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Iris: is it an example of high chest voice?

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Lexheltmil
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Hi, everyone.

I'm from Italy and I've just become a member of this community. My hope is to find great advice here, and I am sure I'll learn a lot of new things.

People usually say I'm a good singer, but I have never had a formal singing education. However, two weeks ago, I bought a good program and immediately discovered interesting facts about voice and technique. Before starting this program:

1) I considered to be falsetto what in reality is head voice;

2) I tried to reach high chest voice believing that head voice/falsetto was a trick for incompetent people.

Instead, if I've understood correctly, a singer should move from chest voice to head voice when necessary, so that higher notes are produced with that "fluty" and effortless tone.

I think I've succeded in finding my head voice, because I've watched a lot of clear tutorials, but now I need your help.

Let's take Iris by Goo Goo Dolls as an example. Suppose to play and sing that song in D major, which should be the original tonality. In the chorus, the singer goes pretty high, but I don't think he uses his head voice: I can't hear that delicate sound similar to falsetto, but an intense, chesty, "angry" shout, we can say.

Have I interpreted correctly or not? If so, using only head voice to sing higher shouldn't be considered restrictive? I've listened to male head voice professional examples: in every example head voice appears clearly as something delicate, feminine, we can say, so how can it suit every performance with high notes?

 

Thanks very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In that context, yes it would be very restrictive. And, Iris will really not work with that kind of registration.

 

You can learn to control what you know as "chest" without needing to shout though, and that would work fine on that song. Its still not the ONLY thing you can do, its a very important thing, but not the only.

Makes sense?

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Thank you very much, Felipe.

The important thing now is that my idea it was chest voice was correct.

I've noticed that there's a lot of advice about finding head voice and not too much about the proper managment of chest voice. But maybe I'll find more information when my knowledge will be richer.

 

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I don't think John Rzeznik sang the chorus of Iris using just chest voice. I think he mixed head resonance to sing that A4. I think what Felipe meant was that it would sound very different and restrictive if you sang the chorus using only head voice.

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@Lexhelt keep in mind every source you find will define those things differently. And often the idea of "head voice" is not about the switch you mentioned, but instead, managing "chest voice" in the manner I said.

 

@gnee I am simply explaining in the terms Lexheltmil provided, and its indeed "chest" on that context. In the context of what you said, yes what Ive described would be "mix" (narrowed vowels and lower intensity), but I would not go as far as saying its what Rzeznik did, it would work however and its a very reliable and economical way of performing the song.

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Thanks, Felipe: you have been clear.

I understand that there are various singing phylosophies and definitions.

However, in the method I am studying, head voice is the kind of voice which is similar to falsetto but less breathy. And, when Rzeznik sings that "everything" in the chorus, I think he doesn't use that fluty, soft tone, but the high version of the speaking voice, which is what I call chest voice. Of course it is a very well managed chest voice, but still something more similar to the voice you have during a quarrel than to the feminine, acute, comfortable voice men produce, for example, when imitating female voice as a joke.

GneeTapp, thanks for your participation and for the great video.

 

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    For this song and singer another thing to consider is that where he is singing in the verses almost sounds as if it is too low for him. The notes are sitting around A3. For a lot of us males A3 is already a point where we have to add more support and a little more effort.   A3 is his comfort zone. It is like us singing this song around F3 and the top note  would be F4.

   When I first started singing D4 was a note I had to sing in falsetto and I am supposedly a Tenor..........

 

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Well, Felipe, I am glad that you agree and grateful for your precious support :)

Aravindmadis and MDEW, thanks for your participation. What you have written, MDEW, gives me a starting point for a question. I am a beginner trying to understand his vocal range, so my doubt is: when singing high notes to discover what my highest note is, am I allowed to use head voice?

Attention: notice that, in the singing course I've bought, head voice is defined as that quality which is similar to falsetto but less breathy. When I use head voice, I can reach very high notes, but it seems I am cheating (using a trick), and I don't think I can use this "trick" in the test to determine my range. Correct?

 

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I don't understand... it was raining but it seems like some of the instrumentalists weren't caught in it?

Could be chest or mixed. I don't really think of these terms very often these days for these kinds of notes - it's more confusion than it's worth.

Head voice is a legitimate part of the range, though you'd think to exclude it from your range if it sounds weak. With sufficient practice/training, you'd be able to bridge the lower parts of your voice with the upper ones and make it one seamless voice. You won't think of it as a "trick" by then :)

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Hey Lexheltmil, would you be so kind to check my practice of Iris, recorded 1 year ago, and tell me what you think I am doing in the chorus. You will notice several notes off-pitch, and the technique still not under control, that is why is a practice recording with me strumming the guitar at my kitchen, recorded on a cellphone in one take, no effects, just raw practice.

