Robert Lunte

What is the most important consideration when training the voice?

Rate this topic

VOCAL TRAINING PRIORITIES  

119 members have voted

  1. 1. What is the most important consideration when training the voice?

    • Training to Bridge the Passaggio
    • Training the Head Voice
    • Training Belt Technique
    • Training Formants and Vowels
    • Training Onsets
    • Training Vocal Twang
    • Warming Up Properly
    • Stop Training and Start Singing


Recommended Posts

The problem is it's sounds, what happens mechaniqly does not matter what matters is how IT sounds like. if your bottom notes sound like your topnotes that what counts.

Thats what the audience hears... Just browse around this forum Young find many guys singing D5 sounding the same like one big voice

what Johnny cash could or could not do is speculation.

 

Anatomy defines sounds. It is impossible to make your top notes sound like your bottom notes for this reason. If someone can make a D5 sound weighty, full, relaxed, and at the same volume as their speaking voice in the second octave using any vowel and any sound color, let me know. I've never heard this from any singer. 

 

I have browsed this forum and heard many, many D5s. I have sung D5s myself on easy vowels which my other vowels could be modified to if I felt like it was a worthwhile goal in my life. Key word: it is being modified from a more 'distinct' inflection unique to me as a singer based on my cultural heritage and life circumstances, to something more benefiical for 'thick D5s.' which isn't necessarily my goal in singing to modify away distinct habits.

 

Few of the singers here singing D5s sound as recognizeable to me as as Johnny Cash. Voices are recognizable for both what they are and what they are not. If Johnny overly focused on D5s he might sound like I do if I do a generic siren exercises too. The sound colors and vowel choices are increasingly limited in order to add 'beef.'

 

People can recognize Johnny from singing literally one word. If you were to gather all of the singers here and have us all sing a thick and high D5 would it be easier or harder to tell us apart compared to a lower phonation? I'm guessing a lot harder. There's a lot more wiggle room for things like cultural upbringing, or eccentric personality traits on notes lower than D5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you think the members and coaches here dont sound connected and full? Cool

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So you think the members and coaches here dont sound connected and full? Cool

 

It has nothing to do with sounding connected and full. A foghorn sounds connected and full, but it's not necessarily the result of an artist's unique personality, cultural identity, artistic identity, goals, and desires when someone blows a foghorn. Voices are the direct results of these qualities.

 

That's why it's useful to ask people questions about what sort of goals they have and timbre is a really big part of that, prior to turning them into a foghorn as the defacto standard. Timbre is extremely cultural and personal. Chinese opera? Western Opera? Every culture I've ever listened to around the world have different timbres which are produced with different techniques. Have you ever paid attention to this? People come from there own cultural standpoints and form their own timbre ideals.

 

Figure out what sounds have meaning to people, and help them achieve those sounds as best as you can. Maybe Chinese Opera has different strengths and weakneses vs Western Opera, vs hair metal. Turning everyone into a foghorn is more limiting than it is helpful, no matter how thick the sound of the horn is, it can't represent individual artists, who are human beings.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has nothing to do with sounding connected and full. A foghorn sounds connected and full, but it's not necessarily the result of an artist's unique personality, cultural identity, artistic identity, goals, and desires when someone blows a foghorn. Voices are the direct results of these qualities.

 

That's why it's useful to ask people questions about what sort of goals they have and timbre is a really big part of that, prior to turning them into a foghorn as the defacto standard. Timbre is extremly cultural. Chinese opera? Figure out what sounds have meaning to people, and help them achieve those sounds.

 

Turning everyone into a foghorn is more limiting than helpful.

It has everything to do with sounding connected and full, cause if you cant your very limited.

If you can, youve got all the choices opened up to you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It has everything to do with sounding connected and full, cause if you cant your very limited.

If you can, youve got all the choices opened up to you

 

In order to achieve those goals you have to retrain old habits. Those habits may have value in themselves for their distinctness.

