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Boston - Peace Of Mind

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Sleeper256
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Trying something new I just stumbled on while trying to figure out how to lift the soft palate, like my teacher keeps saying and I never seem to figure out. It was something like feeling any tension in the jaw instead of the throat with a more covered position. Like "lions roar smile" or something. It looks really stupid and at first I couldn't figure out how to actually form words like that. Anyway, I sang this mostly using that technique that I just discovered today and I'm pretty sure I like the sound. And I wasn't straining as much as usual! Progress

 

This was all raw takes with no instruments, (split between verses though)

 

Please let me know what you think! :D

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It sounds good especially the first part. However parts of the second parts sounds like you are running out of air, or running out of stamina. Maybe I would look at your breath points in the song, make sure you are taking time to breath. Also, make sure you are giving your folds time to close before the onset of sound. It almost sounds to me like you are exhaling then closing the folds, then they are having to use alot of muscle to catch up with the air and seal it. That can effect stamina as well as pitch control.

Also another thing I would try if you wanted to experiment with it, is the cough off. Its an old classical trick for long dramatic legato lines sung with power at the upper range like this. It really helps with those times when it feels like your folds get stiff and just stop listening. Almost like you jam up on those lines, and you slowly get quieter,stiff, and lose range until you rest for a sec.

The classical world says the breath stacks up on you because you never fully exhale before inhaling again. However, that to me makes no sense really. My theory backed by pseudo science is that its a fact your muscles that control the diaphragm and larnyx are made from muscle tissue like your heart, made to resist fatigue. The pseudo part is, I think your muscles have to contract and release like they are designed to, just like the heart. Imagine what would happen to the heart if instead of pump pump, it would pump then hold that pump for 4 seconds then release. It would prob equal a heart attack pretty shortly. I believe the same holds true for the singing muscles. They are made to contract and release, especially the diaphragm. So on long phrases you are screwing with what their code built them to do. So what once was free and basically impervious to fatigue sudden gets pissed off real quick and quits working right.

Sorry for the babble there lol. Anyways my whole point, the cough off is easy. When you breath between phrases, instead of holding whatever breath you didnt use and inhaling on top off it, just exhale it quickly then inhale. Then your body will basically auto inflate, because that is the natural reaction for it to do so. No air equals must put air back. Its almost like a little cough. Or that exhale when you are releaved, and everything is done and ok, when your whole body relaxes. This will also help you from tanking up on way to much air inbetween phrases, which that in itself will cause constriction. It will help you live on tiny breaths and help with easy fold closure. I know it sounds simple, but its a great trick. I know some time ago, I would die out on long dramatic phrases. Start out great, but slowly fade out, even if i thought i was taking in enough air, its like things just stopped listening. This is one of the big things that stopped that.

Oh and you have to make sure an relax fully for a brief second during this brief cough off. Its like it auto resets everything, and lets your whole singing system stay on the normal routine it likes and wants. Wow sorry for ranting and raving lol.

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Thanks m.i.r. I'll give that a try! That seems like it would take at least a second to pull off though and can you outline where the breathing points for this song would be for example? I don't see many. Here's how I see it

 

Now if you're feeling kinda low about the dues you been paying, future's coming much too slow. (gasp but no exhale) And you want to run but somehow you just keep on staying, can't decide on which way to go-o-o (possible gasp, not enough time?) Yeah yeah yeah, I understand about indecision, but I don't care if I get behind, people living in competition (gasp but no exhale) all I want is to have my peace of mind (time to fully breathe, followed immediately by some highest notes) YEAHH Whoo whoo whoo 

 

And to do all that while still concentrating on trying to lift the soft palate/bite the apple thing

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It is slow to do the cough off at first. And that is totally ok, it is good to really get the feeling of the relaxation, removing all the air, and then the body automatically refilling. Also the fact you use the word gasp, tells me you are taking in way too much air and over supporting.

Whenever you live on small amount of air, and learn complete fold closure, it only takes a small amount of air to create big sound. As I said last post, making sure you close your vocal folds close first then begin support will really help you align that. Also will help you sing long phrases with out having to re tank. Act like you are about to say something then stop, hold that feeling and breath, you will notice the onset of sound. That is the basic feeling of closing, then sound.

