Jump to content

Falsetto Training?

Rate this topic


Nathan
 Share

Recommended Posts

My question is; is falsetto training worth it. I was told that singing with falsetto, specifically singing down scales and trying to maintain falsetto as you go lower in your range, can improve full voice singing. Is this true?

I realise it will probably improve my falsetto, but my falsetto is naturally poor. So it'd be like polishing a turd really. I'm more interested in the full voice benefits. Why would falsetto improve full voice, or neutral singing? (I hope that neutral singing reference was right, I've never taken a CVT lesson or read the book tbh).

Does it actually even work?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My question is; is falsetto training worth it. I was told that singing with falsetto, specifically singing down scales and trying to maintain falsetto as you go lower in your range, can improve full voice singing. Is this true?

I realise it will probably improve my falsetto, but my falsetto is naturally poor. So it'd be like polishing a turd really. I'm more interested in the full voice benefits. Why would falsetto improve full voice, or neutral singing? (I hope that neutral singing reference was right, I've never taken a CVT lesson or read the book tbh).

Does it actually even work?

Nathan: Yes it works. The relevance will be clearer if you understand the purpose of falsetto training, that is... what it accomplishes, and how that relates to full voice singing.

To help with this, we will use the muscles of the arm as a parallel to the muscles in the larynx.

Consider your elbow. When you want to position your hand close to the shoulder on that arm, your bicep shortens and changes the elbow angle so that your hand moves. From that starting position, if you decide you want to extend your hand forward, away from your body, your tricep shortens, and pulls the joint straight.

Except in special circumstances, we do not flex BOTH the tricep and the bicep at the same time. We do one or the other.

In the larynx, we have two sets of muscles...

...one 'inside and under' the vocal bands, which when shortened makes the vocal bands shorter/thicker/looser, and the pitch lower. This is kinda like imagining that the bicep is a vocal band with a softer, flexible covering.

...one outside the thyroid cartilege, which when shortened, makes the vocal bands longer/thinner/tighter, and the pitch higher. This is kinda like imagining that the action of the tricep is stretching the bicep.

Now, to the difference in the comparison. As mentioned, we ordinarily do not flex both the bicep and tricep at the same time, but we are able to do so easily if we want to. If both are flexed, both are put under tension by the other, and thicken somewhat. However, if there is too much fight between them, so that they are rigid, then the hand cannot be moved from the shoulder to extend like it did before... the muscles are too rigid to allow the full range of motion.

The WHY of falsetto training.

For many male singers, falsetto is trained because the muscle which controls it is not used to contracting through its full range of motion and is too weak to coordinate well with the other set of muscles... WHICH IT MUST DO In the full voice. It would be like living your life with your bicep contracted some all the time, and never extending your arm straight. However, to sing high, powerful notes, both muscles are involved in the whole range.

Extending the metaphor a bit, singing falsetto is like letting your bicep relax, so that the tricep can stretch the arm out. Not only does this get the tricep contracted to its maxium, but it also stretches the bicep, which is good for it... making it more supple.

Back to the voice. Falsetto training is, then, an exercise regimen for bringing the vocal-band-stretching action into play, without the resistance that comes from the other set of muscles. It also helps the singer develop a gentler sense of breath pressure, because falsetto (to be made clearly) needs very much less exhalation force to work than does the full voice.

Once falsetto has been accomplished, its range can be extended upward as the singer learns to independently work the stretching muscle. (the 'tricep' of the voice, in our metaphor).

Coming back to the relevance of this to the full voice: Training this muscle gives the singer a sense of range and vocal sensations without the 'bicep' muscle involved. Some of these sensations remain when the singer re-adds the 'bicep' muscle in producing the full voice, in what are known as the 'blending of the registers' exercises.

Not every teacher uses this approach, but many do. I hope this was helpful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steven, you truly are a vocal scholar. That was amazingly helpful and now I know I'm heading down the right path.

If I may ask one more question of you; How much time is optimal for falsetto training exercises each day? Normally I just judge based on how fatigued my voice feels, but falsetto never feels fatigued. Does this mean I can carry on all day, or is this potentially harmful?

Thank you for all of the advice you've given me :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I may ask one more question of you; How much time is optimal for falsetto training exercises each day? Normally I just judge based on how fatigued my voice feels, but falsetto never feels fatigued. Does this mean I can carry on all day, or is this potentially harmful?

Nathan: The answer depends on your goal. If you desire to have a 'performable' falsetto as a part of the vocal textures you can use in songs, then exercise it as much as you need to.

However, there is a caution. The more you practice falsetto, the more likely it will be to show up unexpectedly in the passaggio. The key here is balance of activity, always ending with full-voice coordination.

To that end, I follow the recommendations of Cornelius Reid, the NYC teacher who brought this kind of approach forward from the writings of singing teachers of long ago, and popularized it in the middle of the 20th Century. Do blatty low voice (a, as in Cat, and Ih) as very slow scales in the lower voice, alternating with hooty OO and EE slow scales in the falsetto high voice . Go as low, and as high, as you can comfortably and without strain. All told, 15 minutes of alternations, 2 times a day (morning and afternoon are fine) is enough. Then, do your full-coordinated voice singing just like you currently do.

Link to comment
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
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...