 

If Bob Dylan was taught opera at 5 years old, most likely you'd have never heard of him. Same with most pop singers. Unique limitations are one of the best aspects of artists. Because it affects their art and makes it unique.

 

By the time he was fully instructed how to sing operatically, it's very likely he could not sustain his current style. Opening up Dylan's choices would have likely ruined his career. Many artists end up better off pursuing their cultural and personality traits rather than being taught how to do some kind of 'ultimate fog horn note.'

 

Styles require maintainance of habits to perform. Train what you plan to use. If you plan to use something distinct or eccentric (like Chinese Opera to western audiences), you'll probably have an easier time gaining Chinese Opera fans by effectively training those habits and learning how to communicate to those audiences than trying to also master Bob Dylan, Death Metal, Bjork, Tom Waits, The Ramones, and Western Opera while also cultivating your own 'distinct style' and making sure you can blast epic fog horn notes. You'll certainly have a stronger identity to many audiences who would become more familiar with your artistry.

 

Eccentricity in breadth can very rarely work, like Mike Patton. But it's rare and difficult to attract audiences. During the big hits like Epic that made him famous, he had a pretty distinct style of nasal highs and white boyish rapping. Once he had a degree of famey he could get away with making every sound effect he could possibly come up with and even then it's not very mainstream.

 

People only have so much time in their lives too. By channeling interests into the thing that seems most promising, it can really allow someone to focus on those goals rather than diverting too much time into a hobby of 'being able to make any sound effect with their voices whether it serves a purpose or not.'

 

Writing songs. Performing live. Marketing. Making connections in the music industry. Becoming more musical with theory or training.  Learning an instrument. Finding a band, finding gigs, are all probably more useful for a singer on average than removing every possible limitation they can think of in their voices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still no excuse to not learn technique and expand your voice over passagio... Very few Will become Dylan, just put on the radio and Sing Along you Will quickly notice Youll need the C4-D5 sounding full to sing along.

Just because you learn technique does not mean you skip out on style...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still no excuse to not learn technique and expand your voice over passagio... Very few Will become Dylan, just put on the radio and Sing Along you Will quickly notice Youll need the C4-D5 sounding full to sing along.

Just because you learn technique does not mean you skip out on style...

 

I've never heard James Blunt, John Mayer, Michael Buble, or Thom Yorke, or pretty much any country singer hit a super thick D5. I have hit them a lot harder than many of the artists I've heard on radio throughout human history. Trying to get Dio strength D5s was pretty popular in the 80s, wasn't popular in the 40s,50s,60s,70s,90s, 00s, and so forth. It's still actually more common to go a bit more falsetto or lighter these days to my ears on pop radio, unless I'm missing something.

 

No excuse? So let's review what you said:

 

But thats what we are discussing, a majority of people want a big range to be able to express Their musical emotions. The ones that want the Johnny cash thing will ofc search for people that can teach that.

The moment we start trying to get the students away from their personal goals is When we invade on the musical expression

 

So which is it. People have 'no excuse' not to make D5 as thick as is humanly possible so they can 'have no voice limitations.' Or is telling singing students what to do invading their musical expression? These are completely contradictory statements. If someone doesn't want to sing something, they don't need to. The majority of male singers throughout history have done fine without Dio notes.

 

Technique and style are at conflict to some degree. People train habits, they have personal/cultural histories of vowel usage for example. Everyone has different vowel, airflow, phonation habit usages, which is part of why ranges and singing styles are so different. If someone doesn't want to retrain their cultural/personal history 100 percent  to try to make D5 as thick as is humanly possible just to prove a point that their high notes have less limitations in thickness than other singers, I see no reason why they should. New habits will become ingrained into their subconscious and they will likely lose the old ones, depending on how different their current training is. I've attended speech therapy and learned the concepts of how the brain gathers automatic habits (subconscious repetition ingrains and redefine older ones), so people should choose what habits they want to ingrain themselves.