 

 

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Two possible uses of the "high chest voice", I took it up a semitone to make the difference more evident:

 

https://app.box.com/s/9v5ih3lkmmgibljrkv9qkz1jwqx6wzec

 

The first is the "default" way most people work this area of the voice, its also what I suggested. The second is how I believe it would work best for this particular song. Neither is exactly how the original was done... he used a bit of air, sounds kinda wild to me, not sure there is a safe way to replicate that exactly...

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Awesome Felipe! The first one is Paul Stanley singing Iris... :P

I think I did the 2nd option in my practice, mixing more head voice. I agree with you Felipe about the crazy amount of air Rzeznik is using to sing this song. Sometimes I can do a very similar thing on the lower parts, but not in the chorus. Thanks again for your clarification Felipe.

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Rotlung, from various Youtube sources I've developed the idea that, for example, in order to understand if you are a tenor, you should know what the lowest note you can reach is and the highest note before your "stress point". Now this stress point really seems the stress point you have with your chest voice. I think I am a baritone: this makes sense, because I feel like an average male and I felt comfortable only when singing, with my chest voice, the notes of the baritone range. If I had used my chest voice, I would have been a soprano (maybe I'm exaggerating :), but you get the point), which is something surely not realistic. So it's difficult not considering head voice as a trick.

Gneetapp, I am ignorant, but I have the impression that your high notes have an heady component, which is a good skill if you consider that it's probably a mix more than a head voice. But, I repeat, I am a beginner, so I can just express opinions based on the sensations of my ears.

Felipe, also in your case it seems your high notes are in the mix voice rather than in a primitive chest voice. In other words, my idea is that you are using a sophisticated way to handle those notes, while Rzeznik simply pulls up his chest voice like when a person is having a quarrel (this thing is very effective in that song, even if probably it's not particularly technical). I have bought a singing program which is full of exercises. In your opinion, if I train with these exercises, in years of practice, will my new abilities automatically appear in songs or will it be necessary to rationally implement the elements of the exercises inside the songs? Thank you.

 

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Hi Lexheltmil, we are all students here, man. Trying to discover our own voice. Regarding voice classification, it matters only if your training to be an opera singer. If you take your lowest and highest notes you can vocalize comfortably, it doesn't translate exactly to your singing. Just to do a quick test, you could check what your lowest comfortable note is and try to sing a few songs that have that note in it to see how you do. You may be surprised, as I was. I think the best approach, regarding vocal range, if you are a singer under development, would be to know your current vocal range (vocalizing and singing songs), and then work hard and consistent with a vocal coach, vocal method, or by yourself to improve not only your range, but also your timbre, incorporating vocal effects, etc. Does it make sense to you?

And even though you consider yourself ignorant in vocal technique you are right about my approach to Iris. I am definitely mixing, because I still get louder in the chorus than in the verses, but I'm not really shouting or straining.

I really don't know what the original singer is doing in the chorus, besides using a good breath management (or support) to keep all that air bleeding, but you have to bear in mind that when we are working hard, and maybe even struggling to sing the chorus of a song, these guys have 20 more songs to sing during the course of 1-2 hours. So, they must play wisely, delivering a great performance but conserving energy to finish the show, and do that 7 nights a week.

Cheers   

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Well, Felipe, I am glad that you agree and grateful for your precious support :)

Aravindmadis and MDEW, thanks for your participation. What you have written, MDEW, gives me a starting point for a question. I am a beginner trying to understand his vocal range, so my doubt is: when singing high notes to discover what my highest note is, am I allowed to use head voice?

Attention: notice that, in the singing course I've bought, head voice is defined as that quality which is similar to falsetto but less breathy. When I use head voice, I can reach very high notes, but it seems I am cheating (using a trick), and I don't think I can use this "trick" in the test to determine my range. Correct?

 

​   Yes use head voice......Use  head voice often......that is part of making it stronger.

 I used to not use my head voice because it sounded funny and weak to me. Then I decided to just go ahead and sing the songs that I wanted to sing whether or not I had to use head voice or falsetto to get those notes. It is getting stronger....

  If you watch videos of even the original singers singing those songs that seem high but sound chesty, in an acoustic environment (low volume) they will use either head voice or falsetto also. It is not a bad thing just a different choice we can use. In the mean time practice and train to sing higher notes with a fuller sound.

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Gneetap and MDEW, grazie: very very helpful!

If you have time, give a listen to the following example from me: it's Iris in the original key or close to the original key. As you can hear, because I can't reach the higher notes, I use my head voice in the chorus. Surely I don't even know how to sing in the mix, however, when I sing the same song lower, I can use only my chest voice and the result is better, in my opinion.

