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aravindmadis
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I feel I have made some improvements to my singing to post a second take of this song.  I feel like I have more "easy" power in my higher notes and my singing in the passagio has improved from the last time. 

 

This is a very very difficult song for me.  I had to really work on each note and use vowel modifications to sing this song.   I think I made a zillion takes before I felt happy and would never attempt to sing this song live!   

 

The mix I feel is frankly not good at all, but I am really lost on how to improve it.  Any suggestions will be appreciated :)

 

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Honestly I really don't like your tone, it kind of annoys me, to quacky. However I can tell you really really get into the song and thats a good thing. Even though I don't Like your tone I am positive people do and will. if I were you I would work on vowel modification. For example on the lyrics "Highway run" it sounds to me like your singing "Highway one" If your having trouble singing run try singing rahn or rehn.

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Honestly I really don't like your tone, it kind of annoys me, to quacky. However I can tell you really really get into the song and thats a good thing. Even though I don't Like your tone I am positive people do and will. if I were you I would work on vowel modification. For example on the lyrics "Highway run" it sounds to me like your singing "Highway one" If your having trouble singing run try singing rahn or rehn.

 

Hi Jarom.. Can you point to a specific line where you find the tone too quacky? Or a time in the recording?  What typically should one do to sound less quacky? Does the solution lie in a lower larynx?  If so or if any other problem, what can I do to practice and solve this? 

 

My vowel modification is quite weak..While I speak English regularly althought it is not my first language, I am just getting started on the path to understand difference between spoken english and sung english and I am yet to reach the chapter on Vowel modifications in Rob's book! 

 

I am happy to be able to sing all the notes, but I definitely do want to understand how to make changes to my tone!  Thank you for your feedback.. 

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You're WAAAAY too nasal, that's why the tone doesn't sound great. The back of your throat is extremely pinched up, just take a look in the mirror singing with a tall mouth and you'll see it. You need to work on raising your soft palate a lot more, and perhaps relaxing your tongue down a bit too, but mainly the soft palate needs to raise and close up the nasal cavity so you can place the resonance in the back of your head instead of forward through your nose. Aim for an very tall opening in the back of the mouth behind all vowels and for none of the air/sound to come through your nose, you want to get it to where the tone doesn't change if you pinch your nose while singing vowels. It's a very hard thing to coordinate and may take you many months to fix completely but good luck on your journey!!!

To answer some of the questions you asked Jarom - it's happening through the entire song and lowering the larynx is NOT the solution. It can sometimes be a symptom of the solution, it is natural for the larynx to lower as the soft palate raises, but to keep a long explanation short, lowering the larynx alone won't fix the tone problem for you.

Your vowel mods are hard to hear through the nasality but I would bet they aren't that weak - you are actually doing pretty well, this nasality is just covering up the beauty of what you've developed - once you open up that back of the throat over months of really focusing on that concept, I think you'll be pleasantly shocked by the difference!

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Thanks Owen & Jarom.  I have something to work on!  I continue to be amazed at how much people here can help even without even seeing me sing in person.  I did some quick research and looks like training the soft palate is quite hard!  I plan to do a version of this song once I have fixed that issue.   :)

 

One more question.  I can now understand what you mean, but I seem to have this problem for specific songs and not all the songs(maybe I indeed do, but likely to a lesser extent).  Does this issue of soft palete and nasality get more pronounced in specific condititions like for e.g. singing in the passagion OR singing low head voice OR light mass coordination? The reason I am asking is to develop the intuition to know when I am likely going wrong.  

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You could likely safely dial back some of the nasality without losing distinct identity. Owen Korzec gave really good advice. I've never sung with this much nasal placement, I used to over lift my soft palate maybe too high. A really quick fix for me at least is to go between an uh like 'duh' (tends to dip larynx slightly) and ah (like open up and say ahhhhhh at the doctor). Training it more specifically for singing could be a lot trickier.

 

I think the best thing you could do is experiment with the advice, and compare the results yourself. Your style of singing here is extremely nasal, but it's also from the heart. There are some styles of singing that are a lot more nasal than others. It's heavily influenced by cultural upbringing, so if you were born in traditional Chinese culture people might react differently:

 

 

For western pop radio you should maybe keep your eye on Serj Takian. Western audiences already find his sound 'weird' or strange or 'exotic', but there are audiences for him:

 

 

I'm not a huge fan of System of a Down, but I like his voice for its distinctive qualities. I like yours too, but especially in the heady area it's extremely nasal. It's a bit much for my tastes here too. Anyway, the way it works, is each culture will have a normative average of sound preference at any given time and highly nasal sounds are not what current culture is looking for generally. Generic culturally appealing sounds tend to be 'safe' and can be mass marketed over a wide audience, but can also be bland. Unique sounds divide audiences, but can also hook audiences in deeper to the artist. You'd have to figure out what you are as an artist and what is important to you.

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Aravanid, the sound you're getting on Creep and Bring Me Your Daughter is less nasal from what I can hear (I would have to hear you in person without reverb to know for sure, but I'm fairly confident about this) although still very pinched on your twang compression in the passaggio range and above. It sounds much better to my ears but even some may not like it. Anyways, you could start from whatever you did there - and do rework on those songs, they seem to suit your voice better than the latest few - but work on reducing twang compression and any tensions you feel around the neck, jaw, tongue area, - and increasing breath support to make up for it, and you might find a good balance from that. And allow the larynx to lower too - don't force it but understand as you free up the throat and use more breath support, the larynx will naturally sit lower and you'll find you can sing high notes with a deeper tone more like you are maintaining the tonal quality of your the most beautiful version of your speaking voice - when your high range starts sounding like that that's when you know you're doing really great!