 

Just because Bob Dylan doesn't happen all the time, doesn't mean someone shouldn't aim for their musical goals, even if it is to be the next Dylan. You basicaly said one statement, and completely contradicted it by saying everyone (including Bob Dylan) should do the specific thing you command which is to never have any limitation on thickness of their high notes. Whoopty do, man. I can just auto tune a lower thicker, note higher than yours anyway and the masses would probably eat it up. They can't even hear it. I could use it live too. People don't even need to sing in tune much less sing D5. What world are you living in?

 

90 percent of my favorite singers simply use a falsetto sounding D5 if they do that note at all. There are a couple that use thicker stuff and it is cool as part of their singing identity. It's not a big deal man. Even operatic tenors would often stop at a C5 while baritones and basses would stop much lower. Most rock, punk, country, jazz, blues, and pop singers didn't even do the C5, even if they were a lighter voice type.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Atleast read what I wrote correctly mate

Still no excuse to not learn technique and expand your voice over PASSAGIO... Very few Will become Dylan, just put on the radio and Sing Along you Will quickly notice Youll need the C4-D5 sounding full to sing along.

Just because you learn technique does not mean you skip out on style...

Then if you want falsettoy highnotes thats fine, but going that route is surely gonna limit you if you happen to want to do anything else. And then you need to start over...

So My qoute stands as a serious student of singing you should learn technique and refine your voice, then what style you wanna sing is up to you.

It's about that choice, either you train your voice so you have that choice or dont and get locked by your current skill in vocaltechnique. I know wich route I choose, and i Will make sure students of mine also get that choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe a valid question in this discussion is what is vocal technique? How do you define who has good technique and who doesn't?

 

In my opinion, the only idea is: Are you able to express yourself? If yes? Well---you got all the technique you need! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, cool that this thread opened up to replies. I couldn't honestly pick a choice in the poll because my answer would just be "everything". Every one of these points is important and interconnected, and there's gotta be like 50+ other important elements of technique training not included in the poll list, AND you have to balance all these elements, almost all of which are practically paradoxes.

 

And then even at that, technique means absolutely NOTHING if you don't interconnect it with STYLE and PERFORMANCE and MUSICIANSHIP and probably even more categories I'm still blind to.

As you get better at singing you just learn more things you don't know. And I mean pure ignorance, I've been singing for 4 years and just this past week my coach's friend showed me a way of putting dynamics and articulations into my phrases in a way my ears just never really were tuned to previously. And I thought, why the heck didn't I learned this four years ago?

As soon as I have one skill set down that just unlocks the door to realize I'm a complete beginner on the next one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Atleast read what I wrote correctly mate Then if you want falsettoy highnotes thats fine, but going that route is surely gonna limit you if you happen to want to do anything else. And then you need to start over...

So My qoute stands as a serious student of singing you should learn technique and refine your voice, then what style you wanna sing is up to you.

It's about that choice, either you train your voice so you have that choice or dont and get locked by your current skill in vocaltechnique. I know wich route I choose, and i Will make sure students of mine also get that choice.

 

My goals as a singer are quite a bit different than many. My choice is to sing with whatever technique fits my emotional state and cultural/personality background with minimal modification to my identity.

 

What this means, is when I get sad, my vocal tract often shifts into a sadder position. You will hear despair in my voice. When I get happy my larynx will often raise (people often raise it to hit high notes, but I wouldn't always do this), you can hear a genuine smile in my voice. When I get angry it causes a lot of various shifts in my vocal tract. You can hear me almost gritting my teeth. Anxiety tends to cause a bit of a globus sensation and I can express cool paranoia with it. So when I sing authentically, honest emotional posturing has to exist in my voice. Sometimes I'll sing a high note depressed, other times I'll sing a low note happy (high larynx). Sometimes this might make my low note less buff and my high note flip into a different mode earlier. I don't care. I never once in my life sang for the sake of buff notes, high or low.

