but can they be thought of as things totally separate?

The reason I am asking this is the following:

I have, for a while now, been training strictly a couple of isolated things with my voice. Head resonance being one of the two. Training head voice the way I do it feels very, very easy and light, even though the resonance gets stronger every single time I do it.

I've found now, when I actually do sing, that I barely have to do any work to keep a connection between head and chest, as in, the onset for a certain note in my higher mix, where head resonance is more prominent, is less distinctive as head resonance. Rather, I find it easier to make the tonality sound the same all throughout my range. Of course it is far from perfect, and forever will be, but can I attribute at least some of this as having trained the head voice musculature?

What I'm probably trying to ask is: Can the progress be due to both having a better vocal technique, and having stronger muscles behind the vocal technique? And also: Can the vocal mechanism, and the muscles in it, actually be "worked out?"

Again: In practice, if it's possible to "isolate" areas of the voice and train them separately, without using the whole machine, it would make scheduling vocal workouts efficiently very easy. As in, if training head voice is literally no effort and no wear, whereas training chest voice is somewhat, though not extremely, taxing on the voice, it would make sense to train head voice almost every day while training full voice less, and extreme techniques even less.

The idea behind my reasoning is the experience that even though the body is capable of adapting to a growing amount of stress, I've found I'm in much better shape after doing "high frequency training," of "greasing the groove" as some strength coach once said. Basically to run through a 20 minute head voice routine takes nothing out of my voice but I feel it really helps with other areas of the voice.

One more guys! One more!… Training full voice is like squatting. Training just head voice is like quad extensions. Both grow the quads, but one of them is less taxing on the body as a whole. Can voice be thought of being like this? (And, can, and do, the muscles in the vocal mechanism respond to training with hypertrophy, and is it a desired outcome of practicing vocal technique OR is it just (solely) the honing of the skill that is the cause of progress?)

Thanks and apologies.

EDIT: Adding: By "good vocal technique" I mean the ability to use the tonalities produced in the exercises in actual songs/performances. So basically, the ability to apply the results of the exercises to the act of singing. By strong vocal musculature I'm not sure what I mean, and am hoping to find the answer to.

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Coordination and responce/timing. Some people say you have all the strength you need just from talking. It is in the adjustments and resonance that give the power and fullness. What you are doing with your High vocalizing is fine tuning the adjustments. Getting all the correct muscles working together and releasing the muscles that interfere.

But there are others will say if some muscles are weeker than the others there will be an imbalance. Still when you are vocalizing and paying attention those muscles are learning to work together.

Either way it comes down to coordination and letting the voice do what it needs to without trying to force it.

Even though I am one who keeps talking about muscular involvement I still believe it is coordination and not strength.

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They are separate, but you need both to be a versatile singer.

If all you are training is head voice musculature/resonance you are only training good technique and not strength. And whatever you don't use you lose, so be careful, just because your voice feels more "one" does not mean it is all full voice - it could be that you are losing enough upper shades of intensity that you are being forced into a lighter mix that you may perceive as "far from perfect" and not realize that supplemental correct chest stretching is what will add power to it. Generally, practicing in a coordination too heavy or light for an extremely long time will make you limited to it. Whatever you pamper will take over your voice more and more at the expense of other qualities, so it is quite a balancing act of strength and finesse.

I don't see anything in your description of what you did that involves strengthening vocal musculature...

Muscles in singing aren't worked out as much as coordinated, but getting that to happen, it often feels like working out. If you feel no tension chances are you aren't strengthening anything, neither coordination or strength, because anything new for the body will cause temporary tensions as it's getting used to it.

Isolating the training of your voice is iffy...a lot of self taught singers and even established teachers do it WAY too much or WAY too little...good luck figuring it out on your own. I can't think of any way a student can figure out the correct balance of isolation and connection other than by trying both and monitoring your progress on your SINGING. A lot of times isolating makes you better at the exercise but tears apart the balance of your singing. However if you never practice isolated concepts you may never improve anything because it's always battling each other.

So since I know you're tight on money, you will have to spend time figuring that out on your own, but monitor your progress with actual recordings to test your progress or else you will screw yourself up badly. Your singing should noticeably improve OVERALL every month and if it doesn't, chances are the way you are training is tearing you down rather than building your vocal skill up.

I need to emphasize this again. If you only train head voice, that's all your voice will become. You will obviously speak so you will still have speaking range, but if you never practice belting, say goodbye to your belting. In other words your idea is misled - you need a balance of strength and technique in your training. Whether it's strength one week technique the next, all at once, alternating days, alternating within the same session, that depends on the person and I don't know much about the differences. But picking one extreme and living there just because it's easier, is one of the most harmful things you can do to your voice besides wildly shouting your brains out 24/7. Both extremes of too light with careful technique and too heavy and uncontrolled cause HUGE problems to the middle ground of SINGING.

If anything, you want to go 100% on both strength and technique quality all the time, but since that is unrealistic to start, you do what you can without hurting yourself. But easier is not better - what is closer to how you want to sing, is better.

I think new research shows isolated muscle training doesn't really work, so your last argument doesn't work either. You would get way more benefit squatting with proper form as a default, and simply adding enough rest time to recover from the tough load.

But sloppy leg-splitting heavy squats would be just as bad as bending your finger back and forth 24/7, so remember, without effort and without correct form, you have nothing - combine the strength and the form together in manageable amounts and you're golden.

Think of singing exactly like going to the gym except the consequences of injury are way higher. It doesn't mean you shouldn't exercise with full strength, it just means you have to be cautious and calculated about doing it correctly and resting when you feel you need to.

But in the actual physicality of singing, no I don't think it has anything to do with hypertrophy and atrophy - we're not building muscles, just coordination. That is the scientific reality. The only problem is, if you think like that when you practice, people tend to misinterpret that as meaning we are only working tiny invisible muscles, so they go way too gentle. The reality is we're coordinating both big muscles that will take a lot of tension and little muscles that will take a lot of fine movement. When you train, think like you are cautiously training muscle strength, but take out the no pain no gain mentality. Think about strength and freedom in the sound (BOTH, not one or the other!) without pain.

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i'm all for simplifying and reducing down to lowest terms...one voice.

the voice is a muscle. you have to consistently train, coordinate, and build the entire instument.

it's hard work. i believe before it begins to get easy (easier) here's an analogy coming now....

some days you are going to hit those muscles hard, and other days light.

to me it's so similar to overall physical conditioning.

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Hi,

It's both. Lots of singers have strength, but no coordination. They are too chesty (no top) or too heady (no bottom).

If the reason is faulty coordination... That is what needs to be worked.

but it has to be worked intelligently. If the coordination issue is due to basic muscle strength imbalance, then that must be worked. If the muscles are fine, then the issue is in tonal concept... Which prompts coordination.

If you wIll pardon the allusion... It's a bit like the performance of a male ballet dancer. If the strength is not there, his attempt to lift the ballerina will fail. However, if the strength is there, he must still use good technique... Not only lift her, but make her look beautiful, and him majestically effortless.

It takes both. That is why training regimens use exercises that require both, and then we do Songs.. Which are the ultimate test.

I hope this is helpful.

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