As for time frame it takes, when you get things balanced, you can complete the exhale then inhale at the same time or quicker than a regular inhale only. I know it is quicker for me now, than just trying to inhale. I dont have to think about breathing, there are just certain spots in the piece that i know i will need to breath(obviously from being familiar with the piece). You really dont need any more air to sing than speaking, its just more compressed. I just add the quick little exhale and relaxation at the end of a selected phrase.

So for example i would say baaaabbbbyyyyyy the yyyy is compressed then, when I am ready to end the sound, I just release the folds but keep the compression. So sound stops, the rest of the air is quickly released(its only a tiny amount because you only need a small amount, and you have already expelled some from the phrase) then the body has no air, so it refills automatically. Plus during all this, you have that moment of relaxation, and your system gets to "reset". You can hear good opera singers do this all the time, Pavarotti for example. Even some of the power house contemporary singers do it, they just no how to either add it to their style, or hide it all together. I used pavarotti as an example because he is slightly obvious when he does it.

All of this blends in at the end of a phrase, and when the timing is down it takes less time than tanking. Also relieves constriction and helps you stay relaxed, so you are fresh for the next phrase.

As for breathing points right now on that song, I would handle them a little differently. However, i would focus on your balance first. Just remember, a little can make ALOT singing, and relaxation is golden.

Oh and I already said something about the soft palate in your thread about the soft palate

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Thanks, you think the technique is getting better?

 

Listening back I like most of the power, but still think I'm struggling on pitch and control, and my highs sound a bit screechy, but like I said, first day.

 

the trick I have found, when singing Boston, is to get lighter than you think you need to be. Brad did not "carry chest up."

 

Or at least, that is how it worked for me.

 

"Long Time - portable" by Boston
 
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To my ears Brad Delp rides the exact line between what I'd think of as like a 'metal' type head voice and the kind of falsetto I more typically listen to and more frequently sing (Eddie Kendricks).

 

You've done a pretty good job here, though it sounds like you're still searching on either side of the spectrum. Sometimes you'll get a metallic cut, other times you'll get less cut and body than Eddie Kendricks, as I can hear the exploration.

 

I can almost guarantee you'll find what you want (by that I mean what resonates most with you as an artist) on either side of it, but it's just gonna take time.

 

Don't feel bad for exploring for the sound and not having it dialed in yet. My best friend asked me if I could sing metal.... I was like nope. But she was like, but what happens if you try?' So I put on my best Geoff Tate impression as I'm a fan of the Operation Mindcrime album and there are an abundance of metal singers here and heard my share. Even though I'm a fan of this song, to me it sounds like I joke when I was exploring for this sound:

 

https://soundcloud.com/killerku/attemptsmetalvoice

 

Personally, I never found it. It's not just the technique. There isn't an ounce of me in there. It was like I was doing a terrible Geoff Tate impression that I quickly abandoned. But it doesn't sound like a joke when you're looking for your sound, man, on either side of the spectrum, even when you mess up and aren't dialed into the ideal sound you're looking for. That's the key thing. That's why you're going to get it, why I never did, and why and it will be good when you do, because it's an authentic pursuit, imo.

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Isnt that the case Killerfu. I have always wanted distortion, I have some pretty cool stuff after b4 I can use if wanted. But anything before I sound like a goon. I have one way I can, but I will prob last one song before I break something ha ha. So yes I just had to except I am a clean tone singer for the most part, just like you had to except what you were speaking of. I just focused on building a strength i already had. I know alot of people wish they could do some of the stuff I can do. But as i have said before, a dog will always want to meow and a cat to bark ha ha.

But as killer said, search man and keep searching. The more tricks you have in the bag the more creative you can be.

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MIR, Something that helps me with rasp is to try to place the sound 'higher.' It's not a very good hint. But when I got my voice back, and rediscovered my rasp, it was really like Tom Waits ish and felt like it was rumbling my larynx. It felt too 'deep' like my throat was rumbling.

 

Something that helped me get more control was to sit down with Ray Charles. I tried to 'lift' it up and out of the throat. It wasn't entirely different from the Tom Waits thing, but it felt 'lightened,' less destructive, and was more the sound I was going for all at the same time. It only took me a couple of days messing around from the Tom waits starting point, but I'm sure it's different for everyone. 

 

Sorry for the horrific pseudo science, but for me now I just let rasp come and go depending on when an emotion summons it. It hasn't sent me hoarse yet, and I can always go right back to a clean tone. You can probably learn rasp in the lower range, just go easy on the Tom Waitish stuff. If it feels too 'full' it probably is.