 

I also want to sing with vowels that identify me as an individual artist, given my belief system, my cultural heritage and so forth. The vowels that sound most emotionally true to me are the vowels that sound most like me as an artist, they aren't the ones that make the thickest sounds. Given my current habits, everything above A#4 requires constant, meticulous calculated 'intellectual' choice to deviate from my emotional states and use vowels I don't intuitively identify with, while keeping my 'throat locked' away from what might be an authentic emotional position to make a buffer, fatter note. To do such a thing for me is is fake for the art form I intend to convey, as I want my vocal tract to convey real emotion (what I feel), and not suppress all of these factors just to make a note fatter.

 

What I ultimately want is kind of the opposite in some ways. I want raw Joe Strummer esque passion that is just good enough to be channeled so when I feel an emotion in my body, people can hear it in my voice. If it limits pitch, I really don't care. I'd gladly give up more pitches for more emotional sounds. I play many instruments, and I've got more octaves on a piano than anyone does on their voice, and it really isn't that amazing. When I lost my voice, the thing I missed was never range, it was the fact that guitar and piano didn't alter timbre whenever feeling authentic human emotions. People write great melodies with 5 notes. People sing powerful songs with 5 notes.

 

The cool thing is I can just bridge into whatever the neutral mode is above (I think the one I like is called metal like neutral in CVT, it sounds like Eddie Kendricks), and have more octaves of emotional sounds above that are cool with most throat postures and vowel choices, whenever the feeling calls for it. I really don't need the fancy stuff. Calculating throat positions limits my emotional expressiveness, period, cause my throat automatically moves with emotion. If I can't express a note with emotion, then it's not the right note for me as a singer. Lower or raise the key, sing the note in falsetto if the tract doesn't support this note, or alter the melody through improvisation. There are so many other options than singing an unemotional note.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

As soon as I have one skill set down that just unlocks the door to realize I'm a complete beginner on the next one.

 

Coudln't have expressed it better.. I have the same experience.  One day I feel like I can sing a certain note in a certain way and on top of the world and the next day I hear something different and I am like "what does it take to produce that sound"! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Owen's observation... I totally agree... and this experience never ends. It doesn't matter how much experience or skill you have, there is always more you can learn and areas of improvement. I have just resigned myself to this fact... it is part of the lifestyle of being a singer... one that also cares about training in addition to singing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carl Sagan:

"... It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring".

 

:mellow: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's just one big journey.

 

To me you have to have your mind and will set right or you simply won't get there..

 

Now, does it (your mindset) waver or ebb and flow at times?  Sure, but so can your voice.

 

There are days where you are just incapable.  You have to accept that.  You simply have to accept it or it will mess you all up. 

 

Recently, out of nowhere, I found myself loathing water..to drink water was nearly impossible for me.

 

I know for a fact if I lose hydration it could be the difference between going to the next higher note or making it harder to sing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't remember now but I think I originally voted for working through the passagio. Because I looked again and it made the most sense. 

 

Because, for most of us and if we may be a good example of the singing market, we are seeking to sing songs that have at least some parts right in the meat of the tenor range. Whether we are natural tenors or not. And being a natural tenor does not mean that no work is involved. I am not even sure how to define a natural tenor and it may not be important, just another semantic landslide to knock us off course. 

 

Point being, that there is a need felt by singers to have a strong yet variable sound through what is commonly accepted as the passagio area, namely, somewhere between C4 and F4.

 

Granted, achieving successful travel through and in the passagio area may certainly require learning the other aspects listed but then, I would say, let the drive to manage the passagio be the guiding force to necessitate learning the other things like breath management, etcetera. Not all songs involve a siren that takes you from A3 to A4. You may find most of the chorus going from F4 to A4, for example.