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KillerKu, thanks for the links.  Serj's voice sounds similar to Klaus Meine from Scorpions, a singer that I like :)  

 

In my case the nasality is certainly not intentional or cultural.  Traditional Indian music has no nasal qualities! It is a glitch in my technique and I think I can fix it. 

 

After reading a few posts regarding soft palette, I experimented visualizing eating an apple before singing notes.  I could instantly feel less strain and more power.  I think I don't open the mouth in general a lot(as Rob says embouchure).  I think I need to see myself sing to make this change!    

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Aravanid, the sound you're getting on Creep and Bring Me Your Daughter is less nasal from what I can hear (I would have to hear you in person without reverb to know for sure, but I'm fairly confident about this) although still very pinched on your twang compression in the passaggio range and above. It sounds much better to my ears but even some may not like it. Anyways, you could start from whatever you did there - and do rework on those songs, they seem to suit your voice better than the latest few - but work on reducing twang compression and any tensions you feel around the neck, jaw, tongue area, - and increasing breath support to make up for it, and you might find a good balance from that. And allow the larynx to lower too - don't force it but understand as you free up the throat and use more breath support, the larynx will naturally sit lower and you'll find you can sing high notes with a deeper tone more like you are maintaining the tonal quality of your the most beautiful version of your speaking voice - when your high range starts sounding like that that's when you know you're doing really great!

 

Owen, next time I will post a raw vocal track.  My mixing skills are distinctly average to non-existent!  I have never really thought about tension in neck/jaw/toungue and what impact it has on singing. 

 

I used to not warm up properly before recording.  I used to "warm up" by singing from easiest song and over 30-40 min move to tougher songs.  After purchasing the pillars, recently, I have started using the vocal workouts as my warm up(typically around 20-30 min).  I do Hum,hung, Hun(really like that) and after some time, I do "The Hero" which I really like.  Strangely, after singing last night I could feel more pain in the neck muscle(not the throat) externally on one side.  

 

I am going to work on raising the soft palete and my understanding that automatically the larynx will come down.  Let me experiment for a few weeks and then do a repost.. And next time I will post a video so that folks can tell me if they spot something.  

 

I am very happy to know that there are things I can improve upon.  This tells me I have more ability in me and it is a matter of hardwork and spending time, both which I am willing to do. Thank you for you feedback. 

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Your "warm up" in quotes isn't actually a bad way to warm up, it just depends on the student. Don't get fixated on what's "proper" just do what makes your voice feel and sound best! A great idea that works for a lot of people including myself is vocal exercises first, then song work, then finally they are ready to perform.

Tension in the jaw/neck/tongue (there are other possible places too: solar plexus, chest, clavicles, lips, under the chin, i'm probably still forgetting some) is a huge problem, definitely something to watch out for. However it's important not to be all or nothing about it, like anything you practice, these tensions take time to reduce gradually. If you were to try to force no tension in these areas before you're ready your singing would suffer. Focusing on gradually reducing it over time is a better idea in my experience because at the same time you are gradually building up good tensions (lower torso breath support muscles, intrinsic laryngeal musculature) that can eventually replace the other extraneous tensions we don't want

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Hi Aravindmadis, 
 
Regarding your tone, let me tell you that in the technique I'm studying (SLS) there are specific exercises to build, temporarily, this kind of annoying sound that Jarom pointed. They call it nasty sound or funny sound because it sounds like a cartoon. This sound is really good (again, when it is temporarily) to remove weight to the voice and reach treble. So, I would not be too worried because you have already taken a big step to reach those high notes. Now you should focus on improving the quality of you voice to sound nicer. Sometimes, when we are on an extreme and want to find a center it is good to go temporarily to the opposite extreme just to know how it feels. The opposite side of the nasty sound is the goofy and the dopey sound, take a look on the internet, but I think it would be better if you take personal lessons.
 
You seem to be a very enthusiastic person, so I think if you took singing lessons with a teacher your progress would be very fast . You can find many of them who teach online if you can not find a vocal coach near where you live.
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Hello man!

 

Well one good point is that it is sounding relaxed. Is it comfortable?

 

The bad part is that it is indeed nasal as it goes :). Also, when you began the second verse, "circus life", you let it fall from the position and was even a bit airy. 

 

 

Try this, do the same you do currently, with slight changes. First try to just open more your mouth. Then, think of a SLIGHT yawn, you should still feel it the same, almost as if going through the nose, but when recorded the nasalance should be gone.

 

Hope it helps!

 

Oh btw, dial back the backing vocals and try using panning to separate them :)

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Hello man!

 

Well one good point is that it is sounding relaxed. Is it comfortable?

 

The bad part is that it is indeed nasal as it goes :). Also, when you began the second verse, "circus life", you let it fall from the position and was even a bit airy. 

 

 

Try this, do the same you do currently, with slight changes. First try to just open more your mouth. Then, think of a SLIGHT yawn, you should still feel it the same, almost as if going through the nose, but when recorded the nasalance should be gone.

 

Hope it helps!

 

Oh btw, dial back the backing vocals and try using panning to separate them :)

 

 

Thanks Felipe.  Yes it is relaxed and comfortable.  I seem to have an issue with a low soft palete that is indeed causing the nasality in my songs.  I have been working on raising it and frankly I am amazed at how much difference it makes to my mid range notes and specifically with clarity of my pronunciation.  I can't believe that I have not been doing this all along.  The issue for me however, is to get the co-ordination to bridge is something that I have to learn again for all the songs.  It is like driving a left hand drive car(we drive right hand drive cars in India).  You can relate to it, but you need to spend time to get accustomed to it.  I am pretty sure that I can address this in my singing and my future recordings.. 

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