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Hmm sounds interesting, I shall def flirt with the idea of this. It def makes me jealious how some singers get this effortless clean distortion, like felipes for example. He doesnt have a ton, but it is there in the back ground. Just a tiny amount of hair around a clean tone.

It makes me wonder if heavier voiced people are cursed with more difficult distortion. Though at the same time felipe is not really small voiced at all, so I dunno. However, his distortion isnt monstrous either.

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Yeah, distortion or (some) rasp is something that I want to achieve too, but I feel like aiming for that might do more damage than just harnessing what I can so far. I feel like the rasp comes as you get older and have been singing for a long long time.

 

the trick I have found, when singing Boston, is to get lighter than you think you need to be. Brad did not "carry chest up."

 

Or at least, that is how it worked for me.

 

"Long Time - portable" by Boston
 

 

I tried "lighter", but I don't know if that's better or not, just sounds weaker to me. You say Brad Delp wasn't one to pull chest voice up, but I thought he was at first. Actually hearing him in the mix, it did sound almost falsetto to me, but then I stumbled on an acapella and I've loaded it here for you

 

 

That to me is a pretty chesty (mostly clean) mid-high sound. If that's not, could you please post a better example of what is?

 

And now here's my take on being lighter 

 

Each take is lighter than the last, and the last one demonstrates what I think my falsetto is. I think the 2nd take is my favorite out of them, but it still lacks the "body" to me.

 

And KillerKu, yeah, still exploring and I hope I'll find that sound someday, thanks for your hope and compliments! And I don't know if it's just me but listening to your Queensryche take--love Mindcrime....not so much Mindcrime 2 :( -- I think you should try Wake Me Up or something sung by Aloe Blacc, I don't know, the tone here reminds me of it, maybe it's the vibrato. Speaking of which I have no idea how to get that kind of tone.

 

And finally, m.i.r, I'm sorry but I don't really understand what you're talking about on shutting the folds and using compression. It sounds like a good technique but I have no idea where to start.

 

And sorry for not responding til now, just got back from work. Christmas vacay yay! You know what that means, more posts!

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I agree it sounds like he is less falsetto than when listening to the album track. That's really interesting.

 

At the same time, it sounds like there is a LOT of EQ to me (which can boost the areas around the singer's formant, cut a lot of the muddier sounds, and add a bright sheen to sounds) for more 'poke.' It doesn't sound like a natural tone to me, but heavily studio-fied. So I'm not sure if you took a totally flat track of him, what he would sound like. Probably more cut than I pictured, but less cut than that track would indicate.   

 

You definitely want some of that cut so keep looking for it. Robert Lunte (forum founder) is very good and familiar with some of these techniques. He'd be able to help you more than I as it's not a style I ever pursued. Very few of my inspirations as singers sang this way and often have a 'murkier' depth of low mid frequency, 90 percent switched to falsetto at a point somewhat close to where I do. My personal experience is you can kind of have a balance between the two, but when you add a lot of the cut, it starts dominating into a more 'metallic' frequency which can overpower some of those lower frequencies (some would call it a slightly hootier frequency).

 

As for distortion, if it feels wrong, it pretty much is. I've never had my current style of distortion affect my voice, but there were a few times before I had dialed it in, where I'd do something just 'strenuous' in an affecting way. It wasn't enough to send me hoarse, but I could tell it was wrong and 'too full.' I think if I persisted it might have sent me hoarse. It wasn't good. Pay attention to your body as best as you can when singing anything, it's not just rasp, its literally anything. Whenever something doesn't feel right, I simply change it. While you're looking for sounds, that's probably the most dangerous part, cause you might find something destructive and overdo it, but the best thing you can do is just stop when it feels wrong, and rethink things.

 

I really think lessons for some of these advanced head voice techniques you're looking for would be very helpfull. Part of the reason why most of my favorite singers didn't sing this way, was because they couldn't find it in an intuitive way. Few people would just 'find' this kind of thing without guidance. You have guidance here, obviously, but this is tricky stuff.

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Oh wow, really? I never would've thought this was a heavily processed vocal (but I don't know what to look for in one) I figured it was raw with some reverb on it. I do suspect comping though.

 

I'll be honest I don't know what you mean by cut and metallic (metallic is probably what I call screechy?)