 

And so the reason I find the passagio so important is because most everyone managed "chest" singing hymns in church or schoolyard songs. And some can squeal some "head" notes. But when most of the "high" part of "Stairway to Heaven" is hovering just below and at A4, ya just gotta do something about that passagio, even if it means managing breath, anchoring, whatever terminology you are using.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ronws makes a great point. I remember back in the day, when I first began singing, I would strain on a D#4. It's probably the same for most singers.

 

Even Joe Strummer figured out 'something' that worked, even if it to me sounds like crazy amounts of support with a funny accent.

 

I think Bob Dylan has his own way of handling it. I was messing around with the plaintive sound to show my friend how it works. One of the sounds was the 'old man voice' that you can do with it. If I combined the old man with the 'highly nasal tone' it was going that direction. The thing I found, was this combination worked more easily for entering the passaggio than whatever sound I first threw at it many years ago, so it probably helps Dylan sing a lot as a technique. 

 

So yeah, most singers probably need to get into passaggio somehow, some way, but I still don't understand this falsetto dichotomy, of that phonation being a dead end though. I've been practicing my intended style more properly lately with drone notes lately for tuning, so I covered Al Green which is a big challenge for me and required actual practice:

 

 

There is a full voiced A4 in there somewhere, but I never noticed it happening while singing, cause it's more like shading between black and white (heavier and lighter notes). They aren't 'that' different. I'm closer to my desired style than ever by learning to sing with shades of gray so I can lighten and weight the tone whenever I want. Where as this thing:

 

https://soundcloud.com/killerku/siren

 

Maybe that helps a lot of people. It is loud thick notes, right? I can see how it helps. It would help a lot more if I wanted to sing like Dio of full weight all the time? But it feels less flexible to me. Like I can't as easily do shades of gray and my throat feels more locked into an arbitrary position where the sound color is 'locked' and the posture can't move as freely with my emotions.

 

I try to use my emotions to steer me towards my identity. When I feel aggressive, distraught, explosive, or excitable, I rasp. When I feel wistful, love lorn, haunted, or  disembodied, I tend to aim for lighter lighter tones. When I'm desperate, clinging, clawing, I tend to sob, wail or plead. When I'm cheerful, I tend to be playful, lighter, spontaneous. If I'm feeling brutally honest, disillusioned, bitter or resentful, I tend to get cutting, biting, and 'straight' toned. If I feel like displaying masculinity and a sense of confidence, I tend to get chestier, lower and richer. 

 

I kind of know how the emotions affect my voice. Some singers really helped me tap into different emotions. David Ruffin, Ray Charles, Toots Hibbert, and Bruce Springsteen all helped me with rasp. Eddie Kendricks, Al Green, and Freddie Mercury helped a lot with light wistfulness.  Older David Bowie helped me with wailing, younger Bowie helped me with a brighter, disembodied alienated sound. John Lennon helped me a lot with frankness, and just cutting. For expressing more masculine and subtle emotions, Frank Sinatra helped me more than any other singer as he has command, richness, subtle shading, and intricate phrasing. 

 

The sounds that inspire me are good timbres both aesthetically to my tastes, but also emotionally. They express different things.

 

I could pretty much go on and on. So far the Dio wail hasn't helped me much, but I'm sure it helps others find who they are and express meaningful timbres throughout their singing range. And influences are great too, they can make beautiful art:

 

 

We're all ourselves and our influences. So it's ok to find different ways of singing, but not everyone needs to be everyone. Not everyone needs to do a perfect Bob Dylan or Dio impression to be a valuable artist. None of my heroes to my knowledge spent their whole lives trying to be other singers and considering themselves incomplete if they found a limitation somewhere in this process. Following their trail is definitely my path. It's not that I won't practice. On the contrary I'm feeling more motivated to practice than in a very long time. 