 

 

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@Lex Careful now! Notice that you are mixing up the terminology, at first you were talking about head and chest using the switch to falsetto/non-airy falsetto as the reference. Now you are talking about a specific way to sing a particular area, but if you also relate that to chest and head, it can become confuse very quick.

Lets change all these names.

First, there is this thing that you can do, which is using the voice you speak with, or, switching to falsetto (airy or not). I will call that SWITCH.

Then, on top of that, there are a lot of different intensities you can use, and they sound different to each other. You have soft, middle, and strong (there is more, but to make this simple).

The first thing I did is on middle intensity, no switch. The other thing Id rather not explain much, its a bit weird to do, but no switch either.

 

You can go strong too, but in my opinion that would not fit the song so well. Rzeznek is pushing but he is not getting into belting, its a bit messed up lets say, there is air, a bit of distortion. I think I have an old version where I go strong on the last chorus, I will see if I can find it later.

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Gneetap and MDEW, grazie: very very helpful!

If you have time, give a listen to the following example from me: it's Iris in the original key or close to the original key. As you can hear, because I can't reach the higher notes, I use my head voice in the chorus. Surely I don't even know how to sing in the mix, however, when I sing the same song lower, I can use only my chest voice and the result is better, in my opinion.

 

 

​Hey man, you sound good, and got a nice timbre on your voice too. Sure you could use this approach to sing those high notes (A4), but you would have to play the song differently, using a light more intimate approach. Nothing wrong with it, but if you want to sing it with more energy you should learn how to mix your registers (i.e. chest and head voices), or learn how to belt in chest (call register). Yeah, you can always lower the key of the songs you cannot sing the high notes, or you could learn the proper technique and have many more choices. Here in the forum you will find several really good vocal coaches, such as Felipe, Robert Lunte (the founder of the forum), Daniel Formica, and others I cannot recall now. You could also benefit from studying a vocal program. Here too there are a few choices. If you feel like, please check my first attempt of singing Iris, so you don't feel bad. Even though I am not where I wanted to be, regarding my vocals, I came a long way, if you compare the before and after Iris. Cheers

 

 

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Rotlung, from various Youtube sources I've developed the idea that, for example, in order to understand if you are a tenor, you should know what the lowest note you can reach is and the highest note before your "stress point". Now this stress point really seems the stress point you have with your chest voice. I think I am a baritone: this makes sense, because I feel like an average male and I felt comfortable only when singing, with my chest voice, the notes of the baritone range. If I had used my chest voice, I would have been a soprano (maybe I'm exaggerating :), but you get the point), which is something surely not realistic. So it's difficult not considering head voice as a trick.

​I'm personally of the opinion that the classification really doesn't matter unless, as Gneetapp has helpfully mentioned, you're thinking of singing in opera (arrangers might be concerned with very specific tones/timbres for certain roles). That said, with you have connected your voice and start singing high notes well into a strong upper mix/head voice, nobody who still cares about classifications is going to think of you as a baritone. Shed those preconceptions - they're very restricting for an aspiring singer.

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@Rotlung:

The only reason why that classification is important to me is that there are some exercises in the singing program I've bought that are specifically addressed to tenors or basses or sopranos, and so on. So it is basically useful for me to understand what exercises I should start with. That's all. Also, as a beginner, it could be important to know where the bridges are: I don't want to be too much obsessed with theory, but, at the same time, knowing where my voice should have its transitions can help me to rely on a point of reference (because the risk is pulling the chest voice too high or anticipating the head voice).

@Felipe:

I think I've been coherent with my ignorance :) For me, chest voice is the voice we speak with; head voice is the fluty voice similar to falsetto but less breathy; and mix voice is something in between; now, from my ignorant perspective, I have the impression that Rzeznik uses only chest voice in the song (or maybe some mix in the chorus) and that you & Gneetapp, in the chorus, use some kind of voice between chest and head. But, again, I don't have the experience nor the ears to identify a mix voice or various nuances of human voice: I'm just doing some ipothesys - maybe you can help me identify the truth. The fact we all have different voices makes it difficult to precisely interpret this instrument we have in the larynx.

@Gneetapp:

Thank you for your words and for the fact you've listened. I perfectly agree with you about the "intimate approach": if I want to use that fluty sound, I must create a soft, less energetic, sweeter sound from the beginning. However, the progresses you have made are huge! As I said, I am following a singing program I've bought, and, if I feel bad, it's because of time: now I am a 30-year-old medical student, near the graduation, and I spend a lot of hours studying medicine, studying guitar as an autodidact, teaching guitar, studying singing and writing a book; I'm very ambitious and, even though I've reached good results in various fields of interest because of my discipline, musical growth is a neverending process and I'm worried that, when I'll have a wife and a pair of children, the only thing I will be able to spend my energies into will be medicine. That's my fear, Gneetapp: the fear of not having time for my musical growth.

 

 

 

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