 

I have some lower notes (though not as low as you, I heard your track with all the impressions and I CANNOT hit D2 even in fry lol. Everything lower than F#2-G is mostly mush), they just need to be called differently. I'll demonstrate that in my next track which will be mostly lower and we'll see if they're good or not.

 

Yeah, though my feelings seem kinda dulled to the point where I can't physically tell if I'm doing something, if something hurts, I stop, relax and try to find another way to do it. And that's another reason I have lessons, if I'm doing something wrong she can correct me before it becomes a problem.

 

Thanks again!

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I find the cut can occur in the frequencies between about 2k and 6k. 2K s the frequency which is boosted for phones, as it is kind of the 'center' of bringing out some clarity in some voices, but in the singing voice, there is something called a 'formant' at 3k which is quite dominant. 

 

The overall metallic tone occurs in the brighter frequencies in general, think 2k and above. There is a lot of shimmer in 10K areas and above. Cutting some of the lower frequencies can 'narrow' or clarify a voice. 

 

Do you have any recording equipment? There are things called parametric equalizers. They are Eqs that you can take a squiggly line, and make 'spikes or lump) of various widths and run through the frequency spectrum. I'm not a master at this yet, partly cause I have an affinity for 'less processed voices.' Most of the music I listen to is maybe from the 60s-mid 70s before extreme processing was all that common.

 

This video talks a bit about frequency spectrums.

 

It's for fruity loops. Depending on the software you have, audacity is free and frequently used, there might be tools or plugins. I have a version of Sonar/Cakewalk/whatever which I use so I wouldn't have the best advice on how to best utilize any other software.

 

Anyway, you can look up various tutorials:

 

http://www.dnbscene.com/article/88-thinking-inside-the-box-a-complete-eq-tutorial

 

Nearly all studio recordings are EQed very heavily processed today, but there was always a 'little' magic at least since the micropone was invented. It's part of why I go back and listen to some of those muffled tones from the 50s and 60s as a lot of the singers really were a bit muffled. But this sound, this bright, cutting sound, it's part technique (twanging head voice helps a lot) and part mixing. I like it in moderation.

 

And I'm glad you have a teacher. I personally feel like I would hit a wall with this technique, and wouldn't be able to take it all the way into a fruition without 'some' kind of intellectual, outside help.

 

My perspective is as a species I suspect we evolved from apes and we generally find it more intuitive to make the noises you might imagine a caveman making, (lower mid rangey things). Sounding more like a crow making more of a bright ringing, cutting, though still thick kind of 'caw' sound is possible with training, education, and knowledge, but is rare without. It takes all types of voices, and all walks of life to make singing what it is. So follow your passions and keep safe.

 

Part of why I put on my terrible Tate impression, is he sounds more 'cawish' to me. I don't know how much was training or intuitive, but I know he got some help along the way at some point (and in my opinion he could use help again now, sorry Geoff, seen some live performances).

 

But back in the day, he was on the ball:

 

 

You could probably send him to someone who is really knowledgeable like Rob to help him get back to the center of his voice where he was back in the day. His voice doesn't sound 'destroyed' it just sounds like he lost the center of where he was back then and can't hit the same notes. My experiences have convinced me it's an extraordinarily difficult configuration to maintain and it's not that Geoff can't sing 'at all' today, he just can't maintain that tough coordination to hit those tough high notes like he used to. Following his intuition alone, he probably lost  the technique. It's understandable as most people would never find it in the first place.

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My perspective is as a species I suspect we evolved from apes and we generally find it more intuitive to make the noises you might imagine a caveman making, (lower mid rangey things). 

 

One correction I would like to make. With the advances in the study of evolution and the genome product, we have not evolved from. We are still apes, just a different kind of ape than the other apes. We have less hair, walk on our hind legs more, and we are physically weaker.

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Sleeper....from the boston clip you posted, he isnt really pulling "chest" pursay. But he is in a very compressed mixed head voice tone. You can hear him distort at some points because he is so compressed, keeping himself in the mix so be wont flip to pure head. Only time he goes to the head/twang config is on the high belts, one for a brief second on the second wave after the first big belt. You are quite close to the original. I actually liked your original clip better than any of the other ones you posted. Also as killer fu said, some of that is eq, compressor/limiter, but he is def preventing himself from flipping over completely, just hanging out in the middle ground pushing it to the max.