 

But Ronws will practice Ronws, Rob will practice Rob, I'll practice me, Jens can practice Jens. Most of my heroes don't get to practice anymore cause they ran out of time, but Green and Bowie still get to do their thing before they run out of time. They're not spending most of their limited time worrying about what they can't do. It's ok and healthy for artists to find a stage in their craft where this occurs and are more interested in using what they've got. The minute you think you have the highest thickest note, someone else will find some trick you hadn't thought of yet to add beef and then you're limited again. You could repeat this process for the rest of your life. It sounds like hell on earth to me as an artist that generally likes to express myself to be so concerned with what I can't do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was an interesting poll. I suppose I answered with what was important to my singing and work , however to answer more honestly. I don't think you can go so broad spectrum here. It really would be relative to someone's goals, Not everyone needs or want to master a passaggio or use the head voice etc. some people have made great music with simple few  note melodies  in one register. I know a few country music singers with almost no range who would trade with Geoff Tate at his best.

 

The important things are: 1. Does it allow YOU to do the things you want to do musically.

                                         2. Can you vocalize with a high degree of consistency ( the voice is a living instrument it will always have some fluctuations)

 

All those other things depend on what your trying to accomplish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From the book "Observations on florid song - Pier Francesco Tosi" written in 1723 "The best Singer in the world is still a learner, and must be his own master" he also says "study with the mind when one cannot with the voice, listen to the most celebrated singers and instrumentalists" which has helped me! you can find it for free here maestros and tvs students http://www.gutenberg.org/files/26477/26477-h/26477-h.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a hard choice, but it depends on the level of the singer. 

For beginners, I choose onsets (And also the shut up and start singing option of course. :)

Onsets (especially when started with great consonants) f, h, th, can really help to direct the sound and make a beginner sound awesome. This builds confidence and the amazing cycle of improvement begins. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i've choose head voice, but i can assure you i wanted to check many things ^^.

Training head voice is required for the passagio, belt techniques can't be used without good head voice and right formants, training twang and onset are absolutely necessary to train vocal effects like distortion... 

All of this can't be done without a warm up and to become a singer you have to stop training and start singing on stage for real...

Just my 2 cents!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’d say, it’s the vocal onset, most notably the smooth onset.

Even if one is a bit pitchy here and there, as long as she or he has a smooth onset, at least everything is ‘sung’.

The vocal cry setup is stimulated with the smooth onset, and from my own experience, ‘cry’ (thryoid tilt) is beneficial for almost every style.

The times when a singer feels she or he is missing something, and the usual advice is: yes, her/his pitch needs some work, she/he needs more support, has usually mainly to do with the lack of a vocal cry.

I actually know of someone who had over a year lessons, and he definitely was improving, but the main thing he still wasn’t doing, was thyroid tilting. He still sounds very out of tune, because he tries to sing with vibrato and a soft but resonant sound without using thyroid tilt, which is just not possible. As a result, his vibrato sounds artificial, he’s way out of tune, and he either full on blasts with a belt, or falsetto his way.

I mean:

Try to sing the first verse of Miss Saigon’s “Why God, Why” without cry. You will either sing in falsetto (too soft dynamics) or blast it out when it’s not the time.

Try to sing “Mr. Roboto” without cry. You will miss the theatrical, vibrato, and light sound.

Try to sing the verses and choruses of “Stairway to Heaven” without cry. You will encounter all the troubles of passagio and such.

Try to sing “Nothing Else Matters” without cry. [Power Ballad] You will sound dull.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

    Glad to have you back Manolito. I have heard about the "Cry" and "Thyroid Tilt" for years. I am still not sure how to do that on purpose. Some people say if you are singing a pitch over a certain note your larynx is tilting but it seems to me that "Thyroid tilt" is different in some way. I may naturally do it when actually Crying or Laughing but I cannot instigate it.

    Any Suggestions?

     Back to the subject of this topic.....Most important Consideration when training....  If there is something you do not understand......Do not be afraid to ask someone who does and get directions:bouncy:.

Share this post


Link to post
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