My opinion is still the same even after hearing your new clips. I really just think you are running out of air in the middle of the phrases. I actually start feeling stiff when hearing it, because i am like breath man lol! Your voice just starts getting tired and more quiet. Then when you have a chance to totally reset after a brief break, you are back to powerful again. I already wrote a thing earlier on with breathing and fold closure. I really think if you work on that, and adding more twang and closure to the high belts then you will be dead on with the original.

Just remember, the configuration he is singing in, with keeping himself from flipping into full head voice. That requires firm fold closure, and just enough support to power the voice. You over support with too lose of folds, blow to much air and ruin the phrase 3 quarters through. Undersupport with too tight of fold closure, pinched sound that sounds thin, plus a chance of injury if done to much. Its that lovely balance that drives you nuts looking for it.

Oh and forgot to say on the original recording, there are a couple spots where its a some what light head voice. Its just layered big time to give it beef.

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Hey KillerKu, I watched the video and I sort of understand frequency cuts and such (I use Logic) I just didn't know that's what you meant when you talked about the cut of a voice. Now it makes more sense, thanks! I mostly leave my vocals alone when I show you guys because I want the most accurate representation of reality (though I suspect my mic adds a bit of bass)

 

Actually we were just talking about frequencies and EQ in another thread, and I posted this picture

 

http://imgur.com/a/MEom2

 

Basically I was foolishly comparing the frequencies of some pro acapella recordings (michael jackson, bruno mars, david coverdale, brad delp) against my completely raw vocals ( the last 2 pics)

 

@ m.i.r.

 

I was thinking more about trying the cough/breath thing you're recommending, and then I did it a few times, and it hit me (as long as this is what you meant)

 

What you're talking about is pretty much that thing you always heard michael jackson doing! I used to think that was more of his style/quirk thing, but now I realize that's pretty much what you were talking about and it helps you breathe. I'm talking like what he does at the beginning of this verse in thriller >

I wonder if a lot of singers do this but it's just cut out by a noise gate/producer or something.

 

So I started trying that, and right now it still does slow me down by a little bit, so still gotta time it right, but it's more possible to take a breath inbetween words rather than whole lines.

 

So the map from earlier is more like this

 

Now if you're feeling kinda low about the dues you been paying (cough breath) future's coming much too slow. (longer breath) And you want to run but somehow you just keep on staying (cough breath) can't decide on which way to go-o-o (medium breath) Yeah yeah yeah.

 

You get the idea.

 

Now I gotta figure out what you guys mean by twang and compression.

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Sleeper you are on the right track. Actually today I took the time to see what I really do, since it is just habit now, and what some other singers do. I sung half of the song you are working on up unto the musical break. I believe the combo of short mini breaths, mixed with the cough off refill is the way to go there.

You will feel tension building slighting singing that full voice. When you feel the first hint, the next gap in the phrase that is where the cough off refill needs to happen relieve anything before it builds a problem. Followed by a tiny inhale, then cough off ect, kind of like a tag team thing. Just remember, its not actually a cough, I just use that as an analogy. You just release the folds after a phrase but not support, then the remaining air is gone, then the body resets then auto fills, one seemless event. Just the first part including the big belt, I counted 4 "cough offs", and one mini non "cough". There was enough time in between the phrases to have a brief relaxing moment. No point to push it unless you just have to.

Also having the right amount of air is hugely important. When your body senses the pressure starts to drop, it tenses the throat, slowly activating the false folds as well as the swallowing muscles, almost like a grunt. There is a scientifical name of this, and its brain farted out of my mind.

Just remember an ounce of air that is used with max efficiency of fold closure and compression goes a long ass way. And if you are only taking in that small amount of air, it increases fold closure. As well as only taking a brief moment to inhale it. You can sneak phrase sustaining air in almost in break.

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Darn, Ive been too busy getting things set up... but I want to duck in here tomorrow... will do.  Always wanted to do a Boston tribute ...  Love the music from "Third Stage" album.  I think I have a track of "Amanda"... without vocals on it.

Now, there's an idea....

 

"I get so lonely when I am without you.

But in my mind, deep in my mind, I can't forget about you, no.

 

Good times, places that remind me, yeah.

I've got to keep on chasing my dreams or I may never find them....

 

Well I'm taking my time, just moving along.

You'll forget about me after I've been gone.

Well I take I what I find, I don't want no more.

It's just outside of your front door.

 

It's been a long time.

It's been such a long time